Parents Association Overview and Statement of Purpose
The Parents Association (PA) is where you can make a difference! The PA is open to all parents at the Richmond Waldorf School. Whether you feel you would make a good class representative or you just want to attend when you can, the PA is always looking for the input of parents.
All parents are automatically members of the Parents Association, which meets once a month during the school year. Class representatives volunteer to represent their classes at PA meetings and bring PA news and projects back to the classes.
The activities undertaken by the Parents Association are vitally important to our school, as is every family’s participation in them. Monthly meetings are where important issues, fundraisers and upcoming events are discussed which may also include parent education, board reports, and community relations and other topics arising from the life of our school. All parents are encouraged to attend PA meetings.
PA Meeting Agendas and Minutes
In advance of the monthly PA meetings, the PA Executive Committee will establish a meeting agenda detailing who will be speaking and what will be discussed. The agenda will be available online via the Parents Corners and will also be available via a link in the Messenger.
After each PA meeting, the minutes are distributed to the class email lists via the class representative and put online on the Parents Corner. Check these for important information about the school and ways you can get involved and make your voice heard.
Parents Association Purpose
The Parents Association (PA) is the collective parent body of the Richmond Waldorf School. Our mission is to support, educate and connect the parent body to the rest of the school in order to create a healthy community. The PA serves as a strong voice for the parent community and works in partnership with the Board of Trustees, Faculty and Administration. Together we embrace the mission, vision and goals of the Richmond Waldorf School to support and enrich the lives of our children and ourselves.
All parents, by nature of their child’s enrollment in the school, are members of the RWS Parents Association. Parents may choose to make a higher level of commitment and serve as Class Representatives. Each class is asked to provide a Class Representative, but all parents are strongly encouraged to attend meetings and become active, participating members.
All members have a voice in the PA and may vote when making decisions.
Organization of the Parents Association
The Parents Association is facilitated by a PA Moderator, who will set meeting agendas, calendar and act as resource and support to PA members working on ongoing projects. PA Co-Moderators may speak on the PA’s behalf at Back to School Night and will provide updates to the Board of Trustees, the Faculty College, the Faculty and the Administration at the monthly Board of Trustees meetings.
- Executive Committee
- PA Co-Moderators
Coordinate the work of the Parents Association and serves in a leadership capacity representing the PA as ex-officio members of the school’s Board of Trustees and works in collaboration with the RWS Leadership Team that consists of the Community Relations Coordinator, College Chair, and Director of Administration.
Takes minutes at each PA meeting (this duty can be shared with rotating “scribes” taking notes from meeting to meeting). The Secretary also facilitates the communication of the organization – ensuring that agendas and minutes are shared with class parent representatives in a timely way, that announcements to the Messenger about PA happenings and opportunities are submitted and that PA-related information is posted to the Parents Corner of the website. The Secretary will have primary responsibility for checking and responding to (or forwarding) messages received in the PA’s email account.
Manages and reports on the PA’s income (from parent dues and fundraising sources) and expenses (from our activities and initiatives) and reports on these at least quarterly at PA meetings. The Treasurer also helps draft and monitor the PA’s annual budget.
Keeps complete records of all documents relevant to preserving the history of the Parent’s Association primarily via the password protected Parents Corner of the RWS website. This includes all documents detailing the description, purpose and structure of the Parent Association – our bylaws, job descriptions, meeting agendas and minutes, budgets and financial reports and so forth. The Historian also works with parents coordinating PA activities and initiatives to document the work of the PA, including event volunteer needs, timelines, publicity, coordination notes, photographs, evaluations and the like to allow the work of those who have gone before to inform the work of those who come next. *Please note that Historian position is filled when there is volunteer support available.
- PA Co-Moderators
- Executive Committee
- PA Committees
The PA Committee Structure is based on the Waldorf educational philosophy of educating the “whole child” – head (intellectual), heart (social/emotional) and hands (physical/artistic). Seeking this same balance, the PA’s Heads, Hearts and Hands Committees Chairs each help facilitate the work of the various committees under the Heads, Hearts and Hands “functions” in service to the “whole school.” *Please note that Committees are in effect when there is volunteer support available.
- Heads Committee – the thinking life of the school community as expressed in parent education and communication
- Hearts Committee – representing the feeling life of the school community as expressed in community building and outreach
- Hands Committee – representing the intentional life of the school community as expressed in the physical aspects of the building and grounds as well as economics of the school by supporting fundraising efforts
- PA Committees
Committee Chairs maintain connection to the work of the individual committees and communicate back to the executive group about each committee’s progress toward goals, future visioning and budgetary needs. Parents with additional interests can approach Committees Chairs about forming new committees at any time. These requests will also be taken back to the executive committee for review. We are interested in helping parents find avenues to bring their talents, interests and energy toward helping our school community.
Ideally, individual PA Committees will each have a coordinator to facilitate meeting times and the work of each committee. Some committees will need to meet regularly and others will be able to coordinate the majority of their efforts through conversations, phone calls and email. Several committees also have support roles that do not require meeting attendance.
Many parents are not aware of all the opportunities to participate in events that make a big difference in the life of the school including things that often require a very small time commitment. The Parents Association can best disseminate information about and engage volunteers for school-wide events through the Class Representatives.The role of a Class Representative is to represent their class in the Parents Association and to serve as a conduit for information from the PA to parents regarding school-wide activities.Class Representatives have the following responsibilities:
- Attend all PA meetings or arrange for a substitute from your class
- Serve as a conduit between the parents in his/her class and the PA
- Serve the interests and represent the opinions of the parents in your class
- Bring class input and updates to PA Meetings
- Forward PA meeting summary and minutes to your class
- Encourage volunteers from their respective classes to carry out the very important work of the PA and the school, such as coordinating parent participation in festivals, fundraising events (such as the annual fund and auction)
Quorum and Powers of Decision
For decision-making processes, the Parents Association adheres to Richmond Waldorf School consensus-based model. Members agree to maintain a positive attitude toward colleagues even if there is disagreement and to feel free to disagree respectfully in order to present an opposing perspective. The Parents Association will conduct its business in the spirit of collaboration and strive for transparency in its processes and consensus decision-making. Decisions and budget expenditures require a quorum which is reached when:
- At least one Parents Association executive member is present,
- A majority of class representatives are present
Decisions should be adopted by the Board and/or College unless new information becomes available which indicates a necessity for the Parents Association to reconsider. Questions regarding a decision or recommendation should go first to PA Moderator. Concerns or questions about Parents Association Executive Committee should go to the Board of Trustees.
Meetings are generally held on a monthly basis. The PA Executive Committee is responsible for setting the agenda, taking minutes or assigning that task to another Member, and distributing the minutes to representatives. Agenda items may be submitted to the Parents Association for consideration. Meeting dates will be posted on the school calendar and announced via the weekly Messenger.