SHA General Meeting Minutes and Video Update from Emily Hedin 4-21-2020
Sun, Apr 26 9:28pm

Hello all,


In addition to the minutes from our last SHA General Body meeting, please find a video update from Emily Hedin provided during our Zoom General Body Meeting (4/21/20) in the link below.  We began recording shortly after she started speaking, there's a lot of good information here for what to expect as we near the end of this school year and prepare for the beginning of next school year:



SHA Meeting Notes

Breakthrough Montessori PCS SHA



Messages from Emily Hedin

  1.  Distance learning ending before the planned end of the school year
    1. Mayor Bowser announced that all school buildings would remain closed through the end of the school year
    2. Distance learning will end on or around May 29
    3. Desire to support individual families and student learning
    4. On 5/15, Mayor Bowser will announce the proposed opening date for DC Schools with a possible early start to the school year
    5. Breakthrough admin team will reconvene after 5/15 to discuss BMPCS opening day for SY 2020-2021
    6. BMPCS is committed to starting the year in a way that reflects Montessori principles and philosophy; beginnings and endings are important and need to be respected as such
  2. Resources available to families
    1. BMPCS will continue grocery support through the summer and into fall
      1. The school has secured some funds from private grants and has received funds from Breakthrough families Thank you!!! School is also able to redirect some funds earmarked for other operations (substitutes, etc.) 
      2. Money for grocery support is from Breakthrough, not from DC government or DCPS
      3. Families can pick up additional food and meals from DC sites (open to all)
      4. Families can sign up for grocery support at any time if circumstances change
    2. Emergency relief fund for families with acute financial need
    3. Zoom counseling/teletherapy
      1. Counseling will be provided for children who are struggling.  Parents, please refer your child if you notice behavioral or mood shifts
      2. Link for a request for zoom counseling should have already been sent to families; contact Emily Hedin if you did not receive it
    4. Chromebooks
      1. More have arrived and will be distributed
  3. SHA Supports
    1. SHA has donated $3000 to BMPCS for the emergency relief fund
      1. SHA may be able to provide an additional donation if the Montessori for Social Justice conference is canceled or moved online.  The SHA will donate funds earmarked for that conference to the emergency relief fund
        1. Motion for this was made by Bonnie Gallion
        2. Seconded by Tracee Short
        3. Passed with 8/8 attendees approving
    2. Zoom classes -- please sign up to lead one!
    3. Instagram feed takeover
      1. “A Day in the Life”
      2. Please sign up to take over the Instagram feed showing a day in the life at your house!
  4. Additional thoughts from guides
    1. Maintaining social connections:
      1. Children want to socialize with each other.  Guides are requesting that families plan virtual playdates for their children
      2. The suggestion is made that class parents encourage parents to set up virtual playdates
      3. Small group social events are particularly important for PreK3s and PreK4s, who may have different learning needs than older students (online learning less appropriate for them)
    2. Class parents, please check in with teachers to see if there are specific children who have struggled with meeting attendance and may need more targeted outreach
  5. Teacher Appreciation Week
    1. The school will be preparing gift baskets/care packages to send to teachers
    2. SHA will provide funds for Door Dash gift cards (has allocated $4000 for this)
    3. Parents are asked to send emails to teachers thanking them.  Cards can be sent to the school for inclusion in the care package.
  6. Promotion policy
    1. Montessori philosophy is that promotion is based on a combination of academic, social, and emotional growth and in consultation with families
    2. Children are rarely retained in a grade for academic performance only
    3. Children who may benefit from the “gift of the 4th year” in primary have already had conversations with families
    4. Promotion policy has not currently changed but will have a few amendments; any minor alterations will need to be signed off by admin team before being shared with families
  7. Moving Up Ceremony
    1. Administrators are in the process of planning some celebration as an opportunity to generate enthusiasm and show each child that they are loved and recognized
    2. End of Year -- virtual ceremony
      1. Possible in-person ceremony in the future
  8. Re-Enrollment
    1. Re-enrollment information will be sent to returning families next week (week of April 27)
      1. Re-enrollment will be online 
      2. Families can request a paper copy and can return it via email/scan/sent via snail mail
    2. Paperwork is all in both English and Spanish
      1. Required paperwork for DC is currently available in 8 different languages, please request that from the school
    3. Paperwork for SHA enrollment will be included in the enrollment packet
    4. New students are enrolling via the online platform through MySchool DC

SHA General Meeting

  1. Budget
    1. SHA currently has $17,684.19
    2. SHA desires to carry over approximately $10,000 to next year to allow for unanticipated expenses due to the possibility of additional emergency funds needed for the fallout of COVID-19 on our community
    3. Recognition that this is a unique year, and typically the funds will be used within the school year 
    4. Recognition that families might have fewer funds to donate next year
    5. Retain money for SY 2020-2021 for schoolwide picnic/gathering when we are able to meet in person again
  2. Proposal to use funds from DEI books to donate money for books to families who need books at home
    1. Bonnie will work with Emily Hedin to identify how much money we have leftover in DEI budget and how many families need books
    2. Bonnie will report back by next meeting
  3. Spring fundraiser
    1. T-Shirts!
      1. Ty will organize this effort
      2. Use the same vendor (local company)
  4. Sign up to be a family ambassador for Breakthrough and be matched with a new family to acclimate them to our community
  5. Vote for SHA elections!