Co-op Shifts: The River Farm Cooperative School classrooms are led by a head teacher and supported by a core co-op parent, with a rotating schedule of parent or guardian helpers. The co-op commitment for members is 10 shifts for families with one child at the school and 15 shifts for families with two or more students. While the class day is from 8:30AM to 3:00PM, shorter co-op shifts are available Monday and Wednesday from 11:30am to 1:00pm, joining for recess and lunch. Longer shifts are available on Fridays from 11:30-3:15, supporting recess, lunch, and our extracurricular classes (drumming, martial arts, swimming). During this time, parents or guardians are expected to support the teacher in a variety of ways, including monitoring on the playground, eating with the children, listening to children read, supporting outdoor time, attending excursions, and other activities. Parents are not expected to have an educational background but do need to complete our co-op training; the teacher and core co-op lead will offer guidance. Attending a field trip (8:30-3:00) also counts as a co-op shift. Parents select their own shift dates. Failure to fulfill co-op duties are grounds for termination.
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 family job in the cooperative. This job might be: a board member, webmaster, facilities & maintenance, fundraising chair, garden coordinator, core co-op, 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.
Required Community Hours: In addition to co-oping and holding a family job, each family is required to contribute 20 hours towards community events over the course of the year. There are several opportunities organized throughout the year: such as selling baked goods at our Fall Festival, school maintenance days (where we’re moving mulch or painting a classroom), and attending/completing parent education training. The current minimum is six hours for parent education, per family, per year. This requirement is a minimum; most families contribute more hours. Having a helpful, cooperative spirit is an essential part of being at River Farm.
Background Check: All parents or guardians will need a background check.
CPR/First Aid: All parents or guardians who co-op must have current CPR/First Aid. In the past, the school has provided this training for our members.
Membership Meetings and Parent Orientation: There are three mandatory membership meetings (Sept, Jan, May). One parent or guardian must attend in order to plan and vote on important issues. Parents must complete a parent orientation prior to their child’s first day of school.
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. The board will meet in person 4 times per year and virtually, via video calls, five times per year.
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 through Parent Passion Projects. From teaching a music class to baking with kids, parents are encouraged to share their interests with our students.