Homeroom Parent Headquarters
This is your go-to location for all homeroom parent-related information! Please visit our SignUp! page link by clicking on the "Get Involved - VolunteerSpot" tab if you would like to sign up to be a homeroom parent for your child's class this year.
Being a homeroom parent is a great way to spend some time in your child's classroom and get to know your child's teacher. The primary responsibilities of the homeroom parent are to communicate with the teacher and determine where your help is needed. Homeroom parents are in charge of coordination of classroom parties, coordinating a class gift for basket raffle at PTO Spaghetti Dinner, organizing classroom silent auction item for the Gala, as well as acting as an informational liaison between the PTO and the parents. More helpful information can be found below.
2017-2018 St. Joan of Arc School Room Parent Guide
This guide is designed to help both new and returning room parents find answers to their questions and explain responsibilities more clearly! It is intended to offer helpful tips and recommendations to assist you in a successful year as room parent, as well as to help ensure some degree of uniformity across the classes (although there are always some differences due to grade and class size!) The best resource you have will be the classroom teacher. They know best what they want/need from homeroom parents and will always be happy to communicate that with you.
Room Parent Structure
Each homeroom has between 1-3 room parents, dependent upon the grade. The younger classes typically require more assistance from parents and usually need more than one room parent to share responsibility. As a room parent, you are an important link between the PTO, the teachers, the parent volunteers, and the classroom parents. It is important to remember that as a room parent, you are not responsible for doing all the work yourself! You may want to contact your class parents at the beginning of the school year to see if someone would like to take the lead on any one of the classroom projects or organize a classroom party. Most parents are eager to volunteer in some way! It is important that everyone who wants to help has an opportunity to do so, which takes communication from you! If you are not acquainted with the other room parent(s) in your class, please communicate with them and divide up the
responsibilities as needed. This can include designating one of you as the “lead” room parent, and also designating one person to be in charge of emailing parents so as not to overwhelm parents with multiple emails. The homeroom parent coordinator will lend support to the room parents and act as the liaison between you and the PTO in room parent matters.
Room Parent Duties
Each teacher and class has different needs and expectations for the room parent, so we have provided a teacher information sheet for you in order to make it easier for you to communicate what the needs are from you. It may be helpful to set up a meeting with the teacher in the beginning of the year to discuss the teacher’s thoughts and needs regarding
expectations for the year. Although duties differ with each class and grade, there are common classroom events that you will be responsible for coordinating. These include:
Organizing classroom parties
SJA PTO Spaghetti Dinner Raffle Gift Basket (November)
SJA Night of Knights Gala Class Silent Auction Donation Item (April)
Teacher Appreciation Week (May)
Blue and Gold Day Parent Volunteers (June)
Teacher Gifts (only if your classroom has decided to do a group gift)
Some of the teachers will also have a need for classroom volunteers. This is especially common in the lower grades. You should communicate with your teacher in order to cover any specific class needs she may have. Lastly, we ask that you pass along any information on key events. This may include communications from the teacher, the room parent coordinator, or the PTO. Sister Eileen does a wonderful job of keeping everyone updated through her daily “blasters”; however, her blasters do not always cover what is going on in individual classrooms.
It is very important that you keep in contact with your teacher and the room parent coordinator, as well as to attend the monthly PTO meetings. You will need to stay involved in order to keep your class involved and pass on important information to the parents in your class. Please keep in mind that while it is not mandatory to attend every PTO meeting, it is strongly recommended that at least one room parent in each class attend as many as possible to stay informed. Please be sure to communicate with parents especially regarding the following key events: class parties, field trips, concerts and school assemblies, school pictures, and mission money.
SJA can help promote a positive learning environment by providing healthy celebrations that shift our focus from the food to the child. Choose a variety of activities, games and crafts that children enjoy. When food is served, make it count with healthy choices! The Wellness Committee has created a list of “Healthy Snack Ideas” which can be located on the Health and Wellness link of the school’s website.
It is important to determine whether there are any children in your class with food allergies, and this should be discussed with your teacher prior to planning. You may need to contact the parent directly for more specific instructions.
Please note that these guidelines are not meant to “ruin the fun” but rather to focus on having fun and not just eating treats. Lastly, please remember to run all party ideas by your teacher.
Collecting money from each family to cover class costs is common, but also strictly voluntary. There are a few events throughout the year which will require either monetary or item donations from the families in the class. It is up to the homeroom parents and the teacher to decide how to manage this. To cover class parties, it is recommended that a list of items needed for that party be emailed or sent home with the children so that parents can either donate an item from the list (e.g. snack item, plates, napkins, craft supplies, etc.) or send in a monetary contribution to pay for an item.
To cover the Spaghetti Dinner Class basket and Gala auction item, it is recommended that parents are given the option to donate an item to put in the themed basket or to make a monetary contribution. You may wish to ask for the money to cover these items at the beginning of the year or just prior to each event. It is important to keep the lines of communication open with the parents, and to ensure that it is communicated clearly to them what those funds will be covering. Always remember that you may have parents who choose not to participate, as the donations, while greatly appreciated, are completely voluntary. It is important to plan for this, because in no way are you as a room parent expected to bear the burden of any extra expenses or underestimated budgets. Please contact the homeroom parent coordinator if this is an issue.
SJA PTO Spaghetti Dinner Raffle Basket
The PTO holds a Spaghetti Dinner, which is our main and largest fundraiser of the year. This year’s event will be held on November 18, 2017. This event includes a gift basket raffle, in which each classroom donates a basket based on a theme that the classroom has agreed upon. Past themes have included a garden theme, spa baskets, movie night baskets, electronics baskets, and many others. We aren't allowed to raffle baskets containing alcohol, per state regulations. As a room parent, you may ask for financial or item donations once you have chosen a theme. It is a good idea to keep parents updated as to which items have been donated, so as to avoid duplicates. We suggest that you begin working on this shortly after school starts to ensure that your basket is prepared in time for the dinner. The baskets are put on display the week before the dinner so that raffle picks may be made in advance, and are often a source of pride and excitement for the students as they choose which baskets they like and show off their class basket!
Night of Knights Gala Class Donation Item
Each year, St. Joan of Arc holds the annual Night of Knights Gala fundraising event which includes a silent auction. This year’s gala will be held on April 21, 2018. Each class is responsible for donating an item to the silent auction. Traditionally, these items tend to be handmade by the class. Past projects have included thumbprint platters, step stools or picnic tables painted by the children, or artwork created by the class. There are some amazing, creative ideas that are also simple and “DIY friendly” and do not have to incur a high cost. Some of the most popular items cost very little, but have been made with much love! Use your own creativity, tap into your parent base, or try an internet search for ideas (Pinterest is great). There are no limits to what you can do!
Please note that not everyone from your classroom will be attending the Gala. It is recommended that the item you choose to create be something that will appeal to a wide audience, which will attract more bids. These items will need to be finished and turned in to the auction committee a couple of weeks prior to the gala, so that they may be photographed and listed in the event program.
SJA Teacher Appreciation Week
This weeklong event is a school-wide celebration to show our appreciation for our faculty and staff, and this year will be held the week of May 7-11, 2018 with the luncheon being on May 9. One day that week, there is a luncheon for the teachers. It is necessary for the parents to cover the classroom for the duration of lunch. This is typically a two-hour period, and for the most part, would entail the parents taking the students to their lunch period, recess, and guiding the students in completing a project to show their appreciation for their teachers. Each classroom will need at least one parent, although the lower grades will require 2 or more; especially the kindergarten classes. As room parent, it will be your responsibility to find coverage but again, do not feel obligated to do this alone.
It is recommended that teacher birthday gifts are left up to individual class families, although as a class, you may want to have all students sign a card for the teacher or provide a special snack in celebration of the teacher’s birthday.
Thank you for being a homeroom parent!
Please do not hesitate to let us know if you have any questions throughout the year, and thank you so much for volunteering your time in your child’s classroom. Your child’s teacher and the SJA PTO greatly appreciate all of your time, effort and hard work!
Tara Pennypacker - Homeroom Parent Coordinator