Thursday, November 23, 2006

Monarch Movers & Shapers

Monarch Movers & Shapers -- UPCOMING M&S EVENTS!

Thursday, December 7th, 11 am-12:30 pm: New member Orientation at The Learning Center (TLC);

Thursday, December 7th, 12:30-2 pm: Luncheon meeting at TLC for all M&S members, with breakout meetings of all 4 committees.

Date to be determined: Christmas party for all M&S members! Let's choose a nearby restaurant (or even M&S home, if anyone wants to graciously host it).

Please make every effort to attend. Also, if you have any brilliant ideas for the time and place of our proposed Christmas party, call or email your fearless M&S Chairman, Justin Fox, at 281-367-9680 (home), email:

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Movers and Shapers Christmas Party??

Would any of you be interested in a Christmas get together? One of our M & S members (John Barone) suggested that we ask our chairman (Justin Fox) to host!!! Other members (myself, Julie Meaux and Emily Reiter) thought this was an excellent idea!!! (Justin, I would start making and freezing the 'petits fours' now!!!!
Any interest, comments, suggestions as to how we could pull this off?

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Email Alerts Change

The Blog Alert system appears to be having some problems accepting new email addresses (as far as I can tell, if you've already signed up, you should still be getting alerts). If you are not receiving email notification of new blog entries and you would like to, please use the "blogarithm" (really, who comes up with these names?) box on the right sidebar. (I'm leaving the Blog Alert box there because I don't want to risk affecting those of you who have signed up through that system.)

Questions? Please let me know ( Thanks for your patience!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

New York Times article

The New York Times recently ran an article about students with Asperger's Syndrome attending college. "Students on the Spectrum" describes the academic and social experiences of several college students and reports on efforts many schools are making to accommodate their special needs. [I'm not sure how long the article will be available for free on the Times website. If the link doesn't work, please let me know (, and I'll be happy to help you get access to it another way.]

Also, if you haven't already, be sure to check out the story about Kate Matthiesen and Adam Farris, two Monarch graduates who are continuing their education at Houston Community College.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Another Volunteer Opportunity Nov. 10th

If anyone is interested in helping stuff about 700 information packets for the Miracle Makers Morning Breakfast I could use a couple of volunteers. We will be meeting the morning of Friday, November 10th at my house (not far from Monarch). If you are interested in helping please contact me at

Friday, November 03, 2006

History, Vision, and Organization

Posted on behalf of Justin Fox.



The Movers and Shapers (M&S) was founded in 2005 as a special kind of support group for The Monarch School (TMS).

An M&S “Core Team,” originally consisting of eleven members, met several times in 2005-2006 with Dr. Marty Webb, Head of School and John Barone, Director of the Monarch Learning Center, in order to establish the goals, structure and direction of the M&S. The M&S Core Team continues to guide the execution of the goals of the M&S, to work actively in the recruitment of new M&S members, and to oversee the M&S committees to ensure that they are functioning in ways that reflect the group’s vision and guidelines.

There are currently 26 individual M&S members. It is anticipated that this number will increase as the M&S further develops. Each new M&S recruit is first invited to a tour of TMS, then completes an application form and interest inventory, and then is approved by TMS staff. Thereafter, the M&S recruit attends a M&S orientation meeting. Then the new M&S member chooses to join and participate in one of the four M&S committees (described below), or to be available for “work groups” for specific projects.

The present M&S Chairperson is Justin Fox.

The primary purpose of the M&S group is to support the mission of TMS and assist the school in a number of creative and innovative ways.

More specifically, the M&S group is divided into four separate committees, namely: (1) The Builders; (2) The Developers; (3) The Educators; (4) The Heralds.

Each of these four committees is headed by one or two facilitators, whose main job is to convene and oversee periodic committee meetings, preferably every month. These meetings may be held at a time and place convenient to its members, such as at a restaurant, residence, office, or TMS. After each committee meeting, a brief summary of will be posted on the M&S Blog:

THE BUILDERS COMMITTEE: Includes any project that involves construction, demolition, remodeling, redecorating, maintenance, etc.

Co-Facilitators: Penny Weiss and Sara Ranger

Members: Penny Weiss, Sara Ranger

Pilot projects:

  • Apprentice: Grounds, pond and trails maintenance (faculty contact: Debrah Hall);
  • Challenger: Zoo butterfly garden support (faculty contact: Richard Klein);
  • MLC: Painting (faculty contact: Emily Reiter).

Items discussed in the most recent meeting of the Builders Committee on 9/11/2006:

An on-going project that the group will be organizing is the weeding and watering of the Butterfly Garden at the Houston Zoo by selected TMS students, who go there on Thursdays. Volunteers now will be organized to go to the zoo for that purpose at another time on an on-going basis.
Doing some projects at TMS involving renovation and refurbishing. For instance, some shelving will be made for one of TMS work rooms, and weeding of TMS trails will be undertaken.
Postponing of most of the ideas for projects, which were discussed at the last meeting, until much closer to TMS’ move to its new campus in less than two years.

THE DEVELOPERS COMMITTEE: Includes foundation relationships, grant writing, support for fundraising and friend-raising events, recruitment of new members, support of school outreach, etc.

Facilitator: Julie Meaux

Members: Julie Meaux, Stephanie Wheatley, Carolyn Trozzo, Susan Meek, Justin Fox, Scharlene Fox

Pilot projects:

  • MLC: Solicitation of off-campus workshops (faculty contact: John Barone);
  • Development: Tour recruitment (faculty contact: Jessica Stoner);
  • Events: Training in raising more money (faculty contact: Shannon Woodruff).

Items discussed at the most recent meeting of the Developers meeting on 9/11/2006:

Confirmation that the Developers Committee would serve these two purposes: (1) development of external contacts; (2) development of TMS parent community.
The following six (6) methods of developing external contacts were discussed:

  1. Established that networking is the most effective method to publicize TMS.
  2. Contacting school districts, particularly special services personnel.
  3. Personal contact will be made by Development Committee members with friends and acquaintances in the education community.
  4. Agreed that health professionals need to be contacted. One suggested method would be for TMS to donate books to doctors’ offices, with these books having details of TMS placed inside them.
  5. Car decals with TMS logo and email address were discussed, and estimates from printers of these decals will be obtained.
  6. It was suggested that these decals would make an excellent gift for the upcoming TMS fundraising breakfast on 11/14/2006.

It was suggested that an electronic “TMS Parent Newsletter” would be an effective method of building community spirit and school support among the Monarch parent community.

THE EDUCATORS COMMITTEE: Includes all direct service with students and faculty, including academic support, mentorship, internships, guest speakers, special events for students and/or staff, faculty support, off-campus practice opportunities, etc.

Co-facilitators: Miranda Bennett and Kay Kahl

Members: Miranda Bennett, Kay Kahl, Ami Felker, Chassidy Andrew.

Pilot projects:

  • Challenger: Reading room (faculty contact: Neal Sarahan);
  • Apprentice: Summer program support for out-or-town parents (faculty contact: Debrah Hall);
  • MLC: AV/DVD mentorship (faculty contact: John Barone).

Items discussed at the most recent Educators Committee meeting on 9/11/2006:

Upcoming opportunities for volunteers to work with TMS students, to include internships for the students to learn new skills and to increase their confidence.
Mentorships: Speakers are needed to give presentations or mini-workshops to TMS students. These mentors could address students’ interests and/or discuss their life experiences, with an emphasis on making decisions and overcoming challenges. Lectures, demonstrations and hands-on instruction are encouraged.
“The Ultimate Gift”: TMS students are using this curriculum to reflect on their gifts and the legacy of their family heritage. Later in the fall of 2006 volunteers can assist students with the writing and recording of their reflections.

THE HERALDS COMMITTEE: Includes Informational Technology (IT), multi-media advertising, brochure design, photography, public relations, videography, DVD production, web-site design and maintenance, email design, Monarch Learning Center (MLC) promotion, etc.

Co-Facilitator(s): None at present.

Members: Dennis Woods, Dwight Wolf, Cathy Graham, Gala Edwardsen, Chris Edwardsen

Pilot projects:

  • IT: network infrastructure design (faculty contact: Kyle Nguyen)
  • IT: website proofreading (faculty contact: Marty Webb)
  • MLC: email newsletter design (Faculty contact: Emily Reiter)
Items discussed in previous two Heralds Committee meetings on 5/3/06 and 9/11/06:

Website ands email content issues, including perhaps adding a calendar section to help TMS parents, committee members and others to keep up with various events at school;
Distribution of email newsletter to interested parents and committee members;
Development of speakers bureau for TMS;
Ideas for spreading the word about MLS upcoming symposium, such as making connections with leaders of local professional groups, using TMS website to promote the event, and focusing on target audiences when sending out the material, especially when contacting individuals within an ISD.

The foregoing “M&S History, Vision and Organization” was compiled on October 30, 2006 by Justin Fox, M&S Chairperson.

Interested in joining M&S? Please contact Justin Fox at

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