September 2012 Friends Meeting Minutes

Friends of Southwest Charter School (FOSWCS)

Meeting Minutes

September 11, 2012

 Review August minutes (Krista)

  • No corrections to August minutes
  • We welcomed old friends and several new friends tonight.

Open Friends Board Position (Krista)

  • Friends are looking for someone to fill the Vice-Chair Board position. Duties include being the main assistant to the Chair, running monthly meetings if Chair cannot attend, coordinating/facilitating marketing of Friends to the school community, and overseeing staff appreciation efforts. This candidate will ideally move to the Chair position after 1 term (school year) as Vice-Chair.
  • If you’re interested in the Vice-Chair position or know someone who you’d like to nominate, please email
  • Election of the Vice-Chair will take place at the next FOSWCS meeting on October 2, 2012.

2012/2013 Communications (Liz)

  • We discussed ways to get Friends news out to the school community. This continues to be a challenge. We tried a printed newsletter last year, but found that the printing cost was prohibitive and it became outdated too quickly when only publishing 4 times a school year.
  • Our Facebook page has been successful and has over 100 friends. This has been a great tool. But unfortunately, not everyone participates in Facebook and the information is fleeting.
  • However, almost all members of the community use email to communicate with each other and school.
  • Therefore, late this summer we started a blog that will serve as a current awareness as well as archiving tool.
  • Parents can sign up for the blog by entering their email address in a box on the blog’s main page. They will receive an email everytime something new is posted. They can also subscribe via an RSS reader.
  • The blog will also serve as an archive of minutes from past meetings, a calendar of events, list of officers, areas for Friends sub committees to post their information, etc. It is also searchable.
  • Amy suggested having a link to our blog added to the official school web page. Liz will ask to have this done.
  • We will also go the more traditional route and have a bulletin board on the school lobby wall to post things as well. This is on the school’s handyman to-do list.

Open Committees (Krista)

  • FOSWCS is composed of three main committees – Community Life, Auction, and Staff Appreciation.
  • Community Life is responsible for organizing community-building events such as 1st Thursday coffees and restaurant nights.
  • The 2013 Auction Committee is responsible for planning and executing our largest annual fundraiser. There is already an auction committee in place, but we are seeking two Auction Co-Chairs. We are also hoping to add general members to this committee as well.
  • The Auction Co-Chair positions would be an ideal for people with experience running a school auction or managing volunteers.
  • Many details for the auction are already in place. The auction date is March 15, 2013 at The Melody Ballroom in their lower ballroom.  Auction software has been purchased and an auctioneer has been hired.
  • Duties of the Auction Co-Chairs include serving as the direct point of contact between the Friends and the Board, creating an “Ask Letter” that’s included with our procurement forms, establishing a budget and following it, and overseeing auction subcommittees such as procurement, data entry, marketing, and day of event set up.
  • Ideal candidates are organized, have excellent communication skills, and are tech savvy. Ability to delegate tasks is also crucial.
  • Friends’ third committee is Staff Appreciation. This committee’s goal is to spoil our teachers and staff. This committee coordinates potlucks for teachers on conference days, plans activities for staff appreciation week in May, and assures the office snack box is kept stocked by classes throughout the year. Each month a different class will have the responsibility of filling the box starting in October.
  • We’d like to get 1 Chair and 2 commited members for Staff Appreciation. The Chairs would seek out volunteers to help with events.

Review 2011/2012 Activities (Krista)

  • Last year was a successful and busy year for Friends. Because SWCS is not a neighborhood school and our families come from all over the Portland metro area, our primary focus was to strengthen our community bonds.
  • We hosted three restaurant nights, a movie night at the Clinton St. Theatre, roller skating at Oaks Park, rock climbing at The Circuit Gym, three parent enrichment nights, a highly successful auction, volunteer appreciation week, a super-fun field day, summer gatherings, and a summer camping trip at Camp Wilkerson. Whew! I’m sure there are other things I missed.
  • Our volunteers logged over 2500 hours of volunteer time not including the auction. Krista reminds us to please log our hours in the volunteer notebook at the front desk. Last year, we had about 120 individuals volunteer their time.
  • We also built a new playground with a cushioned surface and installed a permanent tether ball, a wonderful fence, garden, chicken coop, planter boxes and more.

2012/2013 Financial (Krista)

  • We did a lot of fundraising last year with our largest goal being the installation of a play area. This year we don’t yet have an overarching, focused goal, but several smaller goals.
  • Teachers have requested that we research having a moveable curtain/wall installed in the Great Room to limit distractions and noise from PE. Research will have to be done regarding cost, types of curtains/walls available, as well as fire and insurance issues. Jen Litwin will talk with Grand and Benedicts on Macadam for ideas on where to be begin researching this project.
  • Teachers would also like to establish a garden fund for upkeep, seeds, etc. Sarah G. suggested using the proceeds from the annual plant sale for the garden fund. Krista will check with Amanda (K teacher) for a list of things the teachers would like to purchase via a garden fund.
  • Laura told us about the Eco-School Network. If you’d like to learn more, contact Laura for details at
  • We will probably help fund another Staff Retreat in summer 2013. There was some discussion that this should be paid for directly through the school’s budget and not Friends.
  • We’re starting the year with about $1000 in our coffers. More funds will be coming in shortly from Chinook Book and Valley Cinema ticket sales.
  • This year, we want to make sure that many of our community-building events are free like the Clinton St. Theater movie night.
  • Small fundraisers brought in $4500 last year.
  • This year (2012-13) we will focus on staff apprection, volunteer appreciation, garden fund, community life, and perhaps parent enrichment speaker fees. We’d also like to try scheduling some smaller events outside of the direct responsibility of Community Life Committee such as a crafting night, board game night, DIY night, knitting, clay, etc.

Harvest Dance (Jen)

  • The Harvest Dance will be Friday, September 21. This free, community-building event will celebrate the culmination of a week-long artist-in-residence program with Chip Jasmin.
  • The residency will be funded by money raised by last year’s Run 4 the Arts.
  • We want to keep it simple with a little bit of décor. Christy Hawkins has a quilt we can use as a backdrop for the stage. We also need pumpkins, scarecrows, haybales, etc. If anyone has anything fallish to loan for décor let Jen know.
  • Families can bring a picnic dinner and set up on blankets in the play area. We’ll have potluck refreshments and dessert.
  • For families who would prefer to purchase food, Jen has arranged for a food cart to come by selling hamburgers, hot dogs and tofu dogs. Jen will come up with a price list. Cart will be cash only.
  • Dinner will start at 5 pm. Dance will start at 6:15 pm.
  • Jen is looking for volunteers for the event. Krista will send out a Sign-Up Genius email. Heather will help with set-up and there’s also a sign up sheet at Kathy’s desk.

Run for the Arts (Laura)

  • Run for the Arts is our only arts education fundraiser. Last year we raised $12,000. This provided for the purchase and installation of a kiln, teacher art training, a week-long residency with artist Kaaren Pixton, and this fall’s residency with Chip Jasmin.
  • This year’s goal is $15,000.
  • Run will be held on Wednesday, October 3rd at Elizabeth Carruthers Park by OHSU.
  • 2 classrooms will run at a time.
  • We need help with set-up (7 am), lap counters, clean-up, photographer, coordinate orange slices cutting.
  • First run is at 8:45 am. Schedule of which classes will be running when will be announced later this week. Last run is 11:30 am. Clean up commences at 11:45 am.
  • Kids get sponsor sheets on Friday, September 14th. Pledge forms are Tuesday, October 2nd.
  • Subway has again donated a lunch for the class that raises the most money.

Community Life (Juli and Amie)

  • Parent coffees are 1st Thursday of each month. Grand Central and New Cascadia have donated goodies to all coffees throughout the year. Stumptown has donated 10 lbs. of coffee and Stash Tea has also donated a tea assortment.
  • Amie suggested SWCS trying a Barnes & Noble fundraiser.  She will look into it and see if she can get a date.
  • Sharing Spree, which is similar to Groupon, was also suggested as an easy way to fundraise. We can have SW Charter receive a portion of sales from one of their daily deals.
  • Many restaurants require customers bring in a flyer for a school to get the percentage of sales. We are looking into restaurant nights at Chez Jose, Red Robin, Pasta Pastarini, Salvador Molly’s, Laughing Planet and Dick’s Kitchen.
  • The Garnicas, a SW Charter family, owns Verde Cocina restaurant in Hillsdale. They have generously offered to donate food for the auction, but we can’t use them due to our contract with the Melody ballroom. Jen will ask the Garnicas if they would be interested in doing a dinner night at school or offer a slot party for the auction.
  • We are looking into getting a portion of sales for a day from Whole Foods.
  • We all agreed it might be worthwhile to strive for having a monthly restaurant night.
  • Krista would like to have our first restaurant nights scheduled by the October FOSWCS meeting.
  • We are planning a movie night at the Clinton Theater. Juli will talk to Emily Pearlman. We might also contact the Moreland Theater, the Bagdad and Kennedy School. We’d like to plan this event for a day kids don’t have school.
  • Next FOSWCS AM Coffee is Thursday, October 4th.

Community Comment/Questions

  • 2 new scrip volunteers were trained today!
  • We will now be able to place standing weekly or monthly recurring orders for scrip from stores you regularly shop at.
  • Funds from scrip sales will now go directly to Friends
  • Teacher/Staff Birthdays – Kathy is working on the list of teacher birthdays. Heather will take care of purchasing cards, getting scrip cards, and having Friends Board members sign cards.
  • Starbucks on Macadam has agreed to let classes display their art. Marlene will finalize schedule.


Next meeting: October 2, 2012 7:00pm @ SWCS

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