October 2013 Friends Meeting Minutes

Friends of SW Charter School Meeting
October 1, 2013

In Attendance: Chrissy C., Ann H., Katrina D., Mindy K., Aileah, Hanne, Adrienne, Christina, Jeff, Nicki, Liz

Kathy’s Birthday

Kathy Price is beloved by the kids of SWCS and we’d like to do something special to celebrate her upcoming birthday on November 2nd. Kathy loves all things Star Wars. We thought it might be fun to plan a day where the kids could dress in Star Wars costumes. We could also provide printable masks for kids without their own Star Wars gear. A tentative date of Friday, October 25th was set. Christina will talk with Anne to arrange details.

Pennies for Patients

Last December Jessica Nichols organized the Pennies for Patients community service project to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Students raised almost $600! Jessica and Jeff Nichols will organize again this year.

Supporting Our Staff

Teacher Survey: Melissa Allen has put together a fun survey for teachers and staff to indicate their likes on food, classroom needs, hobbies, favorite restaurants, and more. We are hoping the survey will help to bridge a communication gap between the class reps, parents and teachers.

In addition to getting to know the staff, the survey results will help us fill the snack box with appropriate treats, select teacher gifts, and plan staff appreciation. We will also include a section in the survey for teachers to let us know what we as parent volunteers can do to help them, such as relief in the classroom during lunch, recess, math, etc.

Melissa is hoping to distribute the survey on Friday. She will gather the surveys and then distribute the results to the class reps. Completed surveys will also be in a binder in the Friends mailbox in the school office and perhaps posted on the class Shutterfly sites.

At the last School Board meeting, Kathy spoke on behalf of the staff citing concerns regarding staff turnover, level of pay, and the amount of work staff do. These concerns were well received by the School Board. While Friends cannot assist with level of pay, we can find out what we as parent volunteers can do to help our teachers.

Unfortunately, the school web site doesn’t serve as a main gateway for information. So, we cannot have a central place for teachers to post their wish lists or volunteer needs. But perhaps Marlene could include this information in her weekly newsletter. Wishlists and volunteer needs could also be shared on the Friends Facebook page and the blog.

Liz will ask Marlene to include something about the Friends blog and Facebook page in her weekly newsletter. It was suggested that we send a flyer in take home folders with information about subscribing to the Friends blog and Facebook page.

 Staff Appreciation Committee & Birthdays: Melissa Allen and Christine Bravo have volunteered to head up the Staff Appreciation Committee. Their main duties are to recognize teachers’ birthdays monthly at a staff meeting, arrange potlucks during conferences, and plan Staff Appreciation Week in May.

We discussed how we would like to involve the kids in recognizing their teachers’ birthdays.

In addition to our usual gift cards for staff birthdays, there might be ways parents can step in for recess, art, lunches. This goes back to our desire to help teachers and assist with their workload.

Hanne will share last year’s staff appreciation week ideas and staff birthday list with Melissa and Christine.

How we can help them: We discussed what we can do as Friends to support our staff. Our main thoughts were to try and alleviate some of the workload on our teachers and staff by providing relief during lunch and recess, offering to teach an art project, sharing a special skill with the kids, etc.

Christina is going to send out a personal email to teachers, staff and room parents suggesting how teachers can utilize parents. For example, Amanda and Mike have added slots for parents on their Shutterfly sites to cover for lunch breaks, class librarian, etc. Some teachers might not be aware or are too busy to ask for help.

Elise, our Volunteer Coordinator, may be working on developing a volunteer interest form for parents to indicate availability and skills that teachers could utilize.

We will soon be keeping track of volunteer hours via computer. Maybe the volunteer interest form information could also be included in the volunteer hours database.

This year we have a grant committee composed of Adrienne and Stacey Goldstein. They are looking for ideas from the teachers regarding specific projects they would like to see funded.

Run for the Arts (Adrienne)

 Run for the Arts is tomorrow, October 2nd! We’ve had many kids return their forms!

If you’re available in the morning, teachers may need help putting on bibs with safety pins. All lap counter slots have been filled. We still need a few safety volunteers especially for the later run times.

After October 25, Adrienne will need 3-5 people to help her calculate the points earned for each child. Forms go back to kids Friday to begin collecting their pledges. Along with the competition for a class Subway lunch party, Adrienne has procured some very nice prizes for top earners and she will be putting together some art supply packs.

The awards ceremony will be in November. If we meet our goal, Anne will ride a tricycle for the day and dress like a baby.

If your child doesn’t want a t-shirt, indicate that when you return the pledge form. T-shirts cost us $7.50 each and take away from our total earnings.

Some mentioned that many schools are organizing their own run for the arts events and not using Young Audiences. Nicki mentioned that Abernethy has their own run and pledges can be made online.

Community Life Update (Aileah)

Juli is working on getting a Square credit card reader for people to buy Chinook Books, etc. We need to get approval from Anna and the Board.

Our annual Black Friday Roller Skating at Oaks Parks Rollerskating is booked.

We are having difficulty setting up any restaurant nights for the fall. Most places have asked us to call back in January.

Aileah will call Fulton Pub to secure a date for our annual spring restaurant night. She is also working with the Old Spaghetti Factory.

Chrissy and Ann have connections with local restaurants and bars: Victory Bar and Equinox. They will try and arrange something.

Anna will help us get a reusable, weatherproof community coffee sign that we can put up on the fence. Aileah will email Christina with the wording.

Fall Fundraising (Hanne)

Chinook Books will be promoted next week. Order forms are due October 8 and books will be delivered by Oct 10. Depending on how sales go, Hanne may extend the sale till Oct 31. Hanne will email the room reps to remind people about Chinook Book orders.

 Financial Update (Nicki)

 Nicki will meet with Karen to clarify our Friends budget.

With the auction money raised last year, the school board purchased 7 classroom projectors, computers/, washer/dryer, dishwasher, security cameras, cabinets, router, etc. totalling $15,000.

As a reminder, Karen likes to have reimbursement forms turned in the same month that an item was a purchased.

Other Business

If there are still incomplete projects from the work party held before school started, we should organize another work party for the week of Thanksgiving. Hanne will talk with Anne about setting this up.

Next Meeting: November 5th

For a Google Doc version of these minutes, click on the link below:


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2 Responses to October 2013 Friends Meeting Minutes

  1. Lisa Colombo says:

    The school website should be able to host teacher pages. The reason why so many teachers went to shutterfly is that it has not yet been set up to host them. Perhaps if a parent ( or parents) would like to take that task on, I’m sure teachers would jump on it!

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