In the Classroom: The River Farm Cooperative School classrooms are led by a head teacher and supported by a rotating schedule of parent or guardian helpers. While the class day is from 8:45AM to 3:00PM, the classroom commitment for parents is roughly two half-days per month (from 12:00pm to 3:30pm, allowing time after for cleanup). During this time, parents or guardians are expected to support the teacher in any way she needs, including helping students with academic work and monitoring outdoor time, nature walks, and other activities. Parents are not expected to have an educational background or special training; the teacher will offer guidance.
Many parents are nervous about their role as teacher helper, but it often ends up being their favorite part of the cooperative experience. Beyond being a lot of fun, this special time offers you great insight into your child’s daily educational experience, helping you connect with your child on a much more meaningful level. This experience allows you to develop a relationship with your child’s teacher, enabling open communication and a better understanding of your child’s individual educational needs. It also allows you to get to know the other students and families in the class. Best of all, your child sees that you are involved and invested in her education.
Family Job: In addition to classroom duties, each set of parents or guardians is expected to hold a job in the cooperative. This job might be: vice president, webmaster, facilities & maintenance, fundraising chair, substitute teacher, treasurer, etc. It is truly impossible to run a cooperative program without the help of the families. Each family can expect to spend a minimum of 3 hours each week working on their family job.
Minimum Volunteer Hours: In addition to helping in the classroom and holding a family job, each family must contribute a certain number of hours towards fundraising events (such as selling baked goods at our Fall Festival) and school maintenance (such as raking leaves or painting a classroom). The current requirement is six hours for fundraising and six hours for maintenance, per family, per year. This requirement is a minimum; most families contribute more hours to both initiatives. Having a helpful, cooperative spirit is an essential part of being at River Farm. Failure to fulfill co-op duties are grounds for termination.
Background Check: All parents or guardians will need a background check.
Membership Meetings and Parent Orientation: There are periodic, mandatory membership meetings. One parent or guardian must attend in order to plan and vote on important issues. One of these membership meetings includes a mandatory parent orientation. Parents must complete this orientation (including an online racial equity training) before they may start their parent-helper days in the classroom.
Board Meetings: Whereas the membership meets several times a year, RFC's board meets monthly. Board meetings are open to all members but attendance is only required for board members.
Optional Involvement: The best part of a parent cooperative is the opportunity for parental involvement. Parents are encouraged to bring their talents, hobbies, and careers into the classroom. From teaching a chemistry class to directing a play, parents are encouraged to share their interests with our students.