Trillium Charter School
Board of Directors
September 8th, 2014
Note: Board meeting minutes are approved at the following month’s meeting.
Posting of minutes is done prior to the approval of the meeting minutes and is
considered in DRAFT form until after the next month’s meeting.
Director’s report and narrative Financial report are attached after Minutes.
Attending Board Members: Stacy Blanton, John Lockhard, Swapna Mukhopadhyay, and Meghan Perry
Attending Staff: Kieran Connolly, Ken Gabbo, Lisa Hawash, Debra Lazzeratti, and Sara McWilliams
Attending Guests: Miles Hochstein, Johanna Norton, and (two other parents Reggie and his wife?)
6:02pm Meeting brought to order by Meghan Perry.
Brief introductions were made from all attendees.
Approval for August Meeting Minutes Tabled:
- With Board Secretary Jeff Cavener’s absence, Meghan explained that August meeting minutes were not distributed prior to the September meeting. Meghanwill record September meeting minutes in Jeff’s absence and suggested the board approve both August and September meeting minutes at the October board meeting.
- Meghan reminded board members that typically they should receive a copy of the previous month’s board meeting minutes, and the Director’s Report 4-5 days before the board meeting for that month.
- Johanna Norton provided TFT updates and shared that during their August Budgeting meeting TFT members made three major funding commitments: $1100 to support teacher training over the summer, $1800 for equipment in the high school science lab, and a $2500 pledge to support a playground structure grant request
Update provided by Kieran Connolly, see attached Directors Report.
- Kieran shared that for the first time TCS offered an orientation for new teachers, and received commentary about how comfortable and supported new teachers feel.
-During orientation new teachers were introduced to key TCS staff, supporters, and stakeholders including TFT President Johanna Norton, as well as maintenance and IT staff.
-The second day of the orientation was an all staff retreat. Teacher Ken Gabbo explained that the staff retreat was positive; “There’s no baggage.” It feels fresh. Anyone who’s here chooses to be here.”
- Kieran also mentioned the enthusiasm generated during a recent parent meeting, where staff discussed with parents how best to support charters from a legislative standpoint and also how to best support teachers.
- Kieran and Lisa provided updates on the charter legislative action group.
-Legislative advocacy consultant, Kaaren Heikes proposed a strategy to support legislation in support of charter school funding (bill ?) that nearly passed in 2011. The charter school legislative action group plans to begin coordinating efforts to build legislative support to move a similar bill forward during the 2015 legislative session.
-Lisa explained that she and Kieran will meet with Senator Chip Shields to provide facts regarding the funding structure for charter schools, challengeswith the arts tax, and to request support for improved funding structures for Oregon Charter schools.
-Lisa added that as part of their coursework MSW students will work with the charter school legislative action group to broaden advocacy work on behalf of Oregon Charter schools.
-Lisa also shared that she’ll be featured on KB00 Community Radio October to “tell the real story of charter schools” and counter amessage about charter schools that was broadcasted during the summer.
- Johh asked for continued updates on the legislative work so that board members and other community stakeholders can continue to coordinate efforts for improved funding and support of Oregon charter schools. Lisa explained that there are 120 charter schools in Oregon and right now they’re looking for boots on the ground as well as financial support of a charter agenda.
- Kieran extended an invitation to board members to join TCS staff for Taking it Up –an equity training on October 16th and 17th. Meghan asked if it’s important for participants to attend both days. John explained that if board members plan to participate in the workshop both days are necessary. John explained the training will explore: what is white privilege, howit impacts the structure of school environments, andan overview of the racial history of Oregon.
-Both John and Kieran explained that this professional development opportunity helps participates expand personal awareness, review the systemic picture, and learn what equity means for stakeholders of TCS.
-The training is not available to parents but Kieran explained that he plans tostrategize ways to share this learning withthe parent equity committee/ group.
- Kieran mentioned that new teachers will also receive training from Resolutions NW on restorative justice,
- Lisa also mentioned building a critical friends groupas a way to bring lessons learned in professional development opportunities back to committee structures –training on building and nurturing professional collaborative work.
Potential Organizational Restructuring:
- Continuing the conversation initiated during the August Board Meeting, Kieran explained that he’s continuing to dialogue with teachers, administrative staff and other community stakeholders around how to create sustainability within all roles across the organization.
-Kieran referenced a document, Trillium Admin Restructuring, distributed to the board and staff on September, 5th 2014 and provided a verbal overview of the information outlined in the document.
- Teacher Ken Gabbo asked, “Under the proposed structure who holds the mission of the school?” Kieran explained the mission is ultimately still carried by the ED; however, in a collaborative role with the leadership team including the Upper and Lower School Leads.
- Sara asked, “Where does Kieran see himself in this structure?” Kieran said he’s not sure. Sara explained from her standpoint she’s not sure if what’s being proposed is restructuring so much as defining and re-defining key administrative roles.
- Ken asked if a representative of the board can be a part of staff conversations regarding re-structuring to ensure a transparent, open and safe process of collecting staff feedback?
-Swapna asked if has to be a board member to direct the hopes and fears conversation and add validity to the process?
-Debra, Lisa, and John explained that asking a board member to be a part of this conversation is validating.
-Ken suggested sending a board representative to 3 meetings to create a sense of safety:one with all trillium staff, another with lower school staff, and a third withupper schoolstaff.
-Lisa mentions these planned conversations with staff call for clarity regarding the leadership’s consensus building process. Lisa added that collaborative decisions are made as a school, but that the board seems to rely on Robert’s rules.
-John explained in his experience the board uses a combination of open dialogue, fist to five, and simple majority when building decision making consensus.
- Miles explained that what’s happening at Trillium should be presented in a way that causes parents/stakeholders to want to engage. Miles suggests a communication piece is needed for on-going parent engagement.
- Ken mentioned during TCS’ funding crises all staff received a 5% reduction in wageand had to begin paying half of their medical costs. Ken emphasized the need for a twin push for raises and benefits.
- Ken also asked how much authority, decision making responsibility will the school leads have in these roles? Kieran responded that he envisions this being a fairly collaborative process.
- Someone else asks how we’re considering teacher and student empowerment? Kieran explained with the proposed restructuring this creates an in-house professional development opportunity.
- The general consensus from the group is to hold 3-4 meetings with TCS stakeholders (teachers and parents) to gain feedback and consensus regarding the proposed administrative restructuring. Meetings should be held during regularly scheduled staff and parent meetings –i.e. for parents during TFT’s 3rd Monday meetings. Kieran explained that he hopes we can move this conversation forward in the next couple of months.
- John moves to a discussion of the strategic planning process and suggested the story telling project outlined be utilized as year one of a broader 3 year strategic plan.
-Ken mentioned that he has a historic collection of stories from Trillium.
-Meg asked if students can help facilitate the story telling project?
-Swapna shares that there’s free training for kids on how to do digital story telling. Boise –Elliot has done this –kids asking these questions is powerful.
-Story-telling theater companies in town (Sara is a member).
-Ken mentioned that Alumni are a great resource.
- Ken added that the story telling project feels relevant as students have continually been left out of decision making processes as well as processes for healing from earlier organizational strife/turmoil.
- Johanna –mentioned tapping founders involved in the original TCS community.
- Miles explained the importance of framing Trillium as a different kind of public education. He added charter schools are seen nationally as a way of breaking public schools and emphasized the importance of detoxifying the prevailing message about charter schools. Miles also added that he would appreciate some clarity on the end product from the story telling project and the end product’s use before the process –stories are collected.
- John conducts a fist-to-five consensus building process and finds the board is generally in support of story-telling plan he explained the next step is to review the plan with leadership team.
- Swapna mentioned a $10K curriculum funding opportunity through American Education Research Association (AERA) that could support the costs associated with the story telling project.
Meghan apologized for letting the meeting run late and thanked everyone for their contributions tothediscussion. At 8:10 Meghan asked for a motion to adjourn, motion moved by Stacy and seconded by John. Meeting adjourned at 8:10.
Report to the Board of Directors of Trillium Charter School
Executive Director Kieran Connolly
- 2014-15 Budget –We will have our initial month budget statistics in mid September. We are projected to have saving in salary with all of the turnover, I anticipate investing much of this in professional development for new staff.
- Audit – We had our audit visit during the last week of August. We will have the report towards the end of the month. We anticipate a very positive report for the third straight year.
Staffing Operations update – A state of the School Address will follow by the end of the week with more specific details. Below is the overview.
-Spanish – We have hired a Spanish teacher for the coming year – Patrice Mays. We hope to have her begin on September 22nd.
-New Staff – We have done a great job of intentional orientations with our new staff and our staff as a whole. Morale feels higher than it has ever been, though everyone feels a bit overwhelmed right now, there is more positive energy amongst both new staff and veteran staff than there has been since I started.
-Process and Timeline – I communicated to the staff at large the restructuring process we have begun to discuss and invited all teachers to join our meeting on Monday if they so desire. My suggestion at this time is to formally propose a structure, job descriptions and timelines to the community and begin gathering input. I would like to have conversations this Friday with our upper and lower school staff to begin gathering input on what the positions could hold. From there I believe we can begin to gather student and parent input in a relatively timely fashion.
-We have yet to meet as a team to begin discussing this with our high school, but will do so soon.
-Our yearly deliverables have begun to come due. We turned in our staff list early last week and will follow suit with our annual report and accountability plan in the next month. Our annual audit will be submitted by the end of this month as well.