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Committees, Explained (Or, what am I getting myself into?)

Committees, Explained (Or, what am I getting myself into?)

Are you ready to volunteer, but don’t know how you’d like to help? These summaries may help! We’ve divided opportunities into four categories: enrichment, community building, fundraising, and liaisons. coordinators. Always feel free to contact our PTA executive board with questions.\

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Enrichment for Active Minds and Bodies

Authors Fest
Every-other year, Whittier’s PTA—in conjunction with the Downers Grove Area Council of PTAs—gives students the chance to meet and visit with well-known children’s authors and illustrators. Volunteers may be needed to help with the planning and execution of these author and illustrator visits. Authors Fest takes place in the spring of odd-numbered years.

Target Number of Volunteers: 1-5
Estimated Time Commitment: Minimal
Required Availability: Variable

Chess
Chess instruction and competition is offered on a for-fee basis after school one day per week through the Chess Scholars organization. PTA members help liaise between the school and Chess Scholars for session scheduling and information distribution purposes. One PTA parent volunteer must also be present each week during chess in order to assist with attendance and overall supervision.

Target Number of Volunteers: 1-5
Estimated Time Commitment: Minimal (coordinator) / 1 hour per week (parent helper)
Required Availability: Weekday Afternoons

Destination ImagiNation
Destination ImagiNation (DI) is a volunteer-led, non-profit organization with the purpose to inspire and equip students to become the next generation of innovators and leaders. Students choosing to participate in DI work on a team comprised of up to seven individuals who prepare a solution to a standards-based challenge in one of the following areas: science/technology, improvisation, visual arts, service learning, and early learning. DI teams then present their solution to their selected challenge and work together to respond impromptu to an instant challenge at a regional tournament. Students participating in the competitive division of DI then have a chance to advance to the state and global DI tournaments.

PTA volunteers help to distribute important information and key dates to families interested in participating in DI, secure DI materials, and coordinate an evening for Whittier’s DI teams to present their solutions at the school. Each DI team requires an adult team manager, so PTA members may also serve in this capacity.

Target Number of Volunteers: 1-15
Estimated Time Commitment: Variable
Required Availability: Variable

Foreign Language
Through the Language Stars organization, Whittier offers fee-based foreign language instruction before school one day per week. The PTA helps with the scheduling of and information distribution about these language classes. The PTA also helps to identify a parent volunteer to be present at each foreign language class.

Target Number of Volunteers: 1-5
Estimated Time Commitment: Minimal (coordinator) / 1 hour per week (parent helper)
Required Availability: Weekday Mornings

Young Rembrandts
Young Rembrandts is an original, step by step method to teach children drawing, the fundamental skill of visual arts. Children who learn to draw using the Young Rembrandts method develop spatial reasoning and fine motor skills, ordering and sequencing ability, visualization and fundamental art skills.

Target Number of Volunteers: 1-3
Estimated Time Commitment:  1 hour per week (parent helper/liason)
Required Availability: Weekday Afternoons, after school

Green Team
Green Team maintains and beautifies the outdoor spaces around Whittier Elementary School in order to foster a sense of pride in the school and community by working toward this common goal. Green Team is made up of PTA volunteers and may also include student volunteers to help with landscaping and other environmental tasks.

Target Number of Volunteers: 5-10
Estimated Time Commitment: Minimal (summer and winter) / 1 hour per week (fall and spring)
Required Availability: Weekday Afternoons and/or Weekends

Jaguar Journal
The Jaguar Journal is Whittier’s student newspaper. The PTA primarily helps with funding needs but also secures teacher and/or parent volunteers to aid in the production of this publication.

Target Number of Volunteers: 1-5
Estimated Time Commitment: Variable
Required Availability: Weekdays During the School Day

LRC Magazine Subscriptions
PTA volunteers work with the school LRC (Learning Resource Center, or library) to determine magazine subscription needs and to identify families willing to finance/donate these subscriptions.

Target Number of Volunteers: 1-5
Estimated Time Commitment: Minimal
Required Availability: Flexible

Math & Science Nights
Math Night is an event for 4th-6th graders and their families to explore math concepts in a fun, hands-on way outside of the traditional classroom setting. Science Night is an all-school event for students and their families to interact with science concepts in a tangible and exciting manner. PTA members serving on the Math & Science Night committee plan, prepare for, and lead various sessions at the events.

Target Number of Volunteers: 10-20
Estimated Time Commitment: A few hours (early planning) / Significant (the week of the event)
Required Availability: Flexible (early planning) / Weekday Evening (night of event)

Masterpiece of the Month (Art Appreciation)
Through the Masterpiece of the Month program, students are exposed to one famous piece of artwork per month and have the opportunity to learn about the piece, its creator, its genre, etc. The PTA coordinator of Masterpiece of the Month schedules parent volunteers to “teach” the Masterpiece of the Month lessons and provides them with the necessary materials.

Target Number of Volunteers: 10-20
Estimated Time Commitment: Variable/Minimal (no more than once per month)
Required Availability: Weekdays During the School Day

Playground and Physical Education Equipment
One or more PTA volunteers check in with recess supervisors and others about what they think the students need to keep them engaged during recess time. Based on these responses, volunteers order equipment, restock items at the school, and prepare it for use (e.g., blowing up balls as needed).

Target Number of Volunteers: 1-5
Estimated Time Commitment: 5 hours per year
Required Availability: Flexible

Reflections
Reflections is an inspirational art competition sponsored by the National PTA and supported by Whittier’s PTA. Volunteers on this committee judge the art pieces submitted by students to determine which pieces will move on to the next stage of the competition. Reflections volunteers may also be asked to help with collection and redistribution of the art pieces.

Target Number of Volunteers: 1-5
Estimated Time Commitment: 1-3 hours per year
Required Availability: Flexible

Summer Curriculum and Support
This committee assembles summer math program folders for Whittier students and delivers them to Whittier for teachers to pass out prior to the end of the school year. Members of this committee may also be requested to volunteer a couple times over the summer on the summer math program check-in dates and to distribute prizes to students who completed the summer math assignments.

Target Number of Volunteers: 1-5
Estimated Time Commitment: Minimal
Required Availability: Weekday Mornings (during the summer only)

Variety Show
The Variety Show committee is responsible for the production of the annual Whittier School Variety Show at the Tivoli Theatre. The show typically consists of over 200 students in more than 30 acts. Committee members coordinate school rehearsals and direct all aspects of the technical run, dress rehearsal, and school and final performances.

Target Number of Volunteers: 1-5
Estimated Time Commitment: 2-4 hours per week from September through the show in November
Required Availability: Weekdays After School, 1 Weekday During the School Day, and 1 Weekend Morning

Walking Club
The Walking Club promotes fitness for Whittier’s students. Each student participant can earn one Walking Club “dollar” per lap completed during their recess time on Walking Club dates (Walking Club runs in the fall and spring only). Students can then spend their earned “dollars” in the Walking Club “store” when it is made available to them. Committee member duties may include printing/preparing the Walking Club dollars, buying the prizes for the Walking Club store, keeping inventory of the prizes, and scheduling parent volunteers to help track students’ laps, distribute dollars, encourage the kids to walk, and distribute prizes.

Target Number of Volunteers: 1-5
Estimated Time Commitment: 1 hour per week (when Walking Club is in season)
Required Availability: From 11:25 a.m. – 12:25 p.m. on Wednesdays (fall and spring only)

Whittier Robotics and Engineering Club for Kids (W.R.E.C.K.)
W.R.E.C.K. allows students in 3rd and 4th grade to participate free-of-charge in a weekly, hands-on program to experiment with various robotics and engineering concepts. PTA volunteers help manage supplies and plan for and lead each session.

Target Number of Volunteers: 1-5
Estimated Time Commitment: 1-2 hours per week (when W.R.E.C.K. is in session)
Required Availability: Weekday Evenings

Community Building

Communications
Volunteers work to ensure accurate and timely PTA-related communications reach families via the weekly e-newsletter—the Whittier Weekly, keep the PTA’s website updated, and manage other communication tools such as the PTA’s Facebook page and Whittier Directory. Volunteers also train committee chairs on how to make updates on the website.

Target Number of Volunteers: 1 to 5
Estimated Time Commitment: 1 hour per week
Required Availability: Flexible

Family Fun
The Family Fun committee plans monthly events for Whittier families at local restaurants and other establishments. A percentage of the money spent at these establishments on the designated dates goes back to the PTA to use to fund one or more free family fun events (e.g., roller skating parties, pool parties, picnics, etc.). Volunteers on the Family Fun committee help determine what these monthly fundraising events and free family fun events will be, work with vendor establishments to establish details for these events, and create and distribute flyers and other communications to publicize the events to Whittier families. Volunteers also prepare for and host the free family fun events held during the year.

Target Number of Volunteers: 1-5
Estimated Time Commitment: 2-3 hours per month
Required Availability: Weekday Evenings

Field Day
Students have the opportunity to participate in a Field Day to help celebrate the end of the school year. Parent volunteers help coordinate Field Day activities, and volunteers are needed to run stations at the event.

Target Number of Volunteers: 10-20
Estimated Time Commitment: 5-10 hours per year
Required Availability: Flexible for planning / Weekday During the School Day for the actual event

Fun Lunch
Students in 1st-6th grade may participate in the bi-weekly Fun Lunch program if their families opt in. The Fun Lunch committee determines which vendors to use for each Fun Lunch, creates order forms and distributes them to Whittier families, places orders with vendor restaurants, fills in and prints up Fun Lunch tickets for participating students, and places tickets in teacher mailboxes on the day each lunch takes place. The Fun Lunch committee also is responsible for purchasing supplemental Fun Lunch products (i.e., drinks, paper goods, and snacks/desserts) and staffing each Fun Lunch with ample parent volunteers.

Target Number of Volunteers: 10-15
Estimated Time Commitment: 3-5 hours per month
Required Availability: Weekday Afternoons

Hospitality
Parent volunteers provide meals to Whittier staff members on the days of parent-teacher conferences and at the holiday luncheon. Members of the Hospitality committee also prepare and deliver small tokens of appreciation to Whittier staff members at Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day and provide refreshments at special events such as Kindergarten Roundup.

Target Number of Volunteers: 10-20
Estimated Time Commitment: 2 hours (start of the year) / 1-10 hours at conferences, holidays, etc.
Required Availability: Weekday Mornings, Afternoons, and/or Evenings

Room Parents
One or two parent volunteers per class distribute important information via email to all parents of students in that class, coordinate the collection of money used to purchase teacher birthday, holiday, and appreciation gifts, and solicit and schedule parent volunteers to help at the Halloween, holiday, and Valentine’s Day class parties.

Target Number of Volunteers: 15-25
Estimated Time Commitment: 1-10 hours throughout the school year
Required Availability: Flexible / Weekday Afternoons (on days of class parties)

Teacher Appreciation
This committee works on the week each spring dedicated to making the Whittier teachers and staff feel appreciated. This includes various recognitions from year to year but always includes a luncheon mid-week. Volunteers provide items for the luncheon and help to determine, package, and distribute other appreciation gifts during Teacher Appreciation Week.

Target Number of Volunteers: 1-5
Estimated Time Commitment: Minimal in general / 8 hours during Teacher Appreciation Week
Required Availability: Weekday Mornings and Afternoons (during Teacher Appreciation Week)

Welcome & Support
This committee is busiest toward the start of each school year and during the winter months. Welcome & Support volunteers welcome families new to Whittier by providing them with a Whittier-themed gift bag, they coordinate school supply orders and distribute them to participating families at the beginning of each school year, and they run the Whittier Winter Wear Share which provides the Whittier community with a way to trade/donate coats and other cold-weather apparel with other members of the Whittier community. Welcome & Support also runs the Whittier Mitten program which provides holiday gifts and other support to Whittier families in need.

Target Number of Volunteers: 10-15
Estimated Time Commitment: Variable
Required Availability: Variable

Whittier Wear
The Whittier Wear committee determines a selection of Whittier spirit apparel available for purchase, publicizes each year’s offerings to the Whittier community, and gathers and places orders at least twice per year. When orders come in, volunteers on this committee distribute items to those who purchased Whittier wear.

Target Number of Volunteers: 1-5
Estimated Time Commitment: Variable
Required Availability: Flexible

Fundraising

Book Fairs
Volunteers are responsible for planning the two book fairs held at Whittier each year. This includes selecting dates, coordinating promotions with the school principal and staff, scheduling and training volunteers to staff the book fairs, and coordinating with book supplier (e.g., Scholastic, Anderson’s, etc.).

Target Number of Volunteers: 10-15
Estimated Time Commitment: 1-10 hours during Book Fair weeks
Required Availability: Weekday Afternoons and Evenings (during the two Book Fair weeks)

Fall Fundraiser – Jaguar Jog
The Jaguar Jog committee plans and runs the annual 5K race and 1 mile fun run fundraising and community building event held each September. Volunteers are needed to aid in the planning, to chair and serve on various sub-communities (e.g., sponsorship, raffle, experiences, t-shirt design, race bags, etc.), and to assist with set-up, registration, timing, post-race celebrations, experience sign-ups, and clean-up amongst other activities the day of the event.

Target Number of Volunteers: 10-20
Estimated Time Commitment: Moderate / Significant (summer and early fall)
Required Availability: Variable

Playground Apparatus
This special committee is working toward replacing the existing primary playground equipment with new equipment. Members of this committee communicate with various key stakeholders within the school and community to determine needs, make plans, and implement those plans for the new playground structures. The Playground Apparatus committee also is heavily involved in planning and executing fundraising efforts to support the new playground project.

Target Number of Volunteers: 10-20
Estimated Time Commitment: Variable
Required Availability: Variable

Spring Fundraiser
Members of the Spring Fundraiser committee set the time and place of the event and secure said time and place early in the school year. From there, volunteers plan and prepare logistics of the event, distribute communications regarding the event, solicit donations via email/phone/in-person contacts, and schedule experiences to be signed up for at the event. Volunteers are also needed to set up for, run, and clean up after the actual event.

Target Number of Volunteers: 10-15
Estimated Time Commitment: Moderate / Significant (winter and early spring)
Required Availability: Variable

Liaisons and Coordinators

Artsonia Coordinator
Artsonia is a website which allows for each student to have an online gallery of his/her artwork, preserved for all time. Families may view uploaded art projects and order various products with their students’ artwork on them through the Artsonia website. The Artsonia Coordinator works with Whittier’s art teacher to attain student artwork to publish to the website and sends home communications about registering for the Artsonia website to Whittier families.

Target Number of Volunteers: 1-5
Estimated Time Commitment: Variable
Required Availability: Flexible

Auditors
Members of the audit committee review the PTA’s annual financial reports and complete an audit report at the end of each fiscal year.

Target Number of Volunteers: 1-5
Estimated Time Commitment: Minimal
Required Availability: Flexible (over the summer)

Public Relations Liaison
The PR Liaison provides information about key upcoming Whittier PTA events—as well as photos and stories from recent Whittier PTA events—to the District 58 Communications Director for publishing in District 58 newsletters. As appropriate, the PR Liaison may also submit PTA-related photos and information to other local Downers Grove publications as well.

Target Number of Volunteers: 1-5
Estimated Time Commitment: Minimal
Required Availability: Flexible

Room Parent Coordinator
A PTA volunteer identifies individuals interested in serving as room parents at the start of the school year, assigns one room parent or co-room parents to each class, and provides them with information to distribute to the parents of students in their assigned class as necessary throughout the school year. This includes information about class parties, collecting for teacher gifts, etc.

Target Number of Volunteers: 1-5
Estimated Time Commitment: Minimal for most of the year / Moderate at the beginning of the year
Required Availability: Flexible

School Board Liaison(s)
Volunteers attend the monthly District 58 Board of Education meetings then share pertinent information with Whittier families at PTA meetings and/or via the Whittier Weekly e-newsletter.

Target Number of Volunteers: 1-5
Estimated Time Commitment: 1-2 hours per month
Required Availability: Weekday Evenings (typically the second Monday night of each month)

Tax Preparation
A qualified volunteer is needed to prepare the Whittier PTA’s annual tax documentation.

Target Number of Volunteers: 1-5
Estimated Time Commitment: Minimal
Required Availability: Flexible