Trinity Catholic High School
HSA General Meeting
Tuesday, October 4, 2016
Fr Joseph; Tony Pavia; Kate Ingram; Colleen Hennessy; Sue Oates; Lisa Magnifico; Sue D’Elia; Jennifer Marchetti; Julie Giglio-Nelson; Mia Fatta Martinez; Margaret R Green; Jamie Antonucci; Donna Murphy; Karen Szymanowski; Liz Sweeney; Karen Pritchard; Melissa Rossi Wood; Patty Lefort; Anne Tedesco; Jenn Salvatore; Lilly Psychopedas; Nicole Pate; Susan Giambalvo; Kim Maloney; Tanya Therrien; Missy Journick; Iani Brown; Erin Brinton; Virginia Fee; Marge MacLennan; Stephanie Mostowy; Lisa Butler; Lisa Guerrera; Vera Cubarrubia; Wendy Jania; Wendy Dardis; Geralyn Petrafesa; James Green; Pam Scott; Mary Curley.
Welcome and Introductions
Julie welcomed everyone and introduced the HSA Board.
Julie told the meeting that HSA membership is down, and explained that dues were not included in the Smart system for tuition fees - so they now have to be collected separately. A letter will go out to all parents explaining this and how they can make payment - as incentive, if paid before 10/30, rewarded with a free shopping pass to the Lord and Taylor event on November 19th.
Julie gave a brief overview of what the HSA does - we fund most of the social events in the school; and give something back to the school/teachers. For example, we spent:
- $10,000 on kitchen and teachers’ lounge;
- $4000 on Internet hotspots and TVs.
We are hoping to be at 75% membership by January - we will then look at our wish list for this year.
Julie mentioned that the books and records of the Home School are kept by the Business office of TCHS and accounted for separately than school funds.
Interim Principal Mr. Pavia
Mr. Pavia spoke about coyotes, turkeys, and clowns! He reassured parents that they are aware of the clown issue, and are in communication with the Stamford police to keep informed of the situation locally.
Mr Pavia apologized for short notice - the Senior-Freshman picnic (had to rescheduled) and Grandparents’ Day. With such a busy school calendar, they are working around a multitude of activities, and had to jump into next available ‘good weather’ slot for the picnic.
Walkathon - planning a ‘silly’ engaging assembly to show the kids the history of the event. Important for school spirit, and as a fundraiser. There will be incentives - the kids are great! He’s going to have fun with the kids in the run-up to get them involved, asked for parent help with this.
Principal Search - Mr Pavia feels that they are nearing completion. He has been asked to stay on for a month with the new Principal, a learning curve; also in an advisory capacity for the rest of the year. He acknowledged that there has been too much change over the recent years, and that the kids need continuity and predictability, ‘someone of their own.’
Looking at some things to improve the school. There is a committee looking at a K-12 catholic school system in Stamford - better, unified, consolidated, more efficient. Mr. Pavia will stay on that committee to give TCHS viewpoint. ‘Listening sessions’ being set up in the next month or so - he will be involved in this.
Questions from parents for Mr. Pavia
Q: Plus Portal?
Mr. Pavia explained that this is a new system, on a learning curve, and there are issues. They are still training teachers. Parents need to be signing up too. Plus Portal problems should be addressed to Mr. Armistead.
If there’s an issue with teachers not putting stuff on Portal, first email the teacher, give the teacher the opportunity to resolve the problem.
Q: Parent of Freshman shared that her son is very happy here, and that a critical component in their decision to send him to TCHS was the Portal system which keeps parents updated.
Mr. Pavia explained that it is an expectation of teachers that they post to Portal, not actually a contractual obligation. There was a discussion about kids in High School needing to figure stuff out for themselves; also accountability - school/parent/student. Parents expressed that the Portal updates were reassuring, especially for freshmen.
Q: Freshman parent very unhappy with big class sizes.
Mr. Pavia explained that the decisions about staffing and scheduling were made some months ago by the prior leadership and it has caused issues. He is aware of the problem, and cannot defend it. Staffing was reduced, but is getting back up to previous level. He has added 1.5 teachers, and is looking at other ways to increase staff in the future. Class size of 28+ is more than he would like - this should be the exception; students should not have multiple classes of this size.
Q: Communication between school and parents? Disappointing. Weekly calendar is going out, but E-tidings has not been going out.
Mr. Pavia will look into this. (it is now going out weekly)
Parents expressed that their kids were very happy here. Mr. Pavia said that teachers say kids are well behaved. He said that mental state of kids and the subculture of the school are very important factors.
Q: “Mr. Pavia, will you be at Graduation?”
“Yes, I promised the Seniors!”
Fr. Joseph, new Chaplain
Fr. Joseph said the kids are awesome, warm, and welcoming. Also, the staff, faculty, and teachers have been very welcoming.
He described his vision to make TCHS the spiritual hub in the community for Youth Ministry and Adult Faith Formation, with:
- Adult Bible Study - starting this Thursday;
- First Friday Fest for high school students from Stamford and neighboring towns - starting this Friday;
- Outdoors Club coming soon - hiking, mountain-biking, skiing, paintball etc.
- Catholic Service Corps (in addition to Reach Out) - Bishop pushing this initiative;
- Campus Ministry - week long week of service in Boston in June/July.
Grade-level Retreats - there will be a change to sophomore and junior retreats this year - they will be optional. Students will have to sign up. Fr. Joseph explained that it is disruptive when kids don’t want to be there - it diminishes the experience for the kids who do want to be there. For students who don’t go on retreat, it will be a regular school day. Freshman and Senior retreats will be as usual, not optional.