Le Monde Immersion
Board Meeting Minutes
Mercy Corp, 45 SW Ankeny, Portland OR
Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Called to order 5:50pm

In attendance:

Board: Shouka Rezvani (non-voting), Ben Melix-Stanciu, Ali Garfinkle, Michal McCamman, Dory Hobbs, Jarod Hobbs, Karen Kitchen

  1. Approve consents from last meetings: Q4 financials, two family leaves (including one leave approved by all disinterested board members), and June board minutes.
  1. School Report

Staff training has started! Next week the elementary teachers will have IB training. Most of the interns have arrived and will participate in the trainings.

Shouka has confirmed that outdoor school will occur at Camp Westwind during beginning of October.

The state has just provided us with information about an ability to pre-pay PERS liability, thereby reducing rate and possibly providing some matching.   The deadline is fast approaching, and Shouka will review with Ben, though likely this is not an option for us this year from a cash flow perspective.

The Board discussed ways to start the school year off right in terms of overall communication and tone in the parent community. A number of positive ideas were discussed, such as the Board sending a welcome letter to the community. We agree that communication within our community is key – just as we ask the kids to keep it respectful, let’s encourage the same respect and agency from parents. For example, the Parent Resources tab on the Le Monde website includes a family handbook, a flow chart for complaints, and a syncing calendar. Parents need to know that they can make an appointment with the teacher at a scheduled time to discuss any problems that might arise.

The Board talked about fostering positive resolutions for issues instead of creating negative feelings within the community which is so easy to do with social media. Suggestions include avoid posting negative things on Facebook. The Facebook page is meant as a community building tool, but is not a school sanctioned site and is not checked by school staff. It is not fair for the parent volunteer admins to monitor or answer complaints. The Le Monde Board wants to foster a safe, responsible, respectful environment. We view all of us as members of the community. Life is hard enough! Let’s do all we can to support each other and lift each other up. We pledge to be as positive and open and hope for the same level of positivity from others.

Looking to start the school year off positively, the Board agrees that next year we’d like to host a welcome back party for the community (it feels late this year). For this year, the Board will create a welcome back basket of goodies for the whole staff, and Michal will spearhead this project.

  1. Facilities Report

Delivery of the revised first portion of the renovated premises was completed on Friday. Everything is looking good and Shouka is happy with the delivery. The rooms are bigger than feared but not huge. The long term plan of the school to have small-ish class sizes will work well. Middle School is set up and ready for the start of school at Division. At Burnside only two classes were unaffected by the build out, which means that most classrooms still need to be set up. Now that teachers have arrived they will continue to move in around the training schedule. As expected, it feels a bit chaotic!

The building crew was communicative with Shouka all summer which helped. They were able to put in 4 square and hop scotch outlines, dug out an area for a future raised bed garden, and other things, all according to the certain configuration approved by the city planning department (which includes certain required parking spaces). The school will go through city inspections first to receive a December occupancy permit. After we obtain occupancy we will engage the community to discuss how to set up recess ideally. Shouka will put out a “back to school basics” email explaining the whole process.

The move of the middle school back to Division will pose challenges mid-year. Shouka is looking at ways to make the smoothest transition possible. A creative solution might be for students to go on  field trips while others are working on room set up if need be.

  1. Equity and Inclusion Committee Update

The Equity and Inclusivity Committee has published its meeting invitation.  All members of the school community are welcome and Shouka encourages all board members to attend. Board member participation is one bit of evidence to show the community how much of a priority equity is for the board. Shouka indicates that in addition to International Day, and ensuring that the school offers a number of inclusive artists and other events during the year, she would like the school to celebrate “Loving Day” (the anniversary of the date that the Supreme Court legalized interracial marriage in the US in the case of Loving vs. Virginia).   She encourages everyone on the Board to take on one thing to formally promote Equity and Inclusivity in an intentional way to move this forward to have it be a stronger year and show that we want a positive environment for the school. Ali suggests that each board member brings their idea to the next board meeting.

  1. Financial and Fundraising Update

Financials are generally fine, although the office has been closed for two weeks over the summer so there is some finalization to do. Having a fairly good percentage of people paying Activities and Supply contribution which makes a big difference starting out.  Financials to date were reviewed.

Shouka mentioned that she is researching banks to review all of our banking and credit options and to do our due diligence. The Board discussed credit options in case of emergency, and Shouka and staff should be commended to be where we are without having relied on any credit or debt so far.

  1. LLC Programs Update

Finding good hires for the aftercare program has been an ongoing challenge. Collections went relatively well prior year (although about $6000 not collected from last year). Moving to one location will allow 3 AFCA providers to be onsite. Shouka will follow up with the banks to review options for payment such as pre-paying, Merchant Service Program, Direct Pay vs card reader.  As it stands, people can pay by credit card on the lemondeprograms.org website.

  1. Intern Update

Seven of the eight interns have arrived and most are settled into their fall host families. The interns will work with the school to complete the paperwork and trainings required by PPS.

Ali spent a lot of time this summer looking for new host families, and then matching the interns with the families according to everyone’s interests and preferences. She met with the families last week to do an “orientation” for these families before the interns arrived. This meeting helps families set expectations, offers communication suggestions, and answers any lingering questions the host families might have.

  1. Next Board Meeting

Board meetings to be held quarterly going forward.  Next board meeting will be in November.  Date will be posted on website.

Meeting Adjourned 7:45pm