Head of School Blog

Our Parents’ Assocation Gets a New Look

Jill Singleton
I wasn’t on the job for two hours as the newly appointed Head of School at All Saints when I faced my first conundrum. It was the summer, and the only other person working was the business manager. I came in at 7:00am, put down my bag and the few items I had selected to make my new office feel like home, and didn’t quite know where to begin! After puttering somewhat aimlessly, I made my first real decision as Head and settled into cleaning up the Parish Hall. I was just getting into a groove when the door bell and the phone rang at once – promptly at 9:00am. After a brief moment of confusion, I was faced with yet another decision – which should I answer first?! I opted for the door, and after a quick greeting and an “Excuse me for a minute, please,” I answered the phone. Ironically, and symbolically, both calls were essentially the same – each was a parent reaching out to welcome me to All Saints and to offer their assistance in whatever way was needed.

Since that time, parents have remained an indispensable and integral part of the life of our community. Parent handprints can be found all over our school – from the playground equipment our children enjoy every day, to the SMART boards in all classrooms, to the laptops students use in so many ways – parents have enhanced the life and quality of our school for all. The Parents’ Association has played a vital role in our community, and will no doubt continue to do so for as long as our school is around.

In recent years, it has become clear that the structure of the PA needed to be reviewed and refreshed. Like many independent schools, we were facing the reality that the role of the class parent, which had historically been a communication link for teachers to assist them with identifying trip chaperones or coordinating snacks for a special occasion, had been made somewhat obsolete with the availability of email. The age-old “phone tree” has been replaced with electronic communication easily initiated by the teacher. Additionally, with everyone’s busy schedules, it has been harder and harder to identify officers to serve on the Parents’ Association. The feedback we’ve received is that parents are looking for more limited or even “one-off” ways to provide support. -

For these reasons, the school administration and the Board of Trustees worked this summer on the reorganization of the Parents’ Association. This restructuring will continue to provide parents even more opportunities for meaningful involvement while continuing to support the evolving needs of the school.

Under the restructuring, Kirsten Georges, a First Grade parent and member of the Board of Trustees, will serve as the interim representative of the PA to the Board. Instead of having PA officers and class parents, the PA will consist of the following working committees:

• Parent Ambassadors (will assist with Tours, Open Houses, School Fairs, welcoming new families, etc.)
• Speaker Series (will arrange a series of speakers on topics of interest to our parent community)
• Fundraising (will provide Spring Auction support and organize Bake Sale and Book Fair)
• Teacher Appreciation (will coordinate Holiday gifts, Birthday Cards, End-of-Year Luncheon, etc.)

Parents will be able to work on events or activities that best suit their interests and availability and volunteers will be solicited early in the year for various school events (such as Empty Bowls, Career Speakers, Holiday celebrations, etc.) It is our hope that this new structure will make it possible for every member of the community who wishes to be involved to identify a “just-right” opportunity – one that suits a variety of lifestyles and schedule constraints.

Please be sure to join us for our inaugural meeting on November 8 at 7:00pm at the St. Nicholas Center to learn how you can be a part of our important and vibrant Parents’ Association.

Questions, comments, concerns? I’d love to hear them! Email me: jsingleton@allsaintshoboken.com