OCC BOARD MEETING
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Adams Campus Art Room
6:15 p.m. – 9:40 p.m
Amy Wind, *Anna Rubio, *Claire Taylor, Denise Senecal, *Deon Woods Bell, Ed Racobaldo,
Hank Steingass, **Ibis Villegas, Joel Korn, Katia Garrett, Lillian Perdomo, Lisa Pansegrouw,
Magaly Gatti, Margaret Ernst, *Maribel Jimeno, **Monica Liang-Aguirre, *Phoebe Schlanger,
*Sandra Marin, Steve Breslia, and *Susana Castiglione.
(* Parent board members, **Administration board members)
Claire addressed the visitors about a proposal to fill the open board seats, particularly to target
the parents of the 6th – 8th graders. We will fill the seats by nomination at the next meeting.
The Co-chairs will alternate running the meeting. Claire will run this meeting.
II. OLD BUSINESS
A. Leveled Readers – Status Report
At the last meeting, we held $10,000 aside until we had a better understanding of the needs.
Monica reported on the futility of doing an inventory and reiterated the goal of creating a
definition of what an Oyster-Adams classroom should look like. We also discussed how we need
a clarification of who owns what. There is a problem in the classrooms determining which
leveled readers have been purchased by teachers and which have been purchased by the school
or OCC. This becomes a particular problem when a teacher moves from one grade to another. If
the readers move with them to another grade, then those readers are no longer available to the
grade they are designed for. Hope Harrod is working on the Oyster-Adams classroom library
model. We also discussed how to make sure that each classroom has the same resources, not just
those classrooms with motivated parents.
ACTION – The Board tabled the leveled readers until next month.
III. PRINCIPAL’S SECTION
A. Kindergarten Aides - Update
Monica reported good news: we over-budgeted at the last Board meeting. The wage is half of
what we expected. Monica has identified a specific individual she would like to hire full time (as
opposed to part-time), given the under-budgeting. We discussed the issue that we must pay taxes
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for any full-time employee and this will affect our bottom line. We also discussed the issue of
vacation leave and which days this employee paid for. We intend this person to be a temporary
contract employee through the end of the school year, and only to be paid for those hours
actually worked. Monica stated the need to get a contract in order to hire this person.
B. Math Specialist – Update
Monica reported that Mr. Neubold is working two mornings a week focusing on researching and
developing the middle school math program and supporting our teaches through co-planning,
observation and feedback and modeling. Our goal is to have the systems in place to ensure that
eligible 8th graders are able to take algebra next year.
C. Middle School Curriculum - Update
Monica reported that they had a productive meeting regarding the middle school last Friday.
There were five areas to work on: (1) Curriculum development; (2) Spanish language; (3) Extra
curriculum - transition to high school; (4) Communications; (5) Differentiation of instruction
(meets the needs of all of the students). She is preparing an email to go out and hope to have first
meeting on Monday or Tuesday after school around 5:30 (early enough to get teacher input and
late enough for working parents).
D. Boundary Issue - Update
Monica reported that no boundary discussions will happen this year. There will be one change –
the school will not be handling the lottery at all; it will all go through DCPS. Parents can
participate in the lottery process at the school or on-line. In addition, there will be assessments of
children to boost the enrollment of truly Spanish-dominant students. A question was posed: is it
true that 75% of the kids are out of boundary? This arose as part of the Safe Routes to School
project. Monica doesn't know; that number seems high but it’s also known that many student live
in boundary to get into the school in Kindergarten and then move out of boundary. So it is very
possible. Unfortunately, the school does not have the information readily available from the
registrations because students enroll under the “special program” category. DCPS has
commissioned a study to figure out the demographics.
E. Teacher Review - Report
Ibis reported that Monica and she have begun the process of conducting structured observations
of the newer teachers. Since Oyster-Adams has a very high percentage of newer teachers, she
and Monica will be less available for other activities in the upcoming weeks.
F. Parking - New Proposal
Ibis proposed investigating whether we can rent out the two parking lots for the inauguration and
the other festivities that day to make some money for the school. It was reported that in the past,
the Marriott has wanted to rent the garage at the Oyster campus and even agreed to provide a
guard at the front to ensure safety. We need to determine if this is possible.
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IV. TEACHERS REPRESENTATIVES’ SECTION
Phoebe reported that Missy Alden has resigned from the Board for personal reasons. We
particularly need a representative from the Adams campus, ideally a middle school teacher. She
reported that Sandi is working on finding a volunteer. (Note, neither Laura nor Myrna was able
V. CO-CHAIRS’ SECTION
A. Board Meeting Attendance Procedures (who are Board members and how does the Board
interact with the community) – Discussion
Claire reported on how we are developing a series of procedures to help the Board run more
efficiently. The organization has changed drastically in the past few years and we are in need of
better structures and policies for hiring and financial procedures. We need to re-structure the
budget so it makes sense and is a useful tool for planning and tracking. We are handling a lot of
money. We need more of a corporate structure and we want to be efficient, open, and
transparent. We want to give clear instructions on how members of the community can be
involved. Susana asked if Vice Co-Chairs could run the board meetings occasionally and we
B. Rules of Engagement (how the Board interacts among the members) – Discussion and
Claire reported that the thought behind the Rules of Engagement was to help the meetings. Claire
and Maribel had largely borrowed these rules from those that have been in use by the LSRT.
Following the last meeting, members raised questions about how the meetings should run. After
a great deal of discussion during which members of the Board and the observers offered their
opinions, there was a proposal to discard the Rules of Engagement and start again.
MOTION – to discard old rules of procedure and to adopt Robert’s Rules of Order in the
Susana is doing the revision and will get a committee together and propose it for the next
meeting. There was also a proposal to add a public comment section at the end of every OCC
C. Revision of By-Laws – Update
Claire reported that the pro bono lawyer who advises the OCC recommended that we revise our
by-laws every few years but they do not need extensive revisions. Also, we do not need to be as
extensive as the Janney by-laws. She explained that we should instead develop a handbook that
explains our operating procedures. Claire will put together a proposal. We should solicit
volunteers to be on the committee and then need to schedule a meeting. In order to be able to
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present the revised bylaws at the community meeting on February 4, the meeting will need to
happen in late December or early January.
VI. VICE CO-CHAIRS’ SECTION
A. December Schedule of events – Report
1. Anna reported that she had solicited a schedule from the various committees for
December events. Very few of them responded to her.
2. The Holiday musical program will be Friday, December 19, at the Oyster campus.
B. Human Resources – Update
Susana reported that we need to get Deon check-writing authority immediately and that we owe
OCA $5,000+ that they covered for salaries. We also need to resolve who does what when
hiring; for example, who does the criminal background check, who does the appraisal and
supervision, etc. We have tried to set up a meeting with Tamara Belt and Susan Stevenson
(parents on the teacher retention committee) and the principal. Monica proposed that twice a year
we have an executive session to discuss whether the employees that OCC has hired are fulfilling
their responsibilities. We also need to develop a timeline for hiring. Katia Garrett offered
materials on developing a human resources handbook, including a decision tree.
VII. CO-TREASURERS’ SECTION
A. Line item coordinators – Report
Deon reported that the Board has a desire to enfranchise members of the community who have
the awareness of an entire project and that these people are in the best position to watch the
money allocated for that project. The treasurers have identified suggested coordinators but those
people have been told yet that they have been volunteered for the task. Also, there is a new
system for getting reimbursed for expenses and how checks are issued that uses these line
B. Metro Cards – Report
Deon reported there was an unfortunate circumstance where someone stole the Metro cards.
Once we get the replacement cards, we will have one person at each campus (Edith Shorts at
Oyster, Ana Rodriguez at Adams) responsible for handing them out and keeping inventory. They
are the ones who will notify the treasurers it is time to order more. [Supplementary point of
information not reported at the meeting: The Metro Office bulk pickup window at Metro Center
is only open from 7:30 – 3:00 p.m., not the extended hours of the regular sales office windows.]
C. Bookkeeper position – Update
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Claire reported that she has approached the same woman who is handling OCA’s books, Trisha
Bursey. We want to offer her $40/hour, for 2 hours/week with 8 hours at month’s end; the
contract will go until through the end of the OCC’s fiscal year (end of August). Trisha,
understandably, wants to know what the job entails. As for budgeting, by the end of the year we
will not have spent more than $8,000 including the $2,000 we paid Magaly Gatti for her work
through October 31. If Trisha does not want the job, Plan B is to hire a college student, such as a
senior in an accounting program.
D. Reserves meeting – Update
Deon reported on the reserves working group meeting. Three members of the community joined
the Board for a meeting lead by Jim Reisert (Oyster-Adams parent, husband of Co-Chair Claire
Taylor, and Certified Public Accountant with an educational institution). The details of that
meeting will be circulated among those in attendance for comments with the final report to be
distributed to the community prior to the community meeting on December 3. We will also make
a presentation at the December meeting that explains it in greater detail.
VIII. FUNDING REQUESTS
A. Computer access for Adams students – Decision
Deborah Vichr presented a proposal for obtaining computers for students who do not have them,
particularly in 5A. The computers are donated and the $1,500 funding request is to have the
software updated. After some discussion, Deborah asked for her proposal to be increased by
$500 to $2,000 so that she could purchase cables to go along with the computers. Deborah
agreed to be the person in charge of the project – she will receive the computers, figure out
where they will be stored, and how they will get into the hands of those students who need them.
MOTION – to approve $2,000 for the pilot project to get computers. APPROVED
Deborah Vichr has also volunteered to be head of the technology committee. Maureen Diner will
help her. Phoebe will provide them a list of names from the volunteer database. (See below.)
B. Tutoring for Adams students – Decision
We considered a proposal from Sandi Baer (who is unable to attend meetings because of a
regular conflict on Tuesdays). The proposal calls for more money than we have in the budget.
The proposal also does not include a person to be in charge of all of these tutors. We discussed if
we could use money from a different line. We will now be hiring nine new employees (as
MOTION – to approve $8,250 for the Adams tutoring program. APPROVED
We will revisit this proposal at the next meeting, once we have identified whether there are any
available funds in the budget.
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IX. CO-SECRETARIES’ SECTION
A. Parent Issues – Report
Phoebe reported on complaints she has heard about communication issues: Friday folders,
various meetings, events, (e.g., performances) and their lack of timeliness or lack of sufficient
advance notice. The paper copies of the Friday folders go out on time but the electronic version
has been delayed. We need to get Christina Mossi some help, maybe two or three parents who
can share this responsibility so that if Christina needs to go out of town, someone else can send
B. Volunteer Database – Report
Phoebe reported that she and Mary Jo Kelly are halfway finished with entering the volunteers
into the database. (Someone was using the notebook for the 4th through 8th grades.) Our plan is
to complete the database this week, then generate the list of volunteers, by event or committee,
and transmit those names to the relevant person in charge. One problem is that not every
committee has a leader.
C. Bulletin Boards – Request
Phoebe reported that the OCC needs bulletin boards at both campuses. We discussed moving,
buying, or reallocating the ones that exist. We need a place to communicate with the community.
The OCC needs to announce things but, as part of the OCC, the parent campaign needs some
space on the boards.
D. Website – Discussion
We discussed the website and the problem that no one person is in charge. Monica makes the
decisions for what content goes into the school part of things. The OCC can put stuff up in their
section (and similarly the LSRT) but there isn’t one person who is in charge. How do things get
put on the website, particularly the calendar? No resolution.
E. 12/3 Community Meeting – Discussion / Decision
1. Agenda – We discussed that the first part of the meeting will be devoted to an
explanation of the budget and the reserves policy developed by the reserves working group. We
also had proposed have presentations by the various teachers whom the OCC has hired. We will
then open the meeting up to questions from the community to the principal or the OCC. We will
not be soliciting questions in advance.
2. Logistics – The meeting is supposed to be conducted in Spanish. Sandra has been testing
the translation equipment that the OCC owns. She will also get the translators. We discussed that
the meeting was also supposed to be held at Adams but that the problem with the acoustics has
not yet been fixed. The Hilton has promised to install acoustic tiles but that has not occurred and
likely will not occur before the December 3 meeting. We need a sound system and we need a
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screen to accommodate the budget presentation. Susana offered to get a sound system. Monica
stated that a meeting has been scheduled for Adams on Thursday at which they can test the
sound system. She will also ask the Hilton if they can provide a screen. We need to notify the
community that the meeting is occurring. We will have to tell them that the location will be
F. Future scheduling problems – Discussion
1. Phoebe reported that the budget process as posted on the web does not match the
currently scheduled meetings. We will need to fix and need to disseminate to community. This
should be included as part of the presentation in December.
2. The January OCC board meeting needs to be rescheduled (inauguration day, school
closed). No decision.
3. Phoebe proposed whether to hold all OCC board meetings at Oyster because Adams is
used on Tuesday nights until 8:00 p.m. and we end up disrupting the student activities. No
X. NEXT MEETINGS
General Community – December 3
OCC Board – December 16th at Oyster campus
Minutes submitted by Phoebe Schlanger, Co-Secretary (English)
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