When a new term resumes, some parents will feel back-to-school excitement more keenly than the rest of us.
Many folks (myself included) will be thankful for a household with fewer children underfoot. But there’s also a rare breed of caregiver known as the Class Parent (or class volunteer or coordinator) who anticipates term commencement in a different way. When kids everywhere resume learning, these unsung heroes are also mobilising to make education that much smoother for everybody!
What are Class Parents?
Though the term “Class Parent” may sound like it’s describing a guardian of particularly stylish excellence, the reality isn’t quite that. In layman’s: class parents are essential volunteers who liaise between other parents, teaching staff, higher school faculty and the P&C.
A Class Parent is a coordinator, an information disseminator, a person who strengthens the bonds of a better school community. If you are one yourself and you’re reading this, good on you! Know that we think you’re a valued cog in a larger machine, and we thank you for your volunteered time.
How to become more involved at your child’s school
Becoming a Class Parent is a fun way to have a more interactive role in your child’s schooling. Also, your level of input can take on many forms. You could simply be a handy go-between who facilitates communication of parents, teachers, admin, and a parent-teacher organisation (PTO).
Depending on your available time, you might be looking at a minor volunteer role that’s shared with other PTO members. You might even opt-in to a larger responsibility role that affords you broader “parent wrangling” powers. The job of a Class Parent is nothing but flexible and can vary greatly from school to school.
That and the best educators in the country agree, parent engagement is the key to great schools.
What are the usual tasks / challenges with the role?
As a Class Parent your duties might include any of the following:
Post short news items to a classroom blog, website or app.
Recruit other parents to help in the form of a co-class parent role
Sending home a letter with children to collect and create a basic point-of-contact sheet
Meet with your school’s designated Class Parent organiser on a regular or semi-regular basis while also attending all PTA meetings
Help to organise/host class events and special occasions. This might include major calendar holidays, teacher appreciation days, get wells, fetes or more
Contact parents to line up additional helpers or chaperones for school dances or excursions
Do schools ask too much of parents?
The biggest hurdle to overcome for any existing Class Parent (or potential recruit) is available time to spend. Before people raise their hand to offer help, the concern will undoubtedly be “will too much be asked of me?”
It’s a valid concern. We get it. Home life has changed radically since most of us went through the schooling system. 20 years ago it was common to have one caregiver in a stay-at-home role. Nowadays the chances are much more likely that both guardians are out working to make ends meet.
The good news, however, is that 20 years has also gone a long way in terms of tech. Basically, if you want to indulge your community-minded, “give-back” streak – there’s an app for that. Even if you have a heavy burden, you’d be surprised by how streamlined the old Class Parent chores have become. You just need the right piece of software and an average smartphone…
School apps to simplify communication
Why go this way instead of emails? Though the humble inbox sounds ideal, the reality is a secure messaging service avoids a lot of miscommunication pitfalls. For starters, you can avoid the privacy issue of submitting an email. Some people don’t want to reveal their place of work. Others aren’t enthused about revealing that the email they’ve been using from adolescence through to adulthood is still SupaCoOlboy87@hotmail.com.
You can also sidestep the nightmare that is the “reply all” email chain. Get a few replies into one of those can of worms and we guarantee that any conversation will become muddied. Deciphering the true thrust of the conversation can be difficult with 20+ participants. That means miscommunications aplenty and a feeling like you’re trying to herd cats.
The Group Manager Feature and You
The good news is SkoolBag has been built from the ground up to deliver a pain-free class parent experience. Your volunteered time is incredibly valuable, which is why we’ve included an easy to setup Group Manager permission. Through it, you can make communication simple and completely in-app.
Once the ‘Group Manager’ switch has been flicked, Class Parents have a raft of features put at their fingertips. Better yet, this expanded user-interface delivers powerful control without being intimidating to any new users. We want you to just log in and in a jiffy achieve everything need to, on the go from the app. Your time is respected.
For example, after a successful fete you could share its success with other parents. You could do it right from the photo gallery on your phone. No uploading anything to a cloud. No desktop required. You could even use the eform function to digitally distribute those pesky (and frequently lost) permission slips for excursions. Eforms can neatly collate everybody’s responses and info. Better yet, there’s no need for anybody to overshare personal details with a wider group.
Eforms can also be an easy and unobtrusive way to solicit other parents to join you in a class parent role. Should you find a kindred spirit, you can assign responsibilities that everybody can see and understand. There’s no more need to worry about any awkward “too many cooks” situation. Unless you want that, of course. For a cake fundraising day, perhaps.
Speaking of occasions of special occasions, a class parent with Group Manager powers can become a hero of such a gathering. You’ll always be on top of any upcoming shindigs, thanks to the SkoolBag app’s intelligent calendar integration. Having an overwatch of events approaching on the horizon can provide you with unprecedented lead-time. You can plan something truly special.
At the end of the day, isn’t that really what you and many others signed up for? To further enrich the learning environment of not just your own child, but everyone else’s, too. They say school days are often looked back upon as some of the best years of our lives. Selfless Class Parents can play a huge role in that nostalgia. And you get to make that magic happen with minimal effort via the SkoolBag app.
Over to you!
Are you ready to for an easier way to contribute to your school community? Speak to your school administrator today about getting setup as a Group Manager in SkoolBag.
Start enriching your school, but with none of the usual fuss attached! Perhaps you’d like to share with other Class Parents, too.