A meeting of the Board of Directors of Laptops to Lesotho was held on March 19, 2011 at 10:00 AM Eastern Standard Time via conference call.
Board Members Present:
Janissa Balcomb, President
Andrew Dernovsek, Treasurer
Sarah Gardner, Secretary
Call to Order
Janissa Balcomb called the meeting to order at 10:00 AM Eastern Standard Time and Sarah Gardner recorded the minutes. All board members were present.
Janissa Balcomb welcomed everyone to the meeting and shared her vision of the ideal situation at Nohana Primary School. Laptops to Lesotho would like to provide both basic learning skills (critical thinking, problem solving, etc) and marketable job skills (computer skills, basic accounting, etc) to the students at Nohana Primary School by incorporating laptops into curriculum. Younger students (grades 1-3) can learn on XO laptops with a ratio of 3 students to 1 computer while intermediate students (grades 4 -5) can learn on XO laptops with a ratio of 2 students to 1 computer. 6th grade students will transition to XO laptops with an operating system that mimics Windows. 7th grade students will work at a school computer lab of PC/Mac laptops, both with a ratio of 1 student to 1 computer. The estimated cost of this vision is $45,000 to pay for necessary computers, shipping, and power. Janissa also discussed the possibility of partnering with SchoolNet-Camara, Lesotho for teacher training and lesson development, expansion possibilities, the use of cell phone technology, and partnering with a university to study the measurable effects of our program. A report from the principal at Nohana Primary School shows enrollment has gone from 314 students to 370 students, attendance has improved, student behavior has improved, and English and Math skills of students have improved.
Andrew Dernovsek will be submitting a 990-N form for this fiscal year and coming out with a report of our budget and expenses. He and Janissa also reviewed the funds we have received and what we have left to spend. We have $800 from Friends of Lesotho grant earmarked for internet (not nearly enough to cover internet expenses), $100 from FIPE grant earmarked for printer (repairs were made for less), $100 from FIPE leftover from Matlabe’s professional exchange, $7500 from an anonymous foundation earmarked for computers and solar power, $1500 from Maseru Rotary Club earmarked for training or expansion, $2700 pledged from Bloom Africa (not yet received, earmarked for laptops, shipping, and power), $1500 in public donations from December (unallocated), and $1500-2000 expected from a church in New York (unallocated). We have enough funds to build a solar power system for 100 XO laptops, 25 more XO laptops, and cover half the cost of sending two volunteers to deploy additional laptops.
Board members discussed whether our focus for fundraising should be on teacher training and curriculum development, more XO laptops, or setting up internet access.
Approval of Use of Maseru Grant Funds
Board members unanimously agreed Maseru Rotary Club grant funds will be used to send two teachers from Nohana Primary School to a grant writing workshop. The teachers of Nohana Primary School voted on this as their top need. If there is extra money or if the grant writing workshop is not possible, it will be used for lesson plan training.
Approval of Pueblo West Partnership
Board members unanimously agreed to pursue a partnership with Pueblo West High School. We will not be able to accept the 50 desktops they have offered because shipping costs would be exorbitant. At present Laptops to Lesotho can only take 45 of the thousands of laptops they may donate. A student group at Pueblo West High School expressed their desire to donate funds they will generate from a “Fun Walk” on April 23rd to the computer project at Nohana Primary School. Other additional partnerships and information exchanges will be explored.
Approval of Funding Priorities
Board members unanimously agreed that a portion of undesignated donations should be set aside for transportation and power costs and we should focus grant writing efforts on teacher training and curriculum development. Board members also unanimously agreed that internet is a low priority at this time because the costs outweigh the benefits, but we will continue investigating alternative ways to provide internet access.
There being no further business to discuss, the meeting was adjourned at 11:02 AM Eastern Standard Time.
Sarah Gardner, Recording Secretary