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Advisory Board Notes

Welcome to the Lesley Ellis School Advisory Board (LEAB) Notes Page.

Here you will find highlights from the LEAB throughout the school year…

At the March 2015 Advisory Board Meeting…

  • The new mission statement of the school was adopted. “Lesley Ellis School prepares accomplished, inquisitive and inspired learners by providing a challenging, student-centered, and anti-bias curriculum within a tightly connected community.”
  • A 3% salary increase for faculty and staff was approved.
  • Lisa Corrin from the Program Committee shared the newly written policies on equity and justice developed by that committee, acting upon suggestions and recommendations from the AISNE Visiting Team. The Program Committee revised and/or wrote policies in the areas of Admission, Hiring, Financial Aid, and Composition of the Advisory Board. These were unanimously adopted by the Advisory Board.

At the February 2015 Advisory Board Meeting…

  • The meeting was cancelled due to unprecedented amounts of snow!

At the January, 2015 Advisory Board Meeting…

  • Chair of the Finance Committee Christine Albertelli presented the Finance Committee’s work over the past several years on tiered tuition. The Board voted to adopt a tiered tuition with an Early Tuition Credit this year of $1500 and $3000, respectively, for students entering Grades 3 and 4 and entering Grades 5-8.
  • Jamie Braman, Chair of the Strategic Planning process, presented the final version of the Strategic Plan, which was unanimously adopted by the Board.

At the November and December 2014 Advisory Board Meetings, and weekend retreat in November…

  • The Board continued work on the school’s Strategic Plan. Board member, Jamie Braman, is Chair of the Strategic Planning process. John Tarvin the principal of Claremont Consulting facilitated working sessions. Main areas of discussion included Mission, Enrollment, Facilities, Program Quality, and Resource Development.

At the October 2014 Advisory Board Meeting…

  • Head of School Deanne Benson’s reported on the “newness” at Lesley Ellis this year—first ever 7th grade; new Middle School Program Director (Polly Vanasse); the Lesley Ellis House now has preschool, meeting space, and offices; and science lab in the Wing.
  •  As a member of the Development Committee, Board Vice-Chair Lisa Giovanetti asked the Advisory Board to increase the Board’s giving to $16,500 (in honor of the school’s 65th anniversary) and to continue 100% participation. The Board unanimously agreed to this goal.

At the September 2014 Advisory Board Meeting …   

  • LEAB Chair, Rebecca Trachsel welcomed new members, Greg Altman, Finance Committee; Sandra Mostajo, Marketing Committee; Jenny Stodolsky, Chair, Marketing Committee; and Ted Trevens, Development and Finance Committees;
  • The Board began initial work on the school's new Strategic Plan which will be developed over the fall and adopted in January 2015. 

At the April 2014 Advisory Board Meeting...

  • Tricia Moran, Director of Admission, gave an enrollment update for the 2014-2015 school year. Our preschool classes, which are moving to the Lesley Ellis House, will be fully enrolled in the fall. In addition, our first 7th grade class currently has six students enrolled. There are a varying number of openings in other grades, and some current families are delaying their decision for personal reasons.
  • Ted Wilson, Executive Director of Schools for Children shared that the town has renewed our lease in the Gibbs Building.
  • The Program Committee is compiling a list for each grade level of parent resources to utilize in support of our science curriculum.

At the March 2014 Advisory Board Meeting ...

  • The Finance Committee is undertaking a comprehensive review of financial aid with a goal of having a formal policy statement, an internal policies and procedures statement, and information for the website.
  • Deanne Benson, Head of School, reported on details of the Marketing Committee’s advertising campaign for the March Middle School Open House.
  • Stephanie Slonka, Director of Development, reported a 26% increase to the John Pfeifer Memorial fund this year, attributed in part to the Grade 5/6 Musical being dedicated to honor the legacy of Jon Pfeifer’s teaching career at Lesley Ellis School.  
At the February 2014 Advisory Board Meeting...
  • LEAB Chair, Rebecca Trachsel and Vice Chair, Lisa Giovanetti led discussion on planning for the spring Annual Meeting, which will celebrate the Lesley Ellis School Community and accomplishments made throughout the year.
  • Deanne Benson, Head of School, shared that the school has successfully completed the AISNE reaccreditation process and has received re-accredited for the next five years as expected. The report written by the AISNE Visiting Team contains both commendations and recommendations. Commendations included references to life in the classrooms, an inspired approach to teaching and noted that, “the school’s core values permeated every aspect of the community”. Recommendations include tasks that will be completed over the next six months.
  • Deanne Benson, Head of School, reported that finalists are being interviewed for the Middle School Program Director position.
  • Ted Wilson, Executive Director of Schools for Children, reported that the Lesley Ellis House is now ready for use again after the burst pipe in January. With students out of the classroom space while repairs were underway, additional work on second floor could be done at the same time. 
  • New Lesley Ellis School t-shirts were distributed to all students and staff, courtesy of the Parents Association.

At the January 2014 Advisory Board Meeting…

  • Deanne Benson, Head of School, gave an update on her goals for the year, which focus on middle school program development and implementing the plans for the Lesley Ellis House and the work to be done in the Wing.
  • The Board had a lengthy discussion on plans for the spring Annual Meeting. The Executive Committee will take the information and create a draft agenda. 
  • Jackie Robinson reported from the Development Committee that the Annual Fund is at $43,000. Work on the auction is underway.
  • The Program Committee is researching scientists in the area to support the planned Visiting Scientist Program that will be launched in 2014-2015.
At the December 2013 Advisory Board Meeting…
  • The RFP for the Gibbs Building lease was made public this week.
  • The AISNE Visiting Team (for re-accreditation) has just finished their visit. The school will receive a report at the end of January, 2014.
  • The Development Committee gave an update on the Annual Fund, which at the time of the meeting was at $20,000.
  • As a main task for the year, the Finance Committee is working on developing a financial aid policy.
At the November 2013 Advisory Board Meeting….
  • The Board approved tuition for the 2014-2015 school year at $24,010, emphasizing a desire to increase faculty salaries.
  • Deanne Benson, Head of School, shared details about the upcoming AISNE Visiting Team’s upcoming arrival on December 8 as the school finished the re-accreditation process.
  • The school is hosting a Middle School Open House in November and beginning a series of Middle School in Motion events for students in grades 3-6 and their parents.
  • The Development Committee reported that Annual Fund appeals were mailed and parent volunteers will make follow-up calls.
At the October 2013 Advisory Board Meeting …
  • The Lesley Ellis Advisory Board reviewed the goals of several of the standing committees including: Finance Committee- goals include developing a financial assistance policy and investigate tiered tuition. Marketing Committee - planning many activities and materials to promote Middle School at Lesley Ellis. Development Committee - volunteers will make phone calls about Annual Giving this year.
  • Deanne Benson, Head of School reported that the Lesley Ellis House is now being used for upper elementary and middle school science. Plans are in the works to complete work on the second floor for use next year. The Garden Committee helped with some landscaping outside of the house!

At the September 2013 Advisory Board Meeting …   

  • LEAB Chair, Rebecca Trachsel welcomed new members, James Braman, Development Committee; Lisa Corrin, Development Committee; Scott Packard, Marketing Committee; and Megan Lancelotta, Parents Association Co-Chair; 
  • Ellen Stimson, of Isabel Pratt, lead a working session with the group for Capital Campaign planning  
At the January 2013 Advisory Board Meeting…
  • The Finance Committee presented 5-year financial projections, which take into account various enrollment simulations. 
  • Carlos Morales reported the Finance Committee’s tuition recommendation for the 2013/2014 school year. The recommendation for a tuition increase of 5% was based on a need to increase faculty salaries.
  • Deanne Benson reported on the first meeting of the Joint Oversight and Expansion Committee. The committee is working on a plan to renovate the first floor of 19 Foster Street and install glass panels on the upper Wing classroom in time for the start of school in September 2013.
  • Ted Wilson shared information with the Advisory Board about the upcoming (April 5) NISCE Conference.
At the November 2012 Advisory Board Meeting…
  • LEAB Chair, Rebecca Trachsel, reviewed the various questions that came up at the Annual Meeting, as well as plans to address those questions. Areas being worked on for completion before the end of the calendar year include financial modeling, facility vetting relative to compliance with different oversight bodies, and coordination with Schools for Children. A fundraising/financing plan is also being developed. Everyone in the school community received a letter communicating this information.
  • Head of School, Deanne Benson, reported on a very successful Early Childhood Educator’s Forum with 75+ attendees from area preschools. Our Early Childhood Program Director, Barb Wilder-Smith, was the presenter. Deanne also updated the Advisory Board on how hard the faculty is working on the AISNE Self Study, for Lesley Ellis School, which is part of the Association of Independent Schools in New England re-accreditation process.
  • Finance Committee Chair, Carlos Morales, reported on the financial scenarios that committee is building so that school will know the financial impact of different decisions as we expand our school.
  • The Marketing Committee is developing a Middle School page for our website.

At the October 2012 Advisory Board Meeting…

  • Deanne Benson shared the architect’s suggestions for how we use both 19 Foster Street and repurpose some of the space we currently use in the Gibbs Building so that we can comfortably add grades 7 and 8, as well as continue our current program. These plans will be shared at the October 25, 2012, Annual Meeting.
  • The Finance, Marketing and Program Committees all shared their goals for the year, with each committee focusing on various aspects of the school’s expansion to 8th grade and upcoming facility changes.
  • Ted Wilson reported that the National Institute for Child Centered Education (NISCE) is continuing to have professional conversations in various venues, and their first full-day symposium is scheduled for April 5, 2013.

At the September 2012 Advisory Board Meeting ...

  • The LEAB welcomed new members Kathryn Geismar, Lisa Giovanetti, and Carlos Morales. Cheryl Mullan will be the PA representative to the board.
  • Director of Development, Diane Lewis, gave a summary report from the last school year.  Total giving in 2011-2012 increased to just over $150K, with $90K attributed to the Annual Fund and $43K attributed to the Auction.
  • Director of Admission, Tricia Moran, shared that our enrollment is at an all time high of 179 students. Approximately 17% of our families receive financial aid.
  • All of the Advisory Board committees (Marketing, Development, Program, and Executive) have their first meeting scheduled prior to October 4. Each committee’s first meeting will focus on goal setting for the year. 
  • Head of School, Deanne Benson, shared her goals with the Advisory Board. Main areas of focus are grade 7 and 8 program planning; use of 19 Foster Street and the Gibbs Building; support writing of the school’s self study as part of the AISNE re-accreditation process.