This upcoming 2016-2017 school year, our school (students, teachers, administrators, support staff, and families) will return to the renovated Humboldt campus. This is exciting! The School for the Arts Community Organization (SACO), our school’s version of a parent-teacher organization, is looking ahead to next school year hoping to broaden participation in our organization to benefit the school during the upcoming school year and beyond.
Not everyone knows that SACO is still a relatively new organization. Over the past six years or so, we have developed a certain rhythm to the year: the SEED Campaign, where we ask school families to donate $100 per student, always starts in August and ends on September 30. Art Walk, our school’s major fundraiser, is always in October and for the past four years, it is one of the most fun days at school. There is a canned food drive each November.
Every year, parent volunteers organize a school yearbook, which is loaded with beautiful photographs of our students and school community. A weekly email from SACO goes home outlining events and activities; this email is deployed 40+ times during the year. There is a beautiful print newsletter published 6+ times each year. The students enjoy a fantastic Book Fair/Literacy Week in late February/early March. We appreciate teachers year-round and especially the first week of May.
This rhythm, and the events and activities that comprise each school year, happens because parent volunteers make it happen, in partnership with the school. The fundraisers are more successful each year, thanks to the broad support of school families, but the organization and execution of all these activities is managed by a small group of parent volunteers.
We need your help! In order for SACO to remain a viable support system for the school, we recognize that we need to grow involvement from more families, and specifically from more individuals choosing to get involved in SACO. Together, we can sustain the kind of community events and regular activities that add so much value to our school.
People often worry about volunteering because they think that they’ll sign up to help with one thing and suddenly will find themselves spending all of their free time helping our school. It can happen—it has happened to some of us—but it doesn’t have to happen. Over the years, we have developed a series of tasks that are relatively discrete that give parent volunteers a chance to help with a key event or activity without becoming fully involved in the day-to- day work of SACO. Some of our volunteers literally do the same activity every year—and we need their passion and dedication—but we also need others to get involved. Families transition out of our school as students get older and move on to high school. Some people try out a task and find that they want to do something different the following year. Other people start with one or two tasks, and decide to join the SACO Board.
Our school and SACO is strongest when everyone contributes. Please consider volunteering to help! There are many ways. After reviewing the list of tasks, if you’re interested in learning more about what a task might entail, please contact any member of the SACO Board or you can email srcsavolunteer at gmail.com. If you’re concerned about meeting times, please know that each group or parent leader sets their own meeting times based on their schedules; for example, the Literacy Week/Book Fair team could decide to meet on a weekday evening, or first thing in the morning, or during the weekend.
This year’s Board is happy to talk you further and would love your help making the Santa Rosa Charter School for the Arts the best it can be for all of our students and our school’s beloved teachers. Here are the specific tasks where volunteer power is needed:
We have two parent volunteers who have agreed to chair the 2016/17 event, and other experienced volunteers who will help support them and the team, but we need others to join “Team Art Walk” at the beginning of the school year. The team will plan the event, find t-shirt sponsors, organize shirt orders, distribute pledge envelopes, organize class prize baskets with help from volunteers in each class, promote the event, organize the course and its fun components, and ultimately help run the day-long event that typically involves managing 50+ volunteers and facilitating participation by 400+ students, teachers, and staff. After the event, the team collects pledge envelopes and prepares for the award ceremony and gift basket drawings.
Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator
Each year, parent volunteers coordinate Walk and Roll to School days, and related activities, with support from the Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition. There is a record keeping component, and there is also a great opportunity to increase participation in the program. This role could be a great fit for someone who cares about reducing greenhouse gas emissions and/or who is interested in helping our students get more daily exercise.
We hope to resume the beloved Halloween Carnival as an after-school event on Monday, October 31. We have an experienced event chair and are looking for people interested in helping organize and staff the carnival.
Library Volunteer Coordinator
Returning to our Humboldt campus means having access to our school library again! And with the renovation, the library will be more available to be fully utilized as a library since it won’t also be the staff room. Let’s make our library beautiful again and help SRCSA students fully utilize it! Seeking a small group of parent volunteers to make this a focus. One component could be setting up a schedule for volunteers to assist in the library, and recruit and train volunteers. Another component could be setting up a weekend work day to refresh the space. This project will be defined by those who accept the challenge!
Literacy Week/Book Fair
The annual book fair typically coincides with Dr. Seuss’ birthday on March 2. We begin planning the week-long Literacy Week in January. Partnering with Scholastic to host a book fair that week provides a relatively easy center piece for the week, but there is always plenty to do ahead of time and during the fair including organizing a volunteer schedule, recruiting volunteers, staffing the fair, and planning fun events to expand the focus of the week beyond shopping. We are looking for a couple of people who would like to help with this project by partnering with two other parent volunteers to lead the 2017 event.
Newsletter Coordinator (Monthly or Weekly)
Each year, SACO prepares a monthly or semi-monthly school print newsletter. Ideally, the print newsletter editor receives articles and information from the school and from other parent volunteers. However, parent volunteers write almost all of the content for the monthly newsletters, so the project would benefit from a small group of volunteers who would work together to gather up and write the content and then lay it out. This is a great project for people looking for evening volunteer hours, and/or gaining resume-building experience.
A related project is the weekly SACO email prepared using Constant Contact. This is not an insignificant volunteer commitment, and yet is probably the most important thing that SACO does: providing ongoing, consistently available communication about what’s happening at the school. It is helpful if the person who does this email is part of the SACO Board, but we mainly just need someone who is willing to commit to weekly work on behalf of SACO and our school. If you’re interested, let’s talk!
Odyssey of the Mind Program Coordinator, and Team Coaches
Each year, SACO pays for our school’s membership in Odyssey of the Mind. This allows our school to have up to 10 competitive teams and as many primary (K-2) teams as desired; teams pay a small amount to register their team. The OM coordinator is the conduit for communication between the local OM organization and our school. Also, they arrange an informational meeting at the beginning of the school year and serve as a resource to new coaches. In addition to the OM coordinator, coaches are needed for each team. 2016-2017 will be our school’s sixth year participating in OM.
The SRCSA band and dancers (with flags) participate in the Rose Parade each year. In previous years, SACO volunteers have facilitated additional participation in the parade by creating wearable/portable art. In addition, parent volunteers may help coordinate costumes. Our school has won various prizes for parade participation including costumes! We have a volunteer willing to be part of a Rose Parade team and are looking for others to join. This team would work in coordination with the music and dance teachers.
School Garden/ Campus Beautification Coordinator
In the past, SACO has facilitated Saturday events to beautify the outdoor areas of the campus. With the newly renovated campus, there seems like great potential to reactivate this group and identify small projects that can organized and facilitated. Another benefit to a weekend or after school program is it gives families who can’t volunteer during the week a chance to earn volunteer hours. Another area that would benefit from parent involvement is our school garden. We have a teacher who is passionate about the garden but needs help identifying tasks, organizing parent volunteers, advertising opportunities, and ultimately facilitating successful gardens at the school.
The SEED Campaign is fairly well defined, in that it will begin August 15 and end September 30. We are looking for one or two trustworthy parent volunteers to chair the campaign with support from the SACO Board. The main role is develop the advertisements/messages for the campaign, check in with teachers, track participation, and keep the Board and teachers updated on the progress. If you sign up to help, you will be paired a mentor who has done this each year. The SEED Campaign has resulted in more than $85,000 since it began in the 2011/2012 school year. In 2015-16, we raised $20K+ with 40% of students participating. Imagine how increased participation (more families choosing to contribute $100 to SEED on behalf of their students) can benefit our school?
The Spring Fundraiser is held each year with a particular project in mind. For example, this year’s event held in April at Lagunitas Brewing Company raised $8K+ for new playground equipment at the Humboldt campus. If your work/family schedule allows you more time to volunteer in the second half of the school year, you are very welcome to join the Spring Fundraiser team! We have several experienced people who will be part of next year’s team so this is another opportunity to learn while you help.
Teacher Appreciation Week
We celebrate our teachers and staff the first week of May every year. Planning typically begins in early April and then the planning team facilitates fun activities, snacks, surprises, and a luncheon during the event week. This is a great way to get to know other parents while helping recognize our school’s amazing teachers.
The Yearbook Team does an amazing job photographing events, gathering photos from parents and teachers, facilitating an annual cover contest, putting together the pages of our school yearbook, and promoting book sales. Like other SACO tasks, we have a small core group of parent volunteers who make the yearbook happen—and would love to find more people to join the team.
Ever wonder why the SACO web site isn’t up to date? We could really use a volunteer to take over ongoing maintenance. This could begin by refreshing the materials available on our web site, and could also consist of updating it semi-regularly with information from the weekly emails or school newsletters. Speaking of newsletters, it would be great to get all of the previously published monthly newsletters onto the site.
Interested? Have questions? Feeling excited about next year? Feel free to reach out– everyone on the SACO Board would be happy to connect with you and talk about how we can work together to support SRCSA! We have established a shared email account (srcsavolunteer at gmail.com) or you are welcome to contact us directly.