Room Parent

CALABASH CHARTER ACADEMY
ROOM PARENT HANDBOOK
2013-2014

Thank you for volunteering to be a Room Parent in your child’s classroom.  The Room Parent is an integral link in the chain of communication from the teacher & PTA to all the other parents in the class.  Here are the primary responsibilities of a Room Parent:

·    Create a classroom roster & update throughout the year as needed; provide copy to school’s Lead Room Parent
·    Communicate with other parents on behalf of teacher & PTA (weekly emails)
·    Coordinate classroom parties (Holiday & Year End)
·    Collect money for teacher gifts, teacher yearbook, party expenses and other activities
·    Main contributor & collector of class photos for the yearbook.  
·    Coordinate design, build and volunteer schedule for Fall Festival classroom booth

Initially, there will be a meeting with the school’s Lead Room Parent.  This is primarily for first-time Room Parents.  This initial training meeting will help you understand the responsibilities of a Room Parent and your Lead Room Parent will continue to be your guide throughout the year.

At the beginning of the school year, you should meet with your teacher to understand how she wants to utilize the Room Parent and to understand any preferences s/he has for classroom events & volunteering.  Establishing an on-going, weekly dialogue with the teacher is a must. Maintain weekly check-ins with the teacher to see what s/he may need.  This can range from parent volunteers to specific items that need to be purchased for a project.  

You will also communicate with various PTA Board Members who may ask that you pass along info to class parents.  It’s critical that parents be made aware of upcoming fundraisers and PTA events.  As such, the Lead Room Parent will send you a weekly email with all relevant info for the following week and you should forward it along to your class, including all attachments.  Before forwarding, you can add any classroom-specific info at the top of the email so parents receive one weekly digest.  Be sure to BCC all parents on room parent emails; parent emails should not be shared without explicit approval.  

MORE THAN ONE ROOM PARENT

If it agreed upon with the teacher that TWO parents will share the responsibility of being the Room Parent, it is strongly recommended that one of the parents be the Lead Room Parent and that there is a clearly defined, published list of job duties for each of the Room Parents.  This will alleviate confusion for the teacher and for parents in the room.  

TYPICAL ROOM PARENT TASKS:

CLASSROOM ROSTER

At the beginning of the year, send out a roster solicitation form via your teacher to all students (sample enclosed).  Once you collect all roster info, you should consolidate into one page and forward on to the school’s Lead Room Parent.  

COMMUNICATION WITH PARENTS

The Room Parent should forward the weekly PTA emails, along with any classroom specific information to all class parents.  It is suggested that you create an email distribution list for all weekly Room Parent
emails to ensure everyone is included.  Be sure to stay up to date regarding classroom & PTA events as you will be the main source of information for the other parents in the room.  

COORDINATION OF CLASSROOM PARTIES

Classroom parties are limited to two:  one during the winter holiday, and one on the last day of school.  The Room Parent will coordinate the parties and consult the teacher for any preferences s/he has.

Usually, families are asked to contribute an item for the party (food, serving ware, decorations, drinks, etc).  It’s a good idea to set up a sign up sheet outside the classroom so parents don’t duplicate items.  You’ll also need volunteers to assist with set up and clean up.  Please check with your teacher prior to the first party regarding any student food allergies.  

COLLECTING MONEY FOR TEACHER/AIDE GIFTS AND TEACHER SUPPLIES

Room Parents coordinate the collection of donations for teacher/aide gifts.  This is a great solution for parents, to give towards one large gift rather than many smaller gifts.  Make sure that the parent who donates includes his/her name with the donation so that you can keep track of who has contributed.  It is suggested that the donations be applied to a gift card/certificate.  Be aware that LAUSD policy prohibits cash gifts to teachers.  Additionally, you may use a portion of the money to purchase a card for all students/parents to sign and include an enclosure that indicates which families contributed.

Traditionally, the Room Parent also collects contributions for a Calabash yearbook for the teacher and purchases it as part of the end of the year classroom gift.  

You can choose to collect money for events as they approach, or to ask for a lump sum donation upfront to cover the foreseeable gift expenses (teacher birthday, holiday gift, end-of-year gift, Teacher Appreciation Week and yearbook).  Average donations range from $10-$20 per family for each gift.  The yearbook cost ranges from $24-$40 depending on when you purchase.

Room parents should solicit donations of $10 per family to cover the teacher’s out-of-pocket supply costs.

COLLECTING & CONTRIBUTING PHOTOS FOR THE YEARBOOK

Room Parents are asked to upload classroom photos taken throughout the year to the Calabash yearbook website, “TreeRing”, as well as encourage other parents to do the same.  Each room has its own folder to which you can upload pictures.  Doing this regularly will help your classroom parents as they design their custom pages and help you if you choose to make custom pages in your teacher’s book.  

FALL FESTIVAL CLASSROOM BOOTH

Our Fall Festival will be held on Sunday, November 17th.  Each Room Parent will be responsible for working with class parents to come up with an idea for a class booth, as well as coordinate the building of the booth and purchase of all required materials.   Finally, Room Parents will coordinate a volunteer schedule such that classroom parents work the booth in 20-30 minute shifts at the festival (including set up and clean up).

OTHER ITEMS TO NOTE:

·    Room Parents/volunteers/visitors may not bring siblings/babies to the classroom.
·    Room Parents and ongoing classroom volunteers must have a TB clearance on file in the office.
·    Room Parents/volunteers/visitors must SIGN IN and SIGN OUT through the main office BEFORE going to the classroom during school hours.  

Questions:  Contact Claire Borsheim at claireborsheim@yahoo.com