SLT— June '19

School Leadership Team (SLT) Meeting Minutes

In attendance: Dorothy Bergstol, Kara Benton-Smith, Erica Phillips, Disera Freeman, Clement Rand, Carrie Nathaniel, Abidemi Hope, Ron McGrew, Kate Malinowski, William Wickland,  Rasheda Rand,  Keisha DeVaughn and Andrea Boffa (for Emily Chen) 

Absent: Emily Chen, Ingrid Clark, Yolanda Beaton, Nicole Halsey

Call to Order @ 4:49

Discussion of Old Business Agenda Items None

New Business Agenda Items

School Safety

  • Mrs. Rand as the Building response chief reported on her submission of a request for a second safety officer. PS 11 has made this request in past years and it has been consistently denied. At this time the school has grown, is at capacity with very busy morning and evening drop-offs and pick-ups. An  inspection by school safety to observe the need is required and has not been conducted to date. The response from the school safety office has been they are “working on it.” Should there be no movement it is recommended that the school governance escalate the request by starting a parent petition.

  • Currently the school is assigned a second safety officer on its heaviest traffic days (M,W,TH) however this coverage has been episodic and inconsistent.

    Behan Arts Academy

  • Mrs. Rand as the director of the Arts academy reviewed the history of the arts academy. Over several years attendance has been dwindling with a significant drop off generally in the spring. The addition of a small nominal fee a few years ago was enacted with hopes that if parents are paying for a program they would more likely enforce their child’s attendance vs when parents were not paying at all. This approach has not impacted  attendance with a drop off of about 40% of students by end of program

  • Quality of the classes was also discussed recognizing that sub-par program quality adds to poor attendance, however this past year even high quality programming (examples given of Capoeira and Culinary Arts) had dwindling attendance.

  • The program is designed to serve about 300 students but does not fill approx. 15 classes offered greatest demand is in the lower grades. Program costs approx. $50K cost shared between school budget ($23K) and PTA ($26K)

  • Three options discussed for future programming: 1) Discontinue the arts academy, move quality programs to after school enrichment and consider offering additional scholarships to those families in need of after school programming but unable to fiscally afford it; 2) Continue program but shorten the duration (i.e. end classes before Winter break); 3) Continue program but offer fewer classes (i.e. 5 instead of 15 classes)

  • Kara Benton-Smith raised concerns regarding parent concerns in light of other programmatic changes and thus emphasized the need for transparency and communication of the reasons for discontinuing the program

  • William Wickland suggested increasing program costs to ensure usage and recognition of the value

  • SLT final consensus decision was that option 1 was the best use of the limited resources (i.e. staff, school safety officer, and finances) needed to run the program

Behan Academic Academy

  • Offers a Kaplan style test prep for state exam preparation while it is open to all 3rd thru 5th graders regardless of aptitude there is also a component for 1st and 2nd graders who are at risk of not meeting grade standards

  • New models of coverage being considered to reduce burden of teaching responsibility among PS 11 staff. Teachers from academic partners such as Columbia, NYU, Brooklyn College, Queens College and Hunter being tapped into. Ms. Hope is also looking into testing companies who could provider teachers that offer the same quality and excellence expected from PS 11 teachers.

  • Current programming costs estimated at $28K (school budget)

School Wellness and Recess Plan

Reviewed the proposed school wellness policy for the 2019-2020 school year inclusive of:

  • Healthy classroom celebrations across all day and extended day events not just birthdays

  • Compliance with the chancellors regulations regarding food served on school premises during the school and extended school day

  •   Physical education and physical activity programs aligned with best practice and approaches

  • Acceptance of the comprehensive recess plan developed by SWC in collaboration with all administrative leads to ensure PS 11’s recess program is aligned with best practices

  • Current cost of recess program is funded by the PTA ($35K)

  • New cluster curriculum, Agriculture and Life Science led by Desirae Freeman who will transition from a classroom teacher to a cluster teacher. Aspects of the new hydroponics curriculum coming online in the fall were presented by Ms. Freeman.

  • Conducting a community wellness assessment among the teachers and continuing to work with the administration on instituting a staff break room in a location more accessible for the school staff

  • The discussion of community wellness brought to attention that staff morale was lower this year. The latter may be multi-factorial due to several new teachers getting acclimated to PS 11. Staff trying to run wellness events can be taxing and another job thus there needs to be more collaboration regarding assessing and offering staff wellness events.

  Parent Leadership Roles

  •  Discussed currently the CEP identifies class parents as one means by which PS 11 engages and fosters leadership among parents however this mechanism may not be as effective as intended

  • Class Parent Liason – Andrea Boffa presented the current guidelines that are shared with class parents but there is variability in the uptake. It was noted that trying to meet with class parents is difficult and as a group they may not consistently attend PTA meetings

  • SLT teacher representatives shared their experience with variability in class parents knowledge of school agenda items and thus may be at best re-sharing the same information

  • Ideas regarding how to revamp the role and to ensure parent engagement remains high were discussed

  • After much discussion Andrea Boffa suggested it be dissolved and that the PTA would prefer to not oversee the organization of class parents

  • SLT final consensus decision was that class parents will no longer be organized by the PTA and that teachers will have the responsibility of determining what works best for their classroom organization and communicating with their respective total class parent body


Administration responsible for informing the school community of changes to Behan’s art academy and class parent role in the 2019-2020 school year


Meeting adjourned at 7:00 PM  next meeting  TBD

MinutesErica Phillips