Room Parent Guidelines

Tips for 2019-2020

Thank you for volunteering to be a Glebe Elementary School Room Parent! Your time and effort are greatly appreciated!

Who can be a room parent?

Anyone can be a room parent — working parents, stay at home parents, grandparents, etc.  And there is no cap on how many room parents a class has. Often, parents team up and divide responsibilities.

What do room parents do?

Room parents provide many of the “extras” that make things fun and special for our students, as well as support our wonderful Glebe teachers and staff. Depending on your child’s teacher, there are various roles they may look for the room parent to fill. Room parents should communicate with their child’s classroom teacher to discuss the year and find out what volunteers and support are requested. While each teacher may not require everything listed below, these items may come up for discussion.

Please ask your teacher about how he/she would like any help with:

Assisting with classroom activities, such as:

  • creating volunteer sign-ups,
  • preparing classroom materials,
  • volunteering time during particular subjects at particular days and times each week,
  • setting up a class website page,
  • assisting with special projects in the class,
  • supporting class communications,
  • decorating bulletin boards, and
  • coordinating the Mystery Reader programs, etc.

Supporting classroom/grade celebrations

  • What events do you plan to have this year? Will they be with other classes or just your class?
  • What do you see as the room parents’ role in these events?

Organizing field trip chaperones

  • What field trips will happen this year and when?
  • How do you want to coordinate chaperones?

Informing parents about class policies and information

  • food allergies
  • birthday celebrations
  • if anyone has elected to not have their picture posted on any social media, yearbook, etc.

Get to know your teacher

To assist you with learning your teachers preferences, we have drafted a questionnaire that can be found at the end of this document. This can help you with gift giving, Teacher Appreciation week, and at other times throughout the year.

How to communicate with your class parents?

You will receive a class list with parent contacts from the PTA, but this will not include parents who have opted out of the school directory. Please talk to the teacher about who might be left off the emails and ask the teacher to reach out to those parents to get permission to use their email addresses for room parent purposes. If they decline, you may need to send them notes via “backpack mail.”

Also, please check with the teacher periodically to be sure that any new students are added to your distribution list.

You should send an introductory email (and paper letter if necessary) to parents introducing yourself, letting parents know about any celebration plans and classroom volunteer opportunities, and that you will organize gifts for the holidays and at the end of the year. A sample email is included at the end of this document.

You will be asked to send information on behalf of the PTA occasionally regarding PTA events and volunteer needs. Please try to provide as much advance notice to parents as possible by sending a “save-the-date” email notifying them of the date of the upcoming event.

How to collect classroom funds?

Occasionally, room parents will ask for money from parents to cover expenses related to celebrations (i.e., holiday, year end parties) and classroom activities for the year; as well as for teacher and support staff gifts.

(See Holiday and Year End Gifts for more information)

In addition to the gifts, you may want to collect class funds to purchase supplies for class celebrations and activities.  An alternative to this is to create a volunteer sign-up requesting the supplies for the specific event.

If you do request funds, you will likely want to suggest a voluntary donation of $15-25 per child. Please do not assume that it is easy or convenient for families to donate, so please do not pursue donations after a couple of reminders. Please inform your teacher of any money that is being collected so they know what to do with money sent to school in “backpack mail.” Some room parents also offer to collect donations via Paypal to avoid having money sent to school.

Room Parent Responsibilities

Holiday and end-of-year gifts for teachers

Using donations of money and/or other gifts from parents, room parents should coordinate holiday and end-of-school-year gifts for the:

  • teacher,
  • teacher’s assistant (if applicable),
  • specials teachers (PE, Library, Music, Art, Spanish), and
  • assigned support staff.

For the latter, each classroom is assigned a Glebe support staff member (Secretary, Nurse, Math Coach, etc.) for which they are asked to provide a gift card at the holidays and at year end. This gift card should have a minimum value of $50. Note: Support staff does not include specials teachers (music, art, librarian, Spanish, PE). If your class wishes to give a gift to the specials teachers, this is a separate gift.

Generally collections for these gifts should begin in early December and on or around June 1st, as the end of the year draws near.


Teachers may ask room parents to plan the celebrations in whole or in part for holidays (Halloween, Valentine’s Day, etc.) or other purposes (publishing party, poetry reading, science demonstrations, etc.).

Celebrations may be held as individual classes or as a grade together (particularly for an end of the year party).

You will need to ask your teacher to confirm details on the time frame, type of activities, decorations, donations needed, and whether parents are invited with your teacher. Activities may include:

  • extra recess time,
  • story time,
  • games, or
  • special art projects.

Generally the celebrations should last no more than 60 – 90 minutes. Please always defer to the teacher on the activities and timing for the celebration.

Once you decide on the plans with the teacher, you may either use class funds or an online signup tool to get volunteers and additional supplies (paper goods, game supplies, etc.) depending on what is appropriate for your class.

There are some celebrations that are specific to each grade, including:

  • Kindergarten: 3 Piggy Opera, Thanksgiving feast, 100th day of school, “graduation”
  • 1st Grade: class play, Thanksgiving feast, 100th day of school “awards ceremony”
  • 5th Grade: class party, promotion ceremony

Field trips

The only field trip that does not require chaperones is the one each year to the Planetarium.  For all other field trips, teachers and/or room parents will coordinate chaperones.

Field trip locations are decided by the team grade of teachers each year, with the exception of the following, which occur annually:

Annual Spring Auction and Social

The PTA is hosting the annual Spring Auction and Social for parents and teachers on DATE TBD. The event will include a silent and live auction.

Each class is asked to donate an item (art project, class book, etc.) to the auction. The room parent(s) are responsible for the coordination and completion of this product. Feel free to reach out to other classroom parents who may be happy to donate time towards the project. The PTA will send more information in January 2018.

Teacher Appreciation Week

We look forward to celebrating our teachers during the week of DATE TBD. More information to follow this spring. Room parents coordinate these efforts with their classes.


A great yearbook depends on memorable candid photos. The yearbook staff looks to the room parents to assist in the collection of pictures from their class.

Where to go for help?

Don’t worry — you are not alone taking on this role.

If you have questions, you can reach out to the other room parents on the room parent roster or contact the room parent coordinator: Leah Socha.

Thank you for volunteering as a Glebe room parent!

Getting to Know Your Teacher – SAMPLE Email

Dear Mr./Mrs. Teacher

Room parents are often asked about a teacher’s likes and dislikes. If you would not mind sharing a little of your personal preferences, we’d appreciate it! This information is just for gift ideas and celebrations.

  • When is your birthday (month/day):
  • Are there items you prefer NOT to receive:

What are your favorite:

  • Candy/Treats/Baked Goods:
  • Indulgences/Treats for Yourself/Foods:
  • Hot/Cold drinks:
  • Restaurant(s):
  • Store(s):
  • Children’s Book/ Author(s):
  • Adult literature/Author(s):
  • Flowers:
  • Favorite colors:
  • Charities or Causes you support:
  • Hobbies/Interests:
  • Classroom wish list:
  • Anything else you want to share with us:

Thank you so much! We look forward to having a great year in your class.


Your Room Parent…

Introduction to Classroom Parents – SAMPLE Email

Hello Parents!

INSERT ROOM PARENT NAME(S) will be supporting TEACHER’S NAME this year as Room Parents. Throughout the school year we will be sending out information and requests related to the classroom. Please see below for information on upcoming events in INSERT GRADE.

Class contribution:

We are asking each family to contribute to the class fund that will cover class parties and activities, teacher and support staff gifts, etc. We are hoping to collect $INSERT per student with the hope that this will be enough to cover everything for the year. However, we may reach out later in the school year if the need arises. (Note: field trip costs will be separate from the class fund).

Please send in your donation marked as “class fund” to TEACHER NAME, or you can give it directly to INSERT ROOM PARENT NAME(S)

Class Parties

There will be several parties and events that will occur throughout the school year. Since the kids wrap up specials by 2:25 on Fridays, please plan that all class parties will run from 2:40 – 3:40pm.  Detailed information and requests for volunteers for each will go out as the event date approaches:

  • Halloween: Friday 10/31 – Glebe Parade is at 1:15 pm. After the parade, the kids will go to specials and the classroom parties will begin at 2:40 pm.
  • Thanksgiving celebration: INSERT DATE
  • Holiday party: INSERT DATE
  • Valentine’s Party: INSERT DATE
  • End of Year Party: TBD

Field Trips:

There are three field trips planned this year. (PLEASE CUSTOMIZE FOR YOUR CLASS AND GRADE. SAMPLE TEXT) Requests for chaperones, and details will be sent out in advance. Please note, have your child wear a Glebe or blue shirt on the day of the field trip.

  • Planetarium: 10/21 (note: no chaperones needed)
  • Potomac Overlook Park 3/19 9:30am – 12pm
  • National Zoo: 5/22: 9:30am – 1:30pm

Volunteer Opportunities:

We need volunteers to coordinate the following classroom activities activities this year:

  • Science Fair
  • Class Auction Project
  • Mystery Reader Coordinator
  • (SAMPLE TEXT, please customize.)

Additionally, INSERT TEACHER NAME is looking for volunteers to in the classroom on assist Tuesdays between 9 – 11:30am. We will be sending out a sign-up notice for volunteers, and please know that you do not need to volunteer for the entire block of time. (SAMPLE TEXT, please customize.)


If you would like you celebrate your child’s birthday at school and bring in a treat, please coordinate the day and time with INSERT TEACHER NAME. For kids with summer birthdays, parents should plan for this around the child’s “half” birthday. Note: we have no known food allergies in the classroom this year.

Mystery Reader

INSERT TEACHER NAME will host a mystery reader each week (beginning after fall conferences) on either Wednesday from 12:45 – 1 pm or Friday from 1:10 – 1:25 pm. Parents, grandparents, siblings, etc. are welcome to sign up and read/donate a book to the class.  A separate sign-up note will be distributed shortly for this program, if you have any questions, please contact INSERT PARENT NAME COORDINATOR at EMAIL ADDRESS.

INSERT TEACHER NAME has also created an Amazon wish list from which you select a book, or choose a favorite of your child.  The wish list can be found at: INSERT LINK


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