BB&N Lower School Parents’ Association presents:
A Guide to Parent Involvement at the Lower School 2013‐2014
Welcome to the community of BB&N parents! When a family participates in the life of the School, it enriches the BB&N experience for that family and strengthens the entire BB&N community. There are many ways to get involved at the Lower School, but they fall into three main categories: COMMUNITY: Attending events and participating in traditions COLLABORATION: Volunteering with the School and the Parents’ Association COMMUNICATION: Staying informed about happenings at the Lower School Below you will find detailed information on all three forms of involvement. We hope you will use this information to find ways to connect with the School that match your interests and your schedule. We look forward to creating a great Lower School experience together with your family! Pam Baker & Jess Baron Kimberly Hsu‐Barber & Apple Stephen LSPA Vice Presidents LSPA Assistant Vice Presidents
I. COMMUNITY: ATTENDING EVENTS AND PARTICIPATING IN TRADITIONS
The Lower School calendar is full of traditions old and new that allow parents to see their kids in action and learn about what is happening at school. Additionally, the LSPA hosts events throughout the year in an effort to strengthen our school community and provide opportunities for families to celebrate, socialize and volunteer. Please join us whenever you are able! Welcome Back Luncheon All Lower School families are invited to a luncheon on campus on the first day of school. Lunch will be provided. Families should bring a blanket. In the event of inclement weather, the luncheon will be canceled and replaced with an ice cream social at 3pm on the first Friday of classes. Tuesday, September 3 Back‐to‐School Nights The School hosts back‐to‐school nights for each building in early fall. Parents gather for a casual reception and comments from administrators before migrating to their children’s classrooms for an overview of the year from homeroom teachers and specialists. This is a parent‐only event, so don’t forget to line up a sitter! BK1: Tuesday, September 17 2‐4: Thursday, September 19 5‐6: Tuesday, September 24 Speakers, Panels and Coffees The School regularly holds coffees, panels and parent meetings on various topics of interest to parents. Additionally, the LSPA hosts a series of speakers throughout the year who address relevant topics for our campus community. These talks usually take place in the Pokross room, either in the morning after drop‐off or in the evening. Past speaker rosters have included authors, professors, medical professionals and BB&N faculty members. Additionally, LS parents are invited to all‐School speaker events at the Upper School. Grade‐Specific Social Events Classroom representatives schedule events for their grades periodically throughout the year. The line‐up varies by grade but can include after‐school events for kids, weekend events for families and evening events for parents. Each grade typically hosts two events per year.
Community Service Events While each grade participates in classroom‐based community service, the PA coordinates campus‐wide and school‐wide community service activities. These include drives and service days, with an emphasis on child‐ and family‐involvement. Homecoming Families from all three campuses gather at the Upper School to cheer for the Knights and show their school spirit. Against a backdrop of exciting non‐stop athletics, the fields are peppered with food stations and fun events throughout the day, including bouncy houses, face painting and more. There is a Lower School spirit day for students on campus the Friday before Homecoming. Saturday, September 28 Family Science Saturday Family Science Saturday is a program for all Lower School students and their parents. Three Saturdays a year, Lower School science teacher Caitlin Drechsler designs fun and engaging science activities for parents and students to work on together. Some activities are on the Lower School campus, and others are trips to various sites in the Boston area. It is required that all students be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Saturday, September 21 (others TBD) Hoedown Come join the Lower School community at a campus‐wide square dance and harvest festival. Don your boots and bandanas and enjoy fall‐themed refreshments and square dance fun for all ages. Friday, October 18 Soul Cake Assembly Fifth graders carry on the early English tradition of Soul Cake, which dates back generations to the Buckingham School, with a variety of musical performances, storytelling and period garb. Soul Cake usually takes place the Friday before Halloween. Family Concert at the Family Cooperative BB&N families can explore the faculty daycare and enjoy a family concert with Middle School teacher Ethan Rossiter and his band The Jamberries. The day will also feature a bake sale and other activities. Saturday, November 16 One School, One World This is a special all‐School Event at the Nicholas Athletic Center where families celebrate our many cultures through performances, songs, games, food and displays. This is an every‐other‐year event that brings together parents, students, faculty, alums and grandparents from all three campuses. Saturday, November 16 Grandfriends’ Day Grandfriends’ Day is an opportunity for grandfriends to visit the Lower School and experience a BB&N education in action. Guests are treated to musical performances and visits to their grandchildren’s classrooms. This event takes place every other year on the day before Thanksgiving. During the interim years, grandfriends are invited to an all‐School breakfast event at the Upper School. Grandfriends may attend One School, One World following the breakfast. Saturday, November 16 Winter and Spring Concerts These are seasonal celebrations of music. The format varies by grade, from a holiday sing‐a‐long for our youngest students to more formal concerts for older students. Winter concerts take place for all grades in December. The spring concert features grades 2‐5 and takes place in May. Family Skating Family Skates and Hockey Skates are held at the BB&N rink on weekends from December through mid‐ February. Times for these skates can be found each week on the Athletics page of the BB&N website. Additionally, the LSPA hosts skating parties for each of the three LS Buildings at the rink in the winter. The whole family is welcome, but there are no skate rentals available. Refreshments are provided at the parties.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Luncheon This is an all‐School program held at the Upper School in January with presentations by students from each campus. All families are welcome. Monday, January 20 Bingo Night Family bingo night takes place on the first Friday of April in the LS gym. Family members of all ages are invited to come play bingo and enjoy a make‐your‐own sundae bar. Friday, April 4 6th Grade Musical Each spring, the sixth grade classes stage a musical in the Lower School gym. In addition to memorizing lines, songs and choreography, every sixth grader also contributes to creating the set pieces, props and scenery for the show. The cast has an opportunity to perform for other grades during the day and for parents and friends in the evening. Maypole Celebration The Lower School welcomes spring through singing and dancing. The fifth grade dances a traditional Maypole Dance, while other grades perform a variety of festive international dances. Circus This is the biggest LS event of the year! Don’t miss our annual Circus—an all‐School fair held on the LS campus on the first Saturday in May. Proceeds from Circus support Financial Aid. Saturday, May 3 BB&N at the MFA Day BB&N artists and their creations take over a gallery at the MFA during this daylong event to showcase the School’s longstanding museum partnership, which enhances arts study and learning through the arts for all grades B‐12. Music, demonstrations and tours are ongoing throughout the day. Sunday, May 11 Family Cooperative Fun Run This is a wonderful family event that supports the faculty daycare and features activities for all ages. The day kicks off with a kids’ race on the Upper School field, complete with race numbers and medals for every child. This is followed by field day activities and a 2.7 mile run, jog or walk for adults and older children. The BB&N Fund The BB&N Fund is conducted each year to raise the funds necessary to bridge the gap between tuition and the actual cost of a BB&N education. Annual contributions from parents, alumni, faculty, staff and former parents support the operating budget for faculty salaries, financial aid and operating expenses. More than 90% of Lower School families participate in the tradition of giving at BB&N. Gifts of every size are essential in meeting the annual goals and ensure that every day at BB&N is extraordinary. Farewell Picnic and Book Fair Celebrate the approach of summer vacation with a family cook‐out on the LS field. Bring a blanket for your family, and enjoy hamburgers, hotdogs and other picnic favorites. Browse for summer reading at the Scholastic Book Fair in the gym, and enjoy music provided by student DJs. Classroom Open Houses and Celebrations Homeroom teachers and specialists periodically schedule open houses to allow families to see the work they have been doing. Many of these take place at the end of the school year. Closing Assemblies Each building has an end‐of‐year closing ceremony in the Lower School Gym. For students in the Morse Building and New Wing, these ceremonies feature songs and brief reflections on the year and are followed by refreshments on the playgrounds. The Brick Building assembly features a more formal farewell to our sixth graders. A luncheon for sixth graders and their families precedes the assembly. Wednesday, June 4
II. COLLABORATION: VOLUNTEERING AT BB&N
Many of the events and activities at the Lower School depend on the behind‐the‐scenes efforts of parents. Whether you are interested in taking on a year‐round role or helping out one time, involvement opportunities are abundant. Volunteer roles exist for those who want to help out during the school day or on their own schedule. New volunteers are always needed! LSPA Leadership The LSPA is led by a team of four: two Vice Presidents and two Assistant Vice Presidents, the latter of whom will move into the VP role the following year. The individuals in these roles oversee the planning of LSPA events and the communication of PA information to the campus community. They are supported by a campus Treasurer. The incoming all‐School PA President will send out a call for nominations for these roles in the spring. Class Representatives Four parents in each grade are designated as class representatives. The class reps organize grade‐wide social events, communicate grade‐specific news, welcome new families and promote involvement in LSPA activities. Because the reps function as a team and support each other in balancing responsibilities, this role can accommodate a variety of parent schedules. Contact: Apple Stephen (firstname.lastname@example.org)/Kimberly Hsu‐Barber (email@example.com) Circus Committee The Circus committee plans and manages the many details of the Lower School’s spring fair. The group is comprised of a number of subcommittees that organize areas like games, rides, food and raffles. Sub‐ committee heads usually take on a role for at least two years so that an experienced person can train a newer volunteer. Circus is an all‐hands‐on‐deck event. That means we depend on every family to help transform our LS campus into a child’s wonderland on the first Saturday in May. All parents are needed on Circus day for set‐up, cleanup, and staffing of games, rides and food stations. Contact: Corinne Nagy (firstname.lastname@example.org) Faculty Appreciation Committee The faculty appreciation committee organizes four events throughout the year to show our teachers how much we appreciate them. Two grades host each event, and families from those grades contribute food and staff the luncheons. The committee develops themes and menus for the events and oversees volunteer sign‐ ups. A parent coordinator from each grade rallies support from the families in that grade. Contact: Erica Gervais‐Pappendick (email@example.com)/Towne Williams (firstname.lastname@example.org) Community Service Committee This committee organizes campus‐wide drives and service days with an emphasis on child‐ and family‐ involvement. The group meets periodically throughout the year to plan activities that will enable the campus to reach out and give back to the broader community. Contact: Lisa Kerrigan (email@example.com)/Jed Bailey (firstname.lastname@example.org) Parent Affinity Groups Parent affinity groups are school‐wide alliances of parents who strive to support non‐majority racial/ethnic/cultural groups. These groups provide support for parents, act as community resources, and work to organize speakers, conferences, cultural events and activities. Groups include the Multicultural Parent Alliance (MPA), Community Gay Straight Alliance (CGSA), South Asian Parent Alliance (SAPA), Association for Asian and Asian‐American Parents (4As) and a Multiracial Parent Group. Additionally, a small group of Lower School majority (white) parents called Parent Diversity Allies (PDA) receive in‐depth cultural competency training around issues of race. These parents positively work to engage the majority parent community in growing the culture of diversity at BB&N. Contact: Joslyne Decker (email@example.com) Homecoming Committee Homecoming is a celebration of the entire BB&N Community that takes place every fall on the Upper School Campus. Parents can help with preparations leading up to the day, or they can volunteer on the Saturday of Homecoming to help with food carts, activities, games, face painting and more. Contact: Natalie Ralston (firstname.lastname@example.org) 4
One School, One World Committee An army of parent volunteers is required to make this all‐School event successful. Parents organize cultural tables to reflect their family’s heritage, provide food from around the world, help organize student performances, set‐up for the event, staff tables and activity stations, and help cleanup at the end of the event. Contact: Lewis Bryant (email@example.com)/Charmain Tyler (firstname.lastname@example.org) Planting Playgrounds Committee: The Lower School Gardening Project The Planting Playgrounds Committee consists of faculty members and parents who maintain the raised garden beds around the Lower School Campus and support the planting, tending and harvesting activities of the students. Contact: Anthony Reppucci (email@example.com)/Carol Fine (firstname.lastname@example.org) Event Coordinators Parents can work with a partner or a team to coordinate a specific LSPA event, such as Hoedown, Bingo Night and Skating Parties. Coordinators develop themes, organize refreshments and work with vendors to make these once‐a‐year events happen. Event coordinators usually take on a role for at least two years so that an experienced person can train a newer volunteer. Contact: Pam Baker (email@example.com)/Jess Baron (firstname.lastname@example.org) Admissions Volunteers Parents can support the Admissions office by giving tours to prospective families, attending the fall open house, making welcome phone calls to admitted families and acting as welcome ambassadors (host families) to new students and their parents. Contact: Rebecca Geary (email@example.com) The BB&N Fund Volunteers Just as the School depends on The BB&N Fund to maintain its high quality standards, BB&N relies on dedicated volunteers to help make it successful. Last year parent volunteers helped raise 30% of the total raised for The Fund. Parents may volunteer for night or day phonathons or take on a more advisory role working with the Office of Annual Giving. Sometimes parents prefer to make “thank you” calls instead of fundraising calls. Every parent can participate in a meaningful way. Contact: Alex Ablon P’17 (firstname.lastname@example.org) BB&N at the MFA Day Volunteers Parents transport and install students’ work at the MFA, host the event, and provide helpful information and directions to the largest BB&N art event of the year! Contact: Sharen Bowden (email@example.com) Field Trip Chaperones and Classroom Help Teachers sometimes look to parents to chaperone field trips and help in the classroom. As these events approach, teachers will reach out to parents directly or through the class reps. In the event that field trips are over‐subscribed, chaperone spots are usually assigned on a first‐come, first‐served basis with preference given to parents who have not already helped out.
III. COMMUNICATION: STAYING INFORMED AT THE LOWER SCHOOL
The School and the Parents’ Association are dedicated to keeping families informed in a clear and organized way. Parents can maximize their awareness of events on campus by reading regular updates and newsletters and knowing where to find information when they have questions. Below are some key sources for information about campus happenings. DIRECT COMMUNICATION The Week Ahead at BB&N This is a weekly email sent by BB&N’s Communication Office on Saturdays to all parents. The email contains a list of events for each campus for the upcoming week. Director’s Newsletter Lower School Director Shera Selzer will write a monthly letter to the community. LSPA Monthly Newsletter The first week of each month, the LSPA will send an electronic newsletter containing an overview of upcoming activities and reports on recent events. Emails from Class Reps Class reps will communicate with families in their grades about grade‐specific events. OTHER RESOURCES BB&N Website The BB&N website contains a wealth of information for families. A redesigned site will launch in October. http://www.bbns.org Full Events Calendar This online tool can be accessed from the BB&N Homepage. It is the definitive source for event scheduling information. Events can be filtered by campus or all‐School. http://www.bbns.org/calendar All‐School and Lower School Handbooks These handy resources can be downloaded from the BB&N website and answer questions about such topics as attendance, drop‐off and pick‐up, health issues, parking, clubs and special events. http://www.bbns.org/sites/default/files/docs/ls_handbook_13‐14.pdf The Link The all‐School electronic newsletter reports on events and happenings across all three campuses. http://www.bbns.org/link The Vanguard The Upper School student newspaper provides good context on the broader BB&N community. http://www.bbns.org/sites/default/files/docs/vanguard‐subscription.pdf