Building Strong Classroom Communities at Jefferson School
What are room partners?
- provide important assistance to teachers by helping with special classroom events and celebrations
- get out important information to families by phone and/or email
- help coordinate activities outside of school, such as playdates
- encourage parents and families to participate in classroom and school-wide events and field trips
- facilitate communication between parents
Two, three, or more room partners can make a huge difference in creating a strong network of parents, students and the teacher by helping to engage more families in activities outside the classroom. With just a bit of effort, supported by the PTA Room Parent Coordinators, Room Parents at Jefferson can help bring parents together to get to know and trust each other for the benefit of supporting our children.
The value of room partners
Classroom communities that involve the families of students as well as the students and teacher can have a major impact on children’s academic and emotional growth. Studies consistently show that when parents and other important people in students’ lives contribute time and energy to their children’s classroom experience, children thrive. Children are better able to integrate their personal lives into their school lives, enriching the school experience and giving it more meaning. When parents connect with their child’s class, they become more motivated to help make their child’s school the best place it can be.
Although Jefferson School is relatively small, it is still often overwhelming and intimidating for many children and parents. Often, busy parents avoid participating in large school-wide events and, typically, the same group of parents year in and year out are on the PTA, Site and BSEP councils. On a much smaller scale, the classroom offers the opportunity for parents to get to know all the kids and one another on a more personal level. This smaller scale is much more accessible and creates opportunities for parents to feel connected to Jefferson.
Sign up as a room partner
Sign up to be a room partner at Back To School Night. The classroom teachers should have a sign-up sheet and will be able to answer any questions.
Connect with other parents in your child’s classroom
Room partners have kept the class parents connected by:
- Collecting phone numbers, addresses, and emails.
- Creating a google or yahoo group so parents can send emails to all parents at once.
- Setting up a phone tree to call parents who do not use email.
Track volunteer hours
Room partners make themselves visible by:
- talking directly to all the parents in the classroom – in person, by phone, by email.
- posting pictures of themselves in the classroom or the class bulletin board in the hallway.
- posting announcements for classroom activities on the class bulletin board.
Activities that room partners have been involved in over the years, include:
- Organizing a family potluck or party for your child’s class during the year. Encourage families to bring food, bring along special family members and friends, or share dances, games, or music that reflect each family’s personal or ethnic culture.
- Coordinating after school play dates for kids in the class
- Facilitate the publication of a class newsletter
- Encouraging families to attend and volunteer at Jefferson events.
- Organizing classroom fundraisers – Ben and Jerry’s ice cream social, read-a-thon, class garage sales, etc.
- Coordinating parent education events for parents in your child’s classroom (or grade level)
- Recruiting translators when needed for classroom special events
- Recruiting extended family and community members into the classroom to share family culture
- Coordinating family read-aloud events for the classroom
- Helping teachers with traditional room parent duties (field trips/class parties/phone trees)