If you’re a working parent, the number of emails, flyers and save-the-dates you’ve received so far this school year might be intimidating. The PTA has beckoned. The school announcements are frequent. Thoughts of organizing fundraisers, creating bulletin boards, and crafting felt sheep ears haunt you as you think, “But I’m at the office all day!”
Whether you’re a stay-at-home parent or you work outside the home, you don’t have an unlimited amount of time to volunteer. Yet, schools rely on parent involvement to enhance the learning environment and help our children be successful students. Great news… not all volunteer jobs and student support activities must occur during business hours. There are many ways to engage with your child’s school, and most of them are quite simple.
At the end of the day, we each do what we can, and the school district keeps on spinning. If we are present and supportive of schools’ activities to the best of our abilities, the benefits to our children are innumerable.
1. Join the PTA.
Frisco ISD has an incredible Council of PTAs, and your membership does not require that you attend meetings. Simply joining your school’s PTA, regardless of your ability to donate volunteer hours, will help you feel connected to your school. As a member, you have access to the student directory, event chairperson contacts, volunteer opportunities, and more.
2. Watch D.O.G.S.
WATCH D.O.G.S. (Dads Of Great Students) are fathers, grandfathers, and other father-figures who volunteer as part of an initiative to provide positive male role models for the students. Watch D.O.G.S. are most often seen on Elementary campuses reading with students, playing at recess, and patrolling the hallways. This job is a great fit for those who work-from-home and can spare an hour or two during the week. Contact your child’s school for more information.
3. Athletics Programs and Boosters
Supporting Frisco ISD Athletics, Music, Cheer, Theater and Dance programs will help you connect with fellow parents. It’s also a great way to spend time with your kids. Anjali Shirvaikar, a full-time working Mom (and 2013-2015 PTA President at Liberty High School) shared the following advice for working parents. “Generate school pride within kids and yourself! Go to school games, concerts, plays, etc. even if your kids are not participating. This helps you get to know people, and in turn people to know you!”
4. Spirit Nights
Frisco ISD schools and Booster clubs hold Spirit Nights throughout the school year. Businesses in the community (such as Mooyah and Scotty P’s) designate an evening when they will contribute a portion of their revenue to the school or club. And you’re off the hook on making dinner! Check with your school for a schedule of Spirit Night events.
5. Check the calendar and plan ahead.
Look ahead at the FISD/school-specific calendar, prioritize and plan ahead. What can you commit to this year? What will you say no to? Perhaps you can schedule a vacation day or two around an event that is of particular interest to you or your student. Also, in lieu of your own attendance on every occasion, invite grandparents or other relatives to volunteer or support your student.
6. Communicate with the Teacher, Room Parent and PTA President.
Email your child’s teacher/s and let them know you want to help, but your schedule is limited. Do the same with your PTA President, and discuss what kinds of projects may be a good fit for you. Maybe it’s assisting with e-mail communication to parents, making posters, sewing costumes, or attending one field trip. Teachers often need additional supplies throughout the school year as well, so consider checking in from time to time asking what they might need.
7. Share a volunteer job.
You’ve heard of job-sharing in the corporate marketplace? Consider the same for volunteer jobs at your child’s school. Room Parent, Booster club communications, and event committee positions can be shared between two parents.
8. Lend support in areas that match your professional skills.
Perhaps you are a skilled at marketing, accounting or fundraising. You could make phone calls to potential Spirit Night sponsors or serve as Treasurer on the PTA board. Discuss your skills and availability with the PTA President and work together to find your best fit.