August 2009 Newsletter


Register Online Now!

The 2009-2010 class schedule has been posted on our web site at and registration is now open.

Related to this, the board of directors has a couple of improvements to announce.

The church has offered us some additional space, which has allowed us to consider growing. We looked at a large expansion, but couldn’t afford it without a huge increase in fees. So the board decided to grow incrementally—a small amount this year and, if this is successful, more in the future. However, even this small growth will require additional rent and teacher salaries. Therefore a slight fee increase has been approved (see below).

The board feels that these enhancements are important to the future of La Causerie and our members. Successfully moving members up into the higher level classes is vital to keeping La Causerie afloat and we must continually evolve to meet the needs of our members.

Here’s what will be happening:

  1. We have added a new class called “French IA.” This class will target students who have completed French I but do not yet feel ready for French II. The teacher will diagnose students’ ability and target lessons toward their needs. The class will also have a focus on “travel French,” something we’ve heard people ask for.

    This should help reduce the recent large French I classes (last year that class began with 36 students) and provide another stepping stone for students to progress to more advanced classes. If this concept is successful, we may do the same in Spanish or Italian in the future (and will now have the physical space available to do so).

  1. We have increased the Spanish I class from one hour to 1 ½ hours. Last year this was the only language without a level one class of this length.

  1. We will reinstate the Italian III Conversation Class that we had to scuttle last year due to space and teacher shortages. We’re still working to identify an instructor for this class. However, we are hopeful and feel that a conversation class at this level should be a welcome improvement for our more advanced Italian students.

Become a Member—Register Now and Save

Register before September 1: $200

Register after September 1st: $215

With your annual membership in La Causerie you can take as many classes, in as many languages as you can fit into your Friday morning schedule. See the website for the class schedule.

La Causerie offers 29 mornings of classes, starting September 25 and ending May 7th. We do not operate on a semester system. If you pay the $200 fee, your cost is less than $6 a week. If you take two or three classes, your cost can be as low as $2 per class. There isn’t a better deal to be found in Kansas City.

How to Register

It’s easy! Go to our web site ( and click on the “Register” tab at the top. You’ll be asked to provide your contact information. If you were a La Causerie member last year, all you have to do is provide your email address and the rest of your contact information will be filled in automatically. If something has changed, please update your record.

In the Class Schedule section find the class or classes you’d like to register for. Click on the “Enroll” button. There’s a space provided for you to ask questions or make comments. Once you’ve selected your classes, click on the “Register” button below the Class Schedule.

If you don’t know exactly which class(es) to register for, don’t worry right now; make a guess. For help with choosing classes, see information about the Enrollment Party and Orientation section below.


Note to past members: only one textbook has changed this year and that is for French IV Grammar.

Textbooks used for each class can be found by clicking on the “Books” tab at the top of the page. Be sure to double-check the ISBN number to make sure you’re ordering the correct edition.

New Teachers

Becky Tucker, our beloved French I and II instructor, has decided to take time off from La Causerie to focus on herself and her career. Her son is off to college this fall and she plans to accomplish some other goals, mainly writing some adult texts for the teaching of French (which we know are dearly needed). She will be sorely missed but we wish her well.

Barbara Shaw, a 40-year veteran teacher at the high school, community college and university levels, will join our faculty in the fall. She has recently retired after 25 years at Sumner Academy in Kansas City, Kansas, where she taught French in the International Baccalaureate Program, served as chairperson of the World Languages Department and traveled extensively throughout France with student groups. Barbara was the former assistant director of the K.U. Summer Language Institute in Paris and has presented sessions at numerous state and regional conferences on language teaching. She lives in Central Hyde Park where she and husband, Craig, have been renovating their historic home for the past 32 years. She is an avid gardener and spends every spare moment in the kitchen

Shannon Tumanut has joined our team to teach French I.  Shannon grew up in Kansas City and is a product of the Pembroke Hill School foreign language program.  She has a BA in French Studies and a MA in Teaching a Foreign Language in French.  She has spent several years in France studying and teaching.  She currently teaches French at Park University and English for Academic Purposes at Johnson County Community College.  Besides teaching languages, Shannon enjoys learning them and has dabbled primarily in Italian, Spanish, and German. She is hoping to become a fluent German speaker, but in the meantime contents herself with informally conversing in German (and some Czech) with her husband, Joe, an aspiring German linguist.

Maria Tapia-Belsito will teach Spanish I.  As a native of Quito, Ecuador, she is fluent in Spanish.   Her most recent work experiences have been in leading fund-raising efforts for nonprofit organizations, but even there she used her Spanish (as an example, translating brochures and other materials into Spanish for the Rose Brooks Center).  She is experienced in working with groups of adults, facilitating group process and is eager to apply all of her background experiences to the La Causerie experience.  Her daughter lives in Madrid, Spain and she recently visited her there. Maria has some great ideas about how La Causerie might work with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Enrollment Party and Orientation

Our annual Enrollment and Orientation Party is scheduled for September 11th at Second Presbyterian Church at 55th and Brookside Boulevard. Come from 2 – 4 p.m. to enroll (if you haven’t already done so). Our teachers will be there to answer your questions, provide placement advice and get to know you. If you’re already enrolled, come for some social time. Visit the classrooms, especially the Calvin Center where we will rent new space for some of our smaller classes.

Members are asked to bring a snack to share (some savory or sweet nibbles with an international flair are always welcome). We will provide drinks.  

August 2009 - May 2010 Calendar

August 1 Online Registration Begins

September 11 Enrollment Party and orientation for 2009-2010

September 25 CLASSES BEGIN and continue every Friday AM except:

November 27 No class (Thanksgiving holiday)

December 25 No class (Christmas holiday)

January 1 No class (New Year’s Day)

March 19 No class (Spring Break)

May 7 Last day of classes

Executive Board Members 2009-2010





Dalene Bradford

1st Vice President

(Membership Chair)

Judith Walter

2nd Vice President

(Social Chair)

Jeff Piehler


Carol Cowden



Judy Pearlstein

Assistant Secretary


Nancy Abdou


Inez Pennington

Assistant Treasurer

(Textbook Chair)

Joan Daniels

Assistant to the Board

Carmen Quintero

Note: Email addresses and phone numbers are omitted from our website at . Please refer to the email letter or Livret when these are needed.