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Co-op FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions about the WMS Parent Cooperative ("Co-op") Program

The WMS Parent Cooperative Program (Co-op) builds on the sharing of skills, talents and participation throughout the school community to meet the needs of our children and benefit school programs as a whole.

Co-op provides a way for all of our children to benefit from the unique interests, talents and professional skills abundant in our parent population. Active involvement in Co-op is an excellent way to strengthen your partnership in your child’s education while getting to know other families and making valuable contributions integral to the functioning of the school.

What is the time requirement for Co-op?

Each WMS family is responsible for 25 Co-op hours. Hours will be pro-rated for those families who enter WMS after the beginning of the school year. Your yearly Co-op requirement begins September 1 and ends June 15. Co-op participation requested between the last day of school and September 1 may be applied to the requirement for the upcoming school year (with staff approval), but completed hours may not otherwise be carried over from year to year.

Who can fulfill our family’s Co-op requirement?

Although Co-op hours are not transferable from family to family, anyone in the family (aunt, grandparent, etc.) may assist in the completion of the time requirement.

How will I know how many hours I’ve submitted?

Your Co-op hours will be tracked as you report them, and you will receive a mid-year statement of your completed hours to date in January. At the end of the school year, the business office will issue bills for incomplete hours. You may request an update on your submitted Co-op hours by contacting co-op@wmsde.org.

What types of participation are eligible for Co-op hours?

Co-op hours may be reported for requests made through your child’s teacher, homeroom parent or as posted on the co-op board. Some examples of participation that may be reported for Co-op hours are:

  • Classroom support (your child’s homeroom parent will provide a list of classroom jobs) Note: Although we have a nightly cleaning crew, more intensive disinfecting of shelf materials is advisable, especially in toddler classrooms. Teachers may ask parents in their classroom to share the responsibility for this important chore.
  • Event support (planning committees, set-up, providing food, publicity, etc.)
  • Maintenance support (gardening, small repairs, carpentry, etc.)
  • Program support (library, sports activities, Extended Day/Before-and After-School Program assistance, etc.)
  • Administrative/Office support (Board participation, fundraising, grant-writing, graphic design, technology assistance, etc.)

When purchasing items for classroom, event or program support, the general guideline is that one Co-op hour equals $20 spent. In order to receive Co-op credit for requested purchases, a receipt must be attached to the Co-op Report form. Classroom teachers may approve purchases up to $100. Purchases of $100 or more must be pre-approved by the Business Manager.

What types of participation are not eligible for Co-op hours?

Many valuable contributions of time and talents are made because parents wish to be supportive of their child’s classroom activities and of the school in general. Some examples of participation that may not be reported for Co-op hours are:

  • Attending classroom parties or other celebrations
  • Donated furniture and technology: As much as we appreciate your consideration, donated items such as furniture and computers cannot be included as Co-op time. We would suggest that you complete a tax-deductible donation form (available at the Front Desk) for these items. Like you, we have limited storage, so please check before bringing items into school.
  • Donations for teacher gifts

How do I determine the number of hours I report for a completed co-op job?

  • Actual time spent: It is not always clear how long it will take a parent to complete a project. In those cases, parents are asked to track their time expenditure and report the number of hours actually spent on the task.
  • Time spent plus supplies purchased: If a parent spends two hours making curtains for a classroom, plus $20 in fabric or other supplies, they may claim a total of three Co-op hours.
  • Year-long commitments: It is recognized that certain Co-op jobs include extensive responsibilities and time commitments, and may be assigned an hour value. For example, a parent serving as a homeroom parent or board member may claim 30 Co-op hours.

How do I find out about Co-op needs?

  • Bloomz: The majority  of WMS Co-op opportunities (both classroom and school-wide) are posted on our Bloomz site. 
  • Co-op bulletin boards: Co-op Opportunities and sign up lists may also be posted on bulletin boards across from the Learning Commons and at the top of the Aspen Wing. 
  • Wednesday Weekly: Opportunities for Co-op participation are often communicated to parents through the Wednesday Weekly newsletter.
  • Classroom bulletin boards: Classroom teachers and homeroom parents often post Co-op requests on their hallway bulletin boards or may list needs in their class newsletters.

When may I complete on-site Co-op jobs?

Parents may complete many Co-op jobs in the school between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. on school days or on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. (Note: The school is not open on Saturdays during the summer and often is closed on holiday weekends. Please check with the Front Desk to confirm that the school will be open if you plan to work on a Saturday.) If your task requires that you access the school during other hours, please make arrangements with a staff member.

If parents bring children into the school after hours, they must follow the same rule that applies to all employees of the school regarding child supervision: Children should never be left unsupervised in any area of the school at any time.

Is it possible to fulfill my Co-op requirement from home?

Yes, many Co-op jobs, such as materials making and graphic design, may be done from your home.

How do I report completed Co-op hours?

Co-op hours may be reported online through our online form or via a Co-op Report form, which are available across from the Learning Commons or can be printed online. To receive Co-op credit for purchases, receipts must be attached to the form. Reports may also be submitted via email to co-op@wmsde.org. Receipts may be scanned and attached.

What happens if I complete my Co-op requirement before the end of the school year?

Please submit reports for all completed Co-op jobs as you finish them, even if you have already fulfilled your Co-op requirement for the year. As valuable resources, parent donations of time and purchases are tracked and help the school with funding for grants. You may also need this information for tax purposes. More importantly, your support throughout the year is vital to the functioning of the school. Many of the school’s largest events happen in the spring, and their success depends on our parents’ time and talents.

What happens if I do not complete my Co-op requirement before the end of the school year?

If you are unable to complete your family’s Co-op requirement before June 15, you will be billed for the incomplete hours, as stated on the annual Co-op Agreement. Parents who are unable to complete their Co-op hours by the end of the school year but wish to do so over the summer may contact co-op@wmsde.org to make arrangements.

Who do I contact if I have questions about Co-op?

If you have any questions or concerns about the Parent Co-op Program at WMS, please email co-op@wmsde.org or call Lori Oberly, Co-op Coordinator, at 302-475-0555. Parents are invited to make suggestions for co-op participation. Your ideas are important to us!