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October 2018: Board Meeting Minutes

Le Monde Immersion
Board Meeting Minutes
Mercy Corp, 45 SW Ankeny, Portland, OR
Wednesday, October 17, 2018

5:52pm call to order
In attendance:
Board: Shouka Rezvani (non-voting), Karen Kitchen, Dory Hobbs, Jarod Hobbs, Ben Melix-Stanciu, Ali Garfinkle, Michal McCamman
Others: community members and Tara O’Neill (PPS Charter Liaison)

1. Approve consents since last meetings (Q 4 Financials, Revised Budget, 2 Leave Requests, Performance Plan framework, Family and Staff Handbooks, Health Insurance Plan) and June board minutes approved.

Parents have requested that we allow middle school siblings at Le Monde to pick up younger siblings. This is approved if the parents put the Le Monde middle school students on their authorized pick up list (sibling or not).

Admitted Michal McCamman as a Board Member, she accepts and board unanimously approves her admittance.

2. School Report
Finished Run for the Arts, a major accomplishment (over $30K pledged). Kudos to Michal McCamman and Karla Bean. This will meet a budgetary assignment, but is not reflected in our financials as the money goes to Young Audiences and then is distributed to us as a reimbursement.

Smarter Balance results are embargoed pending a new type of report card. English scores improved dramatically. Math scores went down but only less than the percentage amount they will measure and is generally high flying across the board. Most concerning area in terms our standards is our scores in English writing, which is not a surprise and is an area where we know can use work. To assist in this area, we covered writing in professional development early in the year, which encouraged and energized teachers to emphasize writing. NANOWRIMO (national novel writing month) is starting up soon; writing workshops will be held during school and we are seeing exciting things in English and French. Shouka is hopeful to have some good student writing work to share in the Gazettes moving forward.

Special Education is a continuing challenge. We contract with PPS, which is designated to provide our special education services. A new Speech Pathologist was assigned and then re-alotted to new school, so that service hasn’t started. Evaluations from last year have not been completed. Delivery of services to those students who have been special education identified has been very slow and a challenge. Shouka talking to everyone at the district (Tara will be meeting with them, too). In fairness, the district is also struggling. Charter Schools are affected disproportionally because we only receiving 50% of funding. PPS has space, special educators and counselors, and thus structures far beyond our funding. Academically we are still often meeting the needs of the students because of our internal interventions, but behaviorally we are having a challenge. There is a statewide issue: lower grades behavior issues without proper support for this age group. It has been so helpful to have wonderful staff and interns – KUDOS to those interns have made a huge difference this year. We have another new Learning Center Teacher starting from PPS (our third one in a year). We are hoping she will get her feet on the ground and complete student special education evaluations.

MAP testing in English and Math took place at the start of the year, and then groups met during the in service to talk about results. Shouka, the classroom teacher, David, and the English teacher talked about each student and interventions recommended (including advancement) and behavioral support. Considering the Map test scores and teacher experiences, the teachers are starting to offer direct “tutoring” interventions to those students who need additional support. Some students who are doing better than the tutoring interventions are placed on “watch” lists, and parents are given suggestions to support their students at home.

La Foire coming soon. This year will include Trunk or Treat out of trunks of cars in the parking lot, costume parade, and a makers element. La Foire is primarily a social event and we will serve pizza and shave ice. Fun for everyone! Coming up Saturday Oct 27th. Thanks to Eva Robinson and Torie Nguyen for organizing.

We have already had a number of field trips already. The whole school attended the Oregon Ballet Theater presentation of Napoli. This year we have more access to PPS buses and the district is covering a chunk of the cost. Minus a small reservation issue, the cost savings is huge. Coming up is the Bull Run Watershed for 5th grade; Wolf Ways for second graders came to the school. Some plays coming up: 2-7th grades to see Ella Enchanted in early November, 6-7th going to an Oregon Children’s Theatre recommended show, K-2 going to Mary Poppins.
Outdoor School coming next week for the 6/7th graders. They will go to Camp Westwind for four nights.

For the Middle School students, Shouka suggests, at the request of the English teachers, getting rid of middle of the year Map testing. Most of these students are working well above average level and another standardized test is not helpful and does not drive instruction. The teachers would like to skip the middle of the year MAP English test in their discretion. Board agrees this is reasonable.

3. PPS Liaison
Tara reported that the OR report card is embargoed until mid -November. The Le Monde scores were very high. Tara reported about challenges in onboarding new special education teachers within the charter system. Test scores for 2017-18 can be found on the ODE website (look at assessments, school, or district) and the Oregonian had a link as well. Embargo is because of a change in the way the scorecard is measured. Report card detail – leveling with 126 indicators (9 page detailed report). Breakdown in varied groups by special populations – they receive a leveling based on specific standards. This helps identify schools that need additional support. Charter schools at a disadvantage (our scores are high and we don’t have enough indicators to statistically make a difference). Gridded table probably not going to indicate any issues for LM at this time.

4. Lunch Update
New provider has made lives at school easier. The food is higher quality and arrives on time with a lot less waste. Parents have indicated a smooth interface for online ordering. Issues include sometimes the food sometimes being cold, so the company is trying to bring a heater. Also, the prices have raised so Shouka going to talk with them. The free and reduced lunch families are signing up and it appear to be working well. The school is reimbursing free or reduced qualifying families as quickly as same day, which is good.

5. Intern Committee Report
8 current interns seem to be doing well. This fall we had one possible move with a housing change but seems to be OK. Ali is starting to plan for spring housing; 3 current families have requested to have intern stay with them for spring term as well. The interview/onboarding process was smoother because they all arrived for training, which is a huge benefit for the interns and the school for all reasons (creating a cohesive group of interns that feel a part of the school and understand our processes and educational philosophy).

6. Equity and Inclusivity in Education Committee Report
Haven’t met yet this year, first meeting beginning of November. The email invitation sent out. Parent Zjelka Boyd is organizing an offering of the movie Screenagers (impact of screentime on kids) at Clinton Street Theater in January. The screening will include a post film discussion with Q and A. Can also show to the older grades. Genevieve has been doing course work in dyslexia training. She has materials and has started doing interventions for grades K through 2.

7. IB Report
Shouka took administrative training over summer; Beth taking coordinator training right now. A lot of excitement around implementing the program! Online course work and current support world-wide indicate that our concerns and issues are actually similar around the world. In service days are planned for teachers to do IB implementation. This is a 3 year process; it is a marathon not a sprint. Shouka is considering next August for teachers to get their IB training. Beth is charged with focusing on moving implementation forward. Teachers want more inquiry-based professional development and this can come directly from IB.

8. Parents Association
The Parents Association attended and shared their goal to work with the school – we all have the same goal to support the kids and want to join forces and come under the school leadership. In general, processes already work that way, because the PA approaches Shouka before doing an event. The PA offered to its parents as resource for volunteers. The association is moving away from PA as a place to complain – they want to be on the same page and part of the solution. Shouka is appreciative of the communication.
PA will be doing some events around helping doing charitable works in the community – helping homelessness and there are 6 events for the year. What is the best platform for getting the word out? Shouka suggests including it in the “Le Monde Cares” section of La Gazette.

9. Financial and Fundraising Update
Run for the Arts successful as discussed in the School Report. The balance sheet and profit and loss statement were reviewed. The good news is that we are operating positive against budget. The bad news is that we operate the budget anticipating having revenue shortfalls at this time of the year, because of how we are paid by the district (so we use reserves). This is definitely the more challenging time of the year in terms of cash flow. Le Monde is OK and we are able to pay bills. The staff balances the budget regularly to make sure we meet needs. The budget is less tight than in previous years. The next (smaller) distribution is expected in October. Heading into November and December, when there are fewer school days, means that we will get distributions from the district, though we make up for the shortfall later in the year. For this reason, it is a good time to donate! Should we do more direct asks of our parent community? Shouka hears both that there are too many school emails about fundraising and not enough asks for fundraising. Ben remembers a meeting about the funding model. Shouka would like the Board for help finding the best way to accept donations online. Ali will look into paper option and Jarod has suggestions for merchant service instead of Paypal (ancient).

The school audit came back with no material or significant issues to address, only some best practices recommendations. Kudos to us! No management letter because no issues. Proud of Terry and bookkeeper and Shouka for this work! Thank you!

10. Facilities
When there is an actual deal in place we will share widely. There are 3 current options, which were discussed. We will share with community as soon as a decision is made.

11. Le Monde Programs LLC Discussion
When you invoice people, they almost always pay! New staffing is doing a good job; they are nice people and dedicated. Currently up to date with invoicing and deposits. All good news.

12. Executive Session
Board discussed HR issues.

Board adjourned 8:50pm.