Welcome to the second installment in our Views on Back-to-School blog series! Throughout August and September, VolunteerSpot is honored to be featuring guest posts from our favorite bloggers on what back-to-school means for them. Today, please welcome Carissa Rogers, author of GoodNCrazy where, as a mom of all trades, she shares parenting dos (and don'ts). Today Carissa relates how her new (and unexpected) leadership role in her kids' school has changed her outlook on back-to-school. Thanks Carissa!
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Time to Learn Some Leadership Skills
By Carissa Rogers
You know how you leave a meeting thinking, “What have I done!”? Last fall I attended the last Parent Teacher meeting of the year. I wanted to congratulate the people who had done a fabulous job, and I was willing to throw my hat in for a nice simple job. Teacher Appreciation? Back to School Night? Read-A-Thon? Perfect for me.
I had to go home and whisper to my husband:
‘Um, I’m the new PTO Vice-President’.
He didn’t seem surprised. After all we’ve been in our neighborhood for 2 years and yes, I’ve helped in my kids’ classrooms during parties and math time and reading time but managed to stay away from any leadership roles.
I guess it’s time. Only, I was imagining a ‘helping’ role… not an IN CHARGE role!
In a few weeks, my kiddos will return to school. This is the second year they will all three officially be IN school more than they’re home. And I’ll be joining them in my own way as I figure out my new job. What needs to be done exactly? How much time do I need to spend? How has it been done in the past? Who do I report to?
There are a few things I’m super passionate about and other things I’d kick out completely if it were up to me. (Good thing it’s not, eh?!)
First on my list are fundraisers. Hate ‘em. Door to door is seriously not for me. We’re looking into a NON-fundraiser fundraiser. Where we simply ask families to donate a minimum amount per child and if we raise over a certain point, no wrapping paper/cookie dough sales will be needed. One idea we came across was the idea of a "Social," basically a fundraising party, which is great for building community as well as raising funds.
Next is getting my school to end the deluge of papers sent home daily. Each of my kids in elementary school receive the same set of fliers/papers/reminders EVERY day? What a waste! Both financially to the school’s paper budget and in green-think to the planet! There has to be a way to send home one set per family. And then wouldn’t it be great if we could get more families to accept a paperless/internet option for newsletters, lunch calendars, and half-day closing reminders?
Another problem I noticed is the kids have no playground supplies for recess. I asked my 3rd grader last year why she doesn’t play kickball, or jump rope during outdoor time? Her answer: “We don’t have any ropes or big red balls.” How sad is that!? I have big plans to work on a specific funding project just for recess and PE supplies.
One more biggie for me, is that our school’s drop-off/pick-up scene is a nightmare. It’s chaotic, it’s crowded and it’s NOT safe. There has to be a better way, and I’m sure parents have plenty of ideas.
Here’s to a back to school experience where more parents are involved and the educators are more willing to listen to their suggestions! At next year’s final meeting, I look forward to going home and whispering to my husband: “It was a great year, I loved going back to school with my kids.”
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In a former life, Carissa Rogers was a molecular biologist. In her current life, she is the chief
researcher of parenting dos (and some don’ts), new recipes, and for
spice she pretends to be a photographer. She started blogging in
February of 2008 and publishes her good & crazy thoughts on GoodNCrazy.com. She has 3 crazy kids and one good husband. Find her on Twitter and Facebook.