CHS PTO Meeting Minutes- March 9, 2021

Monday March 9, 2021

The meeting started at 5:30.  Kari MIller, the Executive Director with International Neighbors, presented.  

 International Neighbors is a 501(c)(3) volunteer organization that works to equip refugee neighbors with the network and skills needed to move from surviving to thriving In Charlottesville.  Her presentation to the group is attached:

Next was Dr. Irizarry’s update.

After substantial preparation, selected CHS students started back today.  Those students will be in the building daily during office hours from 9:00 am – 12:30 pm, and get designated services.  Dr. I looks forward to learning more about supporting them as the week progresses.  

This plan will change on April 12, and go to a hybrid plan.  This was newly decided by the School Board on the evening of March 4.  They are going to base their hybrid plan on the one presented to them in December 2020, with potential refinements by CHS as needed.  In this plan all CHS students have all of their classes concentrated in 2 normal-length school days with in-person instruction, either Monday and Wednesday or on Tuesday and Thursday.  The other 3 days are asynchronous.  Students that want to remain virtual will have those 2 full class days through Zoom.

Dr. I will send an Intent to Return Form to families by the end of next week so that CHS knows how to plan for the number of students, knows the needs of the students in the building and transportation needs.  There is a deficit of school bus drivers.

There are many COVID-specific things to still be figured for staff.  Such as, how to support those still working remotely, childcare conflicts, spreading student staff schedules fairly, and how to have enough adults physically present with the kids.

Many parents volunteered to help and want to actively support reopening, not just in volunteering but in donations.  There is a group of parents ready to start work now, as a reopening support committee of the CHS PTO, and membership on this committee will be open to any and all CHS parents and caregivers who want to assist. Dr. I expressed thanks for this and agreed there were many needs. He had some immediate suggestions.  One was to help to build the pool of substitute teachers, another to get parent volunteers to take student temperatures and help with other COVID protocols at arrival.  

He asked for time to get with his staff and plan.  He and the staff will create a prioritized list of needs, physical/financial as well as volunteer roles.  Dr. I will send this to the PTO Board, who will give it to the support committee to plan and enact. The PTO Board will continue to be the conduit for requests from Dr. I, and help the committee however is needed.  

Dr. I won’t have final figures to plan from until after intent to return forms come back (at least 2 weeks away), but wants to make use of these offers and will work quickly.  

Safe Routes to School is possible support for the lack of available buses.

Dr. I also took questions from parents. The responses are below:  

  • Summer school will not be traditional subjects this year.  Some virtual classes like PE may be the same.  But most classes this year will be remedial, helping the many struggling students repeat classes from this academic year
  • The foreign exchange student program may not be happening next year.
  • Office hours for virtual students will be the same as those for in-person students, only on Fridays.  Teachers are in class Monday – Thursday and not available for extra help. 

Nancy Hopkins had technical issues and had to drop off the call due to lack of internet access.  She will send the PTO Reopening Fund update with the minutes of this meeting.

The  successful Sticks fundraiser was about to close.  There are just a few gift cards left.

Parents also volunteered to help with teacher appreciation.  The PTO  will facilitate an inaugural committee meeting. In the meantime, Erica Uhlman volunteered to recreate a teacher appreciation she did at Walker and Buford for the returning CHS teachers this week.  Her work is appreciated by the PTO and all parents. 

Amended, March 11, 2021

Reopening Fund Report, Nancy Hopkins

Through the CCS Joint PTO Reopening Fund, CHS and Lugo-McGinness Academy received $35,743.55 out of the total $163,839 that was raised through this effort, which was launched in August 2020. A CHS Reopening Fund Grant Committee was formed to program these funds, including Nancy Hopkins (CHS PTO VP and Grants Chair), Nicole Armstrong (CHS Assistant Principal), Nikki Eubanks (CHS School Counselor), Jeanne Pfautz (CHS ESL Teacher), and Jane Evans (CCS Social Worker). As of March 2021, through bimonthly meetings and in consultation with Dr. Irizarry this committee has allocated $28,232 for high-priority needs at CHS related to virtual instruction and reopening:

Technology (headsets, chargers, styluses): $3,171

Materials to support classroom instruction and learning (calculators, books, art supplies, online language arts program): $4,504 

Food Security (grocery cards, CHS Cares event): $16,583

Emergency support to CHS families (rent, utilities): $3,974

In addition, Lugo-McGinness Academy spent $1,500 on Food Security, Technology, and Materials to Support Classroom Instruction and Learning. 

Around 83% of CHS Reopening Funds have been spent to date, with the remaining balance of around $6,000 to be spent by the end of April based on priority needs identified by the CHS Reopening Fund Grant Committee and CHS leadership.

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CHS PTO February Meeting- Monday, Feb. 8, 2021

The meeting started at 5:30 pm with Dr. Irizarry’s update.  

For teacher appreciation Kathleen Druzba and Volker Antes did a drawing for staff of Sticks gift cards.

The organization Sin Barreras (without barriers) gave a presentation.  Speakers were Edgar Lara, Director of Community Engagement and Franny Smedile, President.  Their mission is to educate, support and serve the immigrant community focusing on the Hispanic population of Charlottesville and the surrounding areas.  They provide a variety of services from social support to translation to legal guidance.  They have a wide variety of volunteer opportunities.

We can support clients of Sin Barreras who are CHS parents by making personal overtures, including invitations to meetings.  The PTO president is also investigating getting Spanish translation during meetings.

Assistant Principal Rodney Redd gave an update on the sports returning to CHS.  The Virginia High School League is permitting sports to resume with COVID protocols.  CHS’s sports are returning, with COVID safety protocols.  

This includes bussing to games where only a small amount of students are allowed on each bus.  Information on club sports will be coming separately by Canvas.

Calendar and policy specifics for sports can be found at when you hover over the “MORE” tab.  There are drop down menus with the information and a live schedule link

Volker Antes gave an update on the successful Sticks fundraiser, which is continuing.

The PTO is cosponsoring an upcoming workshop for parents, How to Speak To Teenagers About Race, Racism and Racialized Violence.  It will take place Tuesday, Feb. 23rd from  6:30 – 8:30 pm.  Dr. Joseph WIlliams of UVA Curry School of Education will lead.  Registration link will be coming electronically soon.

Due to time constraints the update on the use of the Joint PTO Reopening Fund was deferred to the next meeting.

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“Talking about Race, Racism and Racialized Violence: A workshop for parents and caregivers” 2.23.2021

Please see Google Drive doc below for link to presentation.

Shamika Terrell of CHS Counseling for questions or more information:–ZGqzK-hBe2IBwb/view?usp=sharing

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CHS PTO Meeting Minutes- 1/11/21

The meeting began at 5:30 pm.  Scott Mace won the Front Porch gift certificate for teacher appreciation.

Kim Powell, Assistant Superintendent gave the CCS budget presentation for 2021 – 2022.  The presentation can be found on the CCS website.

There were a few questions after the presentation, and then the meeting adjourned.  The questions were:

How can we get students back in school who have unenrolled due to difficulties either with virtual school or having to leave school to work?  These students are tracked and checked on by the counseling department.

The counseling departments and CCS are focusing on families in need, which is big.  The essential needs drive in December was busy non stop for 2.5 hours by families.

Regarding reopening, there was a question about vaccines.  All teachers are high priority.  Right now vaccinations are not tied into the reopening plan.

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PTO MEETING ON FEB. 8, 2021 @ 5:30PM

Please join us for the meeting. Here is your Zoom link

1. Introduction by Dr. Irizarry, CHS Principal

2. Presentation by Sin Barreras with the speakers Fanny Smedile, President, and Edgar Lara, Director of Community Engagement. Sin Barreras’ (Without Borders) mission is to empower the immigrant community through direct services, education and advocacy, focusing on the Hispanic population of Charlottesville and surrounding areas.  In addition they provide tools and support to bridge language and cultural divides for their clients so they can realize their potential in Charlottesville. Sin Barreras will share ways we can support their work at CHS and in the community.

3. Assistant Principal Rodney Redd will give an update on the CHS sports season for the spring and fall.

4. Grants update about the joint PTO fund by Nancy Hopkins

5. Drawing of 7 Sticks gift cards for Teacher Appreciation by Kathleen Druzba, PTO Teacher Liaison.

6. Update on Sticks gift card sales

7. Upcoming special event: How to talk about Race with your Teen:. An interactive workshop for parents and caregivers, introduced by Steph Gist, Secretary

Many parents/caregivers are grappling with how to speak to their teenage students about the complex racial issues that are part of our culture.  We need to help our kids think through these issues in an honest and constructive way.  But how to even start? 

Join us on Tuesday, Feb. 23rd from  6:30 – 8:30 pm.  Dr. Joseph WIlliams of UVA Curry School of Education will lead an interactive workshop to teach best practices for talking to teenagers (age 12 – 18) about race, racism and racialized violence. 

Please mark your calendars and attend this important event!  Registration link to follow soon.

If you have questions, suggestions or concerns you would like to discuss, you can send them to

Next PTO Meetings
March 8, 2021
April 12, 2021
May 10, 2021

WE ARE LOOKING FOR PARENTS TO JOIN THE PTO FOR THE NEXT SCHOOL YEAR: Please think about it, we need parents to step up and take charge.
Please send an email to 
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