Member Schools & Organizations
Current Board Members
The Alliance convened a distinguished Task Force to consider many policy and procedure issues regarding individual and organization membership, evaluation of current and future services, staff compensation, and changing our name to reflect our growth beyond Winnetka. Task Force members included: current Board members, current Advisory Board members, and past presidents; residents of Winnetka, Northfield, and Kenilworth; parents and early childhood professionals; those with a long-time association with the Alliance and those who are relatively new. The Task Force met monthly from June to November, 2010. Key recommendations, which were adopted by the full Board at the March 2011 board meeting, include:
- Changing our name to The Alliance for Early Childhood, in recognition of our long-time growth well beyond Winnetka.
- Evaluating current and potential services through Survey Monkey for parents and teachers.
- Continuing our policy of no dues for Member schools and organizations.
- Clarifying membership requirements of Member schools, including: sending a Rep to serve on the board and providing mailing lists for the Annual Fund. Those who do not comply with all requirements will no longer be considered a Member.
- Welcoming for-profit schools to The Alliance as Affiliate Members, with the requirement that they pay per child/teacher for materials, as Associate Members do ($6 in 2010-2011).
- Requiring Associate Members to name a Parent Liaison to facilitate pick up and distribution of materials.
- Rebranding. As a result of changing our name to The Alliance for Early Childhood, a new logo was designed by Karen Miller, with input from the Rebranding Committee. New signs, banners, letterhead, business cards, and car magnets were ordered. The website and newsletter will be redesigned over the summer, reflecting our new name and new logo.
- Early Childhood, our 16-page newsletter, continues to be distributed twice a year, in October and April, to nearly 4,000 parents and educators. Because of declining enrollments in all of our Member schools, our distribution numbers are down. Families in our 20 member schools receive the newsletter free of charge.
- The seventh annual Preschool Fair was held on Monday, Oct.4 at the Winnetka Community House, a new and better location for this growing event. Thirty-six schools and children’s programs participated and approximately 50 parents attended. For the first year, we charge non-members more to participate than Member schools and organizations ($50 vs. $75).
- Michelle Liu, R.N. held a session of the American Red Cross Babysitting Course in June. Stephanie Figlioli took over the class when Michelle moved. She held a class at Sacred Heart students in April (at Sacred Heart’s request) and plans another for July. The successful format was changed to an all-day Saturday class, with pizza lunch provided.
- CPR Classes: Teacher class held on Nov.1 (5 signed up; 3 participated). Parent class held on Nov. 12 (15 participated). Taught by Julie Lestrud, R.N., a critical care nurse at Children’s Memorial.
- On January 28, Hedda Sharapan, Director of Early Childhood Initiatives at the Fred Rogers Company, spoke about “What Do You Do with the ‘Mad’ that You Feel? Helping Children with their Angry Feelings” to an audience of about 75 at the Winnetka Community House. She had spoken to professionals the night before at the Networking Dinner.
- On Feb. 23, Blakely Bundy and Kathy Hardy presented “Affluenza: The Rewards and Challenges of Teaching and Raising Young Children in Affluent Communities.” They presented both a morning and an evening session. Approximately 50 parents and teachers attend each session.
- On May 19, The Alliance will co-sponsor a talk by Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods, along with FAN, the Winnetka Public Schools, The Book Stall, and the Chicago Botanic Garden.
The 21th Annual Networking Event was held at the Winnetka Woman’s Club on Thursday, Jan. 27th, chaired by Denise Matthews-Smith and Tracey Quinn. The speaker was Hedda Sharapan, Director of Early Childhood Initiatives at the Fred Rogers Company. Her topic was “Through the Eyes of a Child.” For the eighth year, educators receiving Teacher Tributes were featured in a Power Point presentation before the program. Sheila Gideon, a speech teacher honored by a student she had helped 30 years ago, was given special recognition. Tables were seated by interest (elementary, preschool, toddlers, social workers, etc.). Over 150 teachers and administrators attended. Avli again catered the delicious dinner.
- The Special Needs Roundtable, under the co-chairmanship of Amy Hague, Jenn Matuska, and Margaret Pinnow, set three goals for the year, all of which were accomplished. On Feb. 11, “Serving ALL Children in the Early Childhood Classroom: The Social-Emotional Foundation” drew over 50 preschool teachers. The Special Needs section of the Alliance website was updated in early April. The Special Needs Roundtable was announced to the community in the Spring-Summer issue of Early Childhood, including articles by Jenn Matuska and Christine Walker about their experiences as a parent of a special needs child.
- The Let’s Play Initiative, chaired by Robin VanderMolen, co-chaired by Liza Sullivan, updated the Let’s Play section of the Alliance website with ideas for indoor play in February. During TV Tune Out Week, they piloted the Park-a-Day challenge (although the weather didn’t invite much outdoor play that week). In April, they met with the Winnetka and Northfield Park Districts to explore common interests and collaboration efforts and to plan a Last Days of Summer Park-a-Day Challenge in August.
- The 17th Annual TV Tune Out Week was held from Sunday, March 6 to Saturday, March 12. Project Manager Tara Sadera again led this enormous effort, with the support of Board co-chairs, including: Kristen Hesby, Guide; Loli DiSantto and Betsy Kochvar, activities; Jenn Matuska, sponsors; and Sara Sullivan and Clarissa Hawk, events. Over 5,000 children in 30 schools in Winnetka, Northfield, Kenilworth, Wilmette, Glencoe, and Glenview participated. The theme was “Tune Out: Create your Own Adventure.”
- Wristbands: Wristbands were again given to elementary and middle school kids. Preschoolers received TV Tune Out buttons. A card was printed on the back of the Guide to be used if a button or wristband was lost.
- Guide: With fewer ads and Partners, the Guide was downsized again to 48 pages (52 in 2010; 60 pages in 2009).
- Events: The Kick Off Event was Sideswipe, a martial arts show, held in the Washburne gym. Winners of the drawing contest were honored before the show. “Fabulous Friday Fun Event” was a performance “Jungle Book” by American Eagle Productions.
- PR: Especially strong this year, under the leadership of Deirdre Franklin and Lindy Kelly. Winnetka kiosk, seven Winnetka banners, Northfield kiosk, and red and white yard signs plus excellent coverage in both print and online publications. For the 4th year, the entries to the drawing contest were displayed at the Winnetka Library.
- The Alliance provided networking opportunities for educators and school leaders during the school year. In addition to the Networking Dinner in January, the Alliance sponsored the Networking Breakfast for principals, heads of school, and preschool directors in September. For the first year, it was held at a private home (Loli DiSanto’s) instead of in a restaurant.
- The Preschool-Kindergarten Articulation meeting was held in April for kindergarten teachers from District 36, Middlefork, Christian Heritage, Harper, and North Shore. and directors of seven “sender” preschools. Chaired by Ass’t. Superintendent Trisha Kocanda and Alliance Executive Director Blakely Bundy. Crow Island teachers Sheila Medow and Veronica Frehe discussed their program.
- Parents of incoming kindergarten students heard a presentation about the Winnetka Public Schools' kindergarten curriculum by Assistant Superintendent Trisha Kocanda and Crow Island Principal Julie Pfeffer. Seven parents attended the May 6 meeting. The presentation was videotaped and will be available on both the District 36 and the Alliance websites.
- Survey Monkey. As recommended by the Task Force, the Alliance distributed two surveys, one for parents and one for educators. The results will be analyzed and used to guide current and future efforts.
- The Alliance website offers information about schools and enrichment activities, past articles from our newsletter, calendar information, and a password-protected board section. We average between 250 and 350 visits per day, including many from around the world.
- Social networking: As of May 17, we have 105 fans on our Facebook page, which is maintained by Stephanie Fox.
- This is the ninth year of our very successful Teacher Tribute program, as part of the Annual Fund campaign. The entire effort is efficiently led by Director of Operations Libby Joyce. In 2010, 205 Teacher Tributes were made, representing 149 different teachers. In May 2011, we sent out 2,809 annual appeal letters, with every letter personalized by board members and staff. Additional letters were send to every Member School and Organization, Associate Member school, Board members, former Board, Advisory Board, Presidents’ Council, Sustainer, and Emeritus Board members–a total of 199 letters, which were personalized by Blakely Bundy and Cindy Brady. Somehow, Libby Joyce manages to find ways to streamline and improve the Annual Appeal each year, with positive results!
- The highlights of
the Alliance’s financial results for
the past year include:
- The Annual Campaign for the fiscal year ending September, 20, 2010 took in a record $44,997 which accounted for just under 50% of the Alliance’s annual operating revenues. So far for the year ending September 30, 2011, we have already received Annual Campaign donations of $39,294. It seems we are on track to beat our goal of $41,262, despite the continuing challenging economic climate.
- For the fiscal year ended September 30, 2010, the Alliance had a profit of $12,367.24, up from the previous year’s loss of $6,263.59. We had projected a loss of $7,000. We spent a lot of effort cutting costs and raising fees to cover costs.
- TV Tune Out 2011 has, as of May 12, 2011, taken in revenues of $17,098. Our TV Tune Out income goal is $22,515. We came in over budget on expenses by $78. We spent more on publicity and wristbands than budgeted.
- A new fundraiser, a photo project sponsored by Lensworks Studios, has brought in $800. The amount generated by our traditional fundraiser, held at The Book Stall decreased to $70.
- Our Preschool Fair brought in $2,055 this year, up from last year's $750, and over our projected $750. This is due to the increase in fees from $30 per school, to $50 for member schools and $75 for non-members.
- The Early Childhood newsletter, free of charge to the families of our member organizations, is again expected to generate a profit this year of more than $4,000. Sponsorship income, as of May 12, 2011, is $6,850.
- The number of Alliance Partners went from nine to eight this year. We lost City Kids Dental, Make-a-Messterpiece, mTeam Mortgage, and College Nannies and Tutors. We gained three new partners: Loli Designs, North Shore Chess Center, and Lensworks Studios. Returning Partners for 2010-11 include: William Blair & Co., The Hudson Company, Kohl Children’s Museum, the Music Institute of Chicago, and Center for Talent Development at Northwestern.
- We received a generous $3,000 grant from the Kenilworth United Fund, up $500 from last year's grant.
- Fund Committee: The balance in the Alliance Endowment Fund at 4-30-2011 was $124,835.46, down from $128,530.89 at 4-30-2010. Interest rates remain at historic lows on the risk-free CDs in which the fund is invested so investment income earned on the fund is minimal. Approximately $4,600 was disbursed from the Fund during the past twelve months to cover the cost of purchasing a new computer and related software for Blakely and to help offset the publication costs of the Alliance's 20th anniversary book, Two Decades.
- Current Committees: Communications, Executive, Fund Raising/Development, Fund, Let’s Play Initiative, Networking, Preschool Fair, Program, Rebranding, Special Needs Roundtable, Transition to Kindergarten, TV Tune Out, and Pat Wroclawski Collection.
- Member Organization: Harper School Kindergarten joined in the fall as an Associate Member. The Alliance currently has 35 member organizations, including 20 schools, and eight Associate Member schools.