Happy Hollow Room Parent Responsibilities & Tips
1. Communicate with your teacher(s) and your classroom families.
The key to being a great room parent is to communicate regularly with your teacher(s) and the parents in your classroom!
- If you have not done so already, introduce yourselves to your teacher(s) as the room parents for the class and coordinate the creation of a classroom email list with your teacher.
- Coordinate with the other room parent(s) for your classroom and send out an email to families introducing yourselves as the room parents and providing your contact information.
- Throughout the year, regularly touch base with your teacher about upcoming events. If a holiday is coming up, it’s likely that the teacher may be planning something in the classroom that parents can assist with. Contact them early so you have plenty of time to get parents to sign up to send in items or to volunteer. Please be mindful of the new food guidelines when planning classroom events.
- Many teachers enjoy having parents in the classroom on a regular basis to volunteer. Help ensure you have enough notice of your teacher’s needs by checking with them on a monthly basis to find out what is on their schedule for the upcoming month – field trips, classroom celebrations, math groups, reading groups, etc.
Use email to contact the parents in your class. If you have a family in your class that doesn’t use email, consider printing a hard copy to go home in their child’s backpack, depending on the timeline. Consider using www.volunteerspot.com as a quick and easy tool to help you get volunteers for classroom events.
*Please nicely remind parents that the classroom email list is to be used only for classroom and school/PTO communications and not for solicitations or personal use. To assist with this, and for privacy reasons, be sure to always bcc the email list when sending out classroom communications.
2. CORI forms.
CORI forms are required for all our volunteers. Forms are available in the school office. In addition to completing the form, a copy of your driver’s license will be made and attached to the form. If you have had a CORI done within the past 3 years at one of the Wayland Schools, this fulfills your obligation. It is good to include this reminder in your initial email to classroom families.
3. Finalize and verify your classroom email lists.
You will need to work directly with your teacher(s) to develop a classroom email list to ensure that everyone receives classroom communications. Always offer families the opportunity to opt out of this list.
- Coordinate with your teacher in advance (they may receive a preliminary list from the school), and at Curriculum Night, put out a copy of your class list to collect any missing emails and verify existing information. Please note at the bottom of this list that the information is confidential, and only used for PTO/Classroom purposes.
- If you still have missing email addresses after Curriculum Night, you will need to collect this information from those families either via phone or by sending home a note in the child’s backpack. Please forward the completed email list to the Room Parent Coordinator (Elena Taxiarchis at firstname.lastname@example.org)
- During the school year, please forward any changes in email addresses to the Room Parent Coordinator.
4. Email Communications
It bears repeating that the class email lists are to be used only for classroom communications, and not for solicitations, or anything unrelated to conveying teacher, room parent or PTO info. You should not distribute anything via this list that did not come from your teacher or from the Room Parent Coordinator Jen Pearlman without first getting approval from the teacher or the Room Parent Coordinator. To email the entire class at once without revealing individual email addresses please use the BCC email function (i.e. blind copy) available in all email programs.
When forwarding a message to your classroom from the Room Parent Coordinator please copy and paste the relevant message into your own separate, personalized email message before forwarding on to the class. Frequently there is language specifically addressed to the Room Parents when these requests go out, and not intended for everyone to read. If you do forward a message, please be sure to adjust the message and include the Room Parents (your) names and contact info for your classroom.
5. Teacher gifts.
Holiday and end-of-year gifts are optional. Usually the room parents offer to organize a group gift around the holidays and at the end of the school year. Please be sure to stay within the gift giving guidelines as specified under the Parent Resources tab of the Happy Hollow/Loker PTO website.
6. Build a classroom community.
Help families feel connected to our school community by developing a classroom community.
- Create a welcoming, inclusive environment for families by holding “classroom” events. Some examples might include a social or meeting at the park or school playground in the late Summer/Early Fall. If you and your family are planning an apple-picking trip or a haunted hayride, email the class and plan to meet up!
- Help families feel more comfortable coming to school events by extending an invitation to meet as a group before a PTO event (i.e. Halloween movie night or Curriculum Night), or even offering to meet as a group prior to school events or PTO meetings. (This is most important in younger grades where the school community is still new and families do not know as many people).
- Perhaps organize an evening at the Library. Meet in the Children’s Room at the Wayland Public Library one evening and receive some pointers from the librarians about what authors and subjects are popular among children of your child’s age/grade. Chat with other parents about what books their children enjoy and what they might recommend. Get your child their own library card if they don’t already have one!
- Let parents know that you are a resource for their questions. If you don’t know the answer, try to direct them to someone who will be able to help.
A cohesive classroom community can truly make a huge difference to the entire school community, your child’s school year experience, and your enjoyment as a room parent.
Find many resources, including Room Parent information, on Happy Hollow’s page at www.waylandpto.org.
Thank you very much for volunteering to be a Room Parent! Your involvement is so important to our school community. If you have any questions or need additional information, please do not hesitate to contact me. I look forward to working with you, and to making this a terrific year for our children, their families and our teachers.
Room Parent Coordinator, Happy Hollow Parent Teacher Organization