Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Movers and Shapers Retreat Notes

Movers and Shapers Retreat Notes
August 19, 2009
Justin Fox- Marty’s little brother; Chairman of Movers and Shapers; retired FBI agent
John Barone - Director of Communications; taught in both programs; now working with Kipp to spread word about Monarch
Marty Webb - Head of School; Never thought she’d be a principal; loved teaching; founding of Monarch was the culmination of vision that Houston needed a school like Monarch
Vicki Luquette - parent coordinator for Challenger; 17-year-old son who has been with Monarch for 1.5 years; lived in Montana for 13 years; challenges of high school brought them to Monarch
Julie Schwartz- parent coordinator for Apprentice; son (4 years old) in his second year at Monarch; stay-at-home mom with two kids; daughter is two.
Kandace Shyer- former M&S parent liaison for Apprentice; two kids; son Grant attended Monarch and will now attend public school after three years with the school
Carrie Logan- met Marty seven years ago; court reporter for 23 years; has a 14-year-old that will go to high school this year
John Hardesty - wife is on the Monarch Board; musician/composer/pianist; inspired by a student playing piano at the breakfast
Stephanie Wheatley - former parent coordinator; son Grant has been with Monarch for six years; used to live in Middle East; no services for son there; didn’t like public school; very happy with Monarch and progress son has made; art teacher (pre-k through 3rd grade)
Julie Meaux - 17-year-old son who attended Monarch for four years; he will attend public school; still here 1.5 years after son left
Marion Defalco - attended breakfast and has been in awe of Monarch ever since; taught for 8 years in 13 different states (special ed teacher); had a vision for a school like this and thinks it’s unbelievable to see a school like Monarch
Anne Proano - became involved through Marion; has grandson with autism; registered nurse
Scharlene Fox - taught school for eight years in Louisiana; had students that she couldn’t understand because of lack of training; retired FBI agent; Justin’s wife
Kipp Baxter – Monarch’s new Development Director; former broker; background with arts organizations; accustomed to raising funds

Roots and Wings
Dr. Webb shared a poem from “Seasons of Your Heart” by Sister Macrina Wiederkehr
Met Sister Macrina a year ago; told her how much her spirituality had inspired her
“Roots and Wings” is the poem that has led Dr. Webb through personal and career changes
Had trouble letting go; poem tugged on her heart and helped her.

Roots and wings
Roots and wings I’ve wanted most of all
My longing to stay and my longing to go come wrapped in the same package
I struggle

Root Pursuit
Movers and Shapers enjoyed a trivia game derived from their memories of childhood in the following categories: fun foods, TV time; playing with peers, toys and gadgets; school daze.

Root Salute
Movers and Shapers reviewed a History of Monarch and shared how they first joined M&S and what their contributions have been.
97-98 - Humble Beginnings: Monarch in a Garage.
98-99 - Our Foundation: The Level System is born.
99-00 - Making a Splash: Monarch Students build the pond.
00-01 - Into the Woods: Trails added, mapped and marked.
01-02 - Monarch Triples in Size: Dedication of Challenger.
02-03 - The Most Important Meal of the Day: The 1st MMM.
03-04 - The Business Begins: Life Academy is Born.
04-05 - Reaching Out: Our First Diagnostic Clinic Client.
05-06 - Our Resident Artist: Kate Mattheisen at the Jung Center!
06-07 - Homes of Our Own: Supportive Living Begins.
07-08 - Famous Friend: Robison receives Honorary Diploma.
08-09 - There’s No Place Like Home: Our New Campus!

If You Had Wings
Movers and Shapers brainstormed where they would like to travel to, and those who have been to these places shared their experience there, “flying” the group their in our imaginations.

On a Wing and a Prayer
Movers and Shapers wrote down their dreams for Monarch in the next five years (listed below). During lunch they shared their ideas in past tense, as if they had already been achieved.

Ÿ Accomplish the task of making Monarch a household name in Houston
Ÿ Monarch receives national exposure on TV
Ÿ See Dr. Webb on Oprah
Ÿ Defined process for tapping into potential helping/participation/assistance of parents
Ÿ Many want to be more active but don’t know how
Ÿ Movers and Shapers - continued dedication and meaningful projects!
Ÿ Actually work with the children
Ÿ Continue to get student’s stories before the public both as fundraising strategy and as way to continue normalizing neuro-differences with general public
Ÿ Continue bringing in leading edge “thinkers” in neuro-difference field (authors, educators, etc.)

Ÿ Corporate contributions of $1 million
Ÿ Breakfast MMM attendance to exceed 1,000
Ÿ Mega Connections Scholarship Program
1. Students
2. Potential Teachers
3. Teachers - higher ed
Ÿ Brain Education Grant
Ÿ PBS - program about Monarch School

Ÿ National Recognition for the Monarch School approach and Green campus!!
Ÿ Completion of Phase 2 & 3 of Monarch Buildings

Ÿ Personal contributions of $20,000+ per year; recruitment of friends/corporations to attend breakfast

Ÿ Completion of funding for phases 2 & 3 of Monarch campus buildings!
Ÿ Ability to accommodate all who wish to attend Monarch
Ÿ Annual corporate contributions exceed $2 million
Ÿ Increase number of students while maintaining all attributes that make Monarch work (individualization of learning plans, etc.)

Parting Gifts
On behalf of Monarch, John presented the group with Monarch post-its for M&S ideas, and a journal for recording all their contributions.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

May Meeting Minutes!

Monarch Movers & Shapers Core TeamMeeting Minutes: May 11, 200912:00 PM, Monarch Learning CenterCore Team/Faculty Members:Present: Justin Fox, Stephanie Wheatley, Carrie Logan, Marty Webb, John Barone, Shannon Woodruff, Kandace Shyer, Vicki Luquette, Mikeda Jess, Marion DefalcoProceedings:
· Meeting called to order at 12:15 p.m. by Chairman Fox.
· Lunch enjoyed by all.
· Current projects list and agenda distributed.
· Marion Defalco passed around her NASA lapel pin to receive a special thought, rub and wish for luck and good fortune from each member present as her husband Frank’s invention is currently being considered at NASA.
· Mikeda Jess was introduced as newest M&S member and welcomed to the group.
Opening greetings by Chairman Fox

· Chairman Fox introduced outline of special two-hour meeting. The first hour was dedicated to reflecting on the prior year; the second hour was dedicated to goal setting for the coming year.

Remarks by John Barone, Director of Communications

· John Barone began his presentation on reflection of the group. First he discussed a business model for a widget, and the criteria to market and sell said widget, such as:
1) finding/choosing product
2) designing and finding efficient ways to produce it
3) cost
4) hiring work force
5) targeting the market
6) functionality and appeal
7) profit
8) throwaways

· Fortunately for us the Monarch model is organic, less business-like and more relationship-based. Job descriptions at Monarch are not static; they are organic. Individuals grow in ways unique to them.
· As we reflected on the strengths of the M&S core committee, we contributed the following ideas and thoughts:
1. Common goals
2. Responsive to needs
3. Diverse perspectives
4. Dedicated to project completion
5. Enthusiasm
6. Leadership
7. Tilling new ground

· These thoughts led John to invite the group to consider possible paths and dreaming dreams for the group. The following ideas and thoughts were contributed:
1. Involving the neighborhood at the new campus
2. Relaxing the structure of the committees
3. Enlarging the group
4. Considering a name that more fits the group, such as
a) Best Friends of Monarch
b) Hearts of Monarch
c) Monarch Mates
d) Movers and Shapers Do It with Heart
e) Movers and Shapers Have Heart
f) BFFs of Monarch
5. Cohesion is based on relationship within the group
6. Involve/recruit parents by way of a standing group meeting
7. Create more energy with the parents
8. Better education to parents regarding the function of Movers and Shapers
9. Loosening up in terms of expectation and structure
10. New location/moving/new routines/new projects in a new environment will require support of M&S in order to take the workload off of the faculty. (Dr. Webb then recognized the M&S group for all of the excellent projects, both completed and ongoing.)
11. In the spirit of relaxing the structure of the group, consider that a member’s pause in attendance at meetings and/or involvement doesn’t need to result in exiting the group or guilty feelings.
12. As the group continued to consider possible paths, we included how we want meetings to look in the future. Included in those ideas were:
a) To maintain the time and place, yet make the meetings quarterly
b) To make the meetings quarterly
c) Allow for smaller groups to meet to discuss projects as needed
d) Yearly retreat, Christmas party, and additional social interaction
13. Blog needs updating
14. Social networking could be provided via Facebook

· At this point in the meeting Vicki Luquette was introduced and welcomed to the group. Vicki will be stepping in to Stephanie Wheatley’s role as one of the two Monarch parent liaisons to our M&S group. The other Monarch parent liaison for next school year will be Julie Schwartz.
· Break at 1:05 for five minutes.
· After the break, Chairman Fox invited the group to address Goals of the group for the upcoming school year. Goals included:
1. Promoting quality over quantity and nurturing the relationship within the group
2. Adopt a relationship/friend based structure
3. Retain Friends of Monarch (M&S predecessor) through communication
4. Smaller meetings and groups
5. Social networking
6. Improve communication
7. Social events
8. Recognition of group members for good work, completed projects, efforts and ideas
9. Flexibility versus rigid structure
10. Recognize individual talents and affinities of each member, instead of pigeon holing them into being assigned to one of four standing committees.
11. Accountability (Justin to maintain a master list; independently report to Justin on project’s status via email, phone or at meetings.)
12. Keep projects meaningful and doable
13. Update M&S link to Monarch web page
14. Redesign structure of group (consider meetings to be scheduled quarterly; maintain the online application for members)
15. Kickoff retreat to be held in August 2009
16. Faculty not required or needed to attend each meeting of group
17. It was definitely decided to hold meetings quarterly in 2009-10
18. Fall project: Work on dedication of new building
19. Start a Facebook page now
­ Justin will start the group on Facebook and be the maintainer of it
­ We will keep the group public so prospective members can view it
20. Discuss the possibility of renaming the group
­ At the meeting, the group came to the consensus to retain our Movers and Shapers name, but change the scope of the group
· After the group brainstormed goals for next year, they were asked the following question: What will the meeting structure look like?
1. Educational – staff member could present or a mini-session on Monarch could be presented
2. Celebrational – celebrating one another on accomplishments
3. Social – Could be a lot of different things (eating, scrapbooking, cookie exchange, ornament exchange, potluck, etc.)
· It was also discussed that instead of just inviting the Core Committee members to meetings, the whole group of volunteers would be invited. John, Marty and Shannon would also be invited regularly. It was noted that just because all faculty is not invited does not mean that they are not welcome.
Meeting adjourned at 2:00 p.m.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Movers and Shapers Core Committee Minutes

Monarch Movers & Shapers Core TeamMeeting Minutes:

April 2, 200912:30 PM, Monarch Learning Center

Core Team/Faculty Members:Present: Justin Fox, Stephanie Wheatley, Carrie Logan, John Hardesty, Marty Webb, John Barone, Shannon Woodruff, Kandyce Shyer.

· Meeting called to order at 12:37 p.m. by Chairman Fox.
· Lunch enjoyed by all.
· Current projects lists and agendas distributed.

Opening greetings by Chairman Fox

· Movers and Shapers Core Committee members were recognized with special gifts of Monarch Glen Merlot from Chairman Fox.
· Chairman Fox opened the meeting by recognizing John Hardesty’s musical success. His song “Everlasting Love,” from John Hardesty’s second CD, “Living in the Light” has made its way to radio. After one week of being promoted, it’s been picked up by over 30 stations nationwide and in Japan, England and Peru as well.
· Chairman Fox noted that the Discovery Garden at the Houston Zoo is being re-purposed by the zoo. Monarch will employ outdoor space projects at the new campus.
· Chairman Fox recognized Stephanie Wheatley, Britney McGarvey and Marion Defalco for helping to address 450 envelopes on February 23 for the Sneak Peek event at the new campus, which was held on April 1, 2009.
· Chairman Fox complimented Carrie Logan for her purchase of artificial decorative Monarch butterflies. Carrie is also testing the Monarch homepage on her personal computer.

Remarks by John Barone, Director of Communications

· A Place for All is selling well. John requested M&S group and friends go to amazon.com and St. Mary’s Press (www.smp.org). Each has an area for endorsements of the book. The more popular the book is, the longer it stays on the website, therefore increasing the opportunity for sales.
· Haven’t had an opportunity to read the book? You can read Chapter 1 for free online. Read the chapter and review that. Just get your thoughts on the websites as soon as possible.
· John Barone also requested to return to the review and click on “Was this review helpful?” for each review that is posted. This also increases popularity of the book.
· 21st Century Learning has hired John Barone to conduct workshops based on A Place for All. Mr. Barone can use the workshops as a platform for book sales. Assistance is needed to book workshops in school and faith communities. The title of the workshop is “Becoming a Better Teacher.” Please note that the Monarch philosophy and methodology is individualized to meet the needs of the school and/or faith community.
· The Monarch Hour was on KPFT, March 23rd, 2009. Mr. Barone recognized Patrick Light for doing a terrific job.
· Mr. Barone recognized Chairman Fox for his hospitality and welcoming demeanor with newcomers to Monarch, Mikeda Jess most recently.

Remarks by Shannon Woodruff, Director of Development
· Shannon updated the group with a report that John Barone and Dick Bartell have supported Monarch’s ongoing efforts with the George Foundation, advocating for funding for the scholarship fund tagged for Fort Bend County families.

Remarks by Dr. Webb
· Dr. Webb thanked all present for the successful Sneak Peek event held the night before, April 1, 2009, at the new Monarch campus. New relationships were cultivated.
· Monarch is currently in pursuit of federal funding options.
· Dr. Webb noted that the school is close to breaking even on the cost of the pavers, due in part to the sales of $2,300 from the Sneak Peek event.
· Dr. Webb recognized Stephanie Wheatley for eight scrapbooks that have been completed and delivered to TMS.

Developers Committee report by Chairman Fox
· Currently and continually working on friends, funds and updating the email list. Email list is being completed by Joe, Justin and Marion.
Builders Committee update by Stephanie Wheatley
· Stephanie announced work continues on the scrapbooks.
· Campus spruce-up (date and time TBA) will be minimal as this will be the last season at the present campus. Marty Webb to discuss with Debrah Hall best timing for spruce-up project.
· Parent coffee scheduled for 4-15-09; Stephanie created album keepsake for the parents that attend the event.

Educators Committee update by John Barone
· John noted that Miranda Bennett is preparing for her return to her duties with the Educators Committee as she continues to enjoy motherhood.

Heralds Committee update by Marion Defalco (as read by John Barone)
· Efforts continue to receive grants from Boundless Playgrounds, Peace for Children (Donald and Lisa Pliner).
· Efforts continue to enlist radio interview with Bill Gates.
· Application for new John Travolta Foundation (for deceased son Jett Travolta) was initiated.
· Play Park Structures pricing is imminent.
· The Pliners were invited to a special tour of the new campus building and grounds April 4 or 5 during their visit to their Houston Flagship store in Highland Village.
· Marion will deliver two copies plus flyers of A Place for All to Catholic churches, relatives and The St. Francis Medical Center in Illinois the weekend of April 3-7.

Meeting Adjourned at 1:30 PM

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Make a Monarch Homepage

Hooray for Carrie, the first of the Movers & Shapers to personalize her homepage with Monarch features (see below)! Who's next, folks?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

M&S Core Committee Minutes - 2/5/09

Monarch Movers & Shapers Core Team
Meeting Minutes: February 5, 2009
12:30 PM, Monarch Learning Center

Core Team/Faculty Members:
Present: Justin Fox, Stephanie Wheatley, Carrie Logan, John Hardesty, Julie Meaux, Dr. Marty Webb, John Barone, Shannon Woodruff, Linda Caruso, Marion Defalco, Jennalee Wolf and Dr. Neal Sarahan.

Meeting called to order at 12:37 p.m. by Chairman Fox.
Lunch enjoyed by all.
Current projects lists and agendas distributed.

Opening greetings by Chairman Fox
• Chairman Fox opened the meeting by recognizing John Hardesty for an outstanding concert performance January 23 at Unity Church. John Hardesty announced plans for future performances in Houston, Phoenix and Austin. John also updated the group on the two music classes he has had with his student at Monarch; John is very excited and enthusiastic.
• Chairman Fox recognized Stephanie Wheatley for becoming an American citizen.
• Chairman Fox complimented Rachel Weber, Monarch Administrative Assistant at the Challenger campus, for her help in updating the M&S membership Directory, as well as ordering the tasty lunches at our Core Team meetings.
• Chairman Fox requested that in the next month, he would like everyone to bring and/or recommend a friend to the Terrific Tuesday Tours, as well as provide Shannon Woodruff with at least 10 email addresses of friends to add to the Monarch data base to receive the monthly newsletter.
• Chairman Fox has been looking everywhere for his Monarch M&S shirt. Linda Caruso let him know it is in transit and delivery is anticipated in the near future.
• Chairman Fox initiated conversation about the status of Monarch’s participation with the Houston Zoo Discovery Garden. After discussion with the Builders Committee chair, Stephanie Wheatley, input from Dr. Webb and Linda Caruso, the follow up will be Linda Caruso is to have a discussion with Richard Klein to become a liaison and create and/or arrange a transfer of the garden management, possibly to the U.S. Vets, via Operation Interdependence.
• Dr. Webb recognized Marion Defalco on her recent nomination for the Mayor’s Community Award.
Remarks by John Barone, Director of Communications

• A Place for All is selling well. John requested M&S group and friends go to amazon.com and St. Mary’s Press (www.smp.org). Each has an area for endorsements of the book. The more popular the book is, the longer it stays on the website; therefore increasing the opportunity for sales. Haven’t had an opportunity to read the book? You can read Chapter 1 for free online. Read the chapter and review that. Just get your thoughts on the websites as soon as possible
• In October, John Barone presented a Monarch homepage to the M&S group and requested that the M&S members use it on their own computers. Carrie Logan will be the M&S member to use it on a trial basis.
• The Monarch hour will be on KPFT March 23rd, 2009. The topic for presentation/discussion is ADHD.
Remarks by Shannon Woodruff, Director of Development
• Shannon thanked the following M&S members for assistance in the email update project: Marion Defalco, Carrie Logan, Justin Fox, Julie Meaux & Joe Merrill. Shannon Woodruff still has about 350 obsolete email addresses in the Monarch data base, which need updating so that the recipients may receive the Monarch monthly e-newsletters and other important information. Therefore, Shannon needs only five of us M&S volunteers, each of whom will be assigned 75 persons, to telephone those persons with the obsolete email addresses. Shannon will provide you with a spread sheet of the names and telephone numbers of these persons, as well as a brief "script" to follow. This is a much-needed project, which easily may be done from your home in approximately 2 or 3 total hours. Please email Shannon at swoodruff@monarchshool.org to volunteer this week.
Remarks by Dr. Webb
• Construction is progressing well at the new campus. There will be a faculty “sneak peek” on February 16th, which is faculty retreat day for Monarch.
• A Sneak Peek Cocktail Party (Punch & Peek?) is scheduled for Wednesday, April 1 from 5 pm to 6:30 pm. Life Academy is to cater the event. The guest list includes donors of over $1,000 and donors presently being courted. Monarch is just shy of the balance of $1 million to finance the Chrysalis building (Building No. 1).
Remarks by Jennalee Wolf
• On Tuesday, Feb. 10th, from 12:30-1:30 p.m. at The Monarch Learning Center, Jennalee Wolf, Monarch Admissions Director, will hold a luncheon training session for our initial group of M&S volunteers. Basically Jennalee will provide us at this session with the all necessary information to help her and other Monarch staff members, whom we M&Sers will accompany at various times, to help represent The Monarch School at selected expos, exhibit halls, open houses and conferences for organizations dealing with neurological differences. If you have not already informed Jennalee that you will be attending this session, please email her at jwolf@monarchschool.org if you can make it to this Tuesday session. If you cannot attend this training session, there will be another one later in the year. All are welcome, in order to learn more about most effectively spreading the word about Monarch, which is an M&S members primary job!
Remarks by Dr. Neal
• Dr. Neal discussed the recent $10,000 grant received by the Life Academy. The grant is funding a project that requires the students to give away the money to worthy charities. Life Academy students will research levels of need for various groups. They are partnering with Association of Christian Area Ministries (ACAM) to determine the projects they’d like to support. ACAM is a coalition of 12 ministries that serve the neediest in our city. Mentors from various foundations are to collaborate with the students as they determine the group(s) with the most need for the giveaway to be announced in April. More mentors are needed in the area of philanthropy, decision-making and what generates value.
Builders Committee update by Stephanie Wheatley
• Stephanie announced work continues on the scrapbooks. A project completion date of June 19, 2009 was given by Dr. Webb, as that is the date of the alumni event for Monarch.
Educators Committee update by John Barone
• John Barone requested a reinvestment in the M&S blog. He also added that Miranda Bennett is preparing for her return to her duties with the Educators Committee.
Heralds Committee update by Marion Defalco
• As usual, Marion has been heralding hither and yon.
• -Marion has contacted St. Francis Nursing School, the largest in Illinois. She is promoting “A Place for All” through St. Francis. They are very enthusiastic and receptive.
• Marion has created a binder of celebrity contacts and is researching the best methods for cultivating relationships with them. She has faxed the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as she discovered the most effective method for contacting various foundations is through fax.
• She has also contacted the Peace for the Children Foundation of Don & Lisa Pliner. Lisa is a Houstonian. Marion expects a “hometown” connection through Lisa and therefore through the foundation.
Developers Committee update by Justin Fox
• Justin noted that the pending project is proceeding well for finding someone to help finance the new campus audio/visual system.
Meeting Adjourned at 1:30 PM
The next M&S Core Committee meeting will be Thursday, April 2 at 12:30 PM.

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