Friends Meeting Minutes ~ May 2016


Friends of SW Charter School

Meeting Minutes

May 10, 2016


Playground (Jeff Slinger ~ Andersen Construction)

Jeff, from Andersen Construction and a SW Charter Board member, brought plans and drawings of the play area design created by Leon Smith of Planet Earth Playscapes.


The plan focuses on nature-based interactive play which ties in with the mission SW Charter.


The Board has tentatively earmarked $10,000 for the play area. But this is only about 1/6 of what we would need to complete the entire project.

When looking at the playscape perspective from Bancroft, the right side of the area will feature two covered areas for outdoor classrooms/activities. There will be 4 rolling planters to make dividers and provide flexibility.

When it rains, water will trickle down from the patio to the current garden area into a sand pit surrounded by rocks. A lot of the garden area will remain as is including the cob bench structure. A willow house will be constructed as well as some storage cabinets.

A special SW Charter School sign will be made for the front wall of the garden area. It is hopeful that this will be a school art project and may include kids’ or donor names.

When viewing the left side of the playscape perspective, there will be an area filled with woodchips delineated by logs. Other features include a pull up bar, hammock swing, netted climbing apparatus, a wide slide and a covered stage area with a mirrored wall behind it. The current climbing rock will remain. Some blacktop will also remain for four-square, etc. New features will be anchored into the blacktop so they could be moved to a new location.

Many of these features will have to custom made and therefore are costly.

Leon feels we can probably get enough volunteers to help construct some of the items. But the cost of materials will be a major challenge.

Jeff and the Friends concluded that the outdoor classrooms and the garden area should be our first priority and might be doable this summer. The left side of the play area, with its many custom made features, is too costly at this time.

Next week, Jeff will be meeting with Mirabella residents. They have many skilled retirees who may be willing to help us build planters, storage cabinets, and benches.

In addition to the completed Phase I drawings, Leon is also able to make construction details for play area elements. Jeff felt we didn’t need to pay for this. But we could use Leon’s expertise with the willow hut, sand pit and drainage in the garden area. Leon could also provide valuable advice on how to manage the project.

We discussed the possibility of doing a fundraising campaign for the play area. Many of us thought it might be difficult task in addition to the annual auction.

The play area interest group has its first meeting Tuesday, May 17th at 6 pm in the Great Room. Jeff wants to find people who are able to take on and manage smaller aspects of the play area. His hope is to divide and conquer. We’ll determine how much we can do, what materials we need, and who can make it.

At the meeting, we also plan to set dates for construction during the summer. Anderson Construction is willing to donate labor.

Fara will write a blurb about the play area meeting to put on Shutterfly, Facebook and the Friends blog.

Auction Leftovers (Hanne)

We made about $2700 on this year’s online auction! We have about 30 items left over that didn’t get bids.

Hanne would like to distribute the remaining items thoughtfully and based on need. Elise suggested letting room parents use some of the items for end of the year teacher gifts. This year, some room parents have had an extremely difficult time getting funds from families for teacher gifts and classroom activities. Christine and Melissa, our staff appreciation specialists, are willing to take on distributing the items.

We have several baby quilts leftover from the online auction. We are considering donating them to Project Linus, which provides handmade blankets to critically ill children.

The School Board is doing a teacher survey and would also like three auction items to give as incentive for teachers to fill out the survey.

Year-End Funds (Elise)

The budget that Elise shared from Karen is not up to date. This year, we have spent about $1200 of $5000 we receive annually from the Board.

We made $286 from our Burgerville restaurant night on February 24th and about $100 from the Spaghetti Factory on April 11th.

We funded $1500 in teacher mini grants this year.

We will have money left from our earned income. We need to decide whether to roll it over for scholarships for next year. We also discussed whether to put it towards the play area. We want to make sure that it goes to something very specific.

Adrienne suggested that it would be helpful for accounting purposes to know some basic statistics on where our scholarship money is going, such as what grades, classes and trips, while of course maintaining the confidentiality of families.

Back to School Packet? (Elise/Adrienne)

After some discussion, we decided against doing a printed back to school packet.

Quick updates

Elise would like various Friends committees, including the auction committee, to document for next year how they do what they do. This would be helpful for new people to step in. Elise will send out an email. When completed, we could include this information on the Friends blog.

Emergency Preparedness Committee (Elise and Emilie)

  • Next year, we will no longer have individual comfort kits. Instead, each classroom will have an emergency bucket that includes items for an entire class. The buckets have been purchased and a shipment of donated first aid kits is on itsway.
  • We’re researching backup light sources for classrooms in case of a power outage, as well as flashlights and lanterns for emergency buckets, and emergency rations.
  • They are also working on having out of state contact information on paper and not on computer.
  • Marlene is working with Fire Station no. 4 to determine evacuation site if building collapses.
  • The non-functional giant heating unit in the Great Room has been removed and all bookshelves that could be attached to walls have been anchored!
  • The second phase for the Emergency Preparedness Committee will be to focus on communications and procedures in the event of an emergency.

After-School Classes 2016-2017 (Adrienne)

  • Adrienne has been exploring options for after school classes. Amanda is looking into offering an afterschool K-5 foreign language instruction program that would be for 50 minutes 1 x per week. 8 classes for $128. Amanda might need a parent coordinator for this.
  • In addition, we’d like to offer other non-academic afterschool classes. Adrienne shared a list of ideas. She would like to offer two 6-week sessions – Oct/Nov and Feb/March. We would offer a least 6 selections with two for each grade cluster K-2, 3-5, 6-8 as space allows.
  • We need to solicit instructors, determine the sign up process, prepare promotions, and get parent volunteers to help with clean-up, etc. We could announce offerings at parent night and right before winter break. The Board would like to try to use our teachers first and then cast a wider net if necessary.
  • Please email Adrienne with any ideas for classes, instructors outside of the school community, etc.

Summer Meetings?

Our next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, June 21. We decided we would like to have a little party. Elise is willing to host. She will look at her calendar and determine a time and date.

Google Docs version of May 2016 Minutes.




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