If you are new to the school where your child has just been accepted, you may think that the school functions like a well-oiled machine with little help from outside. Nothing could be further from the truth. Your help and support as a parent are essential and, indeed, expected. Let's look at some ways in which we parents can contribute time, talent and treasure to our children's schools.
1. Support your school financially.
Depending on where you live and what your schedule is like, supporting the school financially may be all that you can do. If you have the means to make a significant gift, then contact the development office to see how best to use your munificence. Leadership gifts are critical to any school's fund-raising success. In any case, give what you can. Gifts from parents are an important source of funding for most private schools.
2. Be a class parent.
Primary schools, in particular, will appreciate help with all sorts of things. You will be worth your weight in gold if you are the kind of parent who simply does what she is asked to do faithfully and without interfering with the teacher or children. Communicating with the other parents and getting them organized to do whatever the class needs to be done is part of the role of the ideal class parent. Chaperoning field trips and walks might also be part of your volunteer work. Class parents are especially important these days because so many parents work. If you can help during school hours, you will be a valuable addition to the volunteer staff of the school.
3. Attend and/or help organize school events and activities.
Every school has its traditional activities and events which take place throughout the year. While certain things like plays and concerts will be run by the school, you could be helpful with all sorts of tasks such as running the front office, handling publicity or organizing the reception following the event. The more buzz an event has, the more successful it is likely to be. So, always mention the events and invite your friends and family.
This video offers suggestions for fundraising activities at your school.
4. Organize and help with fund-raisers.
Fund-raising activities come in all shapes and sizes. Silent auctions, barbecues, and fairs need contributions and people to organize and run them. Help with alumni events is also appreciated especially if these must be held far from the school in a distant city or country. As with all the items on this list, don't wait for somebody to ask you to help. Contact the school and offer your assistance.
This video describes the annual fund at the Punahou School.
5. Promote the school.
You are proud of the school which your children attend. So mention it when appropriate. A satisfied parent is one of the school's best marketing tools. A school decal affixed to a car window is a nice touch. If you live abroad, perhaps you can help the admissions staff when they visit your area on a recruiting trip.
One of the things private schools insist on is the three-way partnership of school, parent and student in terms of the educational process. But your ability to cheerfully join in and help whenever and however you can by volunteering adds enormous value to the partnership overall.
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