ROOM PARENT GUIDELINES
1. Please be sure you and all the classroom volunteers have an up-to-date CORI form; parents without
a current CORI will not be allowed to volunteer per district policy. A CORI must be done every 3
years, you can check with the office if you are unsure.
• Copies of the CORI form can be found in the office
• You must show your current ID when you turn it in to Mrs. Farrow in the office.
• It takes at least 2 weeks to be reviewed and approved so plan ahead.
2. All parents who volunteer at the Sargent need to review the volunteer manual and acknowledge that
he/she read it before they are approved to volunteer. You may view it or download it from the Sargent
PTO website (http://www.northandoverpublicschools.com/sargent/pto) by clicking on the link
“Volunteer Manual” on the left side of the screen. After you finish reading it, be sure to click on the "I
agree" button at the bottom of the page to electronically signoff that you have read it and agree with
Room parent responsibilities vary by teacher but generally include:
1. Helping teachers with special projects such as holiday parties, book orders, etc
2. Scheduling volunteers in the classroom as necessary (especially in lower grades)
3. Being the liaison to the PTO for the classroom
4. Teacher gifts for holiday and end-of-year (Dec and June)
5. Holiday drive
6. Creating class gift with students for Teacher Appreciation week (April - May)
7. Securing volunteers for the Fun Run and other school events as needed
Holiday Celebrations: Most classrooms celebrate four parties throughout the school year. These parties
are Holiday, Valentine’s Day and end-of-year (usually celebrated during the last week before school
ends) and may include a Halloween party.
• Each party usually consists of 2-4 crafts or activities such as games – please run all crafts and
activities past teachers in advance to get their approval.
• Beginning with the 2012-2013 school year, all classroom parties must be food free.
• Please meet with your teacher to plan the specific details of each party. You will then be
responsible for planning and executing the party, by asking for parent volunteers. As room parent
you may decide to plan and organize the activities yourself or you can ask if any parents in the
classroom would like to help by planning.
• Keep it simple and uncomplicated. Less is often more. The younger the grade the less complex
the games and activities should be. If unsure, run it by the teacher.
• Your time is usually limited so factor that in when planning. You can always have simple back up
games or coloring pages on hand if there is extra time at the end.
• You may want to limit the amount of volunteers for each party, as it gets too crowded in the
classroom. However, try to give all those that are interested in volunteering an opportunity to help
at some time during the year. The teacher will make the final call on how many parents they
would like to attend.
Schedule Volunteers in the Classroom: The room parents help the teacher schedule other parent
volunteers in the classroom, if necessary. Typically, the lower grades request more parent volunteers in
• Please make sure that all ‘in class’ volunteers have:
o Submitted their CORI forms. If someone is unsure of their CORI status, please refer
them to Mrs. Farrow in the main office.
o Reviewed the Volunteer Guide and submitted acknowledgement that they read it
• www.volunteerspot.com - This is a great website for scheduling volunteers. You can plan your
volunteer needs and then email the link you created to all the parents in your class. It is free as
you are using it on behalf of a teacher.
PTO Liaison: Room parents will be a direct line of communication from the PTO to each family. We have
found that with a large school such as Sargent, communication within small communities, such as
classrooms, helps get more parents involved and makes the school seem smaller. It is preferable if there
is at least one parent from each class at the monthly PTO meeting but it does not have to be the Room
Teacher gifts for Holiday and end of school: Room parents collect money to get gifts for teachers
during the Holidays and at the end of the school year. As per Massachusetts law, a total of up to $150 per
school year can be given to a public employee as a gift. If your classroom has full or part-time
paraprofessionals, don’t forget to include them as they do a lot for the children (if you are not sure if your
classroom has a paraprofessional, verify with your teacher)). While Holiday gifts usually benefit and stay
in the classroom, the end of year gifts are generally more on the personal side. Room parents may
choose to request additional funds from parents for the gifts or build the gifts into the initial contribution to
prevent having to make additional request for funds
Holiday Gift Drive: At Holiday time, it has been a tradition at Sargent to sponsor a youth from the Youth
Center's Holiday Gift Drive. Generally, monetary donations are sought from each classroom family,
separate from the initial activities/gift money donation. Some teachers ask the room parents to help
coordinate purchasing and wrapping the gifts. A family gift certificate to Market Basket would also be
great to accompany the gifts.
Teacher Appreciation Week: Teacher appreciation week is generally the end of April/beginning of May.
The room parent is responsible for making a gift for your teacher with the students in the class. The gift
may be a poster, card, poem, or letters from each student, etc. You may be as creative as you like. The
goal of the gift is for the students to communicate their appreciation for their teacher, with a personalized
gift from their heart. In addition to the classroom teacher, each classroom will be assigned two staff
personnel. You can send an assignment home with directions ahead of time if needed. The Staff
Appreciation Committee does a great job pulling it all together and can help guide you if you have
NOTE: Please do no purchase gifts for teachers or staff during this week.
Fun Run and other events: Each class will be asked to coordinate volunteers from their class to help out
during the Fun Run for various tasks such as distributing lap cards, marking laps, providing water, and
distributing popsicles. When other requests for volunteer assistance come up during the year, we ask
that the Room Parents help recruit volunteers.
Other Opportunities: Other volunteer opportunities may vary on a teacher by teacher basis. You may
be requested to do copying for the teacher, maintain the classroom website, do the book orders, run a
special errand such as picking up a video or other materials at the public library or craft supplies from a
craft store. It is also a nice touch to check with your teacher in the January timeframe to see if there are
basic classroom materials they are running low on that you could solicit parent volunteers to re-stock.
DELEGATE, DELEGATE, DELEGATE: Room parents are encouraged to be “managers” of all the room
projects, and to find other parents to support them. Responsibilities such as PTO Liaison may be
assigned to other parents in the room, but the Room Parent will be the main contact for initiating these
projects. Don't be afraid to ask the other parents in the classroom for help; many look forward to the
opportunity and will be willing to help especially for singular projects where no lengthy commitment is
Meet with your teacher: Because each teacher has different expectations of the room parent(s), your first step in the process is to meet with your child's teacher and the other room parent(s) for the class. Many teachers have ideas and plans for the year that will make your job much easier. You can construct a strategy as a team for the upcoming school year. This is also a good opportunity to get contact information that is missing from the directory.
Introduce yourself to the class parents: Contact the parents for your classroom to introduce yourself as the room parent(s). Email is generally fine but you may need a hardcopy letter for any parent that did not provide an email address.
Request contributions: Typically, each room parent determines a high level budget for the party and gift expenses and sends home a request to parents to cover those expenses. Please be creative and realistic about your budget, we don’t want room parents to spend their own money for the classroom! Brainstorm crafts with your teacher that work well with the classroom and don’t cost too much. $10 can be a good benchmark if you plan to ask for the craft and activity supplies to be donated by parents rather than buying them yourself. The more frugal you are with party supplies/activities, the more you will have at your disposal for the holiday and end of year gifts (keeping in mind any paraprofessionals for your room). WE ASK THAT NO MORE THAN $20 IS REQUESTED PER CHILD FOR THE YEAR.