Achieving Your Commitment of Monthly Participation:
Families who are involved in the APPLE Program agree to a minimum monthly participation of ten hours. Many families participate on a regular basis in the classroom and are members on one or more committees. The maximum participation is unlimited and usually a matter of time availability. APPLE tries to maintain a flexible approach to participation, recognizing that circumstances arise which may affect the amount of monthly commitment. Parent participation in the classroom has always been the backbone of our program.
Opportunities for participation include:
- Participating in the classroom (see below).
- Attending Program Enhancement Meetings (see below).
- Attending General Meetings (see below).
- Participating on classroom field trips or helping with classroom theme days (see below).
- Filling classroom positions or preparing/planning of classroom activities and materials at home (see Program Enhancement Meetings below).
- Actively working on an APPLE Committee (see “Executive and Committees”)
- Assisting with the Kiss’n Ride Program.
- Assisting in other Principal-approved ways during school hours.
Participation in the Classroom (“Duty Parent” or “Duty Days”):
Parents are scheduled to participate in the classroom most days of the year. Exceptions may be made at the beginning of the year or on special days. Parents support the teacher in whatever capacity they require. Teachers lay out their general expectations at the first Program Enhancement Meeting and generally supply a list of particular duties on the specific duty day. Support can include filling mail bags, photocopying, preparing classroom materials, assisting students in and out of the class, helping students with exercises, one-on-one time with students who have missed days or leading groups of students to allow the teacher more focused time.
When in the classroom, parents are expected to follow the APPLE Classroom and Duty Guidelines as outlined in the APPLE Parent Handbook. A sample of these guidelines is as follows:
- Foster a safe, caring, respectful, and welcoming learning environment and atmosphere.
- Arrive on time and be prepared to focus your attention on the duties the teacher has requested.
- Inform the teacher if unable to attend on a scheduled duty day.
- Do not criticize or over-praise children or teachers.
- Model behaviour that is interactive, open, and honest to help build trust and commitment.
- Be supportive, but do not take the responsibility for children’s actions or activities away from them. Students may be solving the problem themselves and premature intervention becomes interference. If adult intervention is needed, do so by encouraging the child to identify the problem, discuss possible solutions, and choose one.
- Respect the confidentiality of the teachers and students and keep a positive attitude toward all aspects of the operation of the classroom. In other words, what happens in the classroom stays in the classroom.
Program Enhancement Meetings:
Program Enhancement Meetings allow teachers and parents to meet regularly to discuss the material being taught and how it can best be enhanced with valuable parent resources. The ultimate goal is to broaden the scope of the program, thus enhancing the learning experience of our children. Generally, each class has a Chairperson and certain members who will be assigned various responsibilities as outlined below. This group usually meets once every six weeks or five meetings over the school year. Attendance at Program Enhancement Meetings is highly recommended. It is for the benefit of the students that parents attend at least three of these meetings.
The following positions are typically available and are assigned at the first Enhancement Meeting of the year, with the exception of the Chairperson who is chosen by the teacher in collaboration with the Vice-Chairperson of Program before the school year begins.
- Class Chairperson: Draws up the agenda with the teacher, chairs the meeting with the teacher, collects participation hour sheets and acts as liaison to the Vice-Chairperson of Program and Vice-Chairperson of Participation.
- Field Trip Coordinator: Coordinates field trips with the teacher, sends out and collects forms.
- Duty Scheduler: Schedules parent duty days in the classroom.
- Secretary: Takes minutes at Enhancement Meetings.
- Class Reporter: Writes a short column on classroom activities for the Core Gazette approximately monthly.
- Yearbook Committee: Compiles the annual yearbook for the classroom.
General Meetings are an opportunity for the Parents’ Association to come together and discuss matters that affect the APPLE experience. Members of the Executive will provide an update and answer any questions from the Parents’ Association. The school administration will provide clarification on matters pertaining to the APPLE Program as they relate to the policies and procedures of the Thames Valley District School Board and any other issues that are the responsibility of the School Administration. The School Council Chair will update the Parents’ Association on issues pertaining to the global school community. Upcoming events and items related to our Vision, Mission and Beliefs may be reviewed and discussed. The General Meeting is an appropriate forum to discuss questions and concerns from the Parents’ Association.
It is a requirement of the APPLE Program that parents attend at least four out of six General Meetings. Attendance is taken at these meetings. At times, a quorum of families is required at a General Meeting to vote on changes to the program.
Field Trips and Classroom Theme Days:
APPLE classes have lots of field trips! Some classes have up to one each month. Field trips are determined at the Program Enhancement Meetings and coordinated by the teacher and the Field Trip Coordinator. Parents are polled for ideas on activities and may be asked to call on contacts to find activities that match the students curriculum.
Parents may volunteer to drive students in grades four through eight to and from the activity and stay at the activity site to supervise the students. Due to insurance reasons, siblings are not permitted to travel with the parent on field trips.
Field trips are partially funded through general program fundraising but parents are also asked to contribute to a field trip fund at the beginning of the year. An accounting of these funds is provided at the Program Enhancement Meetings.
From time to time, classrooms have special events or theme days. Parents can participate by presenting or demonstrating an experiment, craft, instrument, etc. relating to the topic of study.
Time spent on field trips and during classroom theme days can be recorded as volunteer time.