Tuesday, March 15, 2016

RCO Meeting Minutes March 2016

RCO Meeting

3/1/16 meeting called to order at 6:05


Christine Evert,  CE gave us a warm welcome

Attendance count:  18 (more came late)

Introductions (see attendance list)

Ground Rules and introduction of Minute Taker (told everyone to stay on task).  Read minutes summary from 2/2/16.  Minutes will be approved at the end of RCO Business. 

Parent Education (Screen Time – Jennifer McConnell)

JM is site director at Children’s Choice Montessori in Eugene. Has been doing research for a number of years.  JM has worked with Jen Wylde (former MS) and Diana Fitzer (Kinder).  American pediatrics say no screen time before the age of two. 

A maximum of two hours per day for any child (see slide).  Those with more than two hours of exposure are more likely to: have increased psychological difficulties, hyperactivity, emotional and behavioral problems, irregular sleep patterns, childhood obesity.   Example: if you plan to do a movie night, that should be all for the entire day.

Kids in US watch an average of 4 hours per day.

Dretzin & Rushkoff (Kaiser Foundation) study from 2010 showed that kids have less ability to demonstrate empathy or recognize social cues, focus for extended periods of time, follow linear thought.

Every successful relationship must have the three Cs: Communication, Compromise, Commitment.  Screen time erodes these character traits.

You don’t have to answer the phone when it rings.  Urgency to respond is teaching immediacy; need for instant gratification.  Screens are habit forming.  The more time children engage with screen, the harder time they have turning them off.   (www.commercialfreechildhood.com)

11-13 second part of brain is developing constructing meaningful cognitive functions (frontal lobe). Based on usage, up to 60% is pruned away if not sued (when you are using screen, you are not using these meaningful cognitive functions.  Parents need to also be mindful about their own screen time.  Do not check phones and emails during dinner, for example. 

 TimezUpKidz (windows) you can set it to make breaks happen and you can set it for time limits.  Also try using a timer.

Screen-free meal times.  This is a very counteractive method to ensure communication in the family.  Used to be: Read to your children every day and show your kids that you read for pleasure.  These two things recommended for Diana Fitzer because it build relationships.  Now the number one thing is to have a family dinner without a screen. 

The Surprising Power of Family Meals by Miriam Weinstein.  “…learn conversation skills, exercise good manners, serve others, listen, solve conflicts, and compromise.” Social etiquette is learned. Meals are also a great opportunity to talk about food groups and nutrition.

Technology free day (try it out).  Or TV Turn Off Day.  One day per week, parents can decide amongst themselves first.  Everyone has to participate.  You cannot have one parent opt out. 

Have fun activities, share interests, be a role model. 

Board Report (Amy Sage)

Amy Sage:  We meet the third Thursday of each month.  The meetings are open and please feel free to attend.  The BOD is responsible for the legal and fiscal responsibilities of the school, and also engage in long-range planning.

At our last meeting, Sharon Dursi gave us a report from the American Montessori Society (consultant) and they did some work with the upper el teachers.  The need for upper el to have more of a unified experience while also maintaining the uniqueness of each room.  Idea of having portfolio from different classrooms, and also having teachers moving around.

We are paying for our own building.  We receive instructional funding for managing our education and facilities, but we are not a recipient of the property tax that supports school building.  The CC pays for the building.  I fell in love with Montessori as a grad student and wished that I had it when I was in grade school.  This made me want to teach along these lines.  Once I had my own kids, I wanted to seek this type of edu for my kids, so that they can learn the way that they like to learn.  Because this is a school we all opted in to, we all have a story about why we picked RM.  We have to raise $300K.  We need to do this within the next year.  4/10/17 $259K total due (this is the 5 year note at the end of the loan from ECS).  $184K by next April. Then she had us write down names of people we know.  Then she said put a check next to any of those people who support us, our children and/or our cause.  Put another check by those people who also give to causes.  You will hear two things over the next month: 1) 20 new sustaining donors, and 2) the 1,000 name challenge.  Taking that list you just wrote and getting them to the school.  We will have a way you can submit it. And we will outreach to them. Online crowdfunding.  In the fall, there will be a fall festival.  Then the holiday giving push at the end of 2016. 

We are looking for 20 donors to commit money each month (any amount).  If you are interested, please see Amy or the BOD.

$230,843 for the year, but we have a long way to go.  We owe $248K.  This will not pay for the school.  This will pay off the ECS note that they are carrying for us. 

There was talk about the 1,000 names campaign.  This includes gathering names and contact info from people who might possibly contribute to the school on their behalf.  This leads to letters, email, phone calls, even tours.

Admin Report (Chrystell Reed)

                Chrystell Reed thanked the co-conveners for the pasta dinner and she thanks Cynthia for all of the volunteers.  16th is the lottery date.  We had a large attendance at the lottery session.  170 application for about 10 clear openings in the entire school.  This can shift based on siblings and or people leaving to go to other schools.  We often invite people at the top fo the wait list to visit.  Lots of excitement at the Capital Campaign.    Crowd Funding is coming in June.  CR introduce Pete who is working with Sally and Eduardo to make  a video for the Crowd Funding campaign.  The video is the big pull.  They are trying to get a lot of footage of people and students involved with the school.   Last thing: I am asking for parents to take charge of being a crossing guard at Crossfire Church.  Having an adult presence at the intersection will make the crossing safer. 

Site Council (Sally Steinman)

                Sally introduced herself.  She is a parent rep for Site Council.  She is one of three parents on the committee.  They talk about project for the school, and the survey is their big project.  Parent survey is a tool that we use to get feedback from everyone who is part of the school about FR and programs, facilities, and anything.  The survey will come out in a few months.  This really helps us plan for the future and for the next year. 

It is a three year cycle and we are looking for a new parent rep for next year.  Write a little blurb if you are interested and send us your picture and we would love to consider you for the SC. 

Site Council Vote: three parent reps on the SC and each year one rotates off.  Valerie Jamison is going to read her blurb and we would vote on her becoming the next parent rep for the site council.  We voted and she was elected.


Christine motioned to accept the minutes and Michelle Lodwig seconded.  Minutes are accepted.

DDD Update Our goal is $40,000

Total collected is $33,846

DDD $30,459  (SOME of this is in pledges)   %64 percent

$7,328 in general fund (escript, rest night, amazon, etc)

Left to raise $2,159

We still want to have ppl participate in DDD even though it is over.

Events coming up are restaurant night. Read-a-thon. 

Next two RCO meetings we will look at how we want to spend any extra money.  T-shirt colors will be picked by the kids via survey.  Last year’s extra money was presented to the board because the money is general and we gave each classroom as certain amount and we got t-shirts for each child. 

We will be accepting nominations for a new co-convener now and elect in May.

ML talked about needing a person to take over the events (and event coordinator).  Buddy bench was mentioned.  ML talked about working on buddy benches, one for each playground.

Rhonda talked about Read-A-Thon

Christine talked about Track Town Pizza is Monday night.  Flyer is needed. 

RCO at ridgeline (dot) org for questions. 

Last Minute Thoughts or Questions

Q. Is it okay to have events where alcohol is served?

A. Yes, by BOD approval.