When back-to-school time comes around, teachers and school administrators start looking for room parents. But what does a room parent do?
A room parent (also known as a class parent) facilitates communication between parents and the teacher, school administration and/or parent-teacher organization (PTO) and supports the teacher in needs that may arise. This facilitation can take many different forms and can require anything from a minor volunteer commitment shared with other parents to a large responsibility.
Room Parent Responsibilities
The responsibilities of a room parent vary from school to school, from teacher to teacher and grade to grade. If you are considering becoming a class parent, these are some things a room parent may (but may not) be asked to do:
- Meet with the teacher to discuss the role he or she would like the room parent to play.
- Send home a letter with children in order to collect the names and phone numbers of all the parents in the class. Some schools may provide this information.
- Attend and/or organize activities for “Back-to-School Night.”
- Post events to a classroom blog or website.
- Recruit other parents to help in the duty of room parents, e.g., start a telephone chain or maintain an email database. (Finding a co-room parent can make the job a lot easier!)
- Meet with other room parents and/or the school’s room parent organizer on a regular or occasional basis.
- Attend all or most of the meetings of the school’s Parent Teacher Association (PTA) or similar organization.
- Organize class parties and enrichment opportunities. This may include planning, shopping for and hosting the event.
- Call or email parents to obtain donations of supplies for the classroom and/or events (i.e., boxes of tissues the classroom or cupcakes for class parties).
- Collect donations for and purchase gifts for the teacher for special occasions. These might include holidays (Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and/or Teacher Appreciation Day), his or her birthday, the end of the school year and other special events such as a baby or wedding shower, get well, etc.
- Call or email parents to line up chaperones for field trips.
- Find volunteers to help in the classroom, if needed.
- Send out reminders—via email, phone or notes that go home with the kids—about upcoming events, meetings, field trips and needs for donations or volunteers.
- Act as a resource by answering questions for parents new to the school or class.
- Solicit donations for the school or class from local businesses or other people besides the parents of kids in the class.