Welcome to an unusual school year! I’m your PTO Room Parent Coordinator, and have also been a room parent every year my kids have been at Underwood! (This year my son, Kai, will be in 4th grade and my daughter Juju just moved on to Bigelow.)
I’d like to welcome back all returning families, welcome new Underwood families, and explain how room parenting this year will look different from past years.
Room Parenting During the 2020-21 Academic Year
This year, so much has changed, and the Room Parent role has shifted accordingly. The Cohort and DLA structure has required us to make changes to the specifics of the room parent role: Most importantly, the focus this year will be on communication and community. Please read below to understand more about the specific room parent roles under each model.
Room Parenting within the Hybrid Model (Cohorts A,B, & C)
- We will need at least one room parent for every teacher (Fucarile, Tucker, Cipolla, White, Melanson, Hull, Bardin, Castodio, Murphy), but we welcome more!! If you’re interested and would like to get involved, we would love to have you on board!!
- Room parents will still act as a liaison between their teacher, the PTO, and a group of families (it’s still TBD whether the group of families will be determined by cohort, teacher, grade, etc.). Because of the increased physical distance between us this year, we are hoping to use the room parent role to increase, in whatever ways possible, the sense of cohesion and community among our families. Many room parents from the past have also done this, but the idea this year is to encourage participation in events and activities; reach out to specific parents/guardians who may seem like a good fit for a particular project; help arrange socially distanced small-group gatherings of children outdoors or socially distanced/zoom gatherings of adults; reach out to see if teachers need extra help, etc.
Room Parenting within theDLA (Distance Learning Academy)
- We will need at least one room parent per grade for the DLA, but, as with the Hybrid model, we welcome more!! If you’re interested and would like to get involved, please let me know!!
- Because of the structure of the DLA model, DLA room parents will not have a liaison to a specific teacher. We are currently investigating whether DLA room parents may have a staff liaison, but this is still uncertain. You will always be able to communicate directly with me with any questions and concerns throughout the academic year.
- Because of the physical distance built into the DLA model, the role of the DLA room parents this year will be primarily to build and maintain community and communication among Underwood DLA families. Each DLA room parent will be responsible for communicating with families in their particular grade. The idea is to encourage participation in events and activities; reach out to specific parents/guardians who may seem like a good fit for a particular project; help arrange socially distanced small-group gatherings of children outdoors or socially distanced/zoom gatherings of adults; or any other creative idea you might have.
For Room Parents in Both Models
- Because this is our first year using the Hybrid and DLA models, our current goals and visions for room parenting are aspirational. We’ll have to see what teachers/families/our kids actually need as the year progresses and adapt accordingly. Please know that we hugely appreciate your willingness to consider participating during this unprecedented year.
- If you have any questions about being a room parent in either model, don’t hesitate to contact me! I’d love to hear from you!
All the best,
You may have heard the PTO is expanding our classroom volunteer program to include two new roles this year. These opportunities are great ways to become involved in your child’s classroom and meet other parents, whether you’re a stay-at-home or working parent.
Families Organizing for Racial Justice (FORJ) Class Liaison – FORJ is a group of Newton families helping our children learn about issues of power and inequality and how to stand up for racial justice. The FORJ Class Liaison(s) works with Underwood FORJ leaders to promote and organize events around racial justice in our community. FORJ Class Liaisons can bring forward class specific ideas and for execution at a school-wide level. To learn more about FORJ, visit https://forjnewton.com/about/. Contact Erika Holmberg at FORJatUnderwood@gmail.com
FUEL Program Class Liaison – The FUEL Program is an ongoing food drive to provide weekend food for students who rely on breakfasts and lunches at school during the week. The FUEL Class Liaison(s) periodically organizes donations of non-perishable food from families in their child’s classroom. Contact Nicole Peterson at email@example.com