PTO Notes

Thank you to all those who weathered the storm this month and attended the PTO meeting.
Below you will find the minutes, prepared by Jessica Duke who was filling in for Debbie Rink, PTO secretary.

The International School, PTO Minutes
November 12, 2008

Dr. Stephan Grasmuck attended the meeting via Skype.

Presentation on the North Macadam Urban Renewal Area
by Art Pearce of the City of Portland Department of Transportation

The North Macadam Urban Renewal Area, which includes the South Waterfront, Riverplace, and the area around the TIS grounds up to the PSU campus, is a Portland Development Commission (PDC) Project. The Transportation Strategy is charged with developing a long range plan for multimodal transportation projects to support the North Macadam Urban Renewal Area over the next 20 -30 years.
A Stakeholder Advisory Committee (SAC), comprised of representatives from the neighborhood, businesses, and property owners, including The International School (TIS) representatives, has spent numerous hours over the past year collaboratively discussing the needs for the area and the projects proposed.

There will be a hearing on the North Macadam Project List at 2 PM on Wednesday, December 10, 2008 at the City Council Meeting.

One top priority is extending the Greenway, allowing people to connect to the regional trail system around bridges connecting the South Waterfront to PSU.  Areas they are looking at - Caruthers crossing Naito.

Other items that are on the project list to be presented to City Council for approval-
*Improving Harbor and Harrison intersection (near the NE end of campus)
*Improving the Kelly/Corbett Intersection
*Rebuilding Corbett to improve access in both directions
-Note that while street improvements may lead to more vehicular traffic, all street improvements include safety measures and improvements for pedestrians and bicyclists.

Items that are off the list -
*Northbound off ramp at Sheridan Street - deemed not feasible.
*Connecting Sherman Street to Naito.  The good news - this is off the list largely because of the involvement of the TIS community asking that this option not be considered.
The not so good news - Taking the Sherman to Naito throughway off the list means the possibility of PDC transportation improvement dollars is also “off the list”, at least with the current proposal.

Many options for projects are on the “very long term list” and may compete with other projects.

Questions for the school to consider:
*What will the future growth of TIS look like?
*How can local street systems be reconfigured to provide increased access to the school in a safe, efficient manner?
*A Master Plan for TIS is needed to help shape campus expansion and needed infrastructure to support that expansion.

Presentation on Modular Slope by Kim Marcus, TIS Board Vice President
*Slope (behind the upper modular) was planted with both shallow and deep root plants.  Bushes, shrubs and trees were planted at the bottom of the slope.
*Modular was constructed and installed to meet Zone 3 Seismic Code.  Zone 3 is the highest level of earthquake safety building code.  Therefore, even with the slope, the building is as safe as it can be.
*Soil of the slope is being analyzed for stability.  Summary of soil report should be available shortly.

Frank Bojanowski, TIS Facilities Manager, added that TIS has an Emergency Hazard Manual. An earthquake drill procedure will happen in all classrooms on a regular basis, as fire drills currently do.  Frank is working with teachers to provide some preparation and curriculum to the students, especially those in younger grades, so that students are safety-minded and prepared without being fearful.

International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program by Erika Kohn, IB Coordinator
**Presentation will be available on TIS website by clicking on Parent Resources**
The purpose of an IB curriculum is “to create a better world through education.”
*Students develop characteristics of the “learner profiles” - which create a common language all students know.
*IB is an inquiry-based philosophy.  Students learn through asking.
*Teachers get together once a week to discuss PYP planners.  They meet for one hour by grade level (cross-track) and one hour by track.
*All TIS teachers have had “Level 1” IB training.  There are 3 levels of training, by the third year of the IB process (2011 for TIS), all teachers will have completed all three levels of training.

Parent request - would like regular “progress report” of how teachers and school is moving forward with IB.  Erika is willing to do this via articles in In The Know.
This should assist parents in speaking the “IB language” so that students have exposure at school and at home.

Erika reminded everyone that TIS is in the early stages of the IB process.

Soon, there will be IB Community Boards in each building.

Communication Framework by Stephan Grasmuck and Linda Bonder
**See Communication Framework on the TIS Website by clicking on Parent Resources**
TIS needs to have communication procedures that are widely understood.  Several members of TIS Administration (Stephan Grasmuck, Linda Bonder, Rob Timmons, Jan Williams, Maria Abad and Frank Bojanowski) worked with Mead Thayer of the Pacific Northwest Association of Independent Schools (PNAIS) to develop a communications framework for TIS based on Best-Practices.  The framework has been well vetted by staff, faculty and Board members.

The framework outlines communication pathways for all members of the TIS community:
*Prospective Families/Students

Dr. Grasmuck asks that everyone please pay attention to and follow the framework to allow for smooth communication throughout TIS.  He also cautioned that e-mail, while useful, is 2-dimensional at best.  Serious communication is better-handled in-person or via telephone.

If parents have questions - they may contact Stephan directly.  A Skype meeting can be arranged if necessary.  Linda Bonder is also a good resource if you have questions about the Communication Framework.

Auction Report by Kate Schweitzer and Mark Jones
*Many thanks all around to Kate and Mark for their auction efforts!  Jennifer Farmer also helped a great deal and will be Auction Co-Chair next year along with Carrie Banks and Jennifer Cooperman.
*The Auction grossed a total of $176,000 with $43,000 earmarked for the special appeal (gymnasium remodel and playing field).
*Donations for the special appeal are still being accepted.  It was acknowledged that there needs to be some marketing around the special appeal - what can we get for what amount of money, etc.  This information is available and will be shared with the school community.
*To donate to the special appeal, simply bring a check to any receptionist.  See if your company will match your donation - many companies do!
*There are still spaces at some of the parties and holiday trees are still available.  See In The Know for details.

Information on the Gym Project
*With over $40,000 in donations from the TIS community, we are better leveraged to get grant money to support the gym and soccer field.
*The gym remodel cost estimate is $45,000.  The soccer field cost estimate is $14,000.
*The plan is to have everything complete before next school year.

Other Fundraising Updates
*Run for the Arts made $11,000.
*Sally Foster sales made $2,200.  You can still order Sally Foster items via the web and support the school.

Frequency of PTO Meetings
Two years ago, PTO meetings switched from a monthly format to every-other-month.  Now, Paula (PTO President) is finding that the PTO meeting agendas are quite full and it is difficult to have time for the open-forum for parents.  Some ideas -
*Go back to every month
*Have 2-hour meetings instead of 90-minute meetings
*Keep the every-other-month schedule for PTO meetings and have special-focus meetings (Middle School Presentations, IB PYP Night, etc.) during months when there is no PTO meeting.
--- On that note, there IS going to be a Middle School Presentation by schools that offer advanced language options on December 11 at 6:30.  Look for more information in In The Know.
*Paula suggests that if parents have an issue/idea they would like addressed at the PTO meeting, please e-mail her so that she can get your issue on the agenda.


Security & Safety on Campus - Some parents expressed concerns about safety on campus.  Frank Bojanowski was able to address most of the concerns.

*All buildings are locked after hours and secured through Protection One services.  Only staff can enter after-hours with their key-card, which allows for monitoring of who is entering the buildings after-hours.  Alex the custodian is frequently in buildings after hours.

*The sidewalks around the Caruthers Building will now be regularly cleared of leaves with the just purchased leaf blower.

*The new arrangement of the front office gives Ellen Savaria, Front Desk Staff, a clear view of the area between the Modular and the Main Building.  She will be able to see the comings and goings of students and others.

*The access issue of being locked inside the playground is being addressed.

*Reminder to everyone DO NOT PROP DOORS OPEN.

Paula Prince
PTO President, 2008-2009