Are you looking for tips, resources, and answers to your questions on being a volunteer? Start here! Have a question not covered here or some great advice to share? Found a piece of information that is outdated? Please help us keep this guide relevant and current by emailing our VP of Communications.
Program Resources (Room Parents, Artist Workshop, Library)
Our volunteers make CRS a very special school, and all of our children benefit from any amount of time 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.
Are you interested in opportunities that are classroom-related? Try the Room Parent Program, Artist Workshop, Library, and Multicultural Reading programs managed by the CRS PTA. CRS Teachers may also coordinate Art Volunteers (who help out during your child's art class, grades K-2), VIP Stuffers (sort and stuff the weekly VIP envelopes for students to take home on Wednesday afternoons), and other potential classroom opportunities (these will vary depending upon the teacher/grade). In the spring, the PE teachers will also request parent volunteers to assist with Field Day in June (grades 4-6 in the AM, grades K-3 in the PM).
You can find out more about various PTA volunteer opportunities on our volunteer page. Other options to support events (for example, helping out during our Book Fair) will be published throughout the year. Make sure you receive our weekly PTA newsletter — we will regularly post volunteer opportunities here as they become available.
Not sure where our volunteer room is? Go left from the front lobby 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 borrowed. You'll also find our PTA mailboxes here.
Need to spread the word on a committee activity/event? Ask for volunteer help? Share what your committee is doing? We have several 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 our PTA channels. In addition, 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 an email reminder goes to all CRS PTA committee chairs/coordinators 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. We can also help you create flyers, posters, and other materials.
The majority of our communications are digital. Keep your copy short & to the point to increase the 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 one must expand the post to see longer content), Twitter (maximum of 280 characters, typically 70-120 is ideal).
We can also share any photos or videos (maximum 2 minutes recommended) you might have on Facebook, Twitter, or our website. Our community loves photos! Pictures of events should also be shared with the Yearbook Committee.
Not sure what content to provide? The Communications Committee has a library of content (including creative assets) you can leverage. In addition, we can create graphics assets for you — for social posts, flyers, posters, emails, etc. Contact the VP of Communications for help.
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!
PTA Communication Channels
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).
One-off Emails: Periodically, we may have an urgent need for a single topic email (such as 'Registration Ends Today') if the 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.
Room Parent Emails: Room Parents can send emails to their respective class or grade via our website. The mailing list will automatically be generated for you, making it super easy to send out important class/grade updates (Note: only parents who create an account on our website will receive these emails). Please refer to the guide on the Room Parent drive for more details if you need help or contact the Room Parent Coordinator.
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 Administrator. Don't forget to keep your content up-to-date — for example, if an event is over, the website will need to be updated.
PTA Bulletin Board: The PTA has a bulletin board in the front lobby of CRS (next to the library entrance) where you can post PTA information — please make sure to take your flyer or other materials down once the appropriate timing has passed. Then, contact our Bulletin Board coordinator to arrange for your content to be displayed.
Churchill Chatter (also known as News You Choose): CRS mails its newsletter on Fridays. PTA-created content is included 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 if during school hours, for events after hours or on weekends, you should plan to supply a photo). Content includes a headline and short blurb (recommended 100-200 words). All PTA content must be sent to the Communications Committee — we will email a consolidated request to CRS by Wednesday evening.
Keep-In-Touch (KITs): CRS mails KITs with time-sensitive content when needed. PTA content is not included in KITs per FCPS policy — please see one-off emails under PTA communications.
The Bobcat News (Morning & Afternoon PA Announcements): Short announcements for students (for example — letting them know about an event) can be submitted to the CRS Librarian. You must provide submissions at least one week prior. Remember to keep these very brief and write your copy to appeal to students.
Facebook and Twitter: PTA-created content is not posted to the CRS Facebook and Twitter channels unless CRS chooses to share/retweet the CRS PTA's social content. CRS typically focuses on sharing pictures of class activities & events through its social media.
VIP (Very Important Papers): Each Wednesday, an 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.
How do I make a VIP flyer? How do I know how many copies to make? Find all your VIP instruction details here!
Create a flyer and provide it (preferably electronically) to the front office and the CRS VP of Communications for review. Please share at least one week before distribution. 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: permission slips). Sometimes flyers may get lost, so make sure our community can always find the information on our website.
Make your copies:
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 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, 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.
Supplies: Obtain paper supplies 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). Tip: Use colored paper for events and white paper for forms.
Production: Go to one of the teacher workrooms to find the copiers. Make sure to insert your PTA copy paper and not use the school paper supplies.
Distribution: Drop your copies off at the front office by Tuesday morning before the desired Wednesday for distribution. These copies must be collated by grade and class.
PTA and Committee Expenses
If you need to be reimbursed for PTA committee-related expenses, please use our Reimbursement Form. All expenses must be within the budget approved by our membership, so make sure that you understand your committee's budget and have approval for spending before making any purchases.
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 (we cannot reimburse you without a receipt). Submit the forms and receipts to the PTA Treasurer — you can either email (preferred) or leave a printed copy in the mailbox in the PTA room labeled "Treasurer." All expenses must be submitted within 30 days (or for expenses in late May/June by the last day of school) to be reimbursed.
Room Parent Expenses
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. The Grade Level Treasurer is responsible for managing your grade's class funds and will provide a budget (with allocations for each activity) to Room Parents early in the year. Be sure to coordinate with your fellow Room Parents to ensure spending is within the allocated budgets as expenses that exceed available Class Funds cannot be reimbursed. Not sure who your grade's room parent class treasurer is or how to contact them? Contact our Room Parent Coordinator or check your grade's message board on our website.
Please keep your PTA expenditures separate from your personal spending — don't mix these in the same order/purchase! Also, if there are non-PTA-related expenses on the receipt(s), please mark the ones that should be reimbursed and the total for those items (any tax or shipping on mixed purchases will not be reimbursed).
Hold on to a copy of the form (for committees) and receipts (all submissions) until you have received reimbursement (the Treasurer will mail a check to your address) — timing can vary from 2 to 6 weeks depending upon the time of year.
Don't hold off on submitting expenses as all expenses must be submitted within 30 days (or before the fiscal year deadline if costs are incurred after 5/15), or these will not be reimbursed. The fiscal year ends on June 30, so the CRS PTA must close its financial books for the year at that time. Please submit your end-of-year expenses ASAP to ensure that the Treasurer can reimburse you in time — plus, it makes our financial management MUCH easier!
Collected funds for the PTA (examples - event tickets, registration fees, class funds, spirit wear)? Complete the PTA Deposit Form. Make sure to click on the drop-down to indicate the correct budget line item associated with the funds. Then, submit the form and funds ASAP to the CRS PTA Treasurer.
At least two PTA members should verify all cash deposits. If you are collecting funds for a large event, ensure that you have reviewed the CRS PTA financial management policies before the event and coordinated the counting verification process plus turnover for deposit. Use the Event Cash Verification Form. Funds should be deposited either the same day or within 24 hours of collection.
Artist Workshop: Our Artist Workshop Coordinator has all the content you need to teach a class - including sample scripts to follow. At the start of the school year, the coordinator will hold a training session and cover everything you need to know about Artist Workshop. Looking for the supplies for Artist Workshop? These are currently in the PTA workroom.
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.
Multicultural Reading Program: Our Multicultural Reading Program Coordinator will provide a book, lesson, activity materials, and a video to use for each session of the reading program.
Room Parents: Our Room Parents Coordinator has a guide and more resources to help you be successful. At the start of each school year, the coordinator hosts an orientation session. The teachers for each grade will then hold a meeting (typically the second half of September) with Room Parents to review the year and the support needed.
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 that includes various guides and resources.
Newsletters: The National PTA publishes a variety of newsletters.
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. First, go to SignUpGenius.com and create an account. Then, 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 many resource documents on the SUG site if you need help.
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 convenient time. In addition, scheduled meetings can sync with your calendar.
Looking for an easy and free virtual option? Try freeconferencecall.com — participants can join via their internet connection on PC or phone. Easy online sharing of documents.
Graphics and Creative Assets
Need to design a flyer or other graphics? Canva.com is a great free resource with a variety of starting templates you can use. DesignWizard also offers a free option. If you need an infographic, try easelly. Want more help? The Communications Committee can create flyers and graphics for you - just let us know what help you need. We have a variety of assets already made for many events and can easily update them.
Document Sharing and Storage
The CRS PTA has a Google Workspace that can be used by CRS PTA officers, committee chairs, coordinators, etc. If you need an account and do not already have one, please contact our web administrator. You can utilize either the personal drive or team drive via Google Drive with your CRS PTA account. Files that need public access can also be posted to or linked to the CRS PTA website. For further assistance, contact the VP of Communications.
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 (it will connect with Google Drive and Dropbox). Another option with a free plan is Asana.
Need to do a quick poll/survey? Try using Google Forms.
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?
You can store non-perishable items 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 a fridge leading up to the event (please check with the Front Office to confirm desired storage location). 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 an 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 other activities).
I need the CRS PTA logo to create my materials - where can I find this?
You can download the logo and templates on our website. We also have other logo image options and creative assets on our design platform — contact the Communications Committee if you need other assets.