Parents & Committees
Building a strong future together
From public relations to classroom assistance, Park West relies on the service and commitment of parents to help make it one of Chicago’s leading preschools.
Park West offers children and parents a cooperative experience. First and foremost, this means parents are in the classroom, taking part in the education process and experiencing with their children – including everything from playing in the gym to preparing snacks to helping teachers. This level of involvement provides you, as parents, with an inside look at our education process as a whole, as well as some insight into the development of your own child’s knowledge and capabilities throughout the year.
Parents serve on either the Board of Directors or one of seven committees and participate in fundraising efforts, including the Annual Gala and Mind the Gap. Each committee is responsible for a separate function vital to either day-to-day or long-term preschool operations. Participation in these roles gives parents a chance to see the other, non-classroom side of Park West and contribute new ideas, and helps instill a greater sense of community.
Using committees also helps keep our staff small and costs down. Typically, each committee has two co-chairs (appointed by the president each spring) and is made up exclusively of member parents.
Board of Directors
The cooperative is managed by the board of directors, which is comprised of parent volunteers serving as executive officers (including president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, administrator and personnel manager), managers (alumni relations and legal) or committee chairpersons (see below). During its monthly meetings - typically on the second Tuesday evening of the month - the board discusses and votes on topics ranging from social media strategies and annual gala plans to tuition and salaries.
Each year, the current president and school director work together to identify potential candidates for board positions based on their professional background, stated skills and interest. Once all spots have been filled, that year’s current board elects the “new” board for the upcoming school year. Upon election, the names are presented to the entire school membership for ratification.
All members of the cooperative are welcome at every board meeting. If you are interested in serving on the board, please contact either the school director or president.
Facilitating thought and discussion
The Education Committee helps both the children and parents at Park West expand their horizons. Throughout the year, they are responsible for:
- Library upkeep
- Organizing the annual book fair and pajama party
- Planning all Conversations with Jane discussions
- Scheduling the Grade School Fair
Creating a safe place to learn
Our first priority at Park West is your child’s safety. To help ensure we’re doing everything possible, the House Committee is responsible for making sure everything found and used in the school is in safe, working order. Over the course of the year, this may include:
- Repairing bikes and other gym toys
- Supplying and repairing items used by the children
- Purchasing supplies necessary for upkeep
- Taping rugs at the start of the school year
Keeping us full and diverse
The Membership Committee oversees all of the tasks related to keeping our ranks comfortably full. This includes:
- Running the annual admissions lottery
- Notifying families of their acceptance or wait-list status
- Organizing open houses
- Representing Park West at school fairs
Creating a positive image
As you might expect, the Publicity Committee helps create a good public image for and awareness of Park West Co-Op. In the past, the committee’s efforts have included:
- Organizing and soliciting speaking engagements for the director and staff
- Facilitating appearances in articles, school presentations, public events, etc.
- Supporting the efforts of other committees to ensure their events receive the necessary attention
- Managing the school’s social media presence
Special Events Committee
Helping to fund our future
The Special Events Committee oversees all of our fundraising efforts, including our two most important, the wine event and spring gala. Efforts for these events include:
- Preparing the fall general meeting presentation, which outlines the goals for the year’s special events
- Organizing and planning the fall wine event and Spring Gala
- Organizing class auction captains
- Soliciting high-ticket items, trips, and experiences to be auctioned at the Spring Gala
Keeping us efficient and innovative
The Technology Committee’s importance has grown over the years. It is responsible for helping maintain, upgrade, and develop new technological capabilities and providing technology-related advice to the staff and board. Past Technology Committees have helped:
- Configure and maintain office and classroom computers, copiers, printers, etc.
- Develop and maintain ParkWestCoop.org
- Create and maintain our student and tuition management system
- Lead the way in technology-related initiatives to keep our capabilities current
Offering opportunities for community
The social committee cultivates ideas for and organizes events that allow for school-wide interaction. This gives parents and kids alike the opportunity to meet and befriend those they may not see on a weekly basis (e.g., 2AM and 3AM families). The committee hosts and/or coordinates a number of events, including:
- Fall concert
- Spring carnival
- Plate making
- Restaurant partnerships