Skip to main content

June Board Meeting Minutes

Le Monde Immersion
Board Meeting Minutes
Location: Mercy Corp, 45 SW Ankeny, Portland, OR
June 13, 2018, 6 pm-9:30 pm

Present: Ben Melix, Jarod Hobbs, Dory Hobbs, Karen Kitchen, Ali Garfinkle, Shouka Rezvani

Call to order at 6pm.

  1. April board meeting edits: Add Karen’s name to the attendees. With change the Board approves April minutes and confirms charter renewal contract.
  2. School Report
  3. School Report

The school year is ending positively.   There have been a number of end of year performances:

  • 6th grade final performance for parents and classes (6 short skits written, edited and staged by the students);
  • Yann’s 4th grade class performing small skits/plays;
  • Julie’s 4th grade class performing “Le Petit Prince”
  • All school Spectacle will be next Saturday.

We were pleased to get a donation of Heart Beats Silent Disco at Buckman field – dance in the middle of the park. Student loved it!

Shouka is working with teachers, and, for upper grades, a committee, to plan K and 5th graduation ceremonies to mark student transitions. For first grade, this provides a space to talk about expectations and encourage maturity.

A parent organized Girl Strength self-defenseclass from Police Department was well received. Parents have asked for a corresponding class for boys.

We received a grant to do dyslexia training to work with different types of learnings, so Genevieve will do some specific professional development in the fall.

Parent MJ Christopher’s employer is leaving town and let the staff “shop”, therefore received a ton of donated material, thank you MJ!

During August Staff Trainings parentJulia Hammond Nye, who does writing professional development professionally,will do some training with the teachers. Thanks to Julia Hammond Nye and Arch Type Learning for this generous offer!

Shoukalooking into options for a better standardized French assessment.   She has confirmed through working with the French government that we can be a DELF test center.  DELF is recognized around the world as a certification of having attained a certain level of French proficiency.  This would enhance what we are providing to students in terms of their future lives.

Shouka submitted the school’s IB candidacy for the PYP program.  After consulting with our IB contact, and learning more about implementation, she suggests we plan to stagger candidacy applications and seek MYP candidacy next year.  Board concurs.  Shouka indicates we should hear about whether our IB PYP candidacy is accepted in September.

Dory raised again the question of whether we should open up enrollment in upper grades. The board had previously tabled the conversation previously pending more resources and a plan regarding how to incorporate students into upper grades who have no prior French, since we cannot screen students for French proficiency.    Shouka proposed waiting onexpanding enrollment until we are at full growth. Growing pains still here – every year since we are growing we are inherently implementing new curriculum and absorbing new teachers, and we are being successful in these areas. Board agrees to table this discussion until January. Let’s consider number of students and various scenarios at that time.  Jarod suggests non-obligatory post-admittance assessment to give parents guidance on upcoming challenges, and how to allocate resources best in the class. Dory asked if the intern can help with new French in the classroom (as long as it is not unsupervised).

  1. Lunch Discussion

Fresh and Local will no longer provide sack lunches, and we don’t have a reheat facility.  Office staff is reaching out to other companies and Shouka had already put an RFP for lunch vendors on the website. There is a new vendor in town (Refueled Kids) who provided a good proposal. The company has online website with lunch menu, people order directly through them and pay them directly. A la carte menu with “picky” options, vegetarian options, carnivore options, and will meet state standards in terms of nutritional values. They will deliver sack lunches and are willing to create a meal that meets free and reduced lunch qualifying free lunch nutritional standards for $4.  No other company offered a sack lunch at comparable pricing.  Board approved using Refueled Kids as a vendor.

A lot of staff time goes into compliance with the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) in terms of documentation and accountability reporting.  Conversely, we get relatively little additional value from participating.  Board discussed pros and cons of participation in NSLP.  Proposal:  Instead of participating in NSLP, we will ask NSLP qualifying families to go through the evaluation process with the district and provide us with their NSLP qualification letter to prove need.  School will then reimburse students for up to $4 of lunch per day that they purchase lunch through the lunch program (which has indicated they will add milk/milk substitute for participating families for free).  Board approves.

  1. Intern Report

The school has paid its per intern $3,000 fee for next year for 8 interns and is communicating with CICD. Currently have 8 interns interviewed and accepted for next year.  Ali is currently recruiting families and has 6 lined up. The current interns are doing well and enjoying their last few weeks in Portland!

  1. Equity and Inclusivity

Committee hasn’t been regularly meeting but are having a storyteller from Mali conduct workshops with 3, 4, and 5th grades. He is a published author and does storytelling workshops with schools and sounds. We have continued working with the staff to view everything we do through an equity lens, in terms of meeting the needs of all students.

  1. Facilities Discussion

Three facilities under consideration.  Each has possible pros and cons.  With each, landlords appear willing to assist with tenant improvement allowances.  Facility Committee will continue negotiations and evaluation of whether each is assured of meeting E occupancy requirements.

  1. IB Report

Information reported during the School Report. Shouka will take part in a month long training during the summer with course work. Hopefully hear in September about our candidacy.  Beth Levin will serve as our IB coordinator and start coursework in the fall.

  1. Financial and Fundraising Updates

Year-to-date profit and loss statement and balance sheet were reviewed and approved.  The end of the year is finally the time where we show as cash positive, as we start needing to create reserves to get us through the summer and all the way to October when we get our next charter payment after the August advance. There have been no real surprises and kudos to Shouka for how well we have budgeted for the year. Contributions income is down but had corresponding cost savings so the end result is still positive.We are pleased to note that our forecasting is getting better. Fundraising remains important. Shouka met with Jacqui Brock about future plans and Jacqui has good ideas for next year. The school always need money and donations! Supply and activity contributions are coming in but not where we want them to be.

  1. Le Monde Programs LLC Discussion

AFCA is running more smoothly. We still don’t have invoices out for the year since the independent bookkeeper is having to help formalize the billing.  Next year we will ask folks to pay before they use the program and specifically not allow use to those who haven’t paid. For now, we have instituted more checks and balances and multiple people have access to raw data regarding usage. Current AFCA supervisor is doing a good job creating accurate reports.

Some families are unhappy with offerings. What are our options? We need solutions for the times when kids don’t get picked up: 3rd party providers don’t allow drop ins.   We rely on the net proceeds from AFCA to support the school.  We also need to have the service of after school care for families when students not picked up from school—the alternative is to call DHS, which is not really desirable.  Enrichment options would be great, but those need active planning and supervision, and typically eat away at profits.  Unlike local schools, we rely on AFCA revenue to support the school.  Shouka is exploring ways to allow choir, band and other options, but, so far, facility rental fees by third party providers don’t compensate for lost revenue from doing our own programming (and, sadly, finances must remain a driver for after school care programming).

Shouka indicates that she doesn’t have the bandwidth to do all of the supervision and hiring of the AFCA staff and program, in addition to the school program.  She has had to step in and volunteer for the program numerous times just to ensure coverage.  Parents consistently contact her about the program, and blame her about its operation even though the board is supposed to be overseeing that program.  The board suggests that all questions about AFCA go to AFCA staff only.The board will take the responsibility to interview and hire staffing to ameliorate the program prior to September.  Jarod agreed to ensure hiring of new AFCA staff.

  1. Executive Session. Hiring matters were discussed.