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Board Meeting Minutes: December 2009

4 Feb 2010

The December 2009 Board Meeting minutespdf-icon covered the following topics:

  • Director’s Report
  • Staff Report
  • Group Reports
  • Relocation
  • Financial Report
  • Capital Campaign
  • New Business
  • Action/Follow Up Items


  • Michael Baran
  • Josh Safdie
  • Jenise Aminoff
  • Eric Wirch
  • Evren Celimli
  • Peter Kochansky
  • Kristin Blum
  • Tracey Kaplan
  • Joel Bennet

Director’s  Report

Tracey reported that there was a break in at the school over the weekend and the lap top and a small amount of cash was stolen.  The biggest loss was the Quickbooks financial info which had not been backed up recently.  Tracey has to re-enter everything manually, which will be a lot of work.  She’s in looking into an ongoing back up offsite or will make regular back ups the job of Treasurer or some other parent job.  Several people have offered to help enter the data and the board encouraged Tracey to take advantage of that.  Filing of taxes will be delayed a bit as a result of the missing financial info.

Some good news – an alum family (Wheelers) are excited about the school finding a new building and are willing to help financially. Tracey will be taking them for a visit after the holidays.

Tracey reported that a new YG family will be starting in January to replace Keanu.

Staff report

Tracey reported that “everything is  great”  from the staff perspective and the kids are doing well.

There is now a “chalkboard blog” on the Web, which families can subscribe to. Tracey and staff can post updates, short tweet-type posts.  Josh can post construction updates.  There is a question about whether staff can keep up on it. Tracey wants teachers to post at least once per week.   Parents can e-mail posts to lisa@mit.edu to post items on the blog.

Everyone agreed that Lisa is doing a good job on the website.

Jenise is updating the constant contact list and will be putting out a capital campaign e-mail.

Group Reports

YG had a meeting recently, which the families appreciated.

MG report – They also had a recent meeting. Tracey couldn’t go but heard it was good. Everyone seems happy. It’s a huge class of rambunctious boys, but they are all calm, chilled and involved.

OG – Josh and Michael reported that things are going well.  They had a meeting prior to the board meeting.

Holiday gifts. Each group coordinator should collect gifts.  Coordinators will indicate the suggested donation is $20, but people should pay what they are comfortable with.  The money gets pooled and evenly split between the teachers.


Josh reported that work at the building is moving along. The framers have done much of the structural work, including beams, columns, and steel. They just finished adding the 3rd floor in existing building. Next up is the excavator coming in for foundation for extension, then they will build the stair and lift. Next week they will start the interior partitions.  The GC is there every day. Plumbing and Elevator variances are in process.

There may be another work day this weekend but currently there are no tools and no temporary  power (the city disconnected the temp power). Once there’s power there will be a lock box at the site for tools, so it will be easier to set up “catch as catch can” work days to take care of little things.  This weekend’s job will be tearing up a wood floor.

Josh and Joel indicated they want to find out what people can volunteer  (time  and skills).  Once they know more about what people can and are able to do, it will be easier to assign work and set up work days. Donna and Seth are going to organize people who are interested. Jeff Levine will (with Joel’s help) prepare a survey for people on their interests and availability.

Josh had the first meeting with Ed (GC) about the construction budget. So far the work has been done within the budget.  The GC now has proposals from subcontractors and trades for the next set of work.  The drawings were prepared showing everything we wanted so Josh has to go through and delete some items we can live without  to stay within the budget.  There will no cuts of critical items.

Financial Report

Tracey reported that  revenue and expenses are in line with budget (for school operations).

Capital Campaign –

Jenise reported that last week send a letter to everyone on Agassiz’s mailing lists. The responses are starting to come in. They will be recruiting current families to mail letters to others they may know (families or friends) who may be interested in donating.  There will be an effort to contact adult alumni who may be interested in donating or seeing the current space before we move out. The committee is putting together a reunion for Agassiz alumni.  Finding them will be hard, but they will use the internet, the Cambridge Chronicle, and other press and newsletters in order to get the word out.  There will also be a press campaign early next year to help find alumni, report that the school is moving and to help raise money for the move.   Closer to the actual move will be the 100 Red Balloons campaign of a parade of balloons from here to there.  It will be set up something like 100 balloons at $1000 each for individuals or groups of people to get together and buy balloons or tiles.  They will try to have the alumni classes get together to make tiles for the tile campaign.  They have also been using Facebook causes, and other internet based fundraising.  There are other fundraising websites that so that when a certain task bar is used   a portion of proceeds from online shopping from certain sites will go to Agassiz. There is also a search engine that will give the school a $.01 per search. (more details on this need to be circulated, or I missed them)

One committee member will be reaching out to past large donors. The Committee meets every week.  They are looking for press contacts and possible donors.

The responsibility for sending thank you letters s needs to be assigned, but donors will be thanked.

Joel recommended that the school create a wish list of construction items people could donate used or salvaged (or info people could provide on where to get salvaged items cheaper).

New business

Joel reported that he loves the idea of the petition, but thought there should be a process for discussing/approving things like this that are coming from the school . The board concurred that people should not  speak for the school without it coming to Tracey or the board.

Tracey reported that the tree sale is going well.   Michael designed new tree stands that are working well.   Michael R. and Gillian are doing a great job .

Michael said there’s not enough social/community development  stuff happening at the school this year, and that there should be more of the past nights out, coffees, and other events.  Michael expressed interest in spring vacation week camp at the school.

Next meeting:  all family meeting in January. Tuesday the 19th.

Action/Follow Up Items

–        Set up ongoing back up of Quickbooks, perhaps off site web-based, with an additional back up by a parent (as part of a parent job, like Treasuer). Tracey and Treasurer
–        Constant contact list update to include all new families and capital campaign e-mail Jenise/Capital campaign committee
–        Survey families regarding time and skills for work on new building Jeff Levine (with input from Joel)
–        Press contacts and possible donors for outreach (needed by Campaign Committee) Anyone with this info should relay it to the Capital Campaign Committee