Parents’ Association Handbook
In 1954, the St. Albans Mothers’ Club was founded at the request of the Headmaster, Canon Charles Martin. At different times throughout the School’s history, Fathers’ Clubs were formed to arrange father-son outings. The St. Albans Parents’ Club was created in 1991 through the merger of the Fathers’ and Mothers’ Clubs. In 2008, the association voted to change its name to the Parents’ Association. (A Fathers’ Committee of the Parents’ Association continues to exist, planning many parent-child outings throughout the year.)
The association is a vital and dynamic volunteer group that in accordance with its bylaws actively supports the School through the following activities:
- Offering volunteer opportunities that draw the School community together;
- Supporting faculty and enhancing existing School programs with volunteers, speakers, and resources;
- Facilitating communication between the School and parents;
- Reaching out to alumni, to the other Cathedral schools, and to schools and the community beyond the Cathedral Close; and
- Raising funds through the annual Christmas House Tour and other specific projects.
All St. Albans parents are automatically members of the Parents’ Association and are encouraged to participate in the many volunteer opportunities available.
Organization of the Parents’ Association
The Board of the Parents’ Association, which is responsible for implementing the Association’s goals, consists of the elected Association officers, the Headmaster or his designee, various Committee Chairs, one Form Chair from each grade, the Parent Annual Giving Co-Chairs, the Parents’ Association Outreach Chair, a liaison to the National Cathedral School, and a representative to the Parents Council of Washington. The Parents’ Association President sits ex officio as a member of the St. Albans Governing Board for the term of his or her office.
Bylaws of the St Albans School Parents’ Association. Amended and Approved by Vote of the Members: May 2008 Annual Meeting.
Elections. The Parents’ Association elects its own officers each year through an open process overseen by a nominating committee that follows the procedures established in its bylaws. Committee and Form Chairs recruit their successors. Once the new Committee and Form Chairs have been determined, they recruit parents to staff the activities pursued by the Association and Forms.
Dues. Parents pay voluntary annual membership dues of $50 per year per family to support the Association and its programs. These dues are billed once per school year on the student account. In addition, each Form annually establishes and gathers dues specifically to support form activities. Parents’ Association dues finance the publishing of the News Hound, support Homecoming, the Altar Guild, guest speakers, and Association mailings.
Meetings. The Parents’ Association Board meets monthly to address issues of concern to parents and review ongoing Association activities. These meetings are open to all parents; the dates of the meetings are listed on the School’s calendar, posted on the web site at www.stalbansschool.org. There are occasional Association presentations throughout the year on topics of general interest to parents, as well as an annual business meeting for all parents. At each grade level, Form Chairs organize volunteers to plan Form activities and serve as Form Representatives to the Parents’ Association committees (e.g., Fathers’ Committee, Flower Mart, House Tour, Peer Group/Special Projects, etc.). Form meetings are held in the fall and occasionally at other times of the year.
Explanation of Class Dues
- Are voluntary
- Are not the same as Parents Association dues
- Are not included in tuition
- Are the only source of funds for parent-sponsored activities for the Form
- Pay for some costs of student class parties (refreshments, pizza, etc.)
- Pay for refreshments provided by the Hospitality Committee
- Cover administrative costs such as paper, postage, copying, etc.
- Pay for Form Christmas House Tour advertisement (each Form purchases space in the House Tour guide book-typically runs $400-$500)
- Help provide financial assistance as necessary for class events held outside STA
The Forms Dues Policies, Class Account information, and Dues Collections procedures appear in Appendix H of the Parent Handbook.
Updated February 2012.
Facilities Use Policy
Policy Related to Use of St. Albans Facilities for Parent Events Sponsored by
the Parents’ Association
St. Albans School is first and foremost a community, dedicated to the education of boys. The School’s web site aptly describes St. Albans as “an intimate community that thrives on close relationships between faculty and students.” This community of students and faculty is strengthened by another community—the one between the School and its families. And as that bond grows stronger, St. Albans grows stronger—for the best education comes from the shared collaboration of home and school.
To reinforce that spirit of community, the St. Albans Parents’ Association was formed more than fifty years ago. It continues to work to support the School by raising funds, providing volunteers, and fostering dialogue between home and school. Parent involvement and communication bring our community together and strengthens our shared goals. To that end, the School and the Parents Association are committed to encouraging parent gatherings, which build an even stronger St. Albans community. The School can support and facilitate parent gatherings by making the School facilities available for parent socials and other gatherings sponsored directly by the Parents’ Association or by the Form Chairs, under the auspices of the Parents’ Association.
The School and the Parents Association have developed a set of guidelines for use of St. Albans facilities by the Parents’ Association or PA Forms. These guidelines are intended to balance the desire to facilitate parent gatherings on campus with a recognition of competing considerations, including the value of the School’s facilities, the heavy demands upon the School’s facilities, and the need to insure that use of alcohol on campus is limited to appropriate, safe and healthy consumption by adults.
Guidelines for Use of St. Albans Facilities
Form Events. As a general matter, each Form may hold one event designed for the parents each year at a location on the grounds of the School without charge to the Form unless an extraordinary set-up is required. This Event is in addition to the Back to School Form Picnic.
Request for Facilities Use. The Form Chairs should submit a request for use of the facility no later than October 1st of the school year. The request should be submitted to the Head of Facilities and Rentals, with a copy of the request sent at the same time to the President of the Parents’ Association.
Location of Event. The following locations are, as a general matter, available for use for Form Events: the Bradley Commons, the Trophy Room, the Faculty Convocation Center, and the Rooftop.
Approval of Request. The School will work with the Form Chairs to approve requests for specific facilities, dates and times; but reserves the right to make facilities available for Form events on a case by case basis.
Alcohol. The School recognizes and allows for the appropriate and safe consumption of alcohol by adults at Events on School premises. If alcohol is to be served at the Event, then the Event is subject to the following restrictions:
- Only parents may attend the event;
- The event may not be held at a time or in a place where students are likely to be present;
- The event may not be held in conjunction with any student activity going on elsewhere at the School;
- Parent sponsors agree to utilize Sodexho to purchase and serve alcohol; and
- Parent sponsors will work with the Head of Facilities and Rental to provide adequate oversight for the event.
This policy and guidelines may be reviewed with the Head of Facilities and Rental periodically to determine if it is working in a manner consistent with its purpose and intent. Adjustments agreed to, and signed off by the Head of Facilities and Rental and the Parents’ Association may be made to implement recommendations that come from the review.
Approved May 2, 2011
Form Activities Fees Procedures
It is the goal of St. Albans’ Financial Aid program that a family’s finances should not prevent a student from attending the School. In a similar fashion, the Parents’ Association endeavors to ensure that all students may participate in Form-based activities, including those activities involving a student activity fee.
For Form-based activities requiring a student fee of $10 or more, the Parents’ Association requests that the Form Activities Chairs utilize the following procedures:
- Form leadership should collect an RSVP list for the activity and not collect any participation fees directly from students or families. The solicitation to participate should include language stating that the student fee for the activity will be billed to the student account.
The final participant list should be provided to the Business Office to the attention of Mr. Richard Meehan.
- Form leadership may submit a request for an advance check from the Business Office for the estimated total activity fee. Alternatively, Form leadership may request reimbursement once the activity has been completed.
- The Business Office will bill student accounts for the Form activity fee. Billing will be in equal proportion to the obligation of the student’s family related to school tuition. The unbilled amount (financial aid) will be reimbursed from the general funds of the Parents’ Association and credited to the Form account.
Questions related to these procedures should be directed to the Parents’ Association Treasurer.
Form Dues and Class Account Policies
The following policies apply to the maintenance of the class accounts and the collection and use of Form dues.
Voluntary. Form dues are voluntary. They are not the same as Parents’ Association dues and are not included in tuition. They are collected by Form leadership on an annual basis to cover Form activities. Parents are encouraged but not required to pay Form dues.
Amount. Form dues may be collected on an annual basis as determined by Form leadership. As a general rule, it is recommended that Form dues are set based on the “Recommended Form Dues Schedule” (Attachment 1). Form leadership may establish the Form dues at a lower level in any given year based on the balance of funds in the class account and anticipated Form expenses for a year. Form leadership may establish Form dues at a higher level if needed to cover anticipated Form expenses for the year and upon consultation with the Parents’ Association leadership.
Carryover. Form dues recommended in Attachment 1 are designed to be uniform for three clusters of Forms (Forms A, B & C; Forms I & II, and Forms III–VI), recognizing that Form expenses may vary from year to year. Form dues that are not fully expended in a school year may be carried over to the next school year. Class Treasurers should attempt to roll forward a modest balance at the conclusion of each year to cover expense that may occur early in the year. However, generally speaking, the accumulation of dues or the “stockpiling” of funds in class accounts from year to year is discouraged.
Permitted Expenditures. Form dues are to be used for parent-sponsored activities for the Form. For example, Form dues may be used for:
- Parent-sponsored activities or parties for the students;
- Refreshments provided by the hospitality committee for Form parent meetings;
- Administrative costs (e.g., paper, postage, copying, etc.);
- Form Christmas House Tour advertisement (each Form purchases space, approximately $400 to $500, in the House Tour guide book for a Form class picture); and
- Reasonable contribution to offset the cost of an annual parent social.
- Form leadership may consult with Parents’ Association leadership regarding desired expenditures beyond those expressly permitted.
Prom Policy. Generally, Form dues are not collected to cover expenses for the junior/senior prom. Funds for the prom are generally raised through separate fundraising efforts by the junior class and through prom ticket sales. Form leadership may consult with the Parents’ Association leadership if they desire to use Form funds to cover a prom-related expense.
Senior Parent Gift: The “Senior Parent Gift” has been discontinued as a practice at St. Albans.
Accounting. A separate fund on the books of St. Albans School will be established for each Form and will be maintained under the direction of the Controller or Director of Finance and Business Operations on behalf of each class. Each class account will be identified by the date of graduation. The following accounting procedures will apply:
- Parents should make all Form dues checks out to St. Albans and identify the Form on the memo line.
- The Form Treasurer will forward all Form dues checks to the Business Office for deposit in the Form’s account.
- Requests for reimbursement should be sent directly to the Controller with a copy to the Form Treasurer. The specific Form, the purpose of the expenditure, a receipt (if possible), and the person to whom the check should be made payable should be included with each request for reimbursement.
- Funds will not be disbursed from a Form account without approval from the Form Treasurer.
- The Controller will provide a Form Statement each month to the Form Treasurer showing the account balance.
- Account balances will be carried over from year to year, except for Form VI (see “Final Balance”).
Final Balance. In the event that there is a final balance in the class account by the end of senior year, the students shall, with the assistance of Form leadership, identify a charity to receive the balance of the class account.
Attachment 1—Recommended Form Dues Schedule
Forms C, B & A: $50
Forms I & II: $65
Forms III–VI: $75
Parents in Partnership
From time to time, the School and the Parents’ Association collaborate to develop policies for our community. These policies, below, serve to strengthen the intellectual, moral, and spiritual education of our boys.
Guidelines for Gifts
Because our community is extraordinarily generous, some confusion and duplication have understandably resulted from parents’ well-intentioned efforts to express appreciation and support for the terrific people who work so hard to keep St. Albans the outstanding institution that it is. So, in an effort to provide some clarity, we have collaborated to establish guidelines for gifts or gestures of appreciation to St. Albans faculty and staff.
It is important to note that the annual Christmas House Tour is the Parents’ Association’s primary vehicle for raising funds to support the STA faculty and staff. Through it, funds are generated for the Faculty and Staff grant program, annual bonuses, and mortgage assistance. (Separately, of course, St. Albans continues to rely on voluntary gifts to the Annual Giving campaign from all families and alumni—and we hope that Annual Giving will continue to “come first.”)
Guidelines for Gifts or Gestures of Appreciation to STA Faculty and Staff
- Gifts from students and families to teachers are not expected. If a family wishes to make a gift, it should be modest and should not be valued at more than $25. The Lower School requests donations to the toy drive during the holidays, in lieu of gifts, to the faculty and staff. Other gifts or gestures may include personal notes, home-made gifts, or other items such as food, plants and flowers, or making your Annual Giving in honor of a faculty member or group of faculty members.
- The Parents’ Association sponsors an appreciation luncheon on a teacher work day in early June, so that students and families can recognize all faculty and staff. Parents have the opportunity to donate lunch items and staff the event. The Parents’ Association will provide gift bags for each member of the faculty and staff on behalf of the students and families of St. Albans School. Individual Forms, then, will not raise additional funds for gifts or organize separate year-end events.
- Parting "class gifts" from Forms have been phased out. The Parents’ Association Faculty and Staff Grant program will continue to provide funding for equipment, materials, and learning opportunities that contribute to the overall educational goals of the School, but that do not otherwise fall within the School’s normal budget.
- Donations of tickets to events should be made through the Development Office, which then advertises the event to faculty and staff, and holds a raffle among those interested.
Of course, students and parents can let teachers and staff members know that they are appreciated daily, through their actions and words.
Guidelines for Parent Volunteers and Team Sports
The parent body has always been a key supporter of the School’s athletic programs and individual team sports. In an effort to ensure continuing parental support and equity among various team sports, and to encourage School spirit, the Athletic Department and the Parents’ Association have adopted the following guidelines:
Parent Dues. Parent dues for individual sports should not be charged.
Team Dinners. All team members should be encouraged to attend any team dinners during the course of a season, and no boy should be expected to pay. We suggest $5 to $10 per player as a guideline for expenses for these dinners.
End-of-Season Team/Family Dinners. Individual teams may wish to have end-of-season gatherings, which are attended by coaches, team members, and their families. These events are separate from the comprehensive end-of-the-year Sports Banquet planned by the Athletic Department and the Parents’ Association. Dinners should be held in the Refectory, the Trophy Room, or someone’s home. No money should be collected to finance these events.
Program Giving Opportunities/Parents’ Association Grants. All private fundraising efforts through the School should be approved and coordinated with the Development Office. The Athletic Department will fund all essential items in an athletic program, but the Parents’ Association has requested that the Development Office work closely with the Athletic Office--and with all of the School’s departments--to create a “wish list” of items whose purchase would exceed the limits of any given school year budget. Parents wishing to support any particular program in the School will have ready access to these wish lists, and the Parents’ Association will continue to encourage all faculty members, including coaches, to apply for capital or programmatic enrichment gains through the Parents’ Association enrichment program.
Guidelines for Student Social Life
The St. Albans Parents’ Association has endorsed several policies regarding student social life:
St. Albans Parents’ Association Statement of Shared Principles for Social Interaction
In 2002, the Parents’ Association adopted the following statement:
“We support and encourage appropriate social activities for our children and their friends and/or guests. At social events for which we have responsibility, whether in our homes or elsewhere, we therefore endeavor to ensure that parent supervision will always be present and vigilant; and not to allow alcohol or illegal substances to be possessed or consumed by minors.
“We encourage and strongly support communication among parents to ensure that events and activities for our children outside our homes or under the responsibility of other individuals meet these same standards. We welcome a call from any parent whose son or daughter is invited to an event that our sons and daughters host; likewise, we also feel comfortable calling any parent whose son or daughter is hosting an event our son attends. We also encourage communication among parents about concerns that arise relating to alcohol, illegal substances, or other potentially dangerous behavior by our children. We believe that if we stand united in support of these shared principles, together we will build a cohesive St. Albans community, strengthen shared values, and provide our children a safer environment.”
Parents Council of Washington Guidelines for Dances and Chaperones
In response to several local school Heads’ concerns about lewd dancing and scantily clad teens at school-sponsored dances, the Parents Council of Washington sponsored a Dance Symposium on December 6, 2000. The Heads of the member schools expressed a desire to draft guidelines to govern high school and middle school dances. During the December symposium, representatives of twenty-eight independent schools exchanged ideas and developed a set of recommendations to govern dances. Set forth below are those guidelines as amended and approved by the St. Albans Parents’ Association Executive Committee on May 7, 2002:
Admission Cutoff Time. No admission to the dance after a set time. Suggestion: 45 minutes after the start of the dance.
Coat Check. Students must check coats, bags, etc.
Size of the Dance. Pre-sale of tickets for dance; invite specific schools (as opposed to open dances): use contracts with guest names; use school ID’s if possible; have dances for specific age groups, e.g., freshman dance.
No re-entry. Once students leave the dance, they may not re-enter. Students will not be permitted to hang around the parking lot and school grounds. Parents should check that the dance is not closed before they drop their children off. Hire police for security (particularly outside with police cruiser visible) and use the school’s maintenance staff.
Dress Code. Establish an “appropriate dress code” discussed by each school within the community. Continue the discussion of dress in classes and with counselors. Expect parents to do their part by knowing what their child is buying and wearing. Students will not be allowed to change clothes once in the dance. Have a supply of tee shirts available for those who do not comply
Dance Code. Do not allow sexually explicit dancing; discuss this topic with students; find opportunities within your school and counseling department to continue these discussions; involve parents in discussions.
Chaperones. Have a sufficient number of chaperones. Pay faculty to establish a core group of chaperones; use parents in coatrooms and faculty on the dance floor. School chaperones should be a presence on the dance floor.
Disc Jockeys. Work directly with the disc jockey; do not allow students to supply their own music to disc jockey. Share names of disc jockeys who have worked well with your schools.
Policy on Outside Fundraising
St. Albans School Policy on Fundraising Activities
St. Albans School recognizes and depends on the generosity of its parents, alumni, parents of alumni and friends to provide critical funds for the operating budget and School facilities, and for new endowment to enhance a variety of school programs.
We believe that it is in the best interest of the school and its donors to ensure that philanthropy is directed to the priority needs as determined and directed by the Governing Board. Annual Giving is the primary fundraising priority of the School, and it is our hope that every member of the STA community will support Annual Giving. In addition, St. Albans will always have “capital” needs for buildings and facilities and for new endowment to support faculty and students; and we will continue to ask those who can afford capital gifts to support these Board-approved needs. Thirdly, we encourage all STA families to support the Christmas House Tour—either by volunteering and/or providing financial support.
The Board realizes that we ask a lot philanthropically from the STA family. Thus we also believe it is important to protect our various constituencies from unauthorized or unregulated solicitations by individuals and groups, whether they be students, alumni, parents or friends of St. Albans School. Therefore, the Governing Board, based on the recommendation of its Development Committee, approves the following guidelines:
- Under no circumstance may faculty or coaches directly pursue outside sources for support of School- related activities. However, faculty—with the approval of their Division Head—may seek foundation or government agency funding for professional development.
- Families who wish to make special gifts should be directed to the Associate Headmaster for Development (AHD) (please brief the AHD in advance of any impending calls).
- Drives (whether for STA or for other non-profit organizations) expected to raise no more than $1,000 must be approved by the appropriate Division Head, in consultation with the AHD and in coordination with the other Division Head. Examples include bake sales, car washes, concessions, or special appeals.
- Drives with a goal above $1,000 must be proposed in writing and approved by the Associate Headmaster and the Headmaster, in consultation with the Development Committee Chair. Examples are letters requesting assistance with community service projects that include the collection of donations, drives to raise money for performing arts, athletic team or international language trips, yearbook ads, sports equipment, and special projects advocated by a parent or alumni group.
The proposal submitted to the AHD should state the need and purpose of the funds, the amount to be raised, the timing of the solicitation, the audience to be solicited, and the manner in which the solicitations will be made (telephone, e-mailing, mailing, backpack form, door-door, etc).
- All potential corporate sponsors for events (for amounts exceeding $1,000) must have prior approval from the Associate Headmaster. Two weeks’ notice should be given for this review process.
- The Board also respectfully asks that all requests for funds cease between June 1 and August 15.
Approved January 2012
Statement on Off-Campus Student Events
At St. Albans, parents work in partnership with the School to support the educational experience of their sons. The Parents’ Association hopes and expects that parents will work together and with the School to ensure that adult supervision, resources, and support are present and available at all social events in which their sons participate and, of course, that all laws and regulations governing illegal substances are observed to the letter. The School assumes that parents will not serve alcohol to minors in their homes nor allow a situation to occur in which students can congregate at a home to use alcohol, inhalants, or illegal drugs. While the School claims to have no control over unchaperoned, off-campus parties, it will continue to discourage such functions and should it hear of any, the School will bring them to the attention of the parents involved. Such events will also result in the School’s reviewing the status of the host student and may result in the student’s appearance before the Discipline Committee.