November 2012 Friends Meeting Minutes

Friends of Southwest Charter School (FOSWCS)

Meeting Minutes

November 6, 2012

Auction Fundraising Focus

  • The school board’s first Development Committee meeting was held last night. Auction fundraising priorities were discussed. Anne polled the staff and asked them to prioritize 15 items. 60% of staff responded to her survey.
  • The number one priority of staff is improving internet connectivity and upgrading computer hardware. The Development Committee would like to conduct a technology audit to evaluate what the teachers currently have, what needs to be purchased immediately, and what can wait. There is some $ in school budget for computers. Kris Pearlman is willing to help with the audit. Kevin Ward was also mentioned.
  • The second priority of staff is additional playground improvements. Physical drainage issues will come out of the school budget. But teachers would like other improvements as well.
  • The third staff priority is overnight curriculum funding for grades 3-8. (E.g. OMSI Science Camp is $155 per student x 48 kids). We discussed wanting to support a portion of the expenses and agreed assistance should be needs-based. Anne wants school to be able to pay for any student that qualifies for free lunch.
    • We discussed two options to help raise funds for overnight curriculum. The first item was at the auction. We could ask community to sponsor campers or create a wishlist item for overnight curriculum funding. But if left to the auction, there is no guarantee we would raise enough money.
    • The second option we discussed was to earmark 1-2 upcoming restaurant nights as fundraisers for a needs-based overnight curriculum scholarship fund. Since we have asked the middle schoolers to do fewer fundraisers throughout the year, we feel we should do something to help. We agreed that we need to build a school tradition underscoring the importance of overnight curriculum participation. This will be discussed next Thursday at the Board Meeting.
    • We’d also like the kids to conduct a letter-writing campaign for overnight curriculum donations. Each student would send 5 letters to potential donors. Krista will ask the teachers if there is interest in doing a letter-writing campaign and Sarah M. is willing to help the kids compose a letter. Kristi will get a sample letter we could use as a model.
    • We also discussed having a pancake/PJ breakfast, chili cook-off or bowling fundraiser to assist with overnight curriculum funding. Juli will check into bowling.
    • Our goal is to raise $5000 for overnight curriculum.
  • The 4th staff priority is professional development.
  • When parents were surveyed at the end of last school year, their priorities were: #1 language education, #2 art and music education, and #3 increased field work.
  • From these results, we see there is a big disconnect between teachers’ priorities and parents’ priorities.
  • Other ideas mentioned for the use of auction 2013 funds:
    • Improved natural lighting for classrooms. Light tubes would cost $16,000.
    • Funding another part-time (20 hours) teacher aide position similar to David. The addition of a part-time teacher aide would allow Kathy to spend more time in the classrooms. The cost to fund this position would be about $15,000 annually, but unfortunately, it would have to be funded every year.
  • “Supporting our Teachers” would be a good slogan to market our auction fundraising goals because this encompasses computers, technology, and playground items. Improving the quality of the educational experience at SW Charter via technology, infrastructure, and staff.

Auction Committee Update

  • Krista, Liz, Jessica, Juli and Sarah will be brainstorming session recorders for the Auction Kickoff Meeting Tuesday, November 13.
  • Marlene & Krista will provide wine for the kickoff meeting. We also have drinks left over from conferences and wine glasses in kitchen.
  • Nicki and Christina will provide snacks, but individuals can bring something too.
  • Everyone should extend a personal invitation to parents in his/her child’s class to attend the kickoff meeting. The more brains we have there, the better the auction will be.
  • Jessica suggested have a private Facebook page for the auction committee chairs to communicate directly with those interested in volunteering and working on small projects.
  • Juli can provide a PA system, 2 cordless mics, and a video projector for the auction.

Run for the Arts

  • $18,669.05 was raised!
  • The Run for the Arts awards assembly will be Thursday, November 29th at 1:15 pm in the Great Room.
  • Laura is already looking into artists-in-residence to schedule for the upcoming year.
  • We had 2 classrooms with 100% participation in Run for the Arts.  We’d like to recognize these classes. At the next staff meeting, Marlene will ask teachers what they would like to do and get feedback.

Pennies for Patients

  • School will be participating in a community service project called “Pennies for Patients”. It is a coin-based fundraising drive that benefits the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. It will run for a 3-week period from November 27th – December 14th.
  • The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society will provide collection boxes.
  • Jessica is interested in helping with this.
  • We all agreed that we would like our children to participate in more community service projects.
  • We may like to do a food drive to benefit Neighborhood House in Multnomah Village. There is often great need after the holidays in January and February. Jen expressed interest in coordinating a food drive. She will contact teachers to see if any classes are already planning something similar.
  • Lisa’s class volunteers at the Oregon Food Bank. We could have kids from her class do a talk to other classes about their experience.

Community Life

  • Tuesday, November 13 –Restaurant night at Laughing Planet on N. Mississippi. 20% of all day’s sales will be donated to SWCS. Includes takeout. There will be a reminder for kids to take home this Thursday.
  • Friday, November 23 – Our 3rd Annual Black Friday Skate Party @ Oaks Park. Pay at the door and then Oaks Park gives us percentage.
  • Juli is planning a restaurant night at Chez Jose for the end of April/early May.
  • Tuesday, December 11 Restaurant Night at Pizzicato (Hillsdale location). We’d like to designate this fundraiser for the overnight curriculum endowment fund. Jen thinks it would be fun have a pizza day. Have the older kids serve the pizza.  Juli will call Pizzicato. Jen is willing to help. Marlene will ask teachers on Friday if they think this would work for them.
  • There will be a 2nd restaurant night at Pizzicato in March.
  • Juli reports that she is close to setting a date with the Bagdad Theater (SE Hawthorne) for a free movie day. It will be either January 31 or February 1. We’d prefer 1/31.

Fall Fundraising Wrap Up

  • Hanne is wrapping up Chinook Book sales this weekend. We have sold 75 books/mobile packs.

December Staff Care

  • At our last meeting, we discussed sprucing up the staff bathrooms. When polled, the teachers said they were not that interested.
  • But teachers were interested in group photos of their classes donated by Tyron Creek Studio. We would frame the 8 photos and present them to the teachers. Juli’s cousin owns a frame shop. She will see if she can get this done.
  • We are waiting to hear from Heather P. regarding providing drinks and desserts for a holiday party for the teachers. Heather is checking with Monica.

 February Free Family Night

  • Jessica is coordinating a Family Math and Science Night in February. There will be a need for parent volunteers. More on this next month.
  • Krista also suggested a Family Reading Night possibly in April with pajamas and pancakes. Krista has kit for this.

 Playground and Parking

  • Stacey and Sarah are getting quotes for Forever Lawn, a synthetic grass product to be installed in muddy areas.
  • Marlene is getting bids for drains at entrance.
  • We would like to extend a thank you to Walsh Construction, the company responsible for the building being constructed across the street. They have hosted tours of building for our students, provided safety cones for Run 4 the Arts, lent us a forklift and helped move the climbing rock into place. Kathy could coordinate creating a thank you from the kids.
  • Garden beds need to be cleared and can be planted with garlic, bulbs, etc. Sarah will plant, but will need some help. Kids can pull all the dead stuff out and then adults can dig holes. Then kids can plant bulbs.
  • As a reminder, please let the School Board address parking issues. Some families have gone to businesses on their own regarding parking. The Board is working hard on remedying our parking situation.

Final Thoughts — Scrip

  • We are considering phasing out scrip. The profit margin is slim, it is a lot of work for Karen, and they could use a 3rd volunteer. We are selling more, but it’s a very time-consuming process. Another option would be to cut down on the number of shops we offer. We will ask Karen if she thinks would help save her time and then reassess offering scrip.

Next meeting: December 4th 7:00 @ SWCS

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