Westside Community Council  |  Purpose

The Westside Community Council is an organization of Westside families committed to helping facilitate a learning environment that fosters imagination, rigor, and service and to developing meaningful engagement among staff, families, and the local community.

Mission and Vision Mission and Vision

The Westside Community Council provides an opportunity for Westside families to work together toward a common purpose and shared vision. It is our goal to be minimalist in what we undertake as a Council so that we accomplish that which is our priority as well as possible. With the help of our Principal, the teachers and the Board, we have focused our attention on opportunities for parents to enhance the learning environment for our children and build community among our families.

The following is a description of volunteer opportunities that we hope you will consider. Each of the leadership roles on the Westside Community Council will be co-chaired because we believe that we all work better in teams. The co-chair positions allow for one person with previous experience in the role and one person new to the position.

If you have a particular area of interest or expertise but cannot afford the time commitment, please come to us and we will help find a way for you to contribute. We hope to engage as many Westside families as possible because service in our school community provides a unique opportunity to get to know other families better and create a more positive learning environment.

There are many opportunities to get involved at Westside, especially in the classroom; in addition to the list below, each teacher communicates specific classroom needs to parents. If you don't see something here that suits you, please know that multiple chances to help will be available throughout the year.

Community Council Chairs  |  Heidi Hutchinson (hutchinson.heidi@gmail.com) + Michelle Kraynak (mrkraynak@gmail.com)

Community Council Vice-Chair  |  Kristin Kiley

Treasury Chairs  |  LaVonn Wilson + Lori Broderick

Room Parent Chair  |  Jenna Teachey

Community Connection Chair  |  Melanie Wasilewski

Caring Committee Chair  |  Jennifer Hunter

Family Engagement Chairs  |  Christie Pettit + Shante Williams

Health + Wellness Chair  |  Lisa Hand

Go Green + Service Chair  |  Jessa Boutte

Historian + Photography Chairs  |  Katie + Chris Torres

Uniform Closet Chairs  |  Elizabeth Lesley + Corrie Crews

Carpool Chair  |  Ruta Steinweinder

Communication Chair  |  Kate Kane

Directory Chair  |  Hannah West

Teacher Appreciation Chairs  |  Wesley Briscione + Melissa DeBardeleben + Jan Cruz

EVENT CHAIRS:

Back-to-School Chairs  |  Corrie Crews + Melanie Wasilewski

Grade Level Parent Party Chair  |  Jane Gilbert

Fun Run Chairs  |  Dee Hackney + Jenifer Mills

Spirit Night Chairs  |  Tara Peterson + Will Hill

Parent Night Chair  |  Sundarkia Hill

Book Fair Chair  |  Meredith Simmons

Prospective Parent Informational Meeting/Open House Chair  |  Ashely Flood

ROOM PARENTS:

K - Flynn  |  Becky McGilvray + Kristin Kiley

K - Gilliam  |  Jenny Borders

1 - Lewis  |  Susan Fishman

1 - Rabsatt  |  Jenifer Markley

2 - Browning  |  Lori Broderick

2 - Franklin  |  Jenny Peek

3 - Moorelock  |  Tia Stith

3 - Spence  |  Lynn Krawczynski

4 - Muldoon  |  Elizabeth Lesley

4 - Ung  |  Jan Cruz

  

We will be using SignUp Genius to manage volunteer signups this year. Please go to the website and register at SignUpGenius.  

Community Council Chairs

 Heidi Hutchinson and Michelle Kraynak  |  The Community Council Chairs own the overall responsibility of creating a welcoming, rich learning community at Westside Atlanta Charter School. Our primary focus is family and community engagement initiatives and ensuring that partnerships between the school administration, the diverse Westside families, and the larger Westside community contribute to the school’s success. The Community Council Chairs assist and facilitate communication between Westside families, the Principal, teachers, Board Members and the Community Council. These are individuals who have a solid understanding of the vision of the school, delegate well, and communicate promptly and effectively. The Community Council Co-Chairs are points of contact for each of the other committee chairs.

Room Parent Chair

The Room Parent Chair, Jenna Teachey, serves as a resource to Room Parents and also a point of contact and support for the Principal and the Community Council. They facilitate communication between school leadership, Community Council and the Room Parents.

  • Communicate with the Principal, Community Council Chairs and teachers regarding Room Parent responsibilities and expectations
  • Host a meeting with all Room Parents at the beginning of school to outline Room Parent responsibilities
  • Check in with Room Parents and teachers throughout the year regarding the fulfillment of their responsibilities
  • Send monthly updates to all Room Parents with upcoming events to be communicated to students' parents/guardians
  • Assist Room Parents as needed with events throughout the year
  • Begin to recruit Room Parents at the end of the year for the following year
  • Coordinate and oversee Teacher Appreciation week in May
  • Play an active role on the Community Council by attending quarterly meetings and volunteering for events as needs arise and time allows

Room Parents

Perhaps one of the most important roles to be played by the Westside Community Council is that of Room Parent. Being a Room Parent is a wonderful way to connect with your child's class and teacher. The role requires a person who is able to make phone calls, text, and email parents as needed. Room Parents should enjoy meeting new people and be comfortable making connections with other parents and students in the class. Additionally, Room Parents can anticipate volunteering at the school or in the classroom one or two times per month.

Room Parents serve the Westside community by supporting teachers in the following ways:

  • Communicate with your teacher about their specific needs/desires for the year. Do not make assumptions about their preferences, but really get to know them and what they want. Honor that each teacher will create a unique classroom setting.
  • Coordinate classroom volunteers such as mystery readers, special project assistants, class parties, school pictures, and other classroom administrative needs
  • Organize one grade level party in the fall near the beginning of the school year so that parents, students, and teachers can build community
  • Communicate with parents in your class about your teacher's needs, special requests, changes in schedule
  • Play an active role on the Community Council by attending quarterly meetings and volunteering for events as needs arise and time allows

Treasury Chairs

The Treasury Chairs, LaVonn Wilson and Lori Broderick, are responsible for overseeing the financial aspects of the Community Council. This includes a Community Council fund and managing the account of the Community Council. It is helpful for the Treasury Chairs to have a background in accounting or a strong level of comfort working with budgets and successfully implementing one.

  • Develop a budget for the Community Council
  • Administer and track school-related campaigns (BoxTops, Amazon, Target, Publix, etc.) - How to contribute  
  • Work closely with other committees who sponsor fundraising events such as the Book Fair and Spirit Nights
  • Communicate with Westside’s Business Manager, as necessary, about financial issues/situations, etc.
  • Play an active role on the Community Council by attending quarterly meetings and volunteering for events as needs arise and time allows

Community Connection Chair

The Community Connection Chair, Melanie Wasilewski, helps develop meaningful relationships with business owners on the Westside. These relationships will lead to field trip opportunities, school speakers/special guests, and service opportunities in the local community for our students. The Community Connection Chair works with the teachers and Room Parents to coordinate field trips (community contacts, funding, and parent volunteers) in the local community.  

  • Develop a contact database of community businesses
  • Set goals for the school year with principal and teachers
  • Develop relationships with community business owners
  • Brainstorm ways Westside can build relationships with local business owners
  • Recruit and coordinate school speakers/special guests by local business owners
  • Become aware of the local business owners and personal connections to business owners among our school families
  • Play an active role on the Community Council by attending quarterly meetings and volunteering for events as needs arise and time allows

School Events Chairs

This year each school event has one or two chairs. Specific events chairs are listed above. Their responsibilities include the following.

  • Develop a strategy for successful planning and coordinating of upcoming events
  • Work to gain support and buy-in for plan of action
  • Promote upcoming school events
  • Play an active role on the Community Council by attending quarterly meetings and volunteering for events as needs arise and time allow

Historian Chairs

The Historian Chairs, Katie and Chris Torres, are responsible for coordinating photography and videography of important school events. These individuals should be skilled in camera work and also organized and savvy with online distribution of photos.

  • Take pictures at important school events (or arrange for pictures to be taken by a volunteer)
  • Maintain a system of storing and distributing pictures of school events
  • Develop a slideshow for the year that can be used for marketing events
  • Video important school events, edit video and make available to be posted on the website
  • Play an active role on the Community Council by attending quarterly meetings and volunteering for events as needs arise and time allows

Uniform Closet Chairs

The Uniform Closet Chairs, Elizabeth Lesley and Corrie Crews, maintain the Westside uniform closet where gently used uniforms can be donated to help provide discounted uniforms. In addition, these individuals manage the sale of Westside t-shirts.

  • Develop a campaign strategy for uniform collection drives
  • Communicate with teachers at the beginning of the year to assess the need for uniforms
  • Develop a system for washing, organizing, and cataloging inventory in the uniform closet
  • Advertise Westside t-shirts and have shirts available for sale at Westside events
  • Play an active role on the Community Council by attending quarterly meetings and volunteering for events as needs arise and time allows

Carpool Chair

The Carpool Chair, Ruta Steinweinder, assists the staff as needed in coordinating parent assistance with morning and afternoon carpool line.  

  • Communicate safety policies and procedures with parent volunteers
  • Serve at a table about carpool at Open House/Back to School with sign-up sheet for volunteers
  • Set up online sign-up/reminder system for volunteers and advertise the system
  • Recruit new volunteers quarterly
  • Serve as a contact person for families that are interested in finding neighbors with whom to carpool 
  • Communicate with the principal and the teachers quarterly to assess the effectiveness of volunteers and improve policy
  • Goals: 2 volunteers per day for the first week of school, 1 volunteer per day, as often as possible, throughout the year
  • Play an active role on the Community Council by attending quarterly meetings and volunteering for events as needs arise and time allows

Time Commitment for Carpool Volunteers: 45 min per month, 7:15-8:00am (commit to assisting with morning carpool 1 day per month) or 2:45-3:15 (commit to assisting with afternoon carpool 1 day per month)

Caring Committee Chair

The Caring Committee Chair, Jennifer Hunter, seeks to care for the Westside community and staff during family hardships, illnesses, loss of loved ones, arrivals of new babies, etc. The Caring Committee reaches out to the Room Parents at the beginning of the year to make initial connections and make resources available to parents that may be in need. That being said, we balance providing support with respecting families’ privacy, as we remain a confidential committee.

  • Coordinate the staff Holiday/End of year gifts and other gifts from the Community Council to the Staff
  • Write thank you notes from Community Council as needed – donations to the school or Community Council
  • Create Meal Calendars for families with new babies, sick parents/guardians (as needs arise)
  • Seek to expand (look to include others that may want to help out with larger events or are aware of resources for families in need)
  • Support the Westside uniform closet to help meet the needs of Westside children
  • Support Community Council initiatives that support the emotional health of our students and community
  • Play an active role on the Community Council by attending quarterly meetings and volunteering for events as needs arise and time allows

Communication Chair

The Communication Chair, Kate Kane, is the point person for communication between the Community Council, the staff and the school. They work with the Principal to provide effective communication to the Westside Community. They also communicate with the school community about the work of the Community Council.

  • Send reminder for submissions to the Westside Way
  • Assemble and distribute the Westside Way
  • Record and post meeting minutes from quarterly Community Council meetings
  • Support the principal and teachers with school communication as needed
  • Maintain Community Council portion of website and calendar
  • Play an active role on the Community Council by attending quarterly meetings and volunteering for events as needs arise and time allows

Family Engagement Chairs

The Family Development Chairs, Christie Pettit and Shante Williams, will work to strengthen our connection with parents and families at Westside. They will support events that help parents and caregivers engage with their children’s education.

  • Curriculum Nights – arrange for dinner for children and child care during the event; support the Staff with any other needs for the event
  • Westside Walks – arrange for meal for children and child care during the event; support the Staff with any other needs for the event
  • Play Dates with a Purpose – communicate with teachers about how to connect families that could support one another at Westside; promote the Play Dates with Purpose vision at Westside
  • Childcare Coordinator - Recruit and oversee a childcare coordinator for Curriculum Nights and Westside Walks

*All parents will have an opportunity to serve Westside’s various needs throughout the year. Room Parents and teachers will coordinate individual classroom volunteer opportunities.

TO VOLUNTEER WITH THE WESTSIDE COMMUNITY COUNCIL

PLEASE CONTACT us at communitycouncil@wacs.us

  • There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.

    - CS Lewis
  • If you can imagine it, you can achieve it; if you can dream it, you can become it.

    - William Arthur Ward
  • Books can be dangerous. The best ones should be labeled ‘This could change your life’.

    - Helen Exley
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Westside Atlanta Charter School

Contact Address: 1903 Drew Dr. NW Atlanta, GA 30318
School Phone: 404-228-9678

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