Thursday, September 28, 2006

Volunteer opportunity on October 3!

Linda Caruso invites volunteers to join Monarch students at the Italian Cultural and Community Center on October 3. For more information, please contact her:

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Yay Developers!

One item on the Developers' to-do list has already been checked off! At our recent meeting, this group discussed ordering car decals featuring the Monarch logo. Here's the latest from Julie Meaux:

We had 1000 4x4 decals printed and we are planning to give them out at the breakfast to each guest. We should have plenty leftover for anyone who would like to have one for their car.


Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Books on the Bayou

From September 8 to October 28, Houston Public Library is sponsoring Books on the Bayou, a city-wide reading club. This year's selections, four books for different reading levels, tell stories about people with special needs. In the words of HPL Director Dr. Rhea Brown Lawson:

This year’s Books on the Bayou theme is families with special needs and the challenges they confront. Often we encounter families and/or individuals with special needs and have no idea what issues they have to deal with. Our hope is this year’s reading will broaden understanding about and stimulate discussions with our friends and neighbors with special needs.

Stop by your favorite HPL branch or check the HPL website for details about the program and how you can get involved.

Update (9/27)--John asked which books have been selected. Here they are:
  • For adults, Riding the Bus with my Sister, by Rachel Simon
  • For teens, Tangerine, by Edward Bloor
  • For middle schoolers, So B. It, by Sarah Weeks
  • For pre-schoolers, Leo the Late Bloomer, by Robert Kraus

Monday, September 25, 2006

Festa Italiana

Monarch students have been volunteering to prepare for the Italian Cultural and Community Center's annual Festa Italiana, which will be held on October 14 and 15 at Houston Farm and Ranch Club. The event includes entertainment, educational presentations, and lots and lots of food.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Monarch's Garden at the Houston Zoo

This is just one of the six photos I took while I was at the garden this morning. To see the rest (and, incidentally, a bunch of other work and personal photos, so you are fairly warned), go to my Flickr page:

For now, we need a group of 2-3 folks to commit to going to the zoo every week or every two weeks to do some basic weeding. This will allow the kids to spend less time weeding and more time doing fun jobs and activities. The zoo would prefer that we go A. during the day and B. early in the week, when they are not so busy. Monday mornings are especially good for me. If you know you want to weed, please leave a comment here or let any of the usual suspects know--me, Penny, or Emily so she can let us know.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

New Feature: Email Alerts!

Want to find out whenever a new post appears on the blog? Sign up for email alerts!

Just look for the "Subscribe" box on the right side of this page. Enter your email address, check your inbox for a message about Blog Alert, click on the confirmation link, and you're all set.

You don't even have to be a member of the blog to use this feature, so if you're an interested visitor, aspiring Movers & Shapers volunteer, Monarch supporter, or non-blogging M&S-er, you can still get alerts.

Questions and comments should be sent to Miranda (

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Movers & Shapers Orientation

There's a whole lot of movin' and shapin' goin' on! Thanks all for your continuing dedication and hard work!

If you didn't attend last year's exciting orientation, sign up for the next one scheduled for Sept. 25! And please let us know of any new recruits so we can get them signed up as well!



Gratuitous Wedding Photo

To prove just how easy it is to post pictures to the blog, here's a photo of me and my handsome husband, exactly one month ago.

If you want to post photos from Monarch events, just use the little picture button (between the ABC [spellcheck] and eraser [remove formatting] buttons on the editing toolbar). You can then browse for pictures stored in your computer or on a disk. Alternatively, you can always send me your pictures, and I'll put them up for you.

It's much simpler than planning a wedding!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Minutes from Heralds Committee Meeting on 9/11/06

The Heralds
Present: Dwight Wolf, Emily Reiter and Kyle Nguyen
Ideas for spreading the word about the Learning Center's upcoming symposium were discussed: 1. Make connections with leaders of local groups of professionals 2. use the Monarch Web site to promote the event 3. focus on target audience when sending out material, especially when contacting individuals in a school district.
Mr. Wolf suggested a few contacts who might be helpful for marketing Monarch as a whole and will pass on the information to Emily Reiter. Members of the committee also discussed the importance of integrating the Monarch Web site as a public relations tool for all Monarch events. It was decided to later expand upon this at the next meeting, when more members could contribute to the discussion

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Developers Meeting--September 11, 2006

Developers Meeting - September 11, 2006


Present: Julie Meaux, Carolyn Trozzo, Stephanie Wheatley

John Barone, Emily Reiter, Jessica Stoner, Marty Webb, Shannon Woodruff

Absent: Meg Moore

  • Confirmed that the Development Group would serve two purposes:

1. Development of external contacts

2. Development of the Monarch parent community

  • Methods of developing external contacts were discussed:

1. Established that networking is the most effective method to publicize Monarch

2. Contacting school districts, particularly special services personnel

3. Development committee members will personally contact

friends/acquaintances in the education community

4. Agreed that health professionals need to be targeted. Carolyn Trozzo suggested a program of donating books to doctor’s offices. These would be from Monarch with details of the school inside

5. Car decals with the Monarch logo and email address were discussed. Julie Meaux and Emily Reiter will obtain estimates from printers

6. Suggestion was made that decals would make an excellent gift for those attending Monarch’s Fundraising Breakfast in November

7. It was suggested that an electronic, parent newsletter would be an effective method of building community spirit and school support amongst the parents. Stephanie Wheatley will meet with Shannon Miller (a Monarch parent) to discuss format and ideas

Builders Minutes

Since Penny is out of town for a few days, I will do my best to recall what we discussed.

Primarily, we decided that most of the ideas we had come up with at our last meeting were projects we would wait to start until much closer to the move.

In the meantime, we will be doing projects that can either be moved or involve renovation or refurbishing. For instance, we will be making some shelving for one of the work rooms and weeding the trails.

An on-going project we will be organizing will be the weeding and watering of the Butterfly Garden at the Houston Zoo. A group of students goes there on Thursdays and we will gather volunteers to go at another time on an on-going basis. Stay tuned for the call to volunteer for weeding!

If I have forgotten anything, please comment or let me know so I can fix this post.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Message from Chairman Fox (not to be confused with Chairman Mao!)

Is this Movers and Shapers Group, and our new blog, great or what???!!!

Masterful job in bringing all of us M&Sers into the 21st century, Miranda. Just goes to show that you indeed can teach an old dog (or Fox) new tricks! I don't think that Bill Gates has to worry about me taking over his computer software empire anytime soon, though!

We soon should have all four of our M&S committees (Educators, Builders, Developers, Heralds) posting to this blog the minutes of their respective meetings on 9/11. Of course, Miranda, being the SAPB (Supreme and All-Powerful Bloggerette) already has contributed her succinct and informative minutes of the Educators Committee meeting.

I'm sure that after everyone has taken the time to read all four M&S committees' minutes, once they're all posted, that it will be evident that we are on the right course in organizing and developing some innovative and most helpful projects in assisting The Monarch School to go onto to even greater heights!

Keep up the good work, y'all!

-- Justin Fox, Movers and Shapers Chairperson

Can't wait for others to see your work!

Wow! The synergy here already is fabulous! I had no idea you'd undertaken a water quality study on our pond at the Apprentice Campus. It's a perfect start to our year of water quality study in our Challenger Environmental Science classes! Ranger, would you be interested in seeing the three canoes our students built last year and will use this year for the water study? If so, please contact Richard Klein ( or Neal Sarahan ( I think both of them are also going to be invited to be a "blogger" here too!

Marty Webb

Wow, what a great group!

Dear Movers and Shapers,

Thank you all for sharing in this important mission with us!

Special thanks to Justin for his great leadership, and hooray for Miranda for setting up this terrific blog.


John Barone

New Member Orientation

Reminder: Movers & Shapers New Member Orientation will be held on Monday, September 25, at 12:00. Please direct questions to Justin Fox or John Barone.

Opportunities from the Educators

At the Movers & Shapers meeting on September 11, we discussed upcoming opportunities for volunteers to work with Monarch students. These include:

  • Internships: Monarch students are looking for real-world work experience. If you or someone you know could use on-the-job help with basic office tasks or other entry-level assignments, please consider offering internships to Monarch students to help them learn new skills and increase their confidence.
  • Mentorships: Speakers are needed to give presentations or mini-workshops to Monarch students. Mentors, who need only commit to a one-time session at the school, can address students' interests (possible topics include various computer applications, cooking, arts and crafts of all sorts, first aid skills, animal rescue, and video game design) and/or discuss their life experiences, with an emphasis on making decisions and overcoming challenges. Lectures, demonstrations, and hands-on instruction are all encouraged.
  • The Ultimate Gift: Monarch students are using this curriculum to reflect on their gifts and the legacy of their family heritage. Later in the fall (October/November), volunteers can assist individual students with the writing and recording of their reflections. This is a wonderful opportunity to get to know Monarch students on a personal level!

Movers & Shapers, please start thinking about how you might like to participate in these projects--and use them to recruit new volunteers, too!

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