The Goleta Family School functions as a parent/guardian (“parent”) cooperative. Enrollment of students in the program implies a willingness to be a full participating parent. All parents are expected to complete two parent participation forms at the beginning of each school year. The first is for classroom participation and the second is for tribe (committee) participation.
Parents or a designated representative (grandparent, family friend, nanny) are expected to:
- Assist with fundraisers.
- Serve on a PTA tribe and participate fully.
- Participate two hours each week in the classroom for each child enrolled in the program.
- Participate in and drive on field trips.
- Provide snack for the entire school one week of the year.
- Attend two mandatory evening events each year.
- Ensure that your child has transportation to and from school each day.
Back to School and Parent Education Nights
There are two mandatory evening events per year that all GFS parents are expected to attend. The first is Back to School Night, which happens within the first two weeks of the school year. Back to School Night lasts two hours. First, the teachers and PTA will provide a general overview of the year. This information is critical for both new and continuing families, as general procedures from year to year will change (e.g., how “Tribes Treats” (snack) is handled). Next you will find out your Tribe assignment, and have a small breakout session to go over your basic list of Tribe duties and schedule your first meeting. Finally, parents go into the classrooms to hear messages from your child’s teacher. Here they will share classroom norms and expectations for you and your children, share curriculum and scheduling information, and answer questions.
At Back to School Night, you will also sign your GUSD contract (Parent Participation Agreement for the classroom) and your Parent Participation in Tribes Agreement. You will also receive important forms that need to be completed for the school year.
The second mandatory all-parent evening each year is Parent Education Night, which is usually scheduled in late January or early February. This is a fun, educational, and inspirational evening which the teachers coordinate and present for the parents. The content changes from year to year.
Parents are an integral part of the instructional program and, while final decisions about curriculum are left to the teachers, they have the opportunity to be involved in decisions affecting their child’s education. They are expected to take an active role in the educational process through weekly participation on the campus. That participation can take many forms, including facilitating small group work, teaching whole class lessons in which they share special interests or skills, and assisting the teacher in ways that serve the individual classroom or the school as a whole. While the default is to volunteer in the classroom, parent participation in the classroom is at the teachers’ discretion. If a teacher feels the classroom participation is not serving the community, then that parent will be given other responsibilities.
At the beginning of each your teacher will contact you about your scheduling preferences. Teachers are willing to be flexible in the way the commitment is met. For example, some parents meet the requirement by volunteering for one full day per month, instead of two hours each week. The most important aspects are to be present, and to be consistent. Twice a year your teacher will review your hours with you to see if you are meeting your commitment. If you miss hours due to illness, vacations, or even school holidays, it is up to you to work with your teacher to make up those hours. Each teacher has her own set of classroom guidelines, which are shared at Back to School Night.
GFS is a community in which students, parents, and teachers are actively involved in teaching and learning from one another. Everyone shares in community decisions and responsibilities. Through cooperative involvement in learning, each student, parent, and staff member is a partner in GFS.
All GFS parents are expected to participate in a variety of fundraising efforts throughout the school year. These range from selling Axxess books to working at the Reduce and Reuse Rummage Sale. Each parent tribe is responsible for specific fundraising activities as well. Reading your GFS Yahoo Group email and reading the materials that go home in the Friday Folders are critical to receiving fundraising information in a timely manner.
In addition to your classroom parent participation, you are required to participate on a Tribe, which is like a small workgroup or committee.
Every parent will be assigned to a Goleta Family School PTA Tribe, based on his or her interests and talents. These committees, which fall generally into the categories of enrichment, fundraising, community building, and outreach, are absolutely essential to the day-to-day operations of GFS. GFS families are expected to consider the way their individual gifts and interests can best serve the community and follow through on that commitment. The vital importance of parent participation in carrying out the curricular goals of the program cannot be overstated. The program won’t work without committed parent involvement.
Our GFS community offers a variety of community building, social, educational, promotional, and fundraising events throughout the year. These events enrich your child’s school experience, give parents an opportunity to support the school in meaningful ways, and help keep GFS strong for the next generation.
Each Tribe is organized around a general theme, and has a set of responsibilities, including fundraising activities and events to produce during the year. There are from 2 to approximately 12 parents in each Tribe. These groups meet throughout the year, either in person or via email, to ensure the successful execution of their assigned duties. Each Tribe has a leader to coordinate these events. You can expect that your dedication to GFS through Tribe participation will be both rewarding and fun, especially when you witness how this work impacts your child’s educational experience.
Brief descriptions of the GFS Tribes
Earthlings: Nurtures our love of nature and help us be good stewards of our environment. Activities include rummage sale, garden maintenance, garden workday coordination, and shed management.
Hospitality: Nourishes and enriches our GFS community. Activities include coordinating with Foothill for the teacher appreciation lunches, hospitality at various events, and the Winter Sing bake sale.
Outreach: Helps our school maintain positive relationships with our broader community. Activities include Move-A-Thon fundraiser, prospective parent nights, rummage sale advertising, and bulletin board display.
Arts: Offers its inspiration and talents to a school that values creative expression. Activities include kids’ winter marketplace crafts, support for GFS plays and productions, photojournalism and yearbook, garden workday craft projects for kids and coordinating gala classroom projects.
Technology: Maintains our website and helps us use technology to serve our school. Activities include maintaining computers, printers and iPads, managing the GFS website, DJ-ing and emceeing GFS events. This is a small, handpicked tribe.
Homies: Makes our school a “homey” place to learn and grow. Activities include all-school lunches, quarterly snacks in the teachers’ lounge, and the Winter Sing dinner.
Treasure: Coordinates fun fundraising activities that make our school rich in resources. Activities include Axxess book sales, campus store, gala coordination and production, Winter Sing coordination and production, alumni letter campaign and eScrip.
Please note that included activities are subject to change.