Plympton School Multicultural Committee

February 27, 2018

Present: Melissa Hagan-Alves, Gina DePaoli, Trish Wesley Umbrell, Judi Paradis, Ava Reis, Emily Smidt

Digeridoo March 12 performance related to Waltham Philharmonic performance; Gina is organizing this with Steve:

Wellness Night, April 6: Translations yes? Spanish, Creole, Portuguese
Melissa will do Zumba and will contact Juliette & Rodriguez ask for dancing
Judi = quiet stories
Idea for parental stress release for ELL--some resources for parents--centralized resources

English classes begin next Wed; March 7 to early May: Megan Nadeau and Kayla Rossetti are doing childcare. Title I is talking about cutting funding next year. Melissa will approach ELL for funding next year. Look for other funding sources....

Foreign language videos--Spanish has been viewed 100+ times, and Spanish and Portuguese are both on website--we will continue to promote; Creole is in the works--working with Dhaethmy's mom

Fundraiser: Flyer for selling magnets is going out and we want to add Portugues and get this out.
We should figure out how to sell these--maybe table right outside the library; please all promote this heavily on social media
Set up schedule for distribution of magnets--maybe corral some children to help
Judi needs to promote Jarrett K to everyone

Africa planning--Dance party in June; planning over summer; think about how to address African-American families

January 23, 2018 Agenda:

Update on PR fundraiser
WCC grant for Jarrett Kroscozka
Upcoming Secrets of School Success event

English classes begin
Video tours in Spanish/Portuguese
Photos from Australia/NZ
Subcommittee reports

Meeting Minutes: December 19, 2017

Attendance: Stephen Duffy, Amanda Brennan, Cindy Sherman, Judi Paradis, Emily Smidt, Trish Umbrell, Catherine Shoppe, Gina DePaoli, Melissa Hagan-Alves, Ava Reis

  • Diversity Breakfast/Digital Literacy: Target Bi-lingual families; Ramp-up Home Correspondence; Thinking about which works best - morning or evening; connect to Melissa's ESL classes; Food & Babysitting available.
  • Puerto Rico: Puerto Rico Charity International Relief Team. Trish will provide Emily with cartons for fundraising banks to be decorated by students.
  • School Videos: Judi and Melissa plan to update school videos for Plympton website - creating a Spanish and Portuguese version that includes general information and norms about the school.
  • Multicultural fundraising: Trish suggested a drawing & design contest of school mascot for multicultural committee stickers and magnets. Also Cindy will be selling her calendars and donating 10% of proceeds to multicultural committee. Judi received approx 20 donated books with multicultural themes.
  • Continent Curriculum: Read-into-the New-Year will focus on Australian beach theme. Beach towels, Beach chairs will be brought in. Readers will come to guest read in classrooms. Highlight kids who have done some Oceania research.

Meeting Minutes: November 21, 2017
Attendance: Evely Amezquita, Steve Duffy, Melissa Hagan-Alves, Gina DePaoli, Juliette Najjumba, Judi Paradis Ava Reis, Catherine Schopp

Puerto Rico Charity plan
  • Four charities--students in grade 4 worked with Judi to select 4 charities (we used Charity Navigator to select these) that seemed to be doing good work in Puerto Rico. Amy Bustos' friends in Australia made a video explaining that Australia was okay and Puerto Rico needed help, and the 4th graders made a video explaining what the 4 charities do. Kids voted during the week of Nov. 20 for a favorite charity to support. Judi will work with the grade 5 Do Gooders club to have them count the ballots and winner will be announced at Community meeting on Nov. 30.
  • We are guessing that Emily will start in on banks just after December vacation

Plans for Digital Equity breakfast November 29
  • The Instructional Leadership Team is working on Digital Equity as one of its year-long goals and is hoping to reach out to ELL families to engage them with digital resources this year. The first event is a Digital Equity breakfast targeting ways to communicate with school using digital platforms. At this point parents have been invited, and we are targeting bilingual parents
  • Peggy and Judi will be explaining how to use our digital platforms, and we are hoping Catherine Schopp and Evely Amezquita can come to help translate

Subcommittee Updates:
  • Dance party planning: Amy, Gina, Juliette, Melissa: This will happen in late spring; we know that our focus next year is on Africa and will work with Juliet to plan an African dance party with a similar feel to the Mariachi event we held last spring.
  • ESL connections: Melissa, Juliette: Melissa reported that English classes will begin in late winter. We only received funding for one teacher and one childcare provider. This seems inadequate if a wide range of children (and babies) appear. We talked about reaching out to WHS to see if there are kids who would help for community service hours.
  • Fundraising/Budget: Trish Wesley Umbrell could not make the meeting but sent word that she has some ideas for fundraising. Catherine pointed out that she still has ability to get us some stickers, and Judi has our magnets and a bit of cash with those.
  • Oceania activities: Emily, Judi, Trish: We continue to work on getting kids to report at Community Meeting. We would love to do something with Hakka (maybe at spirit day) and Judi will start working on "read into the New Year" with an Australian focus
  • Parent outreach: Catherine, Judi, Juliette, Melissa: Melissa and Judi are planning to meet to roll out the "secrets of school success" program that was developed last year and to look to create some more video tours of the school in different languages. Steve noted that several teachers are using Class Dojo to stay in contact with families. Judi also shared an article from the Boston Globe about successes with ESL families in East Boston due to lots of home-school connections.

September 28, 2017

Attendance: Amanda Brennan, Amy Bustos, Steve Duffy, Melissa Hagan-Alves, Juliette Nujjumba, Judi Paradis, Cindy Sherman, Catherine Schopp, Emily Smidt, Trish Wesley Umbrell

1. Grant for Waltham Cultural Council:
  • Judi will work with librarian Kristie Hanley at Whittemore and submit a grant for author/illustrator Jarrett Krosoczka (Platypus Police Squad books will be the tie-in to Australia). Grant is due October 15.

2. Open House:
3. Outreach to families/community:
  • We should redo our Spanish video tour to update people in it; also consider doing with other languages
  • We also are thinking about sharing our school cultural norms with parents--think about secrets of school success program for fall?

4. Stickers with logo/magnets:
  • Catherine's dad can get us nice stickers with logos on them--yes? when and for what?
  • Judi is storing our magnets-give them to Trish?

5. Subcommittees: Judi recommended setting up subcommittees this year to help organize and manage our work--here's what we have so far:
  • Dance party planning: Amy, Gina, Juliette, Melissa
  • ESL connections: Melissa, Juliette
  • Fundraising/Budget: Trish
  • Oceania activities: Emily, Judi, Trish
  • Parent outreach: Catherine, Judi, Juliette, Melissa

Sept. 5th, 2017

Attendance: Judi Paradis, Ava Reis, Melissa Hagan-Alves, Catherine Schopp, Trish Wesley Umbrell, Tamar Hannah, Rebecca Carlin, Gina DePaoli, Evely Amexquita, Amy Bustos, Josette Akresh - Gonzales

1. Plympton Open House: Sept. 18 6:30- 8:00PM
  • Multi-Cultural Committee presence at Open House
  • Set up table with information about local community organizations and multi-cultural committee
  • Have Older Student translators (fifth graders love the responsibility)
  • Multi-Cultural Comm reps will reach out to: Boys and Girls Club, YMCA, Champions, Park & Rec, Sensible Savers, Adult ESL Classes, Waltham Public Library

2. Grant - Waltham Cultural Council

  • Multi Cultural Comm will apply for grant money
  • Seeking ideas for performers, activities that are connected to Oceania (our continent of the year)
  • Possible ideas exploring: Emily Smidt's friend who makes musical instruments; Judi will pursue Massachusetts author/illustrator Jared Krossoczka,Trish will explore possible presentation of Maori War Dance: The Haka
  • Movie Night: Showing movies that take place in New Zealand or Australia. Possibly having two simultaneous movies showing (K- 2) & (3-5)

3. Sept. 16th: Plympton Pot Luck Dinner
Multi Cultural Committee to possibly create stickers or decals to advocate for committee, and make more parents aware of committee participation

4. Miscellaneous
  • Multi Cultural Committee members to rotate going to PTO meetings
  • Committee to decide which day best for monthly meetings

May 11, 2017

Attendance: Gina DePaoli, Juliet Djjembe(sp?), _ Gonzales? (Sebastian’s mother), Judi Paradis, Trish Umbrell

1. Fiesta Potluck June 8 Mariachi band arrives at 6:45. Outside in front of school weather permitting.

  • Trish:
    • organize adults to bring tables outside.
    • She has a pinata project in the works. It will be filled with educational stuff, no food.
    • She has paper goods.
  • Judi:
    • ask PTO for financial loan to pay the band.
    • She will ask if the cafeteria and gym will be available in case of rain.
    • She will ask Margarita Grande if a dance is associated with mariachi music and if she knows anyone who can lead it.
  • Advertising needed
    • Judi will tell Melissa Hagan Alves to announce it during English classes.
    • Gina: make flyers and translate, do a lesson during music class about mariachi bands.
    • Guillermon in Mrs. Rice’s room will talk about mariachi bands during community meeting.
    • Sebastian G’s mother can givea book to Judi to read to classes.
  • If students arrive early they can make decorations.

SPIRIT DAY: June 16 Trish had no luck getting a Native American group. Judi will email Steve Barbas and Kevin Burke to see if a high school rock or jazz group could play for the last hour of the day. She will also ask Alyssa Navarro, Ava Reis, or Claire Higgins if students who were in the high school production of Guys and Dolls could perform songs from the show.

SECRETS OF SUCCESS: Maureen suggests start with Spanish speaking parents because most non English speaking families are Hispanic. The parents would talk about school expectations. Waltham Family School wants to help with this. Judi will set up a subcommittee with Melissa.

WALTHAM PHILHARMONIC CONCERT: There were 3 narrators and student made booklets and reflections were displayed. A recording of a grade 3 blues composition was played before the concert and during intermission. Still low attendance by families. Next year we will have a preevent at school on the day of the concert to get more families to go.

OCEANIA: Theme for next year. Roz Umbrell will present a preview at community meeting. (RE: May meeting: Joshua B. in grade 4 will talk about Trinidad and demonstrate the limbo as our North America presentation.) Trish knows an Australian farmer in MA who was on Iron Chef. She will ask if he can present something next year. We should try to include Aboriginal culture.

FLAG DAY: The usual gathering around the flagpole around 9am with classroom flags and sing 2 songs. Maybe students read. Gina will ask teachers if there are any students who could read a poem or reflection.

MEMORIAL DAY: Denise Gauvin will sing a song. . Gina will ask teachers if there are any students who could read a poem or reflection.

JULIET DJJEMBE PROGRAM: This program helps African families learn about living in the community and school environment. She would like to give a presentation at school during the last week before summer. This will be discussed with Maureen.

Multicultural Meeting Minutes: April 13th, 2017
Attending: Judi Paradis, Ava Reis, Gina DePaoli, Trish Wesley

1.June 8th Fiesta: June 8th 6- 8pm.
We need help with these committees:
  • Help with potluck dinner (Trish Wesley head of committee)
  • Make Flyers & social media (all P.R. needed by end of May - Judi will be in touch with PTO for May meeting and newsletter)
  • Pinata (Trish Wesley)
  • Mariachi Band (PTO will give check)

2. City Immigration Information Night (to inform about legal rights) in Waltham: Judi will let PTO know to put in newsletter)

3. Secrets of Success (an evening organized by Melissa Hagan-Alves) to help parents navigate school system. Need to create a planning committee.

4. Thank you note to RTN for letting Judi use the coin machine for Be Like Brit donations. Money to possibly be added to Boston Marathon runner who is running for the charity BE LIKE BRIT (Trish Wesley will investigate).

5. Waltham Philharmonic on April 30th at 3pm - Gina will inform PTO

6. SPIRIT DAY: June 16th. Some performance ideas to check out: Native American Dance (Trish Wesley); Steve Taddeo's Band (Judi)

Proposed Agenda for March 16, 2017:
  • Be Like Brit Charity Update
  • Outreach to parents
Multicultural Meeting MInutes: March 23, 20

Attending: Gina DePaoli, Trish Wesley, Johana and Ernesto Rodriguez, Josette Akresh, Judi Paradis, Rebecca Carlin
  • Mariachi update
June 8, Ava organized the evening with Mariachi Estrella of Boston--Melissa,Judi and Ava will help--ask Margarita Grande and Evely Amezquita to join in--pinata; potluck from 6 to 7 and Mariachi from 6:45 to 7:45; Some PR for the grant people--Trish will publicize and see if we can have some students; put out the magnets to do some fundraising; Arriba Mexico!
  • Students of the month--Guillermo, Joshua and?
April: Joshua Barnwell
May: Mrs. Taddeo and long-term Watlham families--perhaps capture some impact on people that Mrs. Taddeo has had
Melissa would love to do a Salsa and Haitian song (and maybe at Mariachi band event)
  • Parent engagement list--ask people to look at this and chime in
  • Philharmonic concert--April 30 at 3 pm; ideas to improve attendance and publicity
  • Secrets of success idea
  • Immigration attorney

Multicultural Meeting Minutes: February 16, 2017
Attendance: Judi Paradis, Gina DePaoli, Ava Reis, Trish Wesley, Josette Akresh-Gonzales

1. Be Like Brit update:
  • Emily made banks with the kids in art and attached a note with link to show where money is going.
  • Judi will put a link the PTO newsletter about the organization
2. Resources for Immigrants/Refugees:
  • Judi posted pages of resources for immigrants and refugees on Multicultural website
  • Josette: Progressive Waltham, a chapter of Progressive Massachusetts, already has many members and is growing! They will hold two informational meetings, with Attorneys present to advise concerned attendees (refugees, immigrants, and concerned others - all are welcome). An ordinance is in the development stage to make Waltham a sanctuary city.
  • Hotline created by MA Attorney General, Maura Healey, to report incidences of hate speech

3. Mariachi Band Update:
  • Ava will call Mariachi band to solidify performance date/time

4. Student of the Month for community meeting on Feb. 28th:from
  • Featuring Mexico - Judi will reach out to students

5. Wellness Night - scheduled for April
  • Donnie and Christie LuCente are organizing. Judi, Trish and Josette will reach out to LuCentes, and then to other families to try and get as many participants as possible. Diversify activities by contacting the following: Melissa H-A (Zumba); Juliette Najjumba (African Dance); Joanna Rodriguez (dances from Central/South America); and Evelie Amazquita to help with outreach.

6. Parent Engagement List:
  • Judi will put together a list of tasks that need parent volunteers, and post on Multicultural Website.

City Council on Monday Night
  • Welcoming City is being resolved

Multicultural Meeting Minutes January 19, 2017
Attendance: Gina DePaoli, Trish Wesley, Judi Paradis, Emily Smidy, Ava Reis
  1. 1. “Be Like Brit” charity: Emily Smidt is getting the bank project started with students during art class. She has the stickers to put on the banks. Judi Paradis will make a video about this project this week or next week to show the students during art class. Rockland Bank has a coin counter to use when all money is collected.
  2. 2. Wellness Night: April 6, 2017 For the next meeting, think of how we can make a connection between our organization and the Wellness Committee. Perhaps contact Donnie Lucente about theRodriguez family to do a show in costume or Juliet Najjumba could have her African Dance group perform.
  3. 3. Parent Involvement: We should state 3 specific things we want them to do so they know how they can be active with our committee. This about this for next month.
From the December 18, 2012 minutes:
Some ideas for how parents might authentically support our work:
  • Serve as our liaison to PTO and report each month about programs and work being done in school by teachers on the committee
  • Serve on a sub-committee to plan an annual event to celebrate diverse cultures (for example, a potluck dinner, sharing entertainment from diverse cultures, etc)
  • Come in and help with special sharing days in the school—read into New Year; parent cultural sharing day; help set up and organize
  • Set up a way to make “mainstream” parents form relationships to support newer American parents—either as a classroom liaison to SEI and K classrooms or by taking on the responsibility of working with a particular family new to the U.S.
  • Fundraising projects to raise money to support our enrichment performances
  • Helping to organize community service projects

4. Students to speak at Community Meeting in January about North America. Ada, David, Daniela, and Lea just moved here from Washington State. They could talk about how it is to be on the east coast after living on the west coast. We can ask Maureen Taddeo to speak in May about her family history with Waltham.
5. Waltham Cultural Council approved our grant for hte Mariaci Band. Judi will contact Margarita Grande to get contact information and sup May/June dates to discuss with Maureen. We have $500 and a $300 PTO grant.
Respectfully submitted,
Gina DePaoli

Multicultural Committee Meeting Minutes: Dec. 15, 2016

In attendance: Judi Paradis, Emily Smidt, Trish Wesley Umbrell, Ava Reis, Gina DePaoli, Melissa Hagan-Alves, REbecca Carlin, Josette Akresh-Gonzales, Tamar Hannah, Juliette Najjumba, Joanna and Ernesto Rodriguez

1. English Classes update: Melissa HG - a group of core students. Next week last week of winter session, and will start again in March - June (2017). Some new students interested as well. Trish had idea -Finding a parent who is bi-lingual to act as a liaison, or someone who can relate, via social media, to reach out to families who are non-English speakers.
Could we have ¨Concert Buddies¨ who would link up with other parents.

2. Be Like a Brit charity: Emily is on top of making the banks with her students in art classes in January. Also RTN bank (Sencible Savers) has coin machine for counting the money collected.

3. Mariachi Band: for Spring...Mariachi Band from Salem (Judi has contact info). The cost is approx $600. Planned for late May or early June? The Cultural Council will be helping.

4. Fifth Grade students who have been helping with the multicultural student presentations, and the community meeting slides. Eva (former Plympton Student, now currently at Brandeis). Next community meeting to feature some Mexican students. Melissa would like to feature some Zumba dances from Haiti. Also, Joanna and Ernesto Rodriguez dance group'would like to present - we will discuss further at January meeting.

Multicultural Committee Meeting Minutes: Oct. 20, 2016

In attendance: Gina DePaoli, Judi Paradise, Melissa Hagan-Alves, Emily Smidt, Tamar Hannah, Ava Reis, Trish Wesley Umbrell, Julliette Najjumba, Rebecca Carlin

1. English classes - Melissa does ESL classes for adults. Wednesday evenings, possibly. She will submit forms for Title 1.
Also, Tamar Hannah, Megan Nadeau, Kayla Rosetti, Katherine Shoppe, and Evely Amezquita will be helping with classes.
Judi reiterated that Marguerita Grande will be making an effort this year to involve more Spanish-speaking families to school events/meetings. Juliette Najjumba is also trying to get African families more involved as well.

2. Charity: Haitian hurricane: Gina suggested we should consider this charity because of the immediate need. One question brought up: Should we involve the students in the choice of charities (how do you help people? Where should the funds go?). Students 5th grade helpers) could work with Brandeis interns to find other charities that are helping Haiti hurricane relief. The proposed charities can be presented at the Nov. community meeting by the 5th grade students, so rest of students can choose/vote. The below charity was started by MA parents, whose daughter, Brittany, was killed in Haiti earthquake.

"Be Like Brit"

3. Using 5th grade helpers (see above) and Multicultural student of the month

4. Social event - Marguerita knows of a Mexican Mariachi band that could perform, and one idea was to have a social event for families: a potluck dinner with theh band playing. possible date: late May/early June...

Juliette is performing on Oct. 29th on Moody St. (Africano). Flyers will be distributed.

5. Update on Waltham Philharmonic: Gina is organizing for Spring.

6. PTO - making sure translation is happening.

7. Wellness Council: the Lucente parents: starting a Garden? Things that benefit the community. Judi mentioned that Marybeth Walsh has spoken about Girl Scouts troup possible mentor reading project (maybe at the Waltham School)

Multicultural Committee Meeting Minutes: June 2, 2016

Attending: Rebecca Carlin, Judi Paradis, Gina DePaoli, Ava Reis, Pat Stering, Trish Wesley

Simply Circus: Trish Wesley contacted circus and will come June 10 to perform; can do K-2 or whole school--we need to determine this asap. Set up takes an hour and they can come when we want them. Gina will check with Maureen and get back to Trish asap. Judi noted that grade 5 needs to meet with middle school librarian that morning and there may be other. We think 2 shows--maybe one at 9:45 and one at 11:00.

Spirit Day: Judi has plan and materials for building 4 iconic European buildings; It will involve students building in teams of 4 for 45 minutes. Trish believes that she can have 12 tables and small pop up tents that kids can use to work on. Judi will check with Jen Renaud to see if this all works for PTO.

Flag Day: Patriotic songs with real pledge and kid version of the pledge written by grades 1 and 4; Gina will ask Melissa if the boom box she uses for Zumba will work for this; we will also ask everyone to bring their flags with them--if rainy do in gym?

Multicultural Committee Meeting Minutes: April 6, 2016

Attending: Gina DePaoli, Tamar Hanna, Judi Paradis, Emily Smidt, Pat Stering

Officers for 2016-17: Due to other obligations, Gina needs to step down for next year. Judi would be willing to become chair again, but we will put something out to the school to gauge interest

WCC Brunch: May 7 at Waltham Public Library to report out about our grant and thank the cultural council

Doctors Without Borders: Right now we've collected $1088 for this cause. We talked about being clear about how to be very clear with students about the purpose of our work.

Magnet Fundraiser: Gina sent information about this to the PTO and asked them to help promote it through their newsletter

Band: Gina said Army Band cannot come; we will ask the high school band to come here for either Memorial Day or Flag Day

Spirit Day: Judi will talk to PTO about planning a "maker space" with kids engineering with challenges based on famous European structures--can kids recreate the Leaning Tower Pisa, a Dutch Windmill, etc.

May meeting: Update from Melissa Hagan-Alves about plans to have a "parent success night"

Multicultural Committee Meeting Minutes: March 3, 2016

Attending: Gina DePaoli, Melissa Hagan-Alves, Judi Paradis, Cindy Sherman, Pat Stering, Trish Wesley

Circus Troupe: Trish and Gina said this event will now take place NOT take place at Spirit Day; Trish will find a date that works for the Circus performers. This will be our program for grades K-5; We also discussed that it would be good to find some activity tied to our study of Europe that would be easy to roll out at Spirit Day. We will discuss further in April

Wellness Committee: Judi explained that Donnie and Christie Lucente (Plympton parents) are starting a Wellness Committee looking to getting a wellness effort geared at families and teachers and looking wholistically at health (physically and mentally). They are hoping to use a program that is in place nationally (used by the Boston Public Schools and supported by the Clinton Foundation) to take a survey of our needs. The committee hopes to do outreach to a wide range of Plympton students, teachers and families and asked for the support of Multicultural Committee. Specifically, they were interested in connecting with our fall potluck dinner as a place to do some outreach. We agreed that this could work. We also recommended that they send representation to the Open House Night community sharing event in the school library.

Waltham Philharmonic Collaboration: March 12 at 7:30; Student projects will be on display and students will introduce the musical pieces. The concert will focus on European composers this year. Gina has been doing some work with students (creating books about Beethoven and singing Ode to Joy, which will be shown on video at the Concert.

Secrets of Success: Melissa's idea to hold a night for ELL parents to talk to new parents about how to successfully support your child has been well received. Maureen approved the idea and is helping Melissa gain support from Title I. The assumption is that this will take place at the end of the school year.

Math/Literacy Night: What we thought would be a literacy night is now going to be a math night due to our focus this year on math as part of our Quality School Improvement plan. The night is planned for May 26, and it would be great if we could help ensure ELL families attend as this is one of the groups that we know can use math support.

Multicultural Committee Meeting Minutes: February 4, 2016

Attending: Gina DePaoli, Melissa Hagan-Alves, Judi Paradis, Cindy Sherman, Pat Stering, Trish Wesley

Literacy Night: Cindy is proposing we participate in a Literacy Night, potentially in June. ELL teachers are also going to take over BPAC once Anne Feldman resigns.

Incoming ELL Night: Melissa would like to plan an event for incoming K-1 parents focused on "secrets of success" and invite ELL parents currently at Plympton to share ideas for how families can most successfully support their children. The idea would be to have the event offered by parents who speak common second languages (Spanish, Haitian Creole) and would provide advice for navigating school, such as the importance of good attendance, sending books to library, money for lunch, etc.

English Classes: Melissa is hoping to begin again in mid-March. She has a lot of interest and hopes to have a strong presence once the classes resume. Judi would be willing to work with Melissa during one of these classes to see if we could start making plans for this.

Navy Band: Gina DePaoli is working to have them come in May for Memorial Day.

Charity: Emily is ready to start banks for Syrian refugees in Europe. Update: Judi and Emily circulated list of potential charities and appears that Doctors without Borders is chosen charity.

Circus performer: Trish is in contact with a circus performer who is willing to come to the school; perhaps on Spirit Day.

WCC Grant: Mythmasters group can come in early June. Judi will contact Young Audiences to book a date for this grade 3 to 5.

Multicultural Committee Meeting Minutes: January 7, 2016

Attending: Gina DePaoli, Tamar Hanna, Melissa Hagan-Alves, Judi Paradis, Emily Smidt, Pat Stering

WCC Grant Update: We received $725 from the to Waltham Cultural Council for the Mythmasters program. Judi is in touch with Young Audiences of Massachusetts to set something up for June. We may need to come up with $40 to cover travel costs.

December Holiday:
Read into the New Year—Danish Hygge was a huge hit. We found that just stories and the cozy theme was perfect. We are in search of a cozy North American culture for next year.
Concert—European Theme was good and Gina did a wonderful job providing a cultural context for the event

Emily is planning to create Delft banks based on Delft pottery to support our efforts to help the Syrian refugees; Emily is looking for information about Delft to show students
January community meeting will feature a discussion of our charity and Judi will work on having kids

Literacy Night: Maureen suggested this be held in March and Melissa thought that would be a good event to kick off the next round of English classes

English classes: Melissa said that the fall classes went well and they now have books! and a core group of

Community Meeting Presentations:
Italy--January: Roz and Rita U
Portugal--February: Melissa and Eros
Ireland--March: Sean and Sebastian & Mary K
Greece--April: Lydia
Russia--May: Rublevs, Vlad, Max P, Kamilia?

Multicultural Committee Meeting Minutes: December 4, 2015
Attending: Gina DePaoli, Tamar Hanna, Cindy Sherman, Pat Stering, Trish Umbrell, Emily Smidt, Rebecca Carlin

1. Charity Election: Syrian refugees traveling to Greece fundraiser was elected by committee members in attendance. Trish Umbrell will find a school in Europe/Greece that can help us get money we raise to the proper place. Emily Smidt will have student create banks from disposable soup cups after the holidays. Collection of money will run from January until February vacation. Trish Umbrell will get soup cups and deliver to Emily.

2. Literacy Night committee will start planning for this year’s event. Last year Cindy Sherman, Judi Paradis, and Carla Uzzell were on the committee. Anyone interested in this committee should contact Gina DePaoli.

3. BPAC Meeting Information to Students: Gina and Judi were contacted by the ELL Director to help advertise their December meeting. Maureen Taddeo already sent emails to all parents regarding this event. The Multicultural Committee is in agreement that Maureen’s effort are sufficient.

Judi Paradis update -
4. Read Into the New Year: There will be a Norwegian theme this year: Extreme coziness, also known as Hygge. Students will bring slippers, stuffed animals, and anything cozy to curl up with as guest readers read books at 2pm to all classes.
Teachers enjoy Reading Into the New Year but find that having it at the end of the day is hectic. The students get very excited and dismissal becomes difficult. It would be preferred if this event were in the morning. Teachers would be free to do a more calm activity in the afternoon before dismissal.

5. Multicultural book donation program will be happening in December in the library.

6. December and January Holidays: It was mentioned that a discussion about Martin Luther King Day and solving problems via nonviolent acts could make a connection with Civil Rights, inequality, and how all these issues started and developed throughout the history of the United States. Discussions could lead to cross cultural connection. Although violence is a worldwide problem, students outside of the U.S. don’t know about Martin Luther King. Many of our students may not know Martin Luther King. Maybe Judi P. could pull books from the library shelves to help teachers with this endeavor.

7. Spring Visiting Artists: A circus troupe wants to come to our school. Circuses are a European physical artform. The director is a former educator and is great with crowd control. He would teach circus activities to the students. Also, an Irish step group from Milton would like to visit us around St. Patrick’s Day. Both groups are free so we can book both of them.

Respectfully submitted
Gina DePaoli

Multicultural Committee Meeting Minutes: November 5, 2015
Attending: Gina DePaoli, Tamar Hanna, Cindy Sherman, Pat Stering,

Fall Potluck Update: TONIGHT 6:30pm-8pm. 6:30-7:15 Guests arrive and eat. 7:15-7:30 Storytelling in media center (Tamar) while the adults clear the caf for folkdancing 7:30-8:00pm folk dancing (Gina). Thanks to many staff members who donated items and planned activities. PTO has $300 to reimburse anyone who purchased supplies. Give receipts to Gina.

WCC Update: We need someone to present our project at the Grantee Presentation Meeting on Nov 18 6pm at City Hall in the City Council Chamber. Contact Gina or Judi.
Sally Elizabeth Peters Grant Update: We did not get the grant for the Irish Step Dancers. Thank you Trish Umbrell for her work in applying for this grant. We will reapply next year. In the meantime Trish knows another Irish step troop who may do a presentation for our school for no cost.
Charity Election: We’ve been dragging our feel on this. Vote postponed to December. We must make a decision immediately. Gina will send an email with the charities mentioned in past meetings for the committee to narrow down to 3 for the students to vote on. Charities discussed the past: Syrian refugees to Greece, Red Cross, Heifer Foundation. Doctors Without Borders.
English Classes: 20 participants total 2 groups right now to accommodate English skill levels. Going well so far.
Literacy Night: We will have this in January or February so we can beat the winter blahs.
December Holidays: Think about how to incorporate the holidays in your lessons and in school events.

Respectfully submitted,
Gina DePaoli

Multicultural Committee Meeting Minutes: October 1, 2015
Attending: Gina DePaoli, Melissa Hagan-Alves, Tamar Hanna, Josie Lee, Judi Paradis, Cindy Sherman, Pat Stering, Jodi Tillinger, Trish Wesley

Title I Program: Melissa reported that she's going to be trained with a group of teachers through Title I that provides teachers with training in cultural diversity and encourages home visits and outreach to families.

Fall Potluck: Gina reported that the potluck will take place on November 5 from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. Plans will include dinner, an art project, folk dance, and stories. Tamar, Gina, and Emily Smidt are making plans. Melissa will talk to her student Zumba group about helping with the dance. Judi will start looking for European folk tales (or tales with similar plots from different cultures) and will talk to her Brandeis students about helping to create a commercial that can be shared with families.

Waltham Cultural Council: Judi submitted a grant to bring MythMasters to school in the spring for grades 3-5. The date for grant defense at WCC has not been announced.

Sally Elizabeth Peters Grant Update: Gina worked on this grant to bring an Irish Step dance program to Plympton. The performers were identified by Trish and are award-winning dancers from Milford.

Charities: Judi conveyed that Oscar Escobar asked us to look at supporting a charity that would help with the exploding Syrian refugee crisis in Europe. Josie volunteered to look into a program run on an island in Greece that was reported on NPR. Judi also recommended Doctors Without Borders.

PTO: Melissa reported that Jen Renaud asked that we have more regular contact with PTO. Melissa suggested circulating a sign-up sheet for our members to report out at PTO each month. We agreed this was a good plan.

Magnet sales: We still have some magnets we can sell for fundraising. Judi volunteered to help promote these on social media and through Indira and the PTO/

Next meeting: November 5

Multicultural Committee Meeting Minutes: September 3, 2015
Attending: Rebecca Carlin, Gina DePaoli, Melissa Hagan-Alves, Tamar Hanna, Judi Paradis, Cindy Sherman, Emily Smidt, Pat Stering, Trish Wesley

Open House Night: We will begin organizing for Open House Night Sept. 28 in the library. Melissa (with Judi’s help) will create orientation video in Spanish (and possibly Haitian Creole). Organizations and groups to include:
  • Champions
  • Boy Scouts
  • Girl Scouts
  • Sensible Savers
  • Waltham Boys and Girls’ club
  • Waltham Family School
  • Waltham Public Library
  • Waltham Recreation Department
  • Waltham YMCA

Visiting Artist: Judi will write grant for WCC for European cultural performer. Gina shared some ideas and we brainstormed more. Judi will create Survey Monkey for staff with these ideas and poll the staff next week.
Community Service Project: We will look at charities. Pat Stering’s class is willing to help coordinate voting for this project.
Fall Family Potluck Dinner: We would like to schedule something fairly early in the fall—perhaps October?
English classes: Melissa is willing to run again—will be looking to start this soon.
Parental Support: Trish is going to begin reaching out to parents to form a “parent support” group to take on discrete tasks, such as working on potluck dinner plans. We encouraged her to connect with Alexi Joannidis and Evely Amezquita
PTO Halloween Party: is looking to tie-in European traditions. Judi will volunteer to tell stories from British Isles and Ireland. Trish could provide turnips for carving (Irish jack o’lanterns)

Multicultural Committee Minutes: June 18, 2015

Attending: Judy Bousquet, Gina DePaoli, Melissa Hagan-Alves, Tamar Hana, Judi Paradis, Emily Smidt, Pat Stering, Trish Wesley,

Lunch: We will advertise and provide “chip-in” lunch with Chinese food on Monday

Odaiko: We liked the program and Young Audiences because they provided a context for the program. We think it was generally well received. Next time, it might be nice to introduce the program at the preceding community meeting.

Flag Day: We liked this and got good feedback. Tamar recommended we have a microphone for next time. Pat mentioned that all the flags looked great.

Community Meeting: At our final meeting—Jordan to Japan with Rita and Roz’s cousins from Jordan and Max from Japan;

Spirit Day: The PTO is putting some emphasis on Asia with Martial Arts; and also an Asian link to water festivals for the dunk tank

Orientation videos: Judi and Melissa were willing to remake orientation videos for next year

Europe 2015-16: We are heading to Europe next year. We will be rounding up people to work on the committee as school begins.

Multicultural Committee Minutes May 28, 2015

Attening: Rebecca Carlin, Gina DePaoli, Judi Paradis, Pat Stering

Spring Potluck: Chinese take out for school staff only some day during the last week of school. Gina will ask school staff to pitch in money and then order food.

We decided to do a FALL Potluck for families and staff to kick off English classes. This gives us more time to plan since trying to organize something in one month could be chaotic. We can advertise during Open House. At the potluck we can advertise all the events we do during the year. At past potlucks, dancing and an art project were big hits. These activities give the evening structure. Melissa Hagan-Alves does Zumba, she may be interested in doing this. Emily Smidt did the art project last time and might be interested again.

Executive Board: No volunteers yet. Gina will send the list of board positions to all staff.

Waltham Philharmonic Concert: Concert was well attended. Orchestra members said it's one of their largest audiences. They got a new age group to attend. Kennedy auditorium was more than half full. Violin and ehru soloists were outstanding. We sold $67.00 in magnets. Gina gave money to Rebecca.

Memorial Day: a couple fifth graders will do a reading and Denise Gauvin will sing God Bless America during morning announcements. Navy Band not available this year. We'll try again next year.

Flag Day: School will gather around the flagpole after morning announcements to say the pledge of allegiance and sing a couple songs. Each class will bring their classroom flag down. Classes could color pictures of the flag during different times in history and we can hang them around the school.

Nepal Earthquake Red, White and Jeans Day: We raised over $410.00

Europe 2015-16: Think about what to do next year. We tend to scramble to get artists. Let's plan ahead. Last time we did Europe we got the Tanglewood Marionettes. Ask Meredith Lee if her friend still does Irish step dancing. Melissa Hagan-Alves husband's relatives do Portuguese dancing in CT. Explore Young Audiences for more ideas.


Meeting Minutes: April 30, 2015

Attending: Rebecca Carlin, Gina DePaoli, Tamar Hana, Judi Paradis, Cindy Sherman, Emily Smidt, Pat Stering

Odaiko Drumming: Contract is here and event is planned for June 8th. Judi will send contract and Maureen signed. Gina will ask PTO about additional funding to cover the full amount.

Literacy Night: Cindy reported this went well and drew 113 people. The literacy committee is going to run another similar event next year.

Bonfire and Tshirts: Rebecca reported that we raised $150.20. We talked about re-visiting this as a fundraiser next fall with more promotion and perhaps a student illustration.

Nepal Fundraiser: There are charities on the Nepal US Embassy website; we will ask if Teachers can wear jeans and everyone wear red and white shirts and bring in small amount to cover the charity—Judi will ask Maureen for a good date in May/June

English classes: Tamar reports these are going well.

Potluck: Can we attach this to the final English class? Gina will ask Melissa and let us know if this works and we can plan via email. We also were thinking sharing Asian food at lunch in June would be fun and will discuss at next meeting.

Minutes from our Monthly meetings are posted here by our Committee Secretary Judi Paradis:

Meeting Minutes
March 26, 2015
Attending: Rebecca Carlin, Gina DePaoli, Melissa Hagan-Alves, Laurie Moynihan, Judi Paradis, Cindy Sherman, Pat Stering, Trish Umbrell,

Waltham Cultural Council Brunch is at Waltham Library on May 30. Judi (and maybe Melissa) will go.

Syria Fundraiser: We have raised $781 so far for this charity. Collection will go until April vacation week.

Spirit Day: Laurie asked for ideas for Spirit Day activities and we suggested Tai Chi or other martial arts; some water throwing activities; Bollywood dancing; kite construction;
As we get more ideas, we can let Laurie know.

PTO: Laurie offered to help us publicize events and we asked her to get the word out about our magnets. Judi also asked that PTO loan us money for the Japanese drumming group coming with WCC funds and we will reimburse them. PTO has some money also set aside that we can use for this.

Military Band: Gina is looking to book a military band to come to Plympton this spring. Maureen has agreed and a target date near Memorial Day is coming

Philharmonic: Gina is working with the Waltham Philharmonic to promote an Asian-themed concert.

Literacy Night: April 16—getting this going. Cindy says it is in good shape

Bonfire Fundraiser: Judi will get the logo to Rebecca and then we can run the idea by Maureen and get this launched.

Plympton School Multicultural Committee Minutes
February 26, 2015
Attending: Judy Bousquet, Rebecca Carlin, Gina DePaoli, Melissa Hagan-Alves, Tamar Hana, Judi Paradis, Cindy Sherman, Emily Smidt, Pat Stering

Old Business:
Photos from Gail Zunz and Michelle Hache need to be displayed (Judi notes that grade 4 immigration project is up now--can get to this in early April)

Gina re-established contact with the Waltham Philharmonic Orchestra to incorporate student projects with either May 9th concert--Asian Dreamscape

Gina got feedback from several teachers about how they celebrate February/March holidays

English classes will begin in March and run through June

New Business:

Judi contacted Young Audiences of Massachusetts and asked to begin organizing a program with Japanese drumming in June to use our grant from the Waltham Community Council

Spirit day--It would be fun to have an "Asian Station"

Banks for Heart for Syria are being sent home now. Judi will share information with PTO, and will send video by Saleh explaining this project to the group.

Rebecca shared the Bonfire T-shirt plans and we talked about ordering them with our Multicultural logo (on current magnets) with a saying on the back. We can sell these as a fundraiser--and agreed that children's shirts will be less expensive and that we can give one away monthly to a student who gets a PRIDE ticket

Future meetings: March 26, April 30, May 28, June

Plympton School Multicultural Committee Meeting Minutes
February 5, 2015
Attendance: Melissa Hagan Alves, Judy Bousquet, Rebecca Carlin, Gina DePaoli, Cindy Sherman, Pat Stering, Emily Smidt, Judi Paradis, Trish Wesley. Tamar Hannah

  1. Treasurer: Rebecca Carlin is treasurer. We finally discovered after talking to past treasurers that there never was a checkbook. The PTO handles our finances. Any money to be deposited should be given to Rebecca and she will contact the PTO Treasurer (Mrs. Moynihan?), who will in turn deposit our money. Rebecca will keep track of transactions we make with the PTO throughout the year.

  1. Read Into the New Year: Everyone seemed to enjoy it and the afternoon ran smoothly.

  1. Zunz Vietnam pictures displayed (Judi Paradis): Tabled to next meeting.

  1. WCC grant: (Judi Paradis) We got $900.00!! Judi will send a thank you note to WCC. Maureen would like us to book the Taiko drumming group in June, but NOT the 5th or 12th. It would be nice to put this program in context with school curriculum. Gina is familiar with Odaiko and will try to do some music lesson in connection with this.
    1. We need to do additional fundraising. ($308 more to pay Taiko.)
    2. Rebecca Carlin suggested “Bonfire Funds.” They have a website to order tshirts you design yourself. They will make however many tshirts we sell. No money needed upfront For 30 shirts, Bonfire would get $11.50 per shirt. We could sell for $15.00 each so we get profits. There is an option on the website order form to add an extra donation to our organization. We could tell families that if they wear their tshirt to Literacy night , they get a free magnet. There is more information on a handout Rebecca provided.
    3. We will also push magnet sales for Valentines Day.

  1. Syria charity progress: Emily is getting ready to start the banks project. Money will be collected as soon as banks are finished. Emily may share the link with students as part of her bank making lesson. She is considering a mosaic lesson to connect with Syrian art design. The hope is for this lesson to take only one class period. Judi will print the labels. To go on the covers.


  1. Literacy Night (Melissa Hagan Alves, Cindy Sherman, Judi Paradis) This is a project to motivate parents to read with children at home, get books in the hands of students to take home, educate parents on the benefits of read alouds. (This project also helps Cindy with a grad school requirement.) Cindy presented a handout of her plan for a very exciting movie themed Literacy Night.
    1. In the caf, families are introduced to the event with movie trailers, popcorn if allowed, and music.
    2. Reading activities will be provided in the media center
    3. Computer Lab will provide listening centers.
    4. Melissa suggested a bilingual reading by an adult and an English reading by an adult.
    5. Cindy is hoping to have this event on April 9 but she will meet with Maureen to confirm.
    6. Needs:
i. Financial needs: $75 -100 for printing,
ii. PTO /parent volunteers will be helpful. Also older siblings could volunteer
iii. Dress up items for the photo booth.

Next Meeting Agenda

  1. Unfinished business: Zunz Vietnam Photos
  2. Gina has reestablished contact with Waltham Philharmonic Orchestra to incorporate student projects with either May 9th concert: “Asian Dreamscape”
  3. February and March Holiday Plans:

Future meetings: Feb 26, Mar 26, Apr 30, May 28, June ?

Minutes for December 4, 2014

Attending: Judy Bousquet, Rebecca Carlin, Melissa Hagan-Alves, Gina DePaoli, Cindy Sherman, Emily Smidt, Pat Stering,

December plans: Community Meeting is Dec. 23 at 8:50, and Read Into The New Year is at the end of day and will involve books by Asian and Asian-American authors. Judi will work with Cindy Sherman and Carla Uzzell to organize the event and will ask Emily’s input for help with origami craft.

Patriotic holidays: We will continue to celebrate at Community Meetings. Specific grades take responsibility for projects with specific holidays—grade 1 with MLK in January and President’s Day in February; Grade 3 or 5 with Patriot’s Day in April; Grade 5 with Memorial Day in May

We were commended by the Mass Cultural Council for our capoiera performance, and Melissa will talk to them to provide information.

We received WCC grant for Japanese drumming, but will not know the exact amount until after the new year. We will need more funds and need to approach the PTO and find other funding sources.

English classes are finishing up this month and will resume in mid-to-late March. Melissa reported we had a good consistent group with about a dozen regular participants and a good mix of people.

Community service for Syria: Emily will start banks for our after December vacation. Judi will type up descriptions for ballots for grades 4 and 5. Once charity is selected we can work on creating banks and videotape Saleh.

November 20, 2014 Minutes:

Attending: Julie Najjumba, Judy Bousquet, Rebecca Carlin, Gina DePaoli, Judi Paradis, Cindy Sherman, Emily Smidt, Pat Stering

English Classes: Melissa Hagan-Alves sent Gina the following update: English classes are going well. We have anywhere from 7-15 parents attend each week. Tamar has signed on to teach the beginners and I have taken the intermediates. We will be wrapping up the first session in December (possibly extending to Dec 11). Then we are planning to continue in March. I will need a sub for Jane on Dec.4th if anyone is interested.

Magnets: We discussed promoting these through contacts at Waltham High School, the PTO, Business community and through our website. We wrote the following blurb and will share it widely (note: Judi will share with PTO newsletter and send to Maureen Taddeo to put out as an email blast to parents):

Plympton School Multicultural Committee continues to sell adorable penguin magnets to support its work bringing cultural experiences to our kids. Magnets are available from Ms. Paradis in the library and Ms. DePaoli in the music room before and after school and cost $6 each or 2 for $10 and payment can be accepted with cash or checks made out to Plympton PTO. They can also be ordered via email through Ms. Smidt at We thank you for supporting our students’ multicultural education.

Family Literacy Project: Cindy Sherman is working on her degree in reading and needs to obtain 150 hours in family literacy. She is hoping to participate in Read Into the New Year. There is also a possibility to work on an after school story time to follow up with the current weekly program that Waltham Family School is providing in the library. Julie had some ideas to work on some storytelling ideas for students around Africa, especially Christmas in Africa.

Charity: Judi will make a video featuring Saleh Bassaj discussing the Syrian charity and Emily will show this during art classes. Emily will ask Trish Umbrell about getting cartons.

Next Meeting: December 4 at 8:00 a.m. in Plympton Library

Meeting Minutes: October 30, 2014

Attending: Rebecca Carlin, Gina DePaoli, Melissa Hagan-Alves, Tamar Hanna,Alexi Joannidis Judi Paradis, Cindy Sherman, Pat Stering, Trish Wesley Umbrell

WCC Grant: Judi submitted a grant to the Waltham Cultural Council asking for partial funding for a Japanese drumming group called Odaiko. Judi will attend the grant defense at Waltham City Hall on Nov. 12.

Vacancy: We are still looking for a treasurer. Rebecca may be willing to do this.

English Classes: Melissa has begun classes for parents and has a range of students, most of whom are beginners with some intermediate speakers. If numbers increase, she may need another teacher. Tamar may be interested in taking this on.

Webpage: Our wiki needs updating. Cindy will find Judi to find out how to do this.

Meeting schedule: The revised meeting schedule for the remainder of the year is as follows:
Nov. 20
Dec. 1
Jan. 29
Feb. 26
March 26,
April 30
May 28

Fundraising: We talked about ways to raise funds to help with our Japanese drumming program and other events. Some ideas included: Using the WEA newsletter, reaching out via the school website and PTO newsletter, using members facebook pages, Trish joined the Waltham Business Group and will ask them to purchase these. Trish and Melissa will work on a flyer to advertise these to Kindergarten.

Charity: Tamar is recommending we support a charity based in Canada called "A Heart with Syria" which provides funds for civilians impacted by the war in Syria. Their website is here.

Meeting Minutes: September 18, 2014

Attending: Alex Audette, Judy Bousquet, Gina DePaoli, Melissa Hagan-Alves, Tamar Hanna, Judi Paradis, Cindy Sherman, Pat Stering

Meeting dates for the year:
Oct. 30
Nov. 20
Dec. 18
Jan. 29
Feb. 26
March 26,
April 30
May 28

Open House was successful. We invited a number of community groups to participate, including the Boy and Girl Scouts, Waltham Family School, Champions, Centsible Savers, Boys Club, Waltham Public Library. We agreed that it would help to have the list of invited groups confirmed early enough to send home notices written in more than one language. No magnets were sold.

We have many magnets remaining to sell. It might make sense to sell some through our contacts in other schools. Judi will advertise on her Facebook page.

Waltham Cultural Council Grant: We usually apply for a grant to fund a performance tied to our continent of study. Melissa will investigate possible performers and Judi is willing to write the grant. The grant is due in early October.

Pat Stering's class will help run our annual election to select a charity to support a group in Asia. Judi and Tamar will investigate possibilities. It would be great to have Pat's kids present our nominees at Community Meeting in October.

Melissa is proposing an English class again this year with Title I funds and childcare. If anyone is interested in participating in this project, let her know.
The Waltham Family School is going to be holding a Raise A Reader program in the Plympton Library on Thursdays after school beginning in October. Judi may follow up with a spring story hour session.

Board Positions:
President: Gina DePaoli
Secretary: Judi Paradis
Treasurer: TBA
Webmaster: Cindy Sherman
Community Service Subcommittee: Melissa Hagan-Alves
Social Subcommittee:
Dinner Party Subcommittee:
Charity Subcommittee: Tamar Hanna, Judi Paradis, Pat Stering
Fundraising Subcommittee:
Continental Research Subcommittee: Judi Paradis
Parent Outreach Subcommittee: Melissa Hagan-Alves
We need to get the word out that we need to fill missing positions

Meeting Minutes: May 29, 2014

Attending: Gina DePaoli, Melissa Hagan-Alves, Judi Paradis, Pat Stering,

Capoiera is set to perform on June 16. Melissa reported that we may still be a little short of funding, but that PTO should be willing to float us a loan if necessary.

Positions for next year: We decided that we would wait to put out a call for positions on the committee until September.

Outreach for next year: Melissa would like to reinstate English classes next year. Judi recommended thinking about "conversational practice groups" instead, as it would be easier to target Plympton parents, could be more inclusive of all levels of English ability, and would be more suited to our parents who cannot commit to coming on a regular weekly schedule. Judi would be interested in a once-a-month after school story hour.

Planning for Asia: We decided to forgo our usual summer study group, and work instead through email with a short meeting in August before school begins. We also decided to not update our wiki as we do not believe it is well-used for the amount of work involved in updating it. Our work for the summer will involve:
  • Plan for WCC grant performance
  • Ideas for community service support
  • Ideas for outreach to parent community
  • Ideas for sharing the cultures of Asia in some very specific ways, including:
    • Art displays and projects (including photo display in foyer)
    • Music and drama connections
    • Library storytimes/book displays
    • Inviting in experts/families
    • Information for staff
    • Possible All-School read (book per grade? One book for K-1; 2-3; 4-5?)
    • Possible all-school events with Asian focus—Chinese New Year; Read Across America Day; etc.
    • Sharing a fact from Asia each day on the P.A.—Fourth grade kids could find these as part of our library volunteer work and could have kids announce these at the start of the day and then pin them to the front bulletin board

Note: we will keep the wiki as a place to store:

  • Minutes
  • Meeting dates
  • Share information about any of the above activities

Concert with Waltham Philharmonic-Gina said that the Philharmonic enjoyed their collaboration with Plympton this year and is already planning a concert focused on Asian performers for the 2014-15 school year.

Spirit Day: We will try to be sure to promote magnets for sale this day.

Meeting Minutes: April 17, 2014

Attending: Alex Audette, Judy Bousquet, Gina DePaoli, Melissa Hagan-Alves, Judi Paradis, Pat Stering, Trish Umbrell, Annette Vardaro, Gail Zunz

Magnets: We have raised between $300 and $400 so far. This has paid for the cost of the magnets and and we have started to raise additional funds. We will continue to sell these as we see events throughout the year. Trish will approach some local businesses about contributing.

Kindergarten Screening: 28th-30th; May 1st is Kindergarten Mother Goose--- Judi will get a volunteer to man booth to sell magnets

Capoiera: Melissa has a tentative date with Young Audiences of Massachusetts and will finalize with Maureen. We have enough funding to cover the deposit using the WCC funds. Judi will talk LaurieubMoynihan about having PTO cover the deposit and then we will reimburse them with WCC money when it comes in (we need to get reimbursed from WCC after the performance).

Organizational structure: Gina produced a proposed organizational structure that includes specific tasks and some subcommittee. We will discuss this at our next building meeting and also come back in May with some ideas of specific teachers and parents that we would like to target

Parents on Playground: Trish and Lexi Jonniadis will organize this event. Trish will talk to Maureen about finding a date and organize this.

Waltham Cultural Council Breakfast: this is on May 10th. Judi has the invitation. We do not yet have anyone going to represent Plympton, but will circulate the invitation and see if we can field someone to attend.

Summer Study Group: Look at setting up a new way of exploring the continent and spending the time doing something teachers will find useful. Judi will start to pull together some ideas to roll past the group.

Meeting Minutes: March 27, 2014

Attending: Judy Bousquet, Gina DePaoli, Melissa Hagan-Alves, Judi Paradis, Pat Stering, Trish Umbrell, Annette Vardaro, Gail Zuna

Magnet Fundraiser: These are in and we discussed how to go about selling these. Our hope was that we could sell them throughout the month of April in the front lobby from 8:20 to 8:40 a.m. Our hope was that 5th grade kids could sell these with adult supervision (schedule for this: Monday-Annette; Tuesday-Melissa; Wednesday- Pat; Thursday-Gail; Friday- Judi). Judi will bring in small table and cash box for this. . Judi recommended having grade 3 girl scouts put up signs around the building to publicize this and Trish will send a flyer to school to be sent home via the Indira system. Judi will also add a slide about this to the April community meeting to show kids what these look like. Trish will also contact Laurie Moynihan (PTO treasurer) to arrange for PTO to bank money raised. Magnets are $6.00 each or 2 for $10

Capoiera Booking: Melissa is working on this

Only A Child Fundraiser: Finally amount collected is $1615. Maureen will arrange to have a bank check available to George Leger from the charity. He will come on April 1 to talk to kids at our community meeting. Judy Bousquet will work with him and Judi Paradis to assure that his presentation is all set for Tuesday.

Story Hour: Melissa reported that attendance continues to be low,but we will continue to try to get a crowd to these

Concert with Waltham Philharmonic: Music classes are working on creating a program for their South American composer concert on May 2. Plympton chorus will also perform.

Spring social: Trish and Alexi Joannidis spoke about organizing an informal social event on the Plympton playground.

Meeting Minutes: February 27, 2014
Attending: Alex Audette, Judy Bousquet, Gina DePaoli, Melissa Hagan-Alves, Judi Paradis, Emily Smidt, Trish Wesley-Umbrell, Annette Vardaro, Gail Zunz

Magnet Fundraiser: Trish ordered these using PTO funds and created a poster to advertise these. We will promote this when they arrive. We discussed the possibility of giving them free to teachers--may do this down the road.

Capoiera Performance: Melissa contacted them and they are wide-open, Judi will send list of dates from Maureen to Melissa and then Melissa will book performance. With WCC funding, we are still below funds for this performance. We hope that magnets will bring in necessary funds, but will solicit some donations to cover as well. Trish is willing to ask businesses for donations.

Only a Child Service Project: Judi reports that we've collected $972 (update--as of 3/1 we have raised $1415!) for this cause. George Leger from Only A Child will visit Plympton School on April 1 to collect the funds and do a presentation for kids about this charity at our community meeting.

Story Hour: Melissa and Judi report that they continue to struggle with low attendance. Melissa noted that we are not reaching as many ELL parents as we would like. We think holding these twice monthly may be too many. Judi is going to discuss this with her Critical Friends Group and see if they can help with some ideas.

Concert with Waltham Philharmonic: Gina is working with the Waltham Philharmonic Orchestra to do outreach for a concert they are doing featuring South American composers. The concert, to be held May 3 from 7:30 to 9:00 p.m., will charge $20 for adults, but all children will be invited to come for free. The Philharmonic asked if Plympton students could write the program notes about the composers and introduce the pieces at the concert. Gina is also working to see if students in the Plympton chorus could sing the Star Spangled Banner to open the program.

Meeting Minutes: January 23, 2014

Attending: Judy Bousquet, Rebecca Carlin, Gina DePaoli, Ann Feldman, Melissa Hagan-Alves, Alexi Joannidis, Judi Paradis, Emily Smidt, Trish Umbrell, Annette Vardaro, Gail Zunz

Update from Ann Feldman: Ann is the Director of the ELL program in Waltham. She brought us material about the Bilingual Parents Advisory Council (BPAC) and tax assistance that is available for non-English speakers. She also told us that translation services for all school documents can now be obtained by contacting

WCC Grant and Fundraising: We received the full amount requested from the Waltham Cultural Council for our planned Capoiera performance. Judi will check dates with Maureen so we can begin planning this and book the group. Currently we will need to raise an additional $340 to fund this. We discussed our plan to sell magnets. Trish was able to get the producer to make these for a very good discount. We discussed selling these at $6.00 each or 2 for $10.00. Trish will put an order in and cost will be covered by PTO grant and some donations from individuals. Trish will also investigate setting up a Cafe Press site to use Emily's penguin design so people who support us can purchase other items as well.

Libros y Ninos Story Hour: Melissa reported that attendance at the after-school story hours has been okay--though the last one was not well attended. However, we are not sure that it is serving the purpose we were hoping for in bringing ELL families into school. We discussed some possible reasons for this--ranging from poor advertising to difficult time for working parents. We decided that it is too soon to give up on this project, and generated a list of ideas to improve the project including:
  • better planning for each story hour (Judi and Melissa may need help with this)
  • better advertising--look at using email alerts, continue to put in PTO newsletter, consider obvious big signage (maybe sandwich boards) for Caughey and Bacon st. exits to alert families that pick up students, ensuring schedule is on our wiki
  • think about serving snacks

Only a Child Fundraiser: Our Community Service project kicked off at our January Community meeting with a presentation by one of Judy Bousquet's students. Emily showed us a proto-type of the bank kids will make from the cups Trish donated Emily will need help with cutting slots for coins in the lids. Judi is making mailing labels to put on the lids that explain the purpose of the cup and will get these to Emily.

We began a brief discussion of our next evening social event. We are thinking about a family dance night some time in March.

Plympton School Multicultural Committee

Meeting Minutes: November 21, 2013

Attending: Alex Audette, Gina DePaoli,Oscar Escobar, Melissa Hagan-Alves, Alexi Joannidis, Judi Paradis, Trish Wesley-Umbrell, Amanda Wood, Annette Vardaro, Gail Zunz

Multicultural Potluck Dinner Report: We discussed the goal of the event and it was decided that if the goal was to encourage non-English-speaking and newly arrived parents to feel welcome in the building, then the event succeeded. There was some concern that there was not enough for children to do, and there was some chaos because of this. There was also concern expressed about adults not mixing as well as would be the case in an ideal event. However, overall the committee decided the event was a success and worth repeating.

In the future it would be good to have more activities planned for children, such as family folk dancing or games in the gym. We also decided that ice-breaker activities might be nice, but noted that they would have to be appropriate for non-English-speaking parents. The group expressed appreciation for all the work done by custodian Danny Lelievre.

Story Hours: These will begin on Monday, November 25. Judi's student teacher Jaime Bears will organize the first story hour as a project for her practicum. These will then be offered twice a month on Thursday afternoons. The schedule for these is on the wiki home page. Oscar recommended that we target ELL classroom teachers and Bacon St. lines to encourage parents to come. Oscar also translated our flyer into Spanish.

Waltham Cultural Council: Trish attended the WCC meeting on November 13 to defend our grant for Capoiera. She reported that it was well-received, but as in past years, there is limited funding available. We should hear if funding has been granted in January.

Community Service Project: We need to check in with Judy Bousquet and Emily Smidt to see where this project stands.

Fundraising: Trish brought in a sample magnet that we could sell with a design created by students. The magnets cost $2.00 each and can be sold for $5.00. However, the money for these would have to be paid upfront. The group liked the idea very much, and Trish will see if she can negotiate any further discount. Oscar Escobar also told us that his wife has a cake business and would be willing to donate a portion of the proceeds from cakes sold through the Multicultural Committee to support our work. We liked this idea as well. Alexi offered to check with the PTO to ensure they did not see any conflicts between our fundraising efforts and theirs.

Next Meeting: December 19 at 8:00 a.m.

Meeting Minutes: October 24, 2013

Attending: Judy Bousquet, Rebecca Carlin, Gina DePaoli, Melissa Hagan-Alves, Britta McNemar, Judi Paradis, Emily Smidt, Annette Vardaro, Trish Wesley-Umbrell

Multicultural Potluck Dinner: We agreed to hold this on November 14 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. The evening will be similar to the successful event held last spring. Trish kept notes from that event, and will review these to ask parents and teachers to help with tasks. Judi and Gina will be out of town that day, but will help with preparations. We decided that we would only offer an art activity, a potluck dinner and stories, which would go along with November being Family Literacy Month. We also thought it would be nice to ask families to tell us about themselves, and share this information with PTO for its “family of the month” feature in the weekly PTO newsletter. PR For this event needs to be translated and out to the community soon.

Multicultural Story Times: Judi reported that Mrs. Taddeo was hoping we could come up with a catchy name for this program and plan to meet with families twice a month after school, and we agreed that this was possible. Judi’s student teacher, Jaime Bears, agreed to plan and hold the first story hour and we agreed that we could promote it at the potluck and begin with the first one on Monday, Nov.18 (NOTE: THIS TURNS OUT TO BE OUR BUILDING MEETING--SUGGEST WE SWITCH TO NOV. 25). After this first one we will switch to a Thursday schedule and do 2 Thursdays each month from 3:15 to 4:00 and focus heavily on families with students in grades K-2. Our plan is to focus on a specific country each month and involve families from the featured country to help us with planning. We will share some information about the country, and then focus on sharing folk tales, traditional rhymes and songs, and simple “make and take” crafts. Judi also has donated books that can be given to those attending. We would also like to encourage parents to share nursery rhymes, traditional songs from their cultures. . PR For this event needs to be translated and out to the community soon.

Multicultural Luncheon for Teachers: We agreed that we would like to share food from Latin America with teachers as another way to remind staff about our project this year. Melissa and Judi are in charge of staff breakfast on January 10 and will use that as a day to plan this.

Community Service Project: Once again, we will fund raise for Only a Child, which raises funds for homeless teens in Guatemala. Judy Bousquet has good connections with this group, and will arrange for their representative to visit in the spring to collect the funds raised. We expect to roll out this project in December at our community meeting and will check to see if Pat Stering’s kids might want to present this to the meeting. We need to check with Pat about this.

Teachers podcast and book: Judi will remind people about this again. We agreed we would like to hold a teacher discussion group, and will need to plan this

Fundraising: Trish suggested multicultural penguin car magnets and will look into this for our next meeting.

AND…. Amanda Wood and Alexi Joannidis contacted Judi Paradis via email and said while they could not attend the meeting, they are willing to help with any upcoming projects. Alexi also noted that a new Spanish-speaking mom is interested in helping in the school and so he and Judi are going to work with Evely Amezquita to see if we can set her up to work in the library.

Also—Judi did submit grant to WCC for Capoiera. Trish will go to WCC hearing on Nov. 14 to defend grant.

Next meeting is November 21 in the Plympton Library

Multicultural Committee Meeting Minutes, September 26, 2013

Present: Gina DePaoli, Melissa Hagan-Alves, Kristie Hanley, Alexi Joannidis, Fernanda Ohannessian, Judi Paradis, Emily Smidt, Annette Vardaro, Amanda Wood

Committee composition: Melissa and Trish Wesley Umbrell will serve as co-chairs this year. Melissa is hoping to involve more members in specific roles, and Gina recommended we adopt a "board" structure with a treasurer and secretary. Judi is willing to serve as secretary and also to maintain the website. Joe Hutchinson is willing to handle interviewing kids for presentation at Community meetings. Melissa explained that our role is to both celebrate and share cultures in our school, and to reach out to families that are new to our school and especially to those who do not speak English as a first language. We also agreed that it would be wise to form committees to work on specific events, and that this may be a good way to enlist help from those who cannot easily come to monthly meetings.

Open House Feedback: We agreed that inviting community organizations to Open House worked well and the room was busy all night. We thought it made the first floor welcoming. Melissa reported that groups participating included YMCA, Boys and Girls Club, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Library, RTN (Centsible Savers), Champions, Parks & Recreation Dept. and the Multicultural Committee. We had some student translators and one adult translator, but agreed that we could have used more. We discussed the possibility of using middle or high school students as translators, and thought this may provide them with needed community service hours. Kristie thought this might work for other PTO events where more translators would be welcome. We also wondered if a "kid-led" evening where kids escort their parents around the school and meet staff, but there is not formal presentations by teachers would bring more parents into the school. This may be worth exploring. Alexi offered to translate for us at events.

Budget and Finances: Melissa reported that PTO has $250 in its budget for Multicultural Committee. PTO will also hold any money we earn or receive from other sources. We discussed some possible fundraisers--especially knowing our plans to bring Capoiera to school could require funding over any WCC grant we receive. We discussed some possibilities for fund raising, including:

  • Cookbook with recipes from school community--Kristie is exploring whether any PTO members have skills we could use for this

  • Bake sales at PTO and other school events, and at any Multicultural events (e.g., dance party)

Community Service Project: Melissa reported that 6 years ago when we worked on Latin America, Judy Bousquet put us in touch with a man from Waltham who runs a program for homeless teens in Guatemala. Students used our "house banks" to raise funds to help him pay rent for his shelter for a month. He came to school and did a presentation for the students. Melissa and Judi agreed that it was a particularly good project and recommended using this project again this year. Judy can contact him for us.

Outreach to families: We are going to switch from evening English classes this year to instead offering a few large evening social events. Our first event could be a potluck similar to our successful event last spring. Judi can check with Maureen about a date in November.

Melissa also talked about hosting some after-school story hours for families. Fernanda suggested that we focus on a different country each month, and we agreed that this would provide us with a good organizing focus. Melissa, Gina, Judi and Fernanda are interested in working on this. Judi's student teacher would also like to get involved in this project.

Outreach to teachers: We are trying to do some "teacher education" on our continent of study this year and we've provided teachers with an NPR podcast focused on Guatemala and a book about children here with undocumented workers. Melissa and Judi would like to plan a teacher luncheon in October, and also some type of follow-up discussion for those who've explored these materials.

Next meeting: October 24, 2013 at 3:15 in the Plympton Library