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November 2022: Board Meeting Minutes

Le Monde Immersion Board Meeting Minutes
First Republic Bank (Uptown Shopping Center) 2405 W Burnside St, Portland, OR 97210
Wednesday, November 30, 2022 5:30 PM

Board Members in Attendance: Dory Hobbs, Jarod Hobbs, Karen Kitchen, Ali Garfinkle, Mark Williams (excused absence: Ben Melix-Stanciu), Shouka Rezvani (nonvoting)

School parents present.

5:39pm meeting opens

  1. Reviewed and approved Q4 2021/22 and Q1 2022/23 Financials, revised budget submitted to PPS, calendar modification for a 2 Hour Late Start Day After Halloween, insurance renewals including dental insurance for staff, August board minutes. Additional budget variances not reflected in revised budget already submitted: a budget variance to move independent contractor bookkeeper on staff and approval of staff holiday bonus (which should together be close to revenue neutral by year end).
  2. Board and Officer Vote – proposed board (3 year term) and officer (1 year term) slate approved unanimously:
    Jarod Hobbs, President
    Alison Garfinkle, Secretary
    Ben Melix-Stanciu, Treasurer
    Dory Hobbs, Vice President
    Karen Kitchen
    Michal McCamman Mark Williams
    Shouka Rezvani (non-voting)
  3. School Report
    We have a lot of good news all around the school and an almost post-pandemic feeling (despite a lot of illness leading to staffing issues). It is a staff and student individual decision whether to continue to wear masks, and one can see a variety of preferences around the building. Field trips have resumed: Kindergarten visited the Imago Theatre, other grades visited the Oregon Children’s Theatre; 8th graders enjoyed a laser tag/bowling outing (students expressed grateful feelings for a great time). IB implementation is continuing with unit planning, and IB/curricular related trips being assisted by the Director of IB. Generally, the staff is feeling like it can again engage in forward- thinking conversations, and it feels very good overall. This year all of the “specials” positions are staffed, which has improved the quality and consistency of those classes.
    The school audit took a long time due to new GASB accounting requirements around the long term lease. While the process was long there was nothing wrong on our accounting side. (More audit information in the financial reporting section.) In preparation for charter renewal, Shouka plans to submit paperwork for our charter renewal application on January 2.
    The school is working on outreach to diversify enrollment, including sending enrollment information to community organizations. Shouka has identified organizations serving under-represented communities at the school, such as the Latino Network, IRCO, among others, and has sent them informational brochures about the school. She will also place ads in January in some newspapers whose audience includes communities of color (such as the Scanner, Portland Observer, Asian Reporter). We have sufficient applicants—the goal is just to diversify the applicant pool. The Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity parent group agreed to help Shouka get the word out about the school, and they will report on that later.
    The teacher evaluation process starts with self-evaluations, followed by individual meetings and observations. Genevieve, as Director of IB, is also a resource for teachers that want mentoring or instructional support.
    Staffing of Special Education continues to be a challenge at the school, district and across the state. This year we only have a 0.5 FTE learning center teacher assigned to Le Monde by the district, whereas last year there was a 1.0 FTE. Per our contract, we cannot provide Special Education services (specially designed instruction), and that must be done by the district. Struggling Special Education students need that highly-trained Special Education instruction, which can lead to challenges in a charter. In addition, the process of determining whether Le Monde is the correct placement for a student vs. placement in a district school (such as with a specialized classroom) can take time. The school would like families to have an awareness of the overall process – in situations where students are extremely escalated, the school is taking the steps to try to ensure student safety, but the process of getting the student the required resources and placement can take time and the involvement of those not at the school.
    Some grades had in person conferences and back to school night, while some did virtual because of specific teacher circumstances (illness or leaves). Middle school teachers plan to hold a brief “open house”-type event and more information on that is coming soon.
  4. Intern Committee Discussion
    The Board agrees that three interns could be a good and manageable number of interns to host next year, and Shouka will submit the application paperwork (as the French government has changed the process). Interns are considered extra help and additional native French speakers, but not classroom assistants. Ali will start advising new families of the hosting opportunity.
  5. Financial and Fundraising Update
    The audit has been completed, and the board reviewed the audit report and letter that reported only best practice recommendations (the audit came back “clean”). The school received 85% of the ODE employee retention grant and dispersed it appropriately, and the remaining 15% is now owed and may be claimed in January.
    Paid Leave Oregon goes into effect in January, which is a new law that requires employers to grant certain leaves and have insurance to cover the cost of a portion of those leaves. The board elects to purchase private insurance instead of using the state program, and intends to pay the employee portion of premiums. As of right now pending approval of the private plan by the state the school must keep certain funds in a segregated bank account, which is what we will call the “activities fund” bank account, for the remainder of the year until the private plan is approved. There is a lack of clarity around certain aspects of this program, which will hopefully be clarified as implementation continues.   A director comments that employees don’t have an accurate picture of all of the benefits and payments that the school pays as employer. Shouka suggests showing this on pay stubs and will try to have that implemented in January.
  6. Update Regarding Champions Afterschool Care Program
    The Champions program appears to be working out fairly well, but the school still has an issue when parents don’t pick up their kids on time, because Champions can’t just take kids who aren’t scheduled and the school may not have any staff onsite after 4 pm. Shouka will tell those families who are repeatedly late (not just for emergencies) that they have to sign up with Champions.
    Champions mentioned also possibly starting a before care option but did not provide a timeline.
  7. LMPC Updates
    The parent group is hosting a K-5 Winter Dance. They hope it will be a great success and a fun, social event for families.
    Staff Gift Drive- in the parent group’s recent newsletter, they gave families the option to contribute a small amount ($5-$10) to a staff holiday gift fund. The deadline to contribute is Friday, December 9th. Michelle will then hand the donations over to the school, and they can determine what sort of gift/treat would be best for the teachers and staff. The board authorizes Shouka to expend those funds for the benefit of staff.
    The parent group had great success with coffee & park meet ups this fall. Those are on hold until spring. The parent groups is working on ways to reach more Le Monde families and thanked the school for the announcement/teaser of the Winter Dance that garnered more families for the parent group’s newsletter. The parent group is administering the Oregon Battle of the Books again.
  8. DEI Parent Committee Update
    The committee is working with Karen Kitchen to reschedule the Indigenous Heritage Month Celebration and also schedule a stand alone story event later in the spring.
    The DEI Committee is collaborating with some other parents on a talent show fundraiser for students to travel that is happening in February, which will include a recital to showcase students. Parents on the committee are working to help the school spread the word about the Le Monde Info Night, to try to encourage diverse members of the community to learn more about the school and enroll. Members of the committee took school flyers into the community and their networks, and are putting together additional information to send out. They are also cross posting to the LMPC.

Board executive session to discuss annual review of administrator. Adjourned at 7:38pm