CALABASH CHARTER ACADEMY
ROOM PARENT HANDBOOK
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 & PTO to all the other parents in the class.
Here are the primary responsibilities of a Calabash Room Parent:
- Be an advocate and partner for your class teacher
- Create a classroom roster & keep current throughout the year; provide copy to school’s Lead Room Parent
- Communicate with other parents on behalf of teacher & PTO (weekly emails)
- Coordinate classroom volunteer schedule
- Coordinate classroom parties (Holiday & Year End)
- Collect money for teacher gifts, party expenses and other activities
- Coordinate collection of class photos for the yearbook
- Coordinate design and build of Spring Carnival classroom booth
At the beginning of the school year, there will be a meeting with the school’s Lead Room Parent (“LRP”). This is primarily for first-time Room Parents. This initial training meeting will help you understand the responsibilities of a Room Parent and your LRP will continue to be your guide throughout the year.
Once you assume the Room Parent role, 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.
It’s critical that parents be made aware of upcoming fundraisers and PTO 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 should 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 list of job duties for each of the Room Parents. This will alleviate confusion for the teacher and for parents in the room.
ROOM PARENT RESPONSIBILITIES:
TEACHER’S ADVOCATE & PARTNER
You are often the first line of communication and defense for your classroom’s teacher. Be prepared to field questions and help diffuse concerns as needed.
At the beginning of the year, send out the roster solicitation form via your teacher to all students (LRP will provide the form). Once you collect all roster info, you should consolidate into one page and forward on to the school’s LRP. Roster template will be provided by the LRP.
COMMUNICATION WITH PARENTS
The Room Parent should forward the weekly PTO emails, along with any classroom specific information to all class parents. It is suggested that you create an email distribution list to ensure everyone is included. If new students join the class throughout the year, be sure to update your distribution list and forward the contact info on to the LRP. Be sure to stay up to date regarding classroom & PTO events as you will be the main source of information for the other parents in the room.
COORDINATING CLASSROOM VOLUNTEER SCHEDULE
Each class will have its own volunteer needs. All Room Parents seek out volunteers for the class Book It & Square One Art programs. Room Parents may also be asked to find volunteers for weekly computer lab, library visits and in-class projects.
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 coordinates the parties and should consult the teacher in advance to understand 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 on Sign Up Genius 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 so you can notify the other parents (i.e. bringing only nut-free foods).
COLLECTING MONEY FOR TEACHER/AIDE GIFTS AND TEACHER SUPPLIES
Room Parents coordinate the collection of donations for teacher/aide gifts from the class group. This is a great solution for parents, to give towards one large gift rather than purchasing individual gifts. Make sure parents who donate include their name with the donation so that you can keep track of who has contributed and have those families sign a card from the group. Be aware that LAUSD policy prohibits cash gifts to teachers; gift cards are ok.
You can choose to collect money for events as they approach, or to ask for a lump sum donation upfront to cover the foreseeable 4 gift expenses (teacher birthday, holiday gift, end-of-year gift & Teacher Appreciation Week). Average donations range from $5-$20 per family for each gift. Also collect an extra $1 for Mrs. Rogan and our science lab aide on behalf of your class.
At the beginning of the year, Room parents should solicit donations of $10 per family to cover the teacher’s out-of-pocket supply costs.
There are various ways to collect money:
- Tracking down parents on campus
- Providing teacher with envelopes to send home in the homework folders; envelopes returned with $ and teacher puts in your child’s folder or gives to you (include inserts with instructions)
- Set up a room expenses site at www.cheddarup.com. Parents can pay via e-check or credit card and donations are tracked automatically.
- Requesting money via PayPal (no fees if they send directly from their checking account) or Venmo
COLLECTING & CONTRIBUTING PHOTOS FOR THE YEARBOOK
Room Parents are asked to upload classroom photos taken throughout the year to the Calabash yearbook website, “TreeRing”, and 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 will help you if you choose to make custom pages in your teacher’s book.
SPRING CARNIVAL CLASSROOM BOOTH
Our Spring Carnival will be held on Saturday, March 28th. Each Room Parent will be responsible for working with class parents to come up with an idea for a class booth, as well as coordinating the building of the booth and purchasing all required materials.
OTHER ITEMS TO NOTE:
- Room Parents/volunteers/visitors may not bring siblings to the classroom.
- Room Parents and ongoing classroom volunteers must have a TB clearance and fingerprinting on file in the office.
- Columbus Middle School administers free TB test; call to make an appt.
- Room Parents/volunteers/visitors must SIGN IN and SIGN OUT through the main office BEFORE going to the classroom during school hours.
- Room Parents may not use classroom roster info for personal gain (i.e. real estate marketing/solicitations).