what is a co-opMontclair Cooperative School is a community in which all of us – students, teachers, staff and families – enter into a collaborative learning and working relationship with one another. As members of an educational cooperative we commit ourselves to contributing directly to the overall well being of the school and to our children’s classroom experience.

Our cooperative model is adaptive and inclusive. Our belief in the value of collaboration is what guides and sustains us. We rely on one another to participate responsibly to nurture our school community.

Classroom Assists and Family Jobs

The two main contributions that families make to the Co-op are through classroom assists and family jobs. Classroom assists are an opportunity to witness and participate in your child’s classroom experience. Family jobs, on the other hand, contribute to our wider success as a school.

The chart below outlines the details about the Parent Assist program:

parent-assist-chart

What are flexible assists? These are opportunities to assist teachers with specific projects and tasks, many of which are outside of regular school hours, to be able to accommodate working parents more easily. Class coordinators will post monthly flexible assist needs and time slots. If you prefer more in-class time assisting, these will also be available via flexible assists.

How long is an in-class required parent assist? In Early Childhood and Primary Grades, your assist will be either 3 or 4 hours long depending on the age of your child and the needs of the classroom. The length of Upper School assists depends on the activity involved.

Family Jobs are another great way to contribute to the overall well-being of the school and to have a role in our community. The options for family jobs are as wide and varied as our school membership. Most jobs require a handful of hours each month and are linked to a field of interest or expertise. Some examples of family jobs are providing graphic design assistance, helping with landscaping or teaching an upper school elective such as robotics or cooking. Some jobs are designed around a specific event or fundraiser and start and end all within a month or two. Our tuition rates reflect a commitment to perform in these two capacities (classroom assists and family jobs). However, it is an option to buy out of family job or classroom assists for a yearly fee if that amount of involvement does not work with your schedule.

Lastly, our community gathers three times per year in the evening for a General Membership Meeting, with one family member obligated to attend. The purpose of these meetings is to update Co-op families about important school business and to gather feedback about relevant topics. It also provides the opportunity to socialize and share a community meal. Childcare is available.

Over our 54­ year history, Montclair Cooperative School has modified the specifics of how we practice the cooperative model, continually redefining our roles and responsibilities. What has not changed are the innumerable benefits a co-op brings to your whole family. Being a part of a cooperative school models for your child the value of healthy interdependence and shows them what happens when we engage respectfully with others around a common goal. Your time in the classroom and on a family job team gives you a strong sense of your child’s school experience and the greater Co-op community.