August 26th, 2010Musings
Have you heard about the mother in Rhode Island who has been banned from volunteering at her daughter’s elementary school because she has two prior drug-related felony convictions (which occurred before her daughter was born)? The mom says she’s been clean for six years, and pointed out that she volunteered at her daughter’s preschool, but the public school has said “no.”
Do parents in your child’s district undergo criminal background checks before they are cleared to help out in the school &/or chaperone field trips?
My son’s school checks for everything before a parent may work as a volunteer, and there are different levels of clearance one can be given. I know of at least four levels: (1) work at the school but with no student contact, (2) work at the school with student contact (i.e., in the classroom), (3) chaperone on field trips, which often involves driving kids in one’s private car to and from the event, and (4) chaperoning on overnight field trips (something that only the 5th graders at my son’s school ever have). I know that even a single speeding ticket knocks a person out of the field trip volunteer level, so I’d imagine our district would also frown upon any felony convictions, regardless of how long ago they occurred.
I’m cleared for all levels of volunteering, and, frankly, take comfort in knowing of the rigorous checks my son’s school subjects us all to before allowing contact with the students.
I’m of two minds about the felony conviction. I think that any type of violent felony conviction – regardless of how long ago it occurred – should keep someone out, period. However, drug-related convictions (crimes that really affect the user more than anyone else) wouldn’t bother me in the classroom, since that’s a controlled environment.
I would not want a felon of any sort, however, driving my son around or chaperoning overnight trips. Once and addict, always an addict, recovering or not, so this is a deal-breaker for me.
What do you think?Tags: volunteering
June 3rd, 2010Musings
I’m just home from an end-of-year volunteer reception at my son’s school. I can’t quite believe how quickly this year has passed. They held the event outdoors, in the picnic pavillion behind the building (a LARGE covered space with seating for a few hundred). Parents got to sit on the benches, while all the kids surrounded us. Each grade did a short little (< 5 mins) thing to say thanks to all the parents who’ve helped out this year. As luck would have it, my son happened to be seated directly in front of where I’d sat down, which was nice. After the kids were done, they returned to their classroom and the principal recognized a few of the parents who’ve been involved in the Parent-Faculty Club (the equivalent to the PTA), the SchooL Site Council, which oversees the facility, and a few other key boards like that.
There’s an opening on the Site Council for next year, and I will admit, I’m intrigued. On the other hand, it would be one more thing demanding my attention, and I’m not sure I’ve got the time. I suppose this is just me, being my usual nosy self. This does make me wonder, how much volunteering is too much? For anyone who might be reading this, what are your thoughts? I recall a few parents when I was in school who seemed to live at the school. I am sure that, on one hand, their help was appreciated, but I know for a fact that more than one of them drove the staff up the wall and down another. I don’t want to be one of those people!Tags: end of year, volunteering
June 2nd, 2010Musings
As David Byrne famously sang, You may ask yourself, How did I get here?
This blog is a long time coming. I grew up in the middle of the country, have now lived on both coasts, and have been a room mom for seven consecutive years. I’ve always rambled on to my husband, family, and friends about what I’m up to, all the while feeling a bit frustrated that I had no time to write (I’m a writer & editor by training). Until recently, it had never occurred to me to put all of these things together. Now, though, it seems so obvious – why didn’t I think to do this years ago?!?
So, in brief, here’s who I am:
- Married mom of two: one older-elementary-aged boy and a very young daughter
- Full-time writer and editor (though I do more editing than writing these days)
- Room mom with seven years (and counting) experience. I figured it up one one day – the year (I presume) my son ages out of needing a room mom will be the very year my daughter starts preschool and comes into the room mom-years. When all is said and done, I can expect to have been a room mom for 18 years in a row! It makes me a little tired just thinking about it all
- Multi-year room mom experience in both private and public school settings.
In short, I feel a bit like everymom, yet also quite different. In my years of room momming, I’ve encountered a lively cast of characters – some of the nicest, best people I’ve ever met, and some that make you want to stab yourself with a fork rather than work with them. I refuse to stab myself, so instead, I’ll blog about them – annoying people of the world, you’re on notice!
I also don’t like to think of the traditional, boring room mom mold. I’m sure it works for some, but it doesn’t work for me. Who says having a kid means you have to lose your edge? Why play Barney for your preschooler when you could play Barenaked Ladies’ “Snacktime” album instead? Just the same, I’m always on the lookout for cool activities, party ideas, and projects to make classroom events fun – you’ll find no conversation hearts bingo here!Tags: Musings, Parties, Projects, volunteering