Tuesday, January 19, 2016

RCO Meeting Minutes January 2016

RCO Minutes  1-12-16

Recorder:  Darlene Colborn

20 people present


Approval of the minutes will take place at the end of the meeting after they are passed around for people to look at.


Market Place at Pasta Dinner:  5 students have applied.  Gabriella and Veronica demoed homemade hand warmers that they will sell.  We have space for 8 so there are still spaces.  Get info to the RCO asap.


Parent Education   Doctor Jen Wyld

Jen had children in Montessori pre-school and had little knowledge of what it was all about.  This changed when her kids got older.  She taught ­­­­­­ a 6–12 yr olds class for a time.  She came to Ridgeline in its third year and has grown with the school.  After experiencing Montessori, she decided to get a PhD:  learning in an informal environment at OSU.


Maker Movement uses a lot of Montessori principles in a learn-by-doing environment.  She has moved to Vancouver, WA, but loves Eugene and is happy to come speak to us about it.


The history of Montessori is that it was a pre-school for a lot of years.  At this point, elementary has built up a sustainable curriculum with middle-school following.  Montessori IS good for every child.  Children will learn due to their environment where others are learning regardless of their involvement.


Some people in the room in a mixed class will be working at a more advanced level.  They will learn by seeing and being immersed in the culture.  There isn’t as much stigma around the norms with a mixed classroom as there is flexibility in the work. 


Maria’s background is in medicine.  She was not trained in education.  She began institutional studies and started with observation and began introducing various themes.  After a time, children who were institutionalized began performing at a standard level.  Then she began introducing her methods with a lot of observing and not many pre-conceptions.  She saw that the students could handle the work.


Because of the observations, she developed the planes of development:  primary plane -  0-6 yr old, 2nd plane - elementary 6-12, 12-18 middle, and 16-24.  Usually a 3 yr middle followed by a 3 yr high school.


Children have an inner drive.  Ages 6-12 is a fairly stable time and the best opportunity for success with education.  First lesson:  Great Stories – the creator with no hands (from the big bang until now).  Developed imagination relies on real experiences.  Cosmic Education.


Gregario:  Group instinct – side by side play and exploration.  Social structure of the class creates the creative environment.  How do we fit into the universe?  Middle-schoolers interact with the world in a greater, more creative way.  Doing different work in the class creates an environment of seeing what others are doing.


Children this age are figuring out this world::  black and white, what’s acceptable, what’s not, who’s who, what’s what.  It involves Hero worship:  looking out into the world and finding who to look up to.  What are the  Common themes?  Example:  Where does bread come from?  Appreciation for roles of people and those who have gone before us.  Chart of interdependencies. Theme that we all have something to contribute-develop an appreciation – you have something to contribute, too.  Some heroes are small and interact while others are role models.


The No 1 important thing:  developing abilities to abstract.  Manipulative materials are used to internalize the processes.  Abstraction happens later.  Formulas are a point of arrival.  Invert and multiply is an example:  why do you do that?  Concern is for them to get to the point of abstraction, but have a visceral understanding of what is happening.  Ideally, they come out with a deep understanding of how the world works. 


There’s not a Montessori High School, so how do our kids transition from Montessori to Public School?  Should you pull them out after 6 years (to go to a regular middle school), or wait.  For adolescents, with everything going, spending time in a nurturing environment will serve them in the long run.  Most will find their niche.  South and Churchill are more neighborly driven.  International program seems suited to our students.  Find extra-curricular activities, where kids develop friends and focus. 

Board Report:  Dave Vasquez

Dave is here to put a face on the Board.  Third Thurs BoD meetings are open.


Administration Report:  Chrystell Reed

It is lottery season and we need posters to go out.  Info session:  please share your experienced 2/4, 2/27 Applications are due 3/9, Lottery is­­­­­ 3/16.

Robin Briman, a Montessori consult will be here to work with the team.

Parent Ed piece will be part.


Site Council Report:  Theresa Meyers

The Site Council will meet on 1/25.  The Parent-Survey is being worked on.    Important for people to participate as it gives much needed feedback, can be filled out separately by each parent.  In response to Parent input an Organizational Chart is being developed.  The focus group is taking a look at attendance and tardiness within Ridgeline.  Lateness has a huge impact in the classroom.  They are looking at ways to support families in getting their kids here on time.


RCO Business

Talent Show: Darcy Ghul

It is coming a week from Friday.  1/22.


Tree Sales:  $770


Read-a-Thon  coming in April:  Jen

Earns money for the general fund.  Kids get pledges for texts.


DDD has a goal of 30 K.  The intent was to reach that goal by Winter Break.  $28,329 is what we’ve raised so far.  56% of families have contributed. 

An additional goal of $10 K to come in the form of fundraiser activities.

Edwardo will come up with an addition to the thermometer.  Pasta Dinner will encourage those who have not contributed to do so.  Why?  Participation rate shows commitment to the school.  Some years  we have had 80% participation.  One way we evaluate is by how many of our families qualify for subsidized lunches?  (This is only a means of tracking because we don’t serve lunches.)  Only 30% of our families have turned in the forms.  Families need to find ways to contribute to the DDD.  After pasta dinner, we’ll have a better handle on participation.  Work is being done on an education piece on why the participation rate is important.  Parent survey gives information on how/when we’ll do the fund raisers.  Each person gets 1 hr of volunteer time for filling out the survey. Participation is more important than $$$$$.  It’s each families’ responsibility to participate. 


As far as presentation goes, reading is now old school.  What about using U-tube, Facebook, texting, etc.  Would it be helpful to have parents present at Lottery night?  How else can we educate our families on the school’s needs and their responsibilities?


Pasta Dinner Market Place:

Any kids/group that wants to sell their wares, can contact the RCO by  2/19.  A portion of the funds raised is going to RCO fundraiser.


Pasta bowls pottery shop provider went out of biz so we’re looking for another supplier.


Nominations for the new co-convener.  Michelle would like a partner.  If someone would like to do it, get involved now to test the water.


Buddy Bench:  two parents, Stephanie Rowing and Kate Kelly, are taking the lead and will rally the volunteers who are interested.


The minutes from December are approved.