Volunteer Manual

Looking for tips, resources and answers to your questions on being a volunteer? Start here! 

Have a question that isn't covered here or some great advice to share? Found a piece of information that is outdated? Please help us keep this manual relevant and current by emailing communications@churchillroadpta.org.

Volunteer Navigation:


Volunteer Opportunities

Our volunteers make CRS a very special school and all of our children benefit from any amount of time that you can give. Volunteering gives you the chance to know your child's school, teachers, community and other parents better - and kids love to see their parents participate at school. There are many opportunities to volunteer at CRS throughout the year. Some volunteer needs are ongoing, while some needs are for one-time events. 

Interested in opportunities that are classroom related? Try the Room Parent Program, Artist Workshop and Library Volunteer programs managed by the CRS PTA. CRS Teachers will also coordinate Art Volunteers (who help out during your child's art class), VIP Stuffers (fill the weekly VIP envelopes), and other potential classroom opportunities (these will vary depending upon the teacher). In the spring, the PE teachers will also request parent volunteers to assist with Field Day in June.

You can find out more about various PTA volunteer opportunities on our volunteer page. Other opportunities to support various events (for example, helping out during our Book Fair), will be published throughout the year. Make sure you are receiving our weekly PTA newsletter - volunteer opportunities will be published here regularly as they become available.


PTA Volunteer Room

Not sure where our volunteer room is? From the front lobby, go left when you reach the main hall (towards the cafeteria) and you'll find the PTA room on your right. The room is also marked on the school map (available from the front office). PTA supplies are kept in this room - make sure to return anything that is borrowed.


PTA Communications

Need to spread the word on a committee activity/event? Ask for volunteer help? Share what your committee is doing? We have a number of ways to communicate with our community through email, social (Facebook & Twitter), our website, flyers, posters, and the PTA bulletin board (front lobby). Our Communications Committee coordinates all communication requests and manages digital publishing for all our PTA channels. The Communications Committee has a digital calendar that is accessible 24x7 to all committee chairs & coordinators - this calendar shows all currently planned communications so you can easily keep track of what will show up where & when. Don't have the link or have questions? Contact the VP of Communications.

Each week and email reminder goes to all CRS PTA committee chairs to request content submissions (for both PTA and school communications) for two weeks out. You can always reserve space for your communications in advance - sending in content early makes it easier for the Communications Committee to manage and coordinate all the requests, particularly if you would like help with graphics or writing copy.

Tips:

  • The majority of our communications are digital. Keep your copy short & to the point to increase probability that it will be read - you can link to more detailed information on our website. Best practices: Email (headline, plus 100-200 words of body copy per article), Facebook (ideally up to 120 words - organize for most important content first, as need to expand the post to see longer content), Twitter (maximum of 280 characters, typically 70-120 is ideal).
  • We can also share any photos or video (maximum of 2 minutes recommended) you might have on Facebook, Twitter or our website. Our community loves photos! Photos of events should also be shared with the Yearbook Committee - learn more here.
  • Not sure what content to provide? The Communications Committee has a library of content (including creative assets) you can leverage.
  • Not sure what kind of communications or how many you should do? Contact the Communications Committee and we'll let you know our recommended plan to get the word out!
  1. PTA Communication Channels:
    1. Week @ A Glance (aka "the WAG"): Email newsletter for the CRS PTA, mailed every Monday at 3 p.m. during the school year (no mailings on vacation weeks during the school year).
    2. One-off Emails: Periodically we may have an urgent need for a single topic email (such as 'Registration Ends Today') if timing does not align with the regular communication dates for the WAG or Chatter. Any needs for one-off emails should be communicated ASAP with the VP of Communications as the timing and content of the message must be coordinated with CRS.
    3. Facebook: Posts are typically at 8 a.m. on school days (occasional weekend posts depending upon the topic).
    4. Twitter: Tweets are typically at 11:30 a.m. on school days (occasional weekend posts depending upon the topic).
    5. Website: If you need help with updating a web page for your committee, adding a page, setting up event ticket sales, etc., you can submit requests through the weekly content request process or contact our Website Coordinator. Don't forget to keep your content up-to-date - for example, if an event is over, the website will need to be updated.
    6. PTA Bulletin Board: The PTA has a bulletin board in the front lobby of CRS (next to the library entrance) where you can post information - please make sure to take your flyer or other materials down once the relevant timing has passed.
  2. School Communications:
    1. Churchill Chatter (also known as 'News You Choose'): CRS mails its weekly newsletters on Wednesday afternoons. PTA created content is include in the Chatter within the CRS PTA News section. For PTA sponsored events (example: Integrated Arts Assemblies), CRS will usually include a photo of the activity (taken by school staff). Content includes a headline and short blurb (recommended 100-200 words).
    2. Keep-In-Touch (KITs): When needed, CRS typically mails KITs on Monday, Wednesday or Friday, although this can vary depending upon topic timing. PTA content is not included in KITs per FCPS policy - please see one-off emails under PTA communications.
    3. Morning & Afternoon PA Announcements: Short announcements for students (for example - letting them know about Martha's Table) can be submitted to Mrs. Warren, the CRS Librarian. Submissions must be provided at least one week prior. Remember to keep these very brief and write your copy for students.
    4. Facebook and Twitter: PTA created content is not posted to these channels unless CRS chooses to share/retweet the CRS PTA's social content. The school typically focuses on sharing pictures of class activities & events through its social channels.
    5. VIP (Very Important Papers): Each Wednesday, a yellow envelope is sent home with each student. Flyers for PTA activities can be included in these envelopes, but must be provided in time for the VIP stuffers to include. See our VIP Flyer instructions for more details.

VIP Flyers

How do I make a VIP flyer? How do I know how many copies to make? Find all your VIP instruction details here!

  1. Create a flyer and provide (preferably electronically) to the front office and the CRS VP of Communications for review. Please share at least one week prior to distribution.
    1. Make sure the CRS PTA website will be updated to include relevant content. For example, the content on the related web page can be updated or an electronic copy of the flyer can be uploaded to the website (example: Martha's Table permission slips). Sometimes flyers may get lost - you want to make sure our community can always find the information on our website.
  2. Make your copies:
    1. Quantity: Determine the number of copies you need - in the teacher workroom you'll find a paper posted above the copiers which lists the number of students by class & grade - both total & 'oldest and only'. For a flyer that is advertising an event, you can distribute by 'oldest and only' so parents don't receive duplicate copies. If your flyer is like a permission slip (example - Martha's Table), you'll need a copy for each student that might be participating so use the total numbers. You can also  target flyers to only go to specific grades.
    2. Supplies: Obtain paper from the PTA room - you'll find various options underneath the mailboxes in the PTA room (on the left wall as you enter the room).
    3. Production: Go to one of the teacher workrooms to find the copiers. Make sure to insert your PTA copy paper and not to use the school paper supplies.
    4. Distribution: Drop your copies off at the front office by the Tuesday morning prior to the desired Wednesday for distribution. These copies must be collated by grade and class.

PTA Expense Reimbursement

If you need to be reimbursed for PTA committee related expenses, please use our Committee Reimbursement Form. Tips: Make sure to click on the drop down arrow in the form to select the correct committee/budget line item. You'll need to provide a copy of any receipts - make sure the copy is legible and total costs are clear. The forms and receipts should be submitted to the PTA Treasurer - you can either email or leave a printed copy in the mailbox in the PTA room labeled "Treasurer".

Need to be reimbursed for a Room Parent related expense? You need to submit a copy of your receipt to your grade's class treasurer - that person will submit the reimbursement request form & receipts on your behalf to the CRS PTA Treasurer. Not sure who your grade's room parent class treasurer is or how to contact them? Contact our Room Parent Coordinators.

Note: If there are non-PTA related expenses on the receipt(s), please mark the ones that should be reimbursed and total for those items. Hold on to a copy of the form (for committees) and receipts (all submissions) until you have received reimbursement (check will be mailed to your specific address) - timing can vary from 2-6 weeks depending upon time of year.


PTA Deposits

Collected funds for the PTA (examples - event tickets, registration fees, class funds, spirit wear)? Complete the PTA Deposit Record Form. Make sure to click on the drop down to indicate the correct budget line item associated with the funds. Submit the form to the CRS PTA Treasure (see instructions under PTA Expense Reimbursement).


PTA Programs

  • Room Parents: Our coordinators have a guide and more to help you be successful - find more here. At the start of each school year, the coordinators host an overview session to help you have a successful year. The teachers for each grade will then hold a meeting (typically second half of September) with Room Parents to review the year and support needed.
  • Artist Workshop: Our Artist Workshop coordinators have Dropboxes with all the content you need to teach a class - including sample scripts to follow. At the start of the school year they will also hold a training session. Find information about the program here. Looking for the supplies for Artist Workshop? Go to the Exploratory Arts room - all the supplies are in the 3 large wooden cabinets on the back wall near the door.
  • Library: In September our Library coordinator hosts a training session for new volunteers. As part of this program, volunteers help with shelving returned books, organizing shelves, and other tasks as needed by the librarians. Each month the coordinator will publish the scheduling for the upcoming weeks.

PTA Resources

  • eLearning: The National PTA has a variety of free eLearning courses available for members.
  • Back-to-School Kit: Each year, the National PTA publishes a Back-to-School Kit which includes a variety of guides and resources.
  • Newsletters: The National PTA publishes a variety of newsletters. Learn more.
  • Room Parents: Our coordinators have a guide and more to help you be successful. 

Useful Tools

  • Volunteer Sign Up: Need to round up some help or coordinate contributions? Creating a SUG is an easy and free way to manage volunteer efforts. Go to http://www.signupgenius.com/ and create an account. Just click on "Create a Sign-up" and follow the step by step process. An automated reminder will go out to your helpers (customize or use a standard message) and you can also send a message on demand as needed. There are tutorials and lots of resource documents on the SUG site if you need help.
  • Scheduling: Trying to coordinate schedules for meetings? Doodle offers a great free tool that you can use to quickly get availability from volunteers and come up with a time that is convenient to all. Scheduled meetings can sync with your calendar.
  • Hosting Meetings: Looking for an easy and free virtual option? Try freeconferencecall.com - participants can join via their internet connection on PC or via phone. Easy online sharing of documents.
  • Graphics & Creative Assets: Need to design a flyer or other graphics? Canva.com is a great free resource that has a variety of starting templates you can use. DesignWizard also offers a free option. If you need an infographic, try easelly.
  • Document Sharing & Storage: Both Google Drive and Dropbox offer file storage and sharing (free up to specified limits). We can also store files for future committee usage on the CRS PTA website's Media Drive - contact communications@churchillroadpta.org for assistance.
  • Project Management: Need something to help organize and track tasks? With Trello, you can set up to do lists, reminders, alerts and share documents with fellow committee members and volunteers (and it will connect with Google Drive and Dropbox). Another option with a free plan is Asana.
  • Surveys: Need to do a quick poll/survey? Try using Google Forms.

Other FAQs

  • Where is the Teacher Lounge? You'll find this room in the first grade corridor, on the left hand side.
  • Where do I store food for an event?
    • Non-perishable items can be stored temporarily in the PTA room - however, make sure to label these clearly (e.g., Staff Appreciation, Reading Rodeo, etc.).
    • Perishable items can be stored in the fridge in the Exploratory Arts room leading up to the event. Make sure to label your items clearly (see above). If you have a major event (such as Reading Rodeo) be sure to check if there are any other major events at the time that might also need fridge storage. Perishable items for Staff Appreciation events can be dropped off in the teacher's lounge (again, please label!) the morning of the event.
  • How do I reserve space for a PTA event? Contact Ms. Moran in the front office and she will work with you to reserve a room.
  • How do I pick the date for a PTA event? You will need to consult with the PTA President and CRS to pick the best date options (avoiding concerts, and various other activities).
  • I need the PTA logo to create my materials - where can I find this? The logo is on this page for easy download. We also have other logo image options and creative assets on our internal Media Drive - contact communciations@churchillroadpta.org if you need other assets.