Carolyn Havrda, Cindy Kehoe, Dee-Dee Desmarais, Fiona Shackleton, Lauren Akerlind, Ruth Tracy, Rosana Bannock, Jonathan Seamans, Beayanka Pinckney-Naraine, Kolaiah Williams, Kathy Evans
Minutes 2/11/15 5:30-7:00 pm
Members Present: Carolyn Havrda, Cindy Kehoe, Dee-Dee Desmarais, Fiona Shackleton, Lauren Akerlind, Ruth Tracy, Rosana Bannock, Jonathan Seamans, Beayanka Pinckney-Naraine, Kolaiah Williams, Kathy Evans
Reminder about reasons we have ground rules that especially number 12 that we stand together and strive for consensus. All the ground rules are important, this is a voluntary commitment and we are here on behalf of all of the children.
SGC Ground Rules were read aloud by members of the SGC team.
Review and acceptance of 11/5/14 & 12/17/14 SGC minutes
11/5/14 minutes could not be accepted because they have not been submitted. Once received minutes will be circulated for electronic acceptance. 12/17/14 minutes were accepted with a correction of ! changed to 1 page 2 in reference to Title 1.
Review of Future Enrollment Projections
Proposed enrollment for 2015-16 is 255 students. Class size is reduced to 23 at McDonough due to lack of space. Upper elementary will stay at 25 as that classroom has a bit more square footage. Magnet school grant submission will add 6-8 students to ensure financial reimbursement if we over enroll. The following years class size grows back to approximately 26-28 students per class, which is in alignment with the Montessori Teacherâ€™s Contract as well as best practices for Montessori education. Year 17-18 we will have 7th grade students available to join ERDKINDER with Annie Fisher Montessori.
Discuss 2015-16 Proposed BUDGET
Members reviewed proposed budget with new updates to the budget process this year. We will not be able to ask for the Small Schools Grant because we are a Magnet School. We are now proposed to be balanced as a magnet school 50/50 Hartford/Suburban. All custodians and custodial supplies are now paid for and generated by the district office. We will be responsible for overtime for extra events only. The district will also be responsible for the Security Officers. We will be responsible for
overtime of extra events. It has been indicated by the district that we would likely continue to have the same number of custodians and security officers.
Expenditures include gym and music for each building. We fund them as .2 positions. The Montessori curriculum program normally builds specials within the classroom setting. Some Montessori programs do not have separate specials teachers, but this can create a planning problem for teachers. Proposed new expenditures also include a Dean of Students. A Dean of Students will assist with academics as well as evaluations. The flat rate stipend for staff included is at 6.7% for extended day. There are 2 academic tutors, and an ELL tutor. Students needing ELL services will likely grow.
Expenditures also include adding 2 paraprofessionals for the new lower El classroom. We are also proposing a .40 nurse position to service the students as our McDonough population grows. In this proposal there is room for one more intern. We currently have 2 interns who have moved into paraprofessional roles. This move has been done to ensure we have trained personnel to fill new positions. We are working to ensure cultural diversity in our staff and programming. The team discussed notification of future Montessori trainings. Field trip fees and transportation costs are low as â€œHartford Performsâ€ funds many of our field trips. We continue to strive to not have fees for field trips.
We have a five-year contract for the copier. We currently use the Moylan copier as our main copier. A copier at the McDonough campus is desired. Our student licenses are paid for with the Early Start grant. It was also proposed that we add more funds to the advertising budget.
The SGC proposes that we ask for $150,000 to be moved from incubation funds. The district controls incubation funds, but the funds are there in the budget line. We have been very creative in fitting and finishing new classrooms but at this stage additional district $ are a must. We currently have 9 classrooms fully furnished. Montessori materials are extremely expensive, running about $75,000 per classroom. Primary and lower elementary are approximately the same amount. Montessori and Hartford Public Schools will own everything we buy. The two classrooms we started last year still need some supplies because they werenâ€™t needed for the students they had currently, but as they grow, they will need additional materials.
An SGC member questioned the current plan for replacement schedule of technology. We upgraded five additional laptops, as well as five desktops for primary, and five desktops for the elementary level. We canâ€™t use the Early Start Grant funding for hardware, but we can use it for software licenses. There is a grant submitted for funding the summer school program, (Early Start), as it did last year. The grant focus has changed to provide summer school with a focus on Hartford students for pre-k 4 year olds and up. This changed was prompted by feedback from parents who wanted the pre-k to be included in Early Start.
The Nurse upgrade to .65 (adding .15 to McDonough split) could be taken from the contingency funds along with the funds for the copier. A question was posed about our proposed advertising funds. Most magnet schools in Hartford use $5000.00-$7000.00 for advertising and marketing. We have always been frugal in our use of advertising dollars. We are trying to recruit parents on a one to one basis so they really understand the Montessori Program. Currently we have a Project Support Facilitator and the FRA who work on organizing the recruiting of children and families. Recruitment
Fairs are a place for new families to learn about us, and we had a good turnout of staff volunteers who supported the Magnet Fair last week. We have placed signs and pamphlets out to inform parents. There is also a lot of detail on our website for parents to assist them in understanding the Montessori Program. It was also proposed, and there was a consensus that Kerry McNamee can be a â€œspecial guestâ€ at a future meeting to discuss recruitment and strategies.
Amendments made to budget upon consensus:
Take out of contingency-(@$8100) to increase McDonough nurse to a .4 position. Take McDonough (@$10,000) copier funds out of contingency or incubation funds.
Summer grant will hopefully fund all of Early Start Summer School and those funds can also be repurposed if needed.
Amendment was proposed to add another $500 to our marketing brochures, however, it was clarified that we can always move funds if needed. Once fiscal year is initiated school funds can be moved, so there is room based on monies that are not spent which we can potentially use for marketing.
Write a formal request to use $150,000.00 of incubation funds for furniture and materials for 2 new lower elementary classrooms.
Approve 2015-16 Budget for submission
Budget was approved with amendments above.
Use of Title 1 funds ($509.00) to be spent by 3/31/15 for Silent Journey/Subcommittee Currently Texas leader option is not available. A subcommittee was formed to explore the Silent Journey Program. It is hoped to be facilitated by an AMI Certified Consultant- possibly Gerry Leonard, Gretchen Hall, Uma Ramani. Staff will need to be on board with VOLUNTEERING to assist with journey. The subcommittee formed included: Kolaiah Williams, Fiona Shackleton, Lauren Akerlind, Rosie Bannock, and Carolyn Havrda
Overview of School Location Status/Information session for families
A letter was read from a team member who could not be here stating that she is for what is in the best interest of the students. Another letter was read from a team member who could not be here. She would like the school to remain in Hartford, but if the location is in the best interest of the students she is for it.
This group has functioned well and has been recognized as a group that has been a model SGC. It was observed that at the MMCO meeting some community members did not observe grace and courtesies. Suggestion was made that comments, suggestions need to voiced to the SGC and not brought to a public forum. We cannot function effectively as a team if we donâ€™t agree to these ground rules.
Concern was voiced about safe environment. It is impossible for us to have a safe, outdoor environment in this location; we could have outdoor access in West Hartford. We also currently donâ€™t have kitchens, which would be made available in West Hartford.
Another concern was voiced that all viable options have not been disclosed. However, according to the district, there are not currently other viable options.
A team member shared that at the last Board of Education Meeting, options were explored only in Zones 3 and 2. Concern is that all options might not have been explored, and some of the Hartford families might be lost if we move outside of the city. The SGC member stated that the Mayor has proposed potentially consolidating schools, so there might be other options. This member is concerned that West Hartford may not be welcoming and does not want to bus their child outside of Hartford. However, now it has been put on their regular meeting agenda.
It was suggested that we have a special meeting with the parent community sharing additional information to help fully inform parents. SGC feels that MORE information needs to be shared and that people have individual stories they want to share. Carolyn will email her supervisor to see if a meeting can be set up with the Superintendent and/or Mayor for an information meeting, as soon as possible.
Member suggested that meetings be held at 4:30 p.m. so that families would be able to participate before the 6:00 p.m. bus leaves Hillside Ave. Efforts will be made to do so in concert with ELAMS or MELS facilities.
Staff met at last weekâ€™s staff meeting to discuss positive and negative aspects of the proposed move. Some members are concerned that Hartford families could be lost if we move outside of the city.
An SGC member who is also a suburban parent, who lives 19 miles away, likes to remember that a magnet school is not a location, it is a community, and at the end of the day, the school is whatâ€™s great. Her daughter rides the bus every day for 50 minutes to come to this Magnet School in a vibrant community with a strong neighborhood community. However, this parent feels the new location is a â€œgiftâ€ to us in terms of the positives.
Education Committee (NRZ) has heard from Hartford in terms of where theyâ€™ve looked. Theyâ€™ve looked all around Hartford. Taxable properties cannot be used. We can help each other to get to school; the community has helped to support that for years.
Members of the team thanked everyone for their participation on an important meeting. A special thanks was given to the Principal for all she does for the school and community.
Meeting Close Process
Meeting adjourned at 8:54
5:30 pm March 4th (Future meetings April 1st, May 6th, June 3rd)
Minutes respectfully submitted by Maria Van Nostrand