PTO Meeting Minutes

The International School, PTO Minutes
January 14, 2009

Paula Prince, PTO President, welcomed all in attendance.   Dr. Stephan Grasmuck joined us via Skype.

Japanese Capstone Trip

The 5th grade Japanese students presented their Capstone trip to Japan.  Four students shared their experiences: visiting local sights, eating local foods, learning Japanese etiquette, watching plays, and spending time with their host families.  In the etiquette classes students learned to sit, walk, and fold hands.  The ‘best’ parts of the trip included spending a day at Disneyland, feeding deer at Deer Park, and visiting the area where movies are filmed.

Linda Bonder, Marketing Director

The school conducted an on-line survey in May 2008.  Briefly, the analysis shows overall results.  Respondents reported their number one satisfaction was the teachers. They are compassionate, dedicated, supportive, loving, and interactive.  Other value comments are the benefits of the full immersion, emphasis on cultural appreciation, small classes, quality of the education; children are happy, diversity of the school, atmosphere, and the well-rounded education.  The biggest concerns: the tuition cost, managing school growth, security and safety around the school, and communication between the parents and the school.  Other concerns included: facilities, teachers so great- need to make sure they stay, lack of continuity, and middle school availability. Another survey will be conducted May 2009, and every two years thereafter.  For additional information please contact Linda Bonder.

Kat Topaz, Board Member

Kat provided an update on the Customs House:  Briefly, the school learned the Federal Government desires to sell the property as soon as possible.  They prefer the land be used for educational or non-profit agencies.  TIS met the initial deadline to apply and is required to show due diligence that TIS is the best candidate for the property.  The deadline is 3/1/09, and the board is working to meet this deadline.  A local architect drew up plans; the building has 112,000 square feet, and sits on a 200 ft by 200 ft lot.  At this time no other schools or agencies are competing for the property. It is important to remember we are at the very preliminary stages in the Customs House and NO decision has been made by the Board whether, even if we get the Customs House, we will move forward and make it TIS' new home. More information will be shared as the process unfolds.

Michelle Kerin, Board President

Head of School update: Dr. Alfonso Orsini will begin July 1, 2009, as the new Head of School.  To read more about Dr. Orsini please go to  Michelle thanked the search committee for their hard work.  There will be a transition team working to help the school and Dr. Orsini.

Kim Marcus, Board Member

Kim Marcus updated the group about the modular slope.  There is a two-part focus: assess possible water damage and earthquake concerns.  TIS hired a landscaper , a landscape company, and a professional engineer.  All recommendations have been followed as advised by the professional engineer to ensure there is limited water damage and the current report shows there are no water issues. Regarding the earthquake concern: Holes were drilled to assess the soil beneath the buiding to understand how the building would respond in a seismic event. The building was built according to the most current standard, which is a seismic zone three. We are now working with the engineers to assess slope stabilty related to seismic concerns. Frank Bojanowski (facilities manager) stated that the children will start earthquake drills soon.

Paula Prince, PTO President

Paula answered questions from the audience.  There is frustration and concern with re-scheduling dates for field trips.  Families have set schedules, and to learn a date has been changed is quite disruptive to parents.  Paula will talk with teachers regarding this concern and ask that families be given as much notice as possible when dates must be changed.  Another concern is the amount of events held at night, versus the daytime.  Paula stated the school tries to balance the number of day and night events, yet this is something to continue to work on.

Unsure at this point as to how the snow dates will be made up.  The school will notify families when a decision has been made.

Paula reminded all to sign up to help with the Strategic Planning Committees.  See In the Know for more information.

Paula thanked all for attending.  The next meeting will be March 11, 2009.

Debbie Rink
PTO Secretary