Thursday, December 20, 2012

Summary of PTA Meeting on School Safety

Summary of Special PTA meeting on School Safety on December 18, 2012

Tuesday night, instead of the PTA’s usual monthly meeting, a special meeting was held to discuss the very timely issues of school safety and communication. The meeting was well attended by both parents and teachers. Principal Bonnie Hicks and Guidance Counselor Kurt Hebert addressed the group.

I.          The meeting began with Bonnie providing information about Small School’s current Comprehensive Safety Plan. The following are some of the points she touched upon:

1.      Small School conducts once yearly lockdown drills and many fire drills.

2.      The building is always locked with the exception of the front doors which are visible from the front office and the majority of the time staff is present to observe individuals when they enter the school.

3.      The interior doors are also always locked from the inside.  Teachers are well trained about when to close the doors should there be any threat. 

4.      The interior doors are lacking window shades and they are on order as part of the maintenance request.

5.      The portables are also locked and kids move in groups to the main building escorted by an adult who has a key for access.
Bonnie informed us that the K-5 administrators were meeting the following day (December 19th) to discuss, among other things, any plans for updating these policies in light of recent events. Bonnie then graciously answered questions from the group before handing the floor over to Kurt.

II.         Kurt addressed the group about school communication and specifically the school’s message to the students in the aftermath of Friday’s tragedy. Kurt began with expressing his heartfelt gratitude to the parents for trusting the school enough to send their kids on Monday morning. Kurt explained that the staff met as a group to discuss their response to the student’s questions, emotions and concerns as well as to offer support to each other. Safety protocols were reviewed. The following were some of the steps taken to encourage a healthy school environment on Monday:

1.      Kurt visited every classroom throughout the day to talk with teachers to get a pulse on the level of information students appeared to have and whether or not they were discussing the event. 

2.      In more than half of the classrooms, Kurt addressed the class about the event by doing the following:

a.        Giving a very simple and general explanation – “an event happened in another area of the country. It was scary. You may hear people discussing it.”

b.       Directing students to not discuss this among themselves or with friends at school.

c.        Encouraging students to come to him or Amanda Swanson with questions, concerns and feelings about the event.

d.       Encouraging students to discuss the event with their parents.

3.      Kurt and Bonnie together encouraged teachers to keep to their regular routine but to feel free to ease up on lessons a bit or switch to more creative projects for the day if they felt the kids were overwhelmed or tired.

Kurt emphasized the school’s belief that parents are best equipped to make decisions about the amount and type of information (if any) their children should know about the event. He and Amanda Swanson have been, and will continue to, counsel those kids who need help processing the event during school hours. He and the staff will also continue in their attempts to minimize, as much as possible, any information being passed from student to student. He recognized that there were a couple of classrooms in which talk of the event was taking place outside the classroom, primarily during lunch and recess.

III.       There was much discussion among the parents present about the best ways to talk or not talk with their kids about these issues. All present agreed on the following points:

1.      Emphasize safety as it relates to their child at Small School.

2.      Consider the age of the child when providing simple and reassuring answers.

3.      Allow the child to express their feelings.

4.      Parents should take care of themselves as well as their children.

Kurt and Bonnie did their best to address the specific concerns brought up at the meeting. The PTA had handouts on tips for talking with kids about violence and how to help prevent violence in schools. These handouts, and others, are available on the school website and through Kurt and Amanda.

At the close of the meeting, gratitude was expressed to Bonnie and Kurt for both their attendance at the meeting and their work so far to help the students and teachers during this difficult time. Bonnie informed us that Small School students are working on Pinwheels for Peace. She encouraged us to be on the lookout for the results of this project on Small’s Pinwheels for Peace Day on Friday, January 3rd, 2013. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

PTA Meeting on School Safety

Last night the PTA meeting focused on school safety.  Bonnie and Kurt joined the meeting offering information about current and new school safety procedures as well as advice about how to talk with our children about the Connecticut tragedy. 

Two documents were handed out at the meeting which provide additional information about individual safety, school safety, and how to talk to children about tragic events.  These are posted on the Dora L. Small Elementary School PTA website.

The minutes from the meeting will be available in the next few days and will be posted here.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Tonight (12/18 6:30pm-7:15)Special PTA Meeting

The PTA executive team would like to use tonight’s meeting to discuss issues that have arisen as a result of 
recent events at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

The meeting will be short - 45 minutes. We will have babysitters available. Please come.

Pam Remy
PTA President

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Come to Movie Night 12/14 6:00 pm at Small School

The Small School PTA invites you to join us for a special viewing

Friday, December 14th
Dora L. Small Elementary School
6:00 PM
$10 per family
Bring your favorite lovey, and wear your pajamas.
Don't forget the blankets and pillows!
Free popcorn!
Raffle Tickets for gift certificates to Scratch, Pizza Joint, Nonesuch Books, Verbena, Smaha's and many other local businesses!
Children MUST be accompanied by an adult. This is a FAMILY event.
David Bass-Clark
Technology Ed Tech (K-2)
Brown & Small Elementary School
South Portland, Maine

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Poinsettia's have arrived!!!

If you placed an order, you'll find the plants in the front lobby of Small School organized by LAST NAME.  Please pick up as soon as possible (before the weekend!) because they cannot be watered as they are wrapped in a plastic sleeve.

If you cannot pick up your plant before the weekend, please contact Julie Selser at 450-4845.

Thanks so much for your orders and for supporting Small School!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Poinsettia Sale

Beautiful poinsettias in white, red, and multi-color are available for sale through Monday, November  19th.  Order forms were in the red totes on Tuesday and are also available at the front desk at Small School.

Help Mrs. Richards' 5th Grade Class Earn $1000!

Mrs. Richard's 5th grade class has entered the Gorham Savings Bank "Anything is Possible" Contest!  You can vote once a day through November 19th!  Vote Now!

Friday, November 2, 2012


On November 15th from 6pm to 8pm Nonesuch bookstore in Mill Creek Shopping Center is hosting a Small School Night of fun and books!

Come and shop for the holidays at our local bookstore.  Small School will receive 15% of all proceeds.  Get a gift card, get a new book, get whatever your heart desires!

We are looking for bookies to be there that night and talk books!  If you like to read, show up and convince other Small School parents, teachers and administrators to read your books!

Teachers and Administrators love gift cards to Nonesuch for the holidays....Its a win- win for everyone!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Oktoberfest - October 26th, 6:00 - 7:30 pm, Small School Gym
Join us for Food, Games, Crafts, and the infamous Cup Cake Walk!!!

Your help is appreciated and needed in many different areas.  Contact Angela Littlefield if you can help with any of these activities:
  • Set-Up
  • Greeter/Hall Monitor
  • Bake Sale Table (bakers too..)
  • T-Shirt Table
  • Cup Cake Walk Helpers
  • Face Painters
  • Tattoos
  • Crafts Tables -- Making Necklaces
  • Kids Mask
  • Halloween Bat Clips (made with clothespin..) 
  • Games -- Mummy Wrap
  • Candy Corn Catch
  • Parade Recruiters
  • Clean-Up

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Oktoberfest is coming on 10/26!

Oktoberfest at Small School

October 26th
6:00 - 7:30 pm
Small School Gym

Join us for Food, Games, Crafts, and the infamous Cup Cake Walk!!!

Your help is appreciated and needed in many different areas.  Contact Angela Littlefield if you can help! 

PTA Meeting TONIGHT 10/16 6:30 pm

Don't miss our PTA Meeting tomorrow night Tuesday Oct 16, 2012. 

Our guest speaker will be Jeanne Crocker, former principle of South Portland High School for 28 years. Ms. Crocker will be discussing Dollars for Scholars. 

This is a great opportunity to spend a bit of time with a life long educator! Spread the word and bring a friend!

Upcoming Event:

Oktoberfest - October 26th, 6:00 - 7:30 pm, Small School Gym
Join us for Food, Games, Crafts, and the infamous Cup Cake Walk!!!

Your help is appreciated and needed in many different areas.  Contact Angela Littlefield if you can help with any of these activities:
  • Set-Up
  • Greeter/Hall Monitor
  • Bake Sale Table (bakers too..)
  • T-Shirt Table
  • Cup Cake Walk Helpers
  • Face Painters
  • Tattoos
  • Crafts Tables -- Making Necklaces
  • Kids Mask
  • Halloween Bat Clips (made with clothespin..) 
  • Games -- Mummy Wrap
  • Candy Corn Catch
  • Parade Recruiters
  • Clean-Up

Monday, October 1, 2012

It's Not too Late to Send in Your Orders!!

Please remember to place your orders for Close Buy and Meadowfarms. 

100% of the cost of the field trips are covered by the money made through these fundraisers!  These funds also subsidize after school activities and social events for our kids!

There's still time to order!

Close Buy: Online Orders are accepted until October 8t
Meadowfarms: Paper orders are due October 1; Online orders are accepted until early December.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Support Small's Fundraisers

Support your child's education through  . . . 

  • Field trips
  • Teacher grants for classroom supplies
  • After school enrichment
  • School social event
All of these are made possible by YOUR participation in the Close Buy and Meadowfarms Fundraisers!

You haven't missed the deadline!  Online orders are still being accepted.

Close Buy:  Online Orders are accepted until October 8th

Meadowfarms:  Paper orders are due October 1;  Online orders are accepted until early December.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Awesome Ice Cream Social

Thanks to Friendly's Ice Cream in South Portland for donating all the ice cream for last nights Ice Cream Social at Small School.

 I estimated we had about 400-450 people stop by for a sundae!  The line was so long at one point it wrapped all the way around the gym!

Thanks to all the volunteers who helped make this event possible!  You are all awesome!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Volunteers Needed


Lot of chances to contribute to your Small School this year including:

Popcorn Fridays - Stop by the school at 1:30 and help pop almost 300+/- Bag for the kids to consume
Contact Sue @

Tote Tuesday - Tuesday morning in the conference room from 9-11(ish)  Help other parents, Aunts and Grandparents stuff totes in order for the Small School information to get sent out!
Contact Sarah @

Greening! - Thursday mornings is the 4th Grade Greening project from 9-11:30. 
Help teach the 4th graders all about the garden - no experience required!
Contact Wynne @

Ice Cream Social

Our Ice Cream Social is happening This Friday - September 21st from 6-7.  Friendly's Ice Cream will be there along with more toppings and whipped cream that your kids (and you!) can eat!

Look forward to seeing you there.  We will also be showcasing the Close Buy catalog goods as well as the Meadow Farms items.  Our Fall fundraisers are happening now!  Please support your school!


We will be starting popcorn sales Friday Spetember 28th at 3:00.  Each bag is 25 cents and 100% of the proceeds goes to a different teacher every week.  We are looking for volunteers to help pop the corn on Friday's at 1:30.  Come join us, it's lots of fun!

For more information - contact Sue @