Friends of SW Charter
October 11, 2016
School Director Transition
Dennis Allen discussed the Board’s plan regarding Suzanne’s departure. Amanda will be taking on the roles of both Executive and Academic Director. Board is looking into ways to offset Amanda’s increased workload with our existing office staff.
The Executive Director was to be the school’s strategic leader and chief fundraiser. With Suzanne’s departure, the Board needs to consider whether to refill this position or go back to a sole Administrator with supplementation from office staff.
This year’s low enrollment will play a role in whether we continue with the Executive Director position. We are not bringing in as much money without full classes. Currently, our enrollment is down 15-20 students at about 190. Full enrollment is 210 students. With an enrollment push for the 6-8th grades, we are hoping to get back up to 200 students this year.
The Board’s proposed Benevon fundraising model was dependent on the Executive Director being out in the community as the face of the school. Without someone in this position, dedicated to fundraising, the annual Friends-run auction and other money-making events may be necessary. The Board fundraising subcommittee and Friends will meet shortly to discuss fundraising options for this year.
Dennis thanked us for our hard work and all that we do to make SWCS great.
Laura Dekker Event (Amanda)
Last Thursday Amanda and her family had the opportunity to hear Laura Dekker speak about following her dreams from a very young age to becoming the youngest solo person to sail around the world. Her journey started as a toddler and led her to complete the two year, 6,000 mile trip, at the age of 16.
After the talk, Amanda asked Laura if she’d be willing to talk to a young audience. She agreed! Laura’s talk is inspiring. Our youth need idols, they need to be inspired to follow their dreams, they need hope – our middle school needs this right now.
She has committed to speaking October 27th. In order to accommodate a larger audience, we are partnering with Wilson High School. The event will be in either their gym or cafeteria.
Amanda asked Friends for $500 to cover the cost of Laura’s speaking fee. It probably won’t be necessary because we will charge $5 at the door and only need 60 people to attend. Friends’ support will be just in case we don’t get a large turnout.
Prior to the event, our middle school teachers are going to show a documentary about Laura in class.
To learn more…Laura has written a book, One Girl One Dream, and here is a link to a trailer of her documentary Maidentrip.
Coordination with School Administration (Emilie)
Emilie has been making inroads to align and increase our communication with office staff and administration. Emilie met with Amanda to discuss what Friends is currently working on and strategic planning for the future.
Emilie has established a standing monthly meeting with the school administration.
Foreign Language Classes (Emilie)
After school foreign language classes will be starting in January. There will be one class for K-5 on Mondays and one class for 6-8 on Wednesdays. The classes will take place in the Griffin Den and will begin directly after school at 3:05 pm.
Amanda is hoping we can source a rug from someone in the community to make the Griffin Den cozier.
In addition, Sound Roots is holding music lessons after school and there is a possibility Aaron Nigel Smith might teach drumming.
Anticipated Support in light of admin changes (Emilie)
The Board is trying to build enrollment in the 6-8th grades. They have been publicizing in the community. Some of us took flyers to put up in the places we visit.
Friends will do Facebook and blog posts about enrollment for people to share.
Amanda may be looking for parents who are willing to talk to prospective families. Amanda would facilitate matching up prospective families with current families.
Back to School Dance Follow-up
Scoop PDX ice cream truck was pleased with the turnout. They made $600. Their minimum was $400-$450. They would be happy to come again for another event.
Emilie, Nicole and Coral are up for doing another dance in the spring. They’d like to have Pip’s Mobile Doughnuts & Chai provide treats.
Discussion of Friends Activities
Emilie created a spreadsheet to lay out all Friends activities including one time only and recurring events. Emilie asked that we take a look and update with anything not included.
We still have some vacant positions and many shadowing positions we’d like to fill. We need to figure out ways to recruit new families into some of these positions and maintain our momentum.
Amanda told Emilie one of the reasons for the lack of volunteers may be a change in school demographics with more families with 2 working parents. Also, we are frustrated with the school’s email situation. We have great difficulty getting the word out to the entire school community via the office.
We have trouble recruiting people for leadership positions.
It is difficult for parents to get time off from work to drive for field trips. We need to get across that there are many ways to be involved that don’t require a lot of time or to be at school.
Parents have asked whether we can rotating the location where the meetings are held. We have tried this in the past. Another suggestion was to use Skype.
Also, it is time to send out another volunteer call. Elise will put together an email. We need to be more assertive on Facebook and email. Morning coffees are a great way to meet new families.
Quote of the Night: “You don’t go to a special school for nothing!!”
Teacher Mini Grants
Two teacher mini grant applications were received. Our art teachers, Melissa and Nate, requested funds for art supplies. Also, Lisa requested supplies for her biology unit. Friends Board voted to approve both $500 grants. We still have $1000 to offer as grants in the spring. We will do a blog post make the community aware of the grants.
Monthly Morning Coffees
JoLea shared an idea for getting the monthly morning coffees going. The 7th/8th graders will need to do fundraising for their spring trip. The students could sell coffee and treats weekly to raise funds. We would need 2 parents to assist.
JoLea will take this to Chris. Christine and Liz would be willing to help.
Hanne has not been able to find another parent who is able to commit to co-chairing the auction committee with her. Hanne is looking for a true co-leader, not just someone to complete assigned tasks. Hanne would like to have someone in place by October 15th.
Elise would be willing to co-chair, but someone would have to take on her other responsibilities such as volunteer coordinator and yearbook.
Before the next school board meeting, Friends Board should meet with Jessica and the board to plan our next steps regarding the auction before the next school board meeting.
Forms went out today. Friends will cover the cost of t-shirts for the teachers this year.
According to Karen in the office, the $500 we thought we gave to the playground committee actually came from general fund, not us.
We voted to approve Amanda’s request for $500 for the Laura Dekker event.
Liz will do a blog post about passive fundraising opportunities we have set up with Freeman Motors, H&R Block, Fred Meyer and Amazon Smile.
We need to let the community know that you need to renew the organization you want to have your Fred Meyer community benefit.
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