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 Found a piece of information that is outdated?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 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 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 programs managed by the CRS PTA (note: due to COVID-19, our library program is currently paused). CRS Teachers will also coordinate Art Volunteers (who help out during your child's art class, grades K-2; paused due to COVID-19), VIP Stuffers (fill the weekly VIP envelopes on Wednesday afternoons; paused due to COVID-19), 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; paused due to COVID-19).
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.
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. 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 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 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.
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 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.
Not sure what content to provide? The Communications Committee has a library of content (including creative assets) you can leverage. We can create graphics assets for you - for social posts, flyers, posters, emails, etc. Contact 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 as the timing and content of the message must be coordinated with CRS. Usually, these are sent on Fridays at 10 AM via the FCPS email platform.
Room Parent Emails: Room Parents can send emails to their respective class or grade via the AtoZ platform (our CRS Directory). The mailing list will automatically be generated for you, making it super easy to send out important class/grade updates (note: only parents who add/update their information in the directory will receive these emails). Please refer to the guide on the Room Parent drive for more details if you need help.
Facebook: Posts are typically at 8 a.m. on school days (occasional weekend posts depending upon the topic) - find us @ChurchillRoadPTA.
Twitter: Tweets are typically at 11:30 a.m. on school days (occasional weekend posts depending upon the topic) - find us @CRS_PTA.
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 relevant timing has passed. Contact our Bulletin Board coordinator to arrange for your content to be displayed. (Note: Use of the bulletin board is paused at this time due to COVID-19.)
Churchill Chatter (also known as 'News You Choose'): CRS mails its weekly newsletters on Sunday evenings. 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 send in a consolidated request to CRS each Wednesday morning.
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.
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. Submissions must be provided 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 channels.
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. (Note: VIPs are currently paused at this time.)
Note: VIP flyers are currently paused due to COVID-19.
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 (preferably electronically) to the front office and the CRS VP of Communications for review. Please share at least one week prior to 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: Martha's Table 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 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.
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 - used colored paper for events, 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 to use the school paper supplies.
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 and Committee Expenses
Note: Due to COVID-19, please submit all reimbursement requests digitally.
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 - 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). 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". All expenses must be submitted within 30 days (or for expenses in late May/June by the last day of school) in order to 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 spend is within the allocated budgets - 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 look in our CRS directory (log-in required).
Please keep your PTA expenditures separate from your personal spending - don't mix these in the same order/purchase! If there are non-PTA related expenses on the receipt(s), please mark the ones that should be reimbursed and 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 (check will be mailed to your specific address) - timing can vary from 2-6 weeks depending upon the time of year.
Don't hold off on submitting expenses - all expenses must be submitted within 30 days (or before the fiscal year deadline if expense 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 make sure 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. Submit the form and funds ASAP to the CRS PTA Treasurer.
All cash deposits should be verified by at least two PTA members. If you are collecting funds for a large event (like the Churchill Challenge, Backyard BBQ, etc.) make sure that you have reviewed the CRS PTA financial management policies prior to the event and coordinated the counting verification process plus turnover for deposit. Use the Event Cash Verification Form. Funds should be deposited either same day or within 24 hours of collection.
Room Parents: Note: Our program will be virtual the 2020-2021 school year. Our coordinator has a guide and more resources to help you be successful. At the start of each school year, the coordinator hosts 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: Note: Our workshops will be virtual-only for the 2020-2021 school year & will use common art supplies that students already have at home. 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? Go to the Exploratory Arts room - all the supplies are in the 3 large wooden cabinets on the back wall near the door.
Library: Note: Due to COVID-19, this program is currently paused. 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 and 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. 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 created for many events and can easily update them.
Document Sharing and Storage
The CRS PTA has a Google Suite 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 general access can also be posted 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 (and 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?
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 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 various 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 creative design platform - contact the Communications Committee if you need other assets.