Being a Part of the Cooperative
Being part of a cooperative school is a rewarding experience that gives parents and guardians the opportunity to be an integral part of their child’s education. As a member of the cooperative, your family, your child and the school all benefit from a strong partnership between home and school.
At Stevens Cooperative School, families are invited into the classroom and are active participants in the life of the school. Seeing their child’s class in action, parents and guardians are exposed to the teacher’s education style and can better understand how the curriculum is being implemented. Research shows that this enhanced understanding allows parents and guardians to more easily support their child's educational journey socially, emotionally, and academically. At Stevens, the family voice is incorporated into school-wide decision-making and policy updates in areas that support strategic planning, such as amending school bylaws and voting on new trustees, and as a result, parents and guardians feel an increased sense of ownership and belonging.
The students get to see their parents and guardians as a part of their education. This provides an increased feeling of support and encouragement, and facilitates the development of the student’s self-confidence while boosting classroom motivation. Research shows that students who see their parents and guardians involved in their education are more successful and more likely to feel a sense of belonging. Our families are regularly invited to not only participate in their child’s learning by helping and observing in the classroom, but they are also encouraged to share with the class about family traditions and cultural celebrations, further expanding our student’s global awareness. For students from diverse backgrounds, research has shown that achievement improves as a result of bridging the gap between the culture at home and the school.
Stevens faculty, staff and administration benefit from this home-school partnership as well. Our teachers feel a strong connection and close relationship with their students’ families. The transparency of having a parent or guardian participating in helping parent/guardian days means that the teachers’ communication and rapport with families is enriched. Stevens has so many wonderful families with a vast array of talents that can directly benefit the classroom and the students. Being a member of the cooperative means that families have the opportunity to share their talents when completing their yearly cooperative job.
Below is a list of ways parents and guardians are involved as members of the cooperative at Stevens.
3s and PreK
In the 3s program, a helping parent/guardian is assigned to be in the classroom every morning for the first trimester and two days a week for the remainder of the school year. In PreK, helping parents/guardians are in the classroom once a week, which means a students' representative parent/guardian is assigned to come in once a year.
Helping parents/guardians bring and prepare the daily snack for the class, assist the teachers and sometimes supervise a small group activity. Parents/guardians who wish to supervise a particular craft or music program are encouraged to make arrangements ahead of time with the classroom teacher.
PreK/K - 5th Grade
Parents/guardians spend one helping day each school year in PreK/K-4th grade classrooms and a half day as helping parent/guardian in the 5th grade. Duties vary for each teacher and classroom. Some parents/guardians opt to add a helping parent/guardian day by chaperoning a field trip or excursion.
Every family in the cooperative chooses a job each year. Jobs are organized and assigned by the Jobs Chair. Assignments include organizing and helping to run fundraisers, serving as class parent/guardian and greeting prospective families at admissions events. A cooperative job can also entail committee work or serving on the Board of Trustees. Stevens makes a vigorous effort to match job assignments to the parents/guardians’ stated interests and skills. A cooperative job can be tailored to a family's lifestyle, schedule and availability. Parents and guardians can have as small or as large a job as they can manage. Parents and guardians also have the option to buyout of a job assignment for the year.
Stevens holds three membership meetings each year in September, January and April. Membership meetings keep parents and guardians informed of the school's progress as well as issues affecting the school and provide a forum to meet and interact with other parents/guardians. The transparency of our communication and involvement of the parent/guardian voice in the life of the school amplifies the family’s experience.
The September meeting includes breakout sessions for parents and guardians to meet the chair of their assigned jobs committee for the year, as well as other committee members and families they will be working with. The January meeting includes an overview of the budget, and the April membership meeting is devoted to the election of the Board of Trustees.