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SHIRLEY — The PTA has received a $1,000 grant from Walmart, PTA president Cheryl Chartier announced at the group’s most recent meeting.

Members discussed the possibility of funding a science program for Pre-K and kindergarten pupils with the award.

“The treasurer’s report shows a balance of $12,083.55,” Chartier said.

“It’s not about what’s in our treasury books,” Chartier reminded members, “it’s what’s in our volunteership.”

Chartier said the Museum of Science Starlab traveling exhibit, held Dec. 19-20 at Lura A. White (LAW) School, received good response from pupils.

“It was a good experience,” she said. “I think it was wonderful.”

Shirley Middle School (SMS) Principal Daniel Schauben-Fuerst apologized to the committee for not attending prior meetings, adding, “I need the PTA’s help.”

Fuerst is seeking parents of fourth grade pupils willing to volunteer their homes to host evening gatherings with teachers, administration and fellow parents.

At least three volunteers are needed, he said. His intent is to create a meeting setting that is very gentle and informal to facilitate discussions about what has been going on at the middle school. Fuerst explained that he wants to make sure fourth grade parents are comfortable with their child’s transition from fourth to fifth grade.

Fuerst reported that Shirley Middle School students raised $1,400 in addition to a $2,000 grant, toward the Student Conflict Resolution Experts (SCORE) peer mediation program, which is now up and running after the loss of funding earlier in the school year.

Fourteen children who have received training will help mediate disputes and offer conflict resolution to fellow students.

Tentative scheduling changes were also presented by Fuerst, with the fifth and sixth grades going to two-person teacher teams, combining students from both grades. According to Fuerst, the combination of students provides a good learning environment for students, and keeps class sizes smaller while using less staff.

Fuerst said he plans to ask for a part-time physical education teacher and amend the student schedule so that gym and unified arts will run on a six-day rotating schedule. The change would give middle school students two days of gym per week, with the other four days for studies in the arts and music.

The additional physical education position would also allow Fuerst to implement a health program, which he feels every middle school needs.

“You can’t have kids at the age of experimentation without a health program,” Fuerst said.

In other business, members of the PTA accepted the resignation of treasurer Rebekah Spencer with regret. Chartier told members that Spencer is resigning because she will be starting college classes shortly.

“I’ll still be here,” Spencer said to PTA members, who expressed their disappointment on her resignation. Spencer also volunteers regularly at SMS.

Plans for the father-daughter and mother-son dances were also discussed; attendance slips were given to pupils last week. The events will be held on January 17 and 28, respectively, at St. Anthony’s Parish Hall. RSVP’s are due by Jan. 17. No late registrations can be accepted because of fire codes.

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