Room Parent Manual - the Matthews Elementary PTO Website

Matthews Elementary
Room Parent Guidelines and Responsibilities
Dear Room Parent Volunteer:
Thank you for volunteering! Being a room parent is an important volunteer position
at MES. The work of our wonderful teachers, assistants and staff members along
with the help and support of our families is what enables our school to be
exceptional. The teachers appreciate the assistance provided by their assigned
room parents. This document is provided as a guide for you. Please feel free to be
creative. We want this experience to be a fun and rewarding one for you. Thanks
again for volunteering your time at MES!
---Room Parent Coordinators
Andrea Koelz [email protected] (3rd-5th contact)
Gina Qasim [email protected] (K-2 contact)
Tips for Success as a Room Parent at MES
 TEAMWORK- The room parents share the position equally. There are no
“leads” or “just helpers”. You and your co-room parent are a TEAM. Work
together. Take the time at the beginning of the year to talk about how you
are going to divide the responsibilities. Please include as many classroom
parents as possible.
 COMMUNICATION- Use e-mails and/or notes home to communicate plans,
expectations and follow-up information to the classroom families. Create an
email “Group” for the classroom and send messages via-email. If there is a
parent that does not have regular email access but would like to be informed
of classroom events throughout the school year, please make a point of
sending a hard copy of your email to them via their child. Talk to other room
parents and exchange ideas and suggestions.
 RELATIONSHIP WITH TEACHER-Keep an open line of communication with
the classroom teacher. Take the time to communicate at the beginning of
the school year (not during instructional time). The teacher will inform you
when classroom celebrations will occur so that you can arrange for
volunteers, food and supplies. All emails to parents should be copied to the
teacher, with the exception of emails relating to teacher/assistant gifts.
Keep the teacher informed of what children may be bringing in to contribute
to celebrations. Any special items (especially around the holidays) must be
approved by the teacher.
parents and children as much as possible. We want to create a welcoming
atmosphere that encourages all parents to participate in classroom activities
when they are needed and support the class and school.
Room Parent Responsibilities
The following is a document detailing the basic responsibilities and general information
relating to your role as a room parent. Please read over the information carefully and
sign the Room Parent Agreement attached.
A. Contact Your Co-Room Parent, if there are more than 1 of you.
1. This is a team effort. Please brainstorm ideas and work together.
2. Talk about how you are going to divide the responsibilities and your expectations for
your role as a Room Parent.
3. Discuss how you are going to communicate with parents (email, hard copy notes home).
4. Please be considerate of each other. Listen to each other’s ideas.
B. Open House
1. If your classroom teacher has allocated time for you to speak, briefly introduce
yourself to the parents and encourage them to join and support the PTO.
2. Tell parents how you plan to communicate throughout the school year regarding class
parties, classroom needs, teacher gifts, etc.
3. Pass around a sheet of paper and ask parents to provide you with accurate email
addresses and to provide you with any changes to their contact information.
4. Ask parents to contact you if they do not have regular access to email. In these cases
offer to provide communications via their child’s folder (if you plan to communicate
solely through email).
C. Communicate with the Teacher
1. Contact the teacher (not during instructional time please) to discuss each other’s
expectations for the classroom. Both room parents should be included in however you
choose to communicate with the teacher.
2. This initial conversation is an opportunity for you and the teacher to have a discussion
about what level of participation you are willing to give and what expectations the
teacher has. Good communication between the teacher and room parent(s) is critical.
3. You and the teacher can discuss class celebrations and how they would like them to be
4. Please ask and assist your classroom teacher with any other activities he/she may
require during the school year. This could involve the solicitation of donated items by
parents and/or volunteers to support learning activities/programs or other classrelated projects.
D. Communication with Parents
1. Write an introduction letter to parents to be sent home in every child’s folder in case
parents were unable to attend Open House.
2. Create an email grouping of the email addresses of all parents in the classroom (if
provided to you).
3. Copy the teacher on ALL communications to Parents regarding classroom activities
unless it is about a gift or surprise for the teacher. 
E. Coordinate Parties
1. The MPTO sponsor two official parties/events for the school year for each grade
Winter Class Parties
Summer Class Parties
2. There will also be 2 class treats during the school year. These events will be held in
the classroom and teacher led. Please discuss these holiday treats with your teacher
and how he/she would like to handle them.
Thanksgiving will be called a Caring Treat
Valentine’s Day will be called a Friendship Treat
3. Class Parties usually consist of a snack, a craft and an activity.
4. Every class will receive a $50 check (per celebration) to help cover the expenses for
each of these parties (Winter and Summer Parties). You will be notified via email
when the checks are ready to be picked up from the front office. Please do not
stop by the front office or contact the secretaries regarding the checks until you
receive an email from either Room Parent Coordinator. Checks will be made out to one
of the Room Parents (we will inform you of which room parent this will be). The room
parent who is responsible for cashing the check is also responsible for reimbursing the
other room parent using the $50 provided by the MPTO if he/she has also purchased
any items for the celebration.
5. Discuss with your teacher whether she has a specific plan/needs for the celebrations,
such as a specific theme, craft, snack, etc. that she would like to have for the party.
6. Please tell the teacher at least 1 week in advance of your ideas for the class
celebration (Winter and Summer). The teacher must approve your theme, craft, snack
and activity.
F. Snacks/Food Brought into the Classroom
1. Snacks cannot be provided for mass distribution until the last lunch is served for the
2. All snacks and treats that come into the classroom must be purchased from a licensed
bakery, grocery store or food vendor. All snacks must include a label with listed
ingredients. There are to be no home baked food items sent into the classroom due to
federal health regulations. Please advise the parents from your child’s class of these
guidelines when they are sending in items for a class event.
3. Please check with the teacher regarding any food allergies as to prevent serving items
that could be a health risk to any child with an allergy. Please let parents know if
there is a food allergy (do not indicate the child’s name) so that can be taken into
account when buying/donating food for classroom celebrations.
G. Teacher Gifts
1. Some room parents decide to give the teacher and the staff pal a group gift during
the holiday season, birthdays and/or at the end of the school year.
2. Please refer to the “Favorites List” provided to you that indicates your teacher’s
likes, interests, hobbies and birthday when considering a gift from the class. Please
email a copy of the list to all parents so they are informed of the teacher’s likes/
interests in the event they want to give a separate gift.
3. Birthday celebrations can include a tangible gift, sweet treat (cupcakes, cookies or
something purchased from the cafeteria) or a decorative card decorated and signed
by the children for the teacher and Staff Pal.
4. When asking parents for a donation towards a gift, please make sure they know it’s
optional and do not ask for a specific amount. You must include all the children’s names
on the card or just sign it “From Your Class”. You should not single out only those
students who choose to participate.
5. If you have money left over from the $50 you were given for a class celebration,
please put that money towards a gift for your teacher OR you may want to consider
purchasing something the teacher may need for the classroom (tissues, hand sanitizer,
crayons, pencils, etc).
6. If money was collected for a group gift, notify parents how much was collected and
what the money was used to buy.
H. Staff Classroom Pal
1. Each class has been assigned a non-teacher staff member to be paired with them.
This staff member should be invited by the teacher to class events and celebrations.
This will allow the staff member to get more directly involved with the children at
MES while allowing the children to learn more about what the various staff members
do at MES.
2. Recognize that staff member during Staff Appreciation week and for their birthday.
3. “Gifts” can include something as simple as a homemade card. There are many ways to
be thoughtful and creative. A small gesture of recognition can go a long way in making
someone’s day and showing we care about our staff at MES.
I. Stinger Fest
Stinger Fest is an annual event that takes place on the MES school bus parking lot
in October. The event will include games, food and “Stinger Baskets”. Stinger
Baskets will be assigned to all K-5th grade classes. Room Parents do not solicit
donations for the baskets, but should be aware of this part of Stinger Fest so
they can answer questions from parents. If you have any questions about Stinger
Fest or would like to volunteer to help please contact Michelle Spaulding at 704564-4820 or [email protected]
J. Staff Appreciation Week
1. Staff Appreciation Week will likely be scheduled in the month of February. We will
inform you of the exact dates as they are determined.
2. Room parents are asked to provide coverage or ask another parent from the class to
provide coverage for the classroom while the teacher attends the Staff Appreciation
3. If required, coordinate the collection of any items the children are asked to bring in
for the teachers this week. (e.g. provide the teacher with a vase for flowers and a
basket for fruit-check with the teacher before providing a vase and basket to make
sure they don’t already have one in their classroom).
4. Remind parents of the activities taking place during Staff Appreciation week (you will
be notified of the specific activities planned as the date nears).
K. Blue and Gold
1. This is our school’s annual school spirit week with class field day and other competition
related activities where students earn points for their team (either blue or gold). It is
typically scheduled for June.
2. Room parents typically provide water bottles (labeled with every child’s name) or
arrange for another parent to provide water for the entire class and teacher on their
Blue/Gold Day.
3. You or another parent may also want to bring a few spray bottles filled with water to
cool the children off on this day. All activities take place outside.
4. Often there is a picnic lunch the same day as Blue/Gold events. Please check with your
teacher to see if he/she needs any assistance on this day for either event (field
events and/or picnic).
L. Yearbook Pictures and Newsletter
1. If your child’s class does anything special, please write a short description to share
with the school newsletter. Articles can be submitted to
[email protected] Unfortunately, not all articles will be published.
News can also be submitted to THE RECORD (Town of Matthew’s newspaper).
2. Every class is asked to submit pictures highlighting students from your class
participating in various school activities (field trips, Stingerfest, class celebrations,
playground, etc.). The Yearbook staff is in need of 12 pictures for your class. Please take
pictures or ask other parents from the class to take pictures that are closer in nature,
rather than far away (individual or small group shots are best).
3. Please submit photos in a digital format on a CD or as a tiff or jpg attachment by email.
Please label the pictures on the disc, file or back of each photo with the teacher’s name
and whether the kids in the picture are all in the same class or not in the same class but
same grade. Please put them in the Yearbook “mailbox” in the MPTO workroom or submit
electronically to Angela Duerr ([email protected]) or Beth Ziefert
([email protected]). Sorry, we cannot guarantee photos will be returned or that all
photos submitted will be published in the yearbook.
M. Character Education
1. Please send an email to all parents in your class asking for character education
volunteers (you can copy and paste the letter sample located on Room Parent website).
**We are asking that parents teach a lesson once a month. All lessons will be provided
for volunteers and should take no longer than 20 minutes to teach.**
2. Once parents reply to your email stating they would like to volunteer please compose
an email to [email protected] and [email protected] with a list of
the names and email addresses.
3. Mrs. Fry and Ms. Gero will contact the volunteers to arrange a date and get back to
you with a list of volunteers and the week they will be coming to the classroom to
teach a lesson. Please send out a friendly reminder a week in advance to those parents
that will be volunteering.
Sources you may find useful when planning a class celebration or creating teacher
Sign Up
Volunteer Spot
Room Mom Spot
Room Mom
Oriental Trading-
Michaels- (store located at the Arboretum and Sycamore Commons)
Family Fun-
**If you have questions about your responsibilities, or are having trouble fulfilling the
responsibilities of this position at any time during the school year, please contact one of the
Room Parent Coordinators. Andrea Koelz (704-846-5090 or [email protected]) or Gina Qasim
(704-841-2240 or [email protected]).**
(Please see helpful checklist below.)
Beginning of the Year Checklist
o Read Room Parent Guidelines and Responsibilities document
o Sign and return the Room Parent Agreement
o Complete class email distribution list
o Send out a “hard copy” Room Parent Introduction Letter in
Tuesday folder during the month of September
o Communicate with other room parent about dividing
responsibilities and expectations
o Communicate with classroom teacher regarding Room
Parent information as described in section C. of this
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