At Pike, I have the distinct pleasure of working in an office that looks out into the front lobby. There are many advantages I enjoy from my desk chair. First, I always know, even before the head of school, when we are going to have a fire drill. The conspicuous red truck and its determined drivers have to pull up to the front door before pulling the alarm, and Mrs. Holden and I are always the first to see them. In addition, I can gauge the weather (typically cold and windy, if you ask me) because the front lobby is encased in windows. Some people head outside and are surprised to find it’s raining. However, I am always in the know and dressed for New England’s capricious weather patterns!
However, the greatest perk to my office’s location is this: I am able to witness the countless parent volunteers who visit Pike every day. Quite frankly, I am amazed at the number of current parents/guardians who enter the lobby each day, sign in, grab their name tags, and head into the school to share their time, talent, and resources with the Pike community. The opportunities to engage are endless: parent volunteers hang student artwork, shelve library books, serve on committees, tour prospective families, read to students, chaperone field trips, tend our organic garden in the summer, serve snacks at dances, design and oversee activities at school-wide events, share pieces of their culture and ancestry with their child’s classmates, coach athletic teams, and the list continues.
Naturally, the Pike community greatly benefits from partnering with parent volunteers to create the best learning experience for our students. However, Pike parents benefit as well. When parents volunteer on campus, they have the unique opportunity to experience the school through their child’s eyes, and when that happens, they leave even more excited about Pike than when they first applied!
Recently, after a parent volunteer led a prospective family on a campus tour, the visitors told me how astounded they were by how many people greeted the Pike parent by her first name. “At my child’s current school, people don’t know me. I’m just ‘Adam’s mom.’” Building relationships is yet another benefit of volunteering at Pike; it provides myriad opportunities for our parents to get to know faculty, staff and students personally.
I must admit, from my large office window I can also see the numerous parents who accidentally forget to return their nametags after volunteering on campus. However, when I notice them walking to their cars with their nametags still dangling from their shirts, I just smile and think to myself, “That’s okay. They’re Pike parents. They’ll be back!”