February 13, 2014

Your Place at the Table

Friends' parent volunteers hard at work!
Each year at Friends’ School, we welcome new families into our community.  It doesn’t take our newcomers long to recognize what a fabulous, talented, and hard-working group of teachers and staff we have here.

By the same token, it doesn’t take our teachers and staff very long to realize what an amazingly accomplished and community-minded group of parents have just joined our school.  It is the same every year.

We could not do all that we do at Friends’ without our wonderful and enthusiastic parent (and sometimes grandparent, aunt, uncle, and caregiver) volunteers.

Just this past week, if you had swung through the doors of our school on any given day, you will have found our volunteers hard at work on art projects for the auction, shelving books and helping guide computer instruction in the library, driving on a field trip, helping in the classrooms with reading groups and math lessons and spelling tests, working towards the future of the school on our Strategic Planning Committee, overseeing the school’s Endowment Fund at our Investment Sub-Committee….and more….

And that was just the last four days.

In another week, it might have been parents rolling up their sleeves on a Saturday morning Parent Work Day, connecting with other parents and learning more about our programs at Parent Council, collecting money for Teacher Thanksgiving, leading by example as a class captain for the Annual Fund, supervising a station at Movin’ and Boppin’, supporting students on their Area of Expertise projects, setting up chairs at a parent education event, talking to our students about their work or passions (or both!), even bringing in a new lamb to school….

The list appears endless. 

Sometimes our volunteers are nowhere to be found at school.  Working parents, and others whose schedules don’t mesh with ours, can be busy at home preparing materials for classrooms, making phone calls for the Annual Fund, or working on tasks on behalf of the school Auction.

Our parents, and all our volunteers, are a fantastic group of individuals who are willing and able to support their child’s education through hands-on volunteerism.  Our community is stronger because of the willingness of everyone to make it so.

Some tasks, like helping in classrooms, are very visible.  Others happen a little more behind the scenes.

Friends’, like all independent schools, has a Board of Trustees that works in collaboration with me to guide the direction our school is taking.

Our Community Board meets monthly during the school year and is responsible for setting strategy and policy, and ensuring that the school achieves its objectives.

The Board oversees and maintains the financial stability of Friends’ School, develops major school policies, creates processes for long-range planning, periodically reviews the school’s organization, and oversees the implementation and maintenance of the school’s values and mission.

It provides support to me in my role as I work with the faculty and staff to develop the school and guide it to a successful and sustainable future.

Friends' Community Board members
Our Community Board is comprised of current parents, alumni parents, community members, and a few staff.  In general, potential Trustees of the school are invited to join the Board following a period of service on one of the Board’s committees, or occasionally after stellar work volunteering for one of the school’s major initiatives.

Standing committees of the Board to which non-Trustees are invited and join are its Finance Committee (and Investment Sub-Committee), Strategic Planning Committee, Facilities Committee, Development Committee, and the Polly T. Donald Enrichment Fund Committee.    In addition, task forces are created to support school initiatives, and those often include staff, Trustees, and parents.

At our How Friends’ Works orientation program, held every September, the Chair of our Community Board, Ewa Borowska, and I invite new parents to learn more about our governance structure and to get involved.

I heartily renew that invitation here. Whether it’s volunteering time in and around the classrooms, supporting the school’s Auction or Annual Fund, learning more about the opportunity to join one of the Community Board committees, or simply helping out with a project from home, please let me know how I can help you get involved.

At Friends’ School, our parent participation and the strength of our community are second to none. Every aspect and element of our school exists because of the hard work and dedication of those who are here now or those who were here before us.

You are also invited to a place at the table.

Thank you to all of you for the myriad ways you support our children, support our school, and participate in this outstanding community. 

We are very, very grateful.

No comments: