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.
Read more about How to Optimize Home and School Communication for a better school year.