Fort Couch Middle School PTA

General Meeting Minutes

September17, 2013


The September 17, 2013 general meeting of the Fort Couch Middle School PTA was called to order at 9:35 a.m. President ChrissySileo presided and Melissa Epler recorded the proceedings. President Sileo led the Pledge of Allegiance.


The agenda was approved as corrected. The correct date for the next meeting is October 15, not 22.


The minutes from the May meeting were approved as distributed.


Treasurer Susan Wells shared the monthly financial statement and it was approved as distributed. She shared that everything was in order from the audit, but it did recommend that we have an ORIGINAL receipt for everything in order to be reimbursed. Reimbursement forms are available online and in the PTA cabinet in the main office. She is working off of the budget that was approved last year but will be using QuickBooks this year to manage our finances. The bill for the time trackers was a little higher than expected. It was moved, seconded and approved that the bill be paid.

Beginning checking balance$10,277.34

Deposits and interest $8,579.33


Ending checking balance$18,856.67


Epler read several thank you notes – one from Sandy Hook Elementary for the snowflakes sent last year and several from staff members for last spring’s teacher appreciation week and the beginning of the year breakfast.


Katie Rummel reported that student council elections were last week and that this Friday students will be voting for President and VP during 7th period. Red Ribbon week is coming up and they appreciate PTA’s support in buying the ribbons. Fort Couch was asked to host the state student council conference on November 1. They will need volunteers and help with breakfast.


Amy Billerbeck passed around the Halls of Fame program from the recent ceremony. She reported on some new administrative changes and shared that Dr. O’Toole’s contract has been renewed through June 2018. The high school track will be replaced next summer. Tracks should have a life of 8-10 years and ours is 15 years old! The new family welcome event was wonderful. There are two new student representatives that come to school board meetings and the board is working on their strategic plan that is updated every six years. She concluded with thanking the PTA for all that it does for the school.


Director of Technology Ray Berrott and Mr. John Rozzo presented a powerpoint on the new parent portal/MMS grading system. They reported that so far they have received positive feedback on it and they feel it will strengthen communication.


Alison Hess reported that OM is a creative problem solving competition. Informational sessions will take place next week and registration ends Friday, September 27.


Beth Hornak reported that the new online directory should be ready by the middle of October. Everyone will have one more chance to verify their information and/or opt out of the program before it goes ‘live’. A FAQ sheet is being worked on and information should be available at upcoming open houses.


ChrissySileo reported that we have had a great start to the school year and that committees are up and running. She is looking forward to a good year!


No report


New Assistant Principal Erin Peterson welcomed everyone and said she is looking forward to getting to know the students and parents.


Principal Joe DeMar reported that we have had a smooth start but the school is pushing capacity in terms of numbers. The first social went well with no issues. Be sure to check teacher/team web pages and time trackers for information and student assignments. October 3 is open house from 7:00-9:00 p.m. Students will be dismissed early that day and there will be a bus shuttle that night for parking at Eisenhower. Athletics, chorus and band have started and it’s not too late for students to participate.


No report


Welcoming Committee – The Welcome Breakfast went very well. There was more than enough food and the committee came in under budget. For next year’s breakfast, the committee recommends a few more "grab and go" options such as granola bars, etc. There were four dozen bagels, ten dozen donuts, yogurts, granola, croissants and fruit trays. At first it seemed that there may have been too much food, but the custodians said all of it got eaten. (Since the majority of the custodial staff doesn't come in until later in the day, we saved and put away items for them.)

Evening Socials –There was a record turnout of 435 students and the kids had lots of fun and were well behaved. Lots of snacks and drinks were sold. Please consider chaperoning!

7th Grade Activity Fee – 210 students out of 340 have paid

8th Grade Activity Fee – 233 students out of 314 have paid

Yearbook – Please take pictures at any event you attend to share with the committee!

Band Parents – Fort on the Field is a new event to spark interest in high school band. It will be held Friday, October 11 and give 8th grade students the chance to learn more about the band and actually march on the field at half time! Band practice time has changed and it will be posted on the band webpage. The new committee requests financial help from the PTA and it will be voted upon next month.


Membership – There are currently 295 memberships (258 parent and 37 faculty) for a total of $2950. After paying PA state dues of $1475 and council dues of $295, Fort Couch PTA will keep $1118.00. Membership cards will be sent home soon along with instructions on how to activate your membership online.

Directory – See report above.

GATE – Meeting topics are being planned for the year, as well as a group book club book. Please let the committee know if you have any suggestions.The GATE portion of the Council website is full of many parent resources, websites, summer activities, etc. Please take a look!

PIE – PIE offers support, education and networking opportunities for parents in USC by promoting understanding between educators and parents of special needs students. The first meeting of the year will be held September 24 at 9:00 a.m. at Panera. The speaker will be Sarah O’Donald, Youth Coordinator from Three Rivers Center for Independent Living (TRCIL).

Youth Steering Committee – A social will be held Saturday, October 19 at the Rec Center. Parent volunteers are needed and the $8 admission fee will be waived if a parent volunteers! Contact Tina Florkowski (r412-519-4150 call or text) or Lynn Walcoff, Program Coordinator at the Rec Center (412-221-1099 ext. 655) if you can volunteer.

Reflections – This year’s theme is ‘Believe, Dream, Inspire’. There are 6 categories: Literature, Visual Art, Photography, Dance, Video production, and Musical composition. There is also a category called Special Artist for children with special needs. Entries are due no later than Monday, October 14. A bin has been placed in the office for submissions. Please be sure to check out the USC reflections website at for a complete list of rules as well as entry forms.

The first round of winners will be notified in November. All entries will be placed into the Reflections art exhibit in early November. Please feel free to email Dana Gnad with any questions: .


A Keurig was purchased and is now in use for PTA meetings, teacher appreciation, etc.


Fundraisers- Chipotle night will be Tuesday, September 24 from 5:00-8:00. Chipotle will dontate 50% of all proceeds during that time if you present the coupon (on our webpage) OR just mention that you are there to support Fort Couch.

- Fleet Feet will donate $5 for every pair of shoes purchased between now and May 31. Customers must present the coupon, which is on the FCPTA webpage under ‘Fundraisers’

Curriculum Enhancements – Teacher requests have started to come in. Mrs. Conn requested money for books for her club. Their first book has already been purchased. We will look into a less expensive way to help pay for upcoming books. Mr. Corr requested $220 for materials for a growth tank for use in his science class. The amount was approved. Funds raised from the upcoming Chipotle fundraiser will be used for clubs and curriculum enhancements.

Reimbursements – As stated above, NO reimbursements will be honored this year unless an original receipt is stapled to the reimbursement form. Please do not email anyone asking for a reimbursement. You also must be a Fort Couch PTA member in order to be reimbursed for anything.

Bylaws – Our bylaws are due to be updated this year. Please let ChrissySileo know if you are interested in serving on this committee.

The next Fort Couch PTA meeting will be Tuesday, October 15 at 9:30 a.m.