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November 2017



With the District INSIDE THIS ISSUE Step Up for Students File Your 990 Map for Solutions


15th District PTA Contact List 2017-18

FROM THE PRESIDENT November is a time to be thankful for all that we have and a time to reflect on how we can do more to help those in our community who are not as lucky.

President Autumn Neagle

(502) 718-2590

I first want to say how thankful I am that we have so many Parent Teacher Asssociations (PTAs) that are actively working in our schools to assist and enhance our students’ lives. It is not about how much you spend but how much you give to our students. That good morning or smile you share with the students walking down the hall can make such a difference.

President-Elect Adam Kesler

I am thankful for all the PTA members and principals who attended “PTA: Who, What, and Why?” It was a great night of sharing about PTA and how it works in our schools. (502) 410-9117

I am thankful that KY PTA has purchased software that will help each PTA file its 990 Form this year. Each PTA president and treasurer should have received an email that requires you to file with a few simple clicks. Lastly, I am thankful that we had 267 pieces of artwork handed in to the district for our Reflections Art Program. The talent that is shown in the art of dance, film, music, photography, literature, and visual art is outstanding and takes my breath away. This November, I am asking you to help the 15th District PTA make a huge difference in the lives of families in our community. On December 9, the 15th District PTA Clothing Assistance Program (CAP) will be doing a Take What You Can Tote event. We will open our doors to families in our community to come and get gently used clothing. These families also use this time to shop for gifts for the younger family members. We would like to add some special items this year for our families. We are asking for gently used books and small toys to help these families make the holiday season brighter for their children.

So how can you help? • If you can donate gently used clothing, books, or small toys, please bring them to CAP or box them up and send them through the Pony to 15th District PTA CAP. • Have a donation drive at your school, church, or community center. Contact Justin Willis at (502) 485-7450 or, and he will help you with fliers and how to get the donations to us. • Volunteer at the event. Sign up at Metro United Way ( /Volunteer/VolOpInfo.jsp?hnbr=57303A695B566C5D56277E3E*0). • Spread the word. The event is Saturday, December 9, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Families do not need to make an appointment. • Check out our website for more information at I thank you in advance for making this November and December a very special and thankful time for our families.

Autumn Neagle November

3 ������������������ End of Middle and High School Grading Period (2 of 6) 4 ������������������ SAT 13–17 ����������� American Education Week 14 ����������������� Middle and High School Report Card Distribution (2 of 6) 14 ����������������� Jefferson County Board of Education (JCBE) Meeting 14 ������������������ Race and Equity Policy Committee 15 ����������������� 990 Filing Deadline 17 ����������������� Take Your Family to School Week Grant Application Deadline 20 ���������������� Kentucky Unity Day 2 22–24 ����������� Thanksgiving Break

First Vice President—Program Sienna G. Newman Second Vice President—Membership R. Shawn Summerville (502) 386-1455

Third Vice President—Ways and Means Eddie Squires (502) 930-3516

Fourth Vice President—Communication Liz Cannon (502) 905-1233

Legislative Chair Taylor Everett (502) 640-8323

Nutrition Initiatives Coordinator Andrea Wright (502) 485-3199

FRYSC Director Adrian Oldham (502) 485-3703

Male Engagement Cliff Irons (502) 807-5695

Teacher Representative Jennifer Freeman (502) 485-8323

Student Representative Alexis Reece Treasurer Brittney Bolyard

Secretary Anna Elder (502) 432-3023

Autumn Neagle, President (502) 718-2590 |

Calendar of Events (502) 413-1639

Past President Heather Wampler (502) 671-9451

23 ���������������� Thanksgiving Day 28 ��������������� JCBE Meeting 29 ���������������� Race and Equity Policy Committee

Parliamentarian Sharon Whitworth


JCPS Parent Relations Justin Willis

2 ������������������ SAT 9 ������������������ Take What You Can Tote 9 ������������������ ACT 12 ����������������� JCBE Meeting 14 ����������������� Reflections Art Award Ceremony 14 ����������������� General PTA Meeting 15 ������������������ State/National PTA Dues Payment Deadline 15 ����������������� End of Application Period for JCPS Optional/Magnet Programs 19 ����������������� End of Grading Periods for Elementary, Middle, and High School (502) 592-4185 (502) 439-8782

Title I Representative Zina Harris (502) 807-1878

Recycling Chair Sharon Kesler (502) 413-1634

High School and Scholarship Chair Robin Weiss (502) 314-2401

Step Up for Students

This year, Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) central office employees are bringing new and gently used clothing items to their workplaces and donating them to CAP. Six locations—Ahrens Educational Resource Center, Gheens Professional Academy, Jaeger Education Center, Lam Building, VanHoose Education Center, and C. B. Young Jr. Service Center—are participating in Step Up for Students, a friendly competition between central offices to donate items each month and support students. Each building has a bin, signage, and a campaign coordinator who shares information about needed items with colleagues, then ships donated items to CAP through the Pony mail service, the JCPS internal delivery system. Any clothing item or accessory can be donated in the bins, and each month brings a special theme. In September, employees donated new boxer shorts and boxer briefs, and in October, employees donated new and gently used blue jeans for all ages. November’s challenge will seek new and gently used pajamas for all ages. Step Up for Students is strongly supported by JCPS Acting Superintendent Marty Pollio, and the bins and signs remind central office employees to keep their focus on students’ needs to improve their academic success.

A Cause for Celebration The oldest football rivalry in Kentucky agreed on one thing this October—using student energy to benefit other students in need.

Save the Date

The Louisville Male High and duPont Manual High School football game was held on Friday, October 20. The schools often combine their spirit weeks with a good cause, and this year, the students decided to collect and donate new socks to CAP.

The 15th District PTA will partner with JCPS Diversity, Equity, and Poverty (DEP) Programs to host Take What You Can Tote from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, December 9.

All students who visit CAP receive five pairs of socks, all of which are white, crew-length socks. The donated socks from Manual and Male students add a variety of styles and types that will appeal to more students served by CAP: no-show socks, colored socks, and socks in toddler and child sizes. The Male-Manual football rivalry began in 1893, and this year is the 125th anniversary of the inaugural game. CAP is grateful for consistent support from both schools throughout the school year and especially with Spirit Week.

This annual event, held inside Central High School Magnet Career Academy (MCA) Football Stadium at 319 South 15th Street, will distribute clothing, toys, and books for free to area residents. This is a popular destination for residents of the Louisville Metro Government Zones of Hope Neighborhoods: California, Newburg, Parkland, Russell, and Shawnee, with many lining up outside the doors well before 10 a.m. Many of the families who attend this event will give the items they collect to friends and family members later in December. To make this bustling and festive event a success, volunteers are needed from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. to prepare tables with clothing, books, and toys; restock items; organize and move clothing; and help families find items and feel welcome. Donations of new and gently used items may be delivered to CAP on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The 15th District PTA will provide refreshments and food for volunteers. For more information about volunteering or donating items, call 485-7450. 3

Running With the School District

For 20 years, Dr. Marty Pollio has worked as a focused, no-nonsense JCPS educator and principal. Since July 1, his day job has expanded to include running Kentucky’s largest school district as acting superintendent following the departure of Donna Hargens. In October, Family Matters spoke with Pollio in his office at VanHoose Education Center to talk about school district challenges, parent involvement, and school success. Pollio, who served as a principal at Jeffersontown High and Doss High, has been married to Jessica, a marketing professional, for nearly 18 years. The couple has one daughter, Genna, who attends Noe Middle and enjoys the performing arts.

A large portion of wall in JCPS Acting Superintendent Marty Pollio’s office consists of whiteboards with important messages and topics on which to focus like a “laser.”

believe that the “Iparent should be

the advocate for their child and do whatever it takes for the success of their child.


Pollio cites his early JCPS mentors among others as Dr. Jim Jury, principal at Louisville Male High, and Dr. Brian Shumate, a former JCPS principal and administrator who since July 2014 has served as superintendent of the Medford School District in Oregon. In his free time, which has considerably dwindled since the summer, Pollio enjoys exercising and running miles along streets around his home near the Douglass Loop in Louisville’s Highlands.


: Four months in your role as acting superinten-

dent. What have you learned about the district versus what you thought when you started?


: I learned that we have fantastic educators in this district—principals, teachers. School after school that I go to, I see great passionate educators. I knew that was there, but I think I underestimated the abilities of a lot of principals and teachers. The challenges that we face as a district long term, they are very political issues. I probably underestimated the politics that are involved in a district our size. Take an issue like student assignment or facilities and building of schools. I wouldn’t say that I was naive, but I didn’t understand the level of politics involved in that. I’ve learned a lot about the things we need to improve. I didn’t talk early on about improving compliance, because I didn’t realize how out of compliance we were in many areas. A new focus for me in the past couple of months as a result of audits that have come back, deficiencies, has been the need to focus in on compliance, law, regulation, policy. I know compliance is not an inspirational way to lead, but right now we are way out of compliance on too many issues.


: What’s an example of a great parent involvement

success story you’ve witnessed at a school?

: At Jeffersontown High, we had a facility need. We didn’t have an auditorium at J-town. I had an idea of taking a large room and making it a performing arts auditorium. We challenged several organizations to jump on board, an alumni association and a PTSA. They jumped on board and helped us. They were instrumental in making sure we got that auditorium maybe ten years ago. The number of kids who have had access to a performing arts auditorium instead of sitting in a gym has been thousands of kids—all because of the work of parents who decided to take on this initiative with us. The influence of parents being involved in a school is extremely powerful, and, I think, can transform a school when parents are involved in a collective way to help a school. As a matter of fact, there will be a board [of education] meeting in that room on Tuesday, November 28.


: What are your thoughts about when and how

parents should complain or seek help about an issue?

: I believe that the parent should be the advocate for their child and do whatever it takes for the success of their child. So, we should never downplay a parent being an advocate for their child and calling and complaining if they think something is not working the way that it should or they are not getting the educational services that they need. The automatic way that it should be fixed initially is at the school level. We encourage principals and teachers to be very responsive to parents and their needs. We highly encourage parents to be very active with their schools and be advocates for their child through the school. I would always encourage them— that’s what we’re here for too. If we can be of assistance or if they’re not getting the service that they need after they’ve gone through the school, call us and we’ll get them to the right place where we’ll provide service.


: You’ve had a four-month job interview. You’ve met

with many supporters and critics of JCPS, including advocacy groups and legislators. What is your strategy there?


: I’m a believer in messaging. The more people I can meet with to hear what they believe and also be able to provide our message or what I believe and what we collectively believe as an organization—it only builds a bridge if there is a gap between a group who feels we could be better for whatever reason. So, if that is the case, I want to hear what they have to say and be responsive to them. I’m always going to err—and I don’t know if I could consider it err—on the side of meeting with too many groups and too many people. For us to be successful as a district, we have to have community partners and this whole community has to come together to improve our schools. That requires people who agree with me and who don’t. We have to work to bridge that gap.



: How do you proceed and plan as an acting

superintendent? What should we look out for to change in the next few months?


: I’ve got to plan like the job is going to be mine, but I’m also focused on short-term improvements. What can we do right now that is going to improve the district? Continue to do the things that I’ve started talking about, which is improving climate and culture. Student learning is a huge one: finding ways to better improve and serve schools and students to improve learning. A huge one for me is to continue the process of organizational coherence, which is what I think we’ve struggled with. Are all of our systems working to support schools and our mission and vision? Right now, I’m just going to continue to drive home that and work to improve that. : When you talk about improving climate and

culture, how does that translate from here at central office out to schools, or a parent’s experience? Is that a central office thing or is that districtwide?


: It’s a districtwide thing. Parents have a big involve- ment in school culture. I’ve always found that one aspect of a positive school culture is parents are welcome to the school, parents are partners with the leadership team and the teacher of the school, they are active in the school, they are decision makers in the school. Principals who are successful with school culture find ways to get parents involved and make them active partners. We will continue to work with principals on ways to actively tap into their parents at the school to be partners in decision making and not just “we’ll provide you the information.”


: Any message for the advocacy groups out there

right now, hoping to get more parent involvement or hoping to build the new auditorium in their school? Any charge or blessing you would offer?


: Here’s what I would say to principals and PTAs. Organizing and becoming active are the most important things. Setting a goal for the group for the year is such an important thing. How can we impact, as a parent association along with the administration of a school, how can we impact this group of students at the school and future classes of students and impact culture, climate, and student learning in a positive way? Really setting a goal for the year and becoming active in ways to do that is much better, I think, than just saying we need to try to raise money for the school. Set a goal. Set an objective that is going to impact either culture, climate, or student learning— and they usually work together—and then work hard to make that happen. The number of students who get impacted by that is extremely meaningful.


A Map Leading to a Solution


n JCPS, there is a recommended process to follow when a parent/ guardian learns of an event or issue at school that raises questions. Sometimes there may be a story that surfaces from a child about the school day that causes parents to do what often comes naturally when they perceive a criticism or unfair treatment of their child—to post a rant on Facebook or to prepare to lash out at a school employee. But best results often come with a calm approach and a cool head. This guide for families will help you find satisfaction and peace of mind. Family Matters spoke with JCPS Counselors’ Leader Michelle Sircy to get feedback on how best to respond and get to the heart of the matter.

Michelle Sircy, JCPS Counselors’ Leader

“We don’t want to minimize a parent’s concern,” Sircy said. All schools have a counselor on the staff, and they often serve as a mediator between the school and the family. Sircy supports all school counselors with training and resources.“ We always listen, and we always keep an open mind. We don’t minimize what families are going through with the child or the parent. It’s a major event if it’s significant to them.”

This is another reason why building a relationship with your child’s teacher is important. This is often easiest in elementary school where there is a single teacher, but it is also important for middle and high school teachers to have good communication with parents.

Sircy estimates that about 95 percent of issues can be resolved to the family’s satisfaction by the teacher or the counselor. Most issues stem from a misunderstanding or misinterpretation when something is retold to a parent. Some of those misunderstandings alter minor details and can change a story from a minor issue to something worse or out of context.

Ideally, a parent will make contact with a teacher or counselor before there is an issue. That way, there is a good foundation for a discussion and won’t be such an awkward start. There are scheduled parent-teacher conference dates on the calendar, but there’s no reason that should be the only time reciprocal communication happens.

“When I was teaching I would always tell parents, ‘I won’t believe everything your child says about you, if you won’t believe what they say about me.’ Before we get too overly upset or lash out in anger, have a calm conversation and get to the root of problem,” Sircy says.

“If you don’t hear anything for a while, send an email,” Sircy suggests. “Keep those relationships strong.”

Start Here

A child shares a story with a parent about a school event.

The parent sends an email to the child’s teacher to find out what happened.



The parent meets with the child’s teacher and the school counselor. (About 95 percent of the time, all parties are satisfied by this point.)

The parent meets with the principal, and both parties discuss concerns and outline steps and issues.



The parent meets with the JCPS assistant superintendent. Every school is supported by an assistant superintendent.*


The parent contacts the Jefferson County Board of Education (JCBE) member who oversees the school.


*All JCPS schools have a profile page on the JCPS website. The profile pages include contact information for the school; a link to the school’s website; and the names of the principal, assistant superintendent, and JCBE member. 6

American Education Week 2017 | November 13-17

Great Public Schools: A Basic Right and Our Responsibility





Celebrate excellence in education by hosting events and activities.

Invite parents and family members to school for a first-hand look at a typical school day.

Kickoff Day

Parents Day







Recognize paraeducators, bus drivers, food service workers, maintenance staff and all other ESPs who meet the needs of the whole student.

Encourage elected officials and community leaders to serve as “educators for a day” for a hands-on school experience.

Honor and celebrate educators who are called on to substitute for regular classroom teachers in their absence for their services.

Education Support Professionals Day

Educator for a Day

Substitute Educators Day

#aew2017 |

Celebrate Our Differences on Unity Day

Don’t Forget to File those IRS 990 Tax Returns

All PTAs/PTSAs are encouraged to work with their school and community to promote Unity Day on Monday, November 20. This day allows schools to celebrate cultural differences through art, music, and performances. Possible ideas of celebration discussion, or a custom art project or bulletin board that celebrates students’ cultures. For additional ideas or information about Unity Day, visit

All PTAs/PTSAs must file either Form 990, 990-EZ, or 990-N by Wednesday, November 15, of each year. Kentucky PTA has purchased software to help all PTAs file their taxes. All PTA Presidents and PTA Treasurers should have received an e-mail from with instructions. This is a free service to each PTA. If you didn’t receive the e-mail, visit and file from there. For detailed instructions, visit /forptaleaders/announcement/. For more information, call Kentucky PTA at (502) 226-6607 or the 15th District PTA at 485-3535.


15th District PTA 319 South 15th Street Louisville, KY 40203

Nonprofit Org. U.S. Postage PAID Louisville, KY Permit No. 1049

Dated Material Deliver Immediately Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer Offering Equal Educational Opportunities

15th District PTA

Invite CecilJones to Your School Event

You’ve Got Mail Thank you to all students who participated in Reflections and to all coordinators who organized and delivered the students’ artwork. A panel of judges will review the entries, and coordinators and students will be notified of their award status. The above postcard is the invitation to the 2017-18 Student Art Awards and Exhibition. Students who will be awarded will receive this postcard in their home mailboxes in mid-November, and coordinators will receive an email. In the meantime, save the date: The Reflections 2017-18 Student Art Awards and Exhibition will be held at 7 p.m. on Thursday, December 14, at Sallie Phillips Durrett Auditorium, 4409 Preston Highway.

Save the D-A-T-E The 15th District PTA Spelling Bee will be held on Wednesday, February 7, at Sallie Phillips Durrett Auditorium. Elementary and middle schools throughout JCPS will host individual spelling bees and will send one competitor to represent their school at the event. 8

Kimberly Cecil-Jones is the 15th District PTA’s Honorary Membership Chair. She is a dynamic speaker who is able to visit your school event and offer a passionate message about joining your school’s PTA, the benefits of membership, and the opportunities that result from increased involvement and advocacy. Cecil-Jones is a marketing professional, 2012 Ms Plus America, and host of The Jones Report (WLOU). To request an appearance, contact 15th District PTA Second Vice President R. Shawn Summerville a month before your event and by the third of each month. Summerville can be contacted at daaville@ and 386-1455. The following information should be sent to Summerville: 485-3535

Kentucky PTA 226-6607

National PTA (703) 518-1200 or 800-307-4PTA (4782)

Twitter 15th District PTA @15thDistrictPTA /ky15thdistpta

Clothing Assistance Program @PTA_CAP

Facebook Get Connected!

15th District PTA

Kentucky PTA

National PTA /parentteacherassociation

• Name of your PTA • Name of your school • Time, date, and location of scheduled event • Contact person’s name, phone number, and email address • Any special needs you have for the event

15th District PTA Channel

Pinterest 15th District PTA /15thdistrictpta/

Family Matters–November2017  

Family Matters is a publication of the 15th District Parent Teacher Association (PTA) in Louisville, Kentucky, in partnership with the Jeffe...

Family Matters–November2017  

Family Matters is a publication of the 15th District Parent Teacher Association (PTA) in Louisville, Kentucky, in partnership with the Jeffe...