I'm often at a loss for how to talk about ROCS. Calling it a private school doesn't feel quite right. Most days calling it a school doesn't even capture all that we are attempting to be and do. As with many other volunteer-driven non-profit organizations I've been a part of, ROCS will only be as strong as its members. We will reap what we sow - both in the education our own kids receive and in the future we carve for the school itself.
Our parent volunteer requirement ensures that everyone lends their time and talents to ROCS in some way. As such we are structured a bit like a cooperative. Some of us volunteer our time in the classroom during Tankyuu and some take home the laundry. Some collect supplies to meet our teachers' requests and build bridges and clear paths so the kids can run and play. Some write for this blog and some serve on the committees which help steer our ship forward - facilities, education, parent and community connections, fundraising, and more. If you are interested in joining or volunteering with a specific committee, check in with the board. There's room for everyone at the table.
As a small independent school striving to keep tuition costs as low as possible, we need to find other ways to bring in money for facilities development and maintenance, special programming, and professional development for our teachers and staff. At the start of my family's ROCS journey a friend told me to be prepared to be asked for money throughout the year. Without public support, every dollar we need is a dollar we have to find.
The Development Committee (chaired by Amy Cummings) is actively seeking grants and donations to meet some of these needs. We recently secured, for example, $500 through the Ohio Division of Wildlife to plant flowers and shrubs and install bird feeders to attract native birds, bees, and butterflies. Bethany looks forward to working on this installation and subsequent studies of the plants and pollinators as part of her curriculum. Stay tuned for ways you can help.
Some parents have taken it upon themselves to raise funds. Kacy Wiant and Anna Shadley both used charitable giving tools on Facebook to run flash fund-drives for ROCS. After reflecting the impact ROCS made on her and her family, Anna "launched a pop-up mini fundraiser" for ROCS. She set a goal of $150 and ended the day with $211. Kacy "donated her birthday to ROCS" and raised $450. She drafted an essay about how ROCS has helped her son which will appear in this space soon. We'll see the impact of these gifts this spring as we work on habitat restoration and and establishing more outdoor learning options for our kids (and their families).
This past weekend, Naomi Fuller-Brown, ROCS mom, tattoo artist, and owner of Thrill Vulture Tattoo held a fundraiser with all proceeds coming to ROCS. She raised nearly $4,000! While you might not be able to do anything on this scale, every little bit of time and money we give to the school helps. So, ask not (just) what ROCS can do you for your child, ask what you can do for ROCS.
Jodi Kushins, ROCS Mom and Blog Editor