• Middle School

Kimberton Waldorf School
Board Meeting Minutes
November 20, 2013

Attendees:  David Hunter, Allyn Weiser, Deb Merroth-Ahola, Seth Bacon, Mike Precopio, Kevin Hughes, Sherry Wildfeuer, Emily Shaker, Lael Rasch, Clemens Pietzner, Kris Keller, Alexander Zay, Carmen Maciarello, Michael Campbell. 

1.       Meeting called to order - opening verse recited.

2.       Approval of last month’s 10/30/13 Board minutes – Mike P. motioned to approve minutes, Sherry seconded.  Minutes approved.

3.       Triskeles  presentation regarding 2014 Tempus (Social Entrepreneurship) Event March 14th and 15th  - Clemens Pietzner and Kris Keller.

·         Discussed the strong turnout of ±125 students from 15 high schools and five colleges.  The event created quite a buzz and was considered very successful with a wide draw of attendees.

·         This year’s Tempus to focus more on how-to with a theme of Stepping Stones to Entrepreneurship.

·         KWS and the larger community benefitted from the wide exposure the event created. The Tempus coordination with KWS in 2013 was successful through the work of Caitlin Elberson, Dev. Dir. and other school volunteers.

·         200 students is the attendance goal for the 2014 event.

·         Requested that the Board continue to support the event including faculty/staff and volunteers participating in the event. The Board was asked to consider suggestions for potential event sponsors; and for staff or volunteers to coordinate between KWS and Tempus 2014.

4.        Task Force Update:

·         Kevin Hughes presented the Task Force review based on a previously distributed spreadsheet. The various Task Force committees are on-track according to the timelines that were developed. Very soon the question will be “what’s next?” as the Task Force Committees wrap up work on existing themes. 

·         Changes to the School’s website and the development of the Kimberton Star were discussed as they relate to our goals to enhance school communications and welcoming parents. Transformation of the gym foyer is complete, providing a second home atmosphere for parents.

·         Financial Sustainability Committee has been meeting to discuss three and five year plans. A meeting was held Nov. 15th to develop a plan for next year and the following year.

·         The feasibility of starting a Boarding House was investigated. The proposition is complex and includes legal and staffing issues as well as a significant investment in time and money to get the project off the ground. The more we look into the process of opening a Boarding House, the more complicated and expensive it appears.  The Boarding option appears to be of significant financial gamble at this time, but may be appropriate at a future date when finances allow. The alternative is to focus on our current family hosting program and to evaluate hosting incentives. 

·         David Hunter requested that the potential impacts of the four Task Force initiatives to retention and admissions be estimated and quantified, allowing a metric to help prioritize and steer future work. 

·         The second set of Main Lesson Surveys have been returned by High School students. The participation rate was high (est. 60 to 70%). The surveys have been helpful in identifying teaching strengths and possible areas of improvement. Teachers are invited to add questions to the survey they feel would be helpful. The results are reviewed by the Core Team and main lesson teachers to direct pedagogical improvement. Students taking the survey remain anonymous and have been informed of how and why the survey is useful for the School.  

5.       Outreach Review:

·         Emily Shaker provided a summary of Marketing and Outreach activities the School recently completed and is planning for the future. Emily would like to focus more of her time on outreach activities with short term return. Previous time constraints are being filled with part-time staff to free up more time for outreach activities.

·         The idea of a Merit Scholarship was discussed as a recruiting method. The scholarship would be offered to a family employed at a local business/corporation, generating interest in KWS and school visits by families competing for the scholarship.   

·         The School’s web site is now up and running on the new server, thanks to the hard work of many individuals. There are still some glitches to work out, but overall the benefits of this change will be significant. We expect savings in our data entry time and a boost to our image through new and growing forms of media communications. 

6.       ADVIS Advice to Boards:

·         David reviewed the more pertinent items gleaned from an October 5th ADVIS conference at Villanova. Four Board members attended this event. ADVIS recommends Board terms of three, three-year terms to allow for long-term board memory, such as “what was tried previously and why the current path was chosen years ago.” This “institutional memory” cannot be obtained through the current two, three-year terms. Current parent vs. non-parent board mix was discussed (50/50), Board size of 18 Trustees was considered ideal (a range of 12 to 25).  We are 8 Trustees now, soon to be 7. Employees of the school were not considered good board candidates (too close to the issues).

·         Discussion on cleaning-up the by-laws due to reflect changes in governance. Cost estimated at $2,500 to $4,500 (lower than expected). Discussed adding this expense to the budget.

7.       Finance Committee Review:

·         Michael Campbell reviewed the work of the Financial Sustainability Task Force. No easy cuts were found to help with the budget. Boarding and host families discussed.