Summary of June 10th Breakthrough Montessori Board Retreat
Mon, Jun 24 11:28am

Dear Parents,

My name is Vivek Swaminathan, and I'm father to Tara, a rising 1st grader in Ms. Rachel's Cherry Blossom classroom. I'm a parent representative on the Breakthrough Montessori school board. The 2019-2020 school year will be my third year serving in that capacity.

On Monday, June 10th, the Board met to reflect on Breakthrough's progress in the last three years and focus on continued improvement as we grow and expand into a new campus at Takoma. I wanted to share a summary of that day below as well as introduce myself to you. Don't hesitate to reach out if you have questions.

Thanks and have a great Summer!


June 10 – Breakthrough Montessori Board Retreat Summary

12 attendees included:

  1. Keith Whitescarver, Board Chair (term expires 2020)
  2. Dave Bagnoli (2019)
  3. Katie Brown (2020)
  4. Chris Lohse (2021)
  5. Rachel Kimboko (2021)
  6. Sara Suchman (2021)
  7. Michael Bing (2022, parent)
  8. Vivek Swaminathan (2020, parent)
  9. Tova Wilson (2019, parent)
  10. Miguelina Zapata (2018, parent and SHA president) to be replaced by Bonnie Gallion, SHA president 2019-2020)
  11. Emily Hedin
  12. Hannah Richardson

The main goal for the Board retreat was to spend a day together in person to build trust and continue to mature as a group for the advancement of Breakthrough Montessori PCS, a new and growing school in the District. Underscoring our commitment to serve the needs of students, parents and the DC public charter school board is a mission to create a public Montessori program that enables children to develop within themselves the power to shape their lives and the world around them.


To that end, we discussed and created action steps on the following agenda items:

  1. Working more efficiently as a group – including survey exercise and discussions around:
    1. conflict, resolution, and decision-making
    2. politics and transparency
    3. asking difficult questions and providing support
  2. Review of Breakthrough Mission and Board responsibilities - To provide families in Washington DC with a public Montessori program that enables children to develop within themselves the power to shape their lives and the world around them.
    1. Balancing needs of students, parents and PCSB to prioritize agenda for 2019-2020
    2. Adjusting bylaws to reflect changes in our governance (providing more detail)
    3. Updating website to reflect Board members and backgrounds
  3. Continued priorities for 2019-2020
    1. Continued attention to school safety
    2. Address Board numbers, composition and renewal
    3. Diversity and bias training for Board
    4. Keeping up with PCSB measures of success
    5. Phase II build out of Takoma campus
    6. Approval of plan for Emily’s maternity leave
    7. Improve budget discipline and relations with lenders and EdOps
    8. Michael Bing nominated and approved as Board Treasurer

Again, don't hesitate to reach out if you have questions.  - Vivek