This school year may be wrapping, but Rowland Hall’s incoming Home & School Association presidents are already thinking about 2023–2024.
Virginia Gowski will lead the Lincoln Street Campus Home & School Association, while Aimee Nussbaum, Alexis Swaringer, and Jamie Waters will lead the McCarthey Campus Home & School Association. The four volunteers have eight children at Rowland Hall: Virginia’s sons, Freddy and Jack, are rising tenth and sixth graders, respectively, while daughter Liza is a rising eighth grader. Aimee’s son, Daniel, is a rising ninth grader and daughter, Emily, is a rising fourth grader. Alexis’ two sons, Mason and Connor, are rising second and first graders, respectively. Jamie’s daughter, Alessandra, is a rising second grader.
These four committed volunteers are dedicated to strengthening the Rowland Hall community in the coming school year and looking forward to connecting with families in the coming months. We recently asked Virginia, Aimee, Alexis, and Jamie to share a bit more about their work with Home & School and what they’re looking forward to. Responses have been lightly edited.
How did you first get involved in Home & School?
Virginia: I think I first got involved with Home & School as a room rep when my oldest son, now finishing his freshman year, started at Rowland Hall in kindergarten. His teacher was Kate Nevins, who was one of our favorites.
Aimee: I first became involved in Home & School as a classroom representative when my oldest, Daniel, was in third grade. I really enjoyed it and continued this role throughout the remainder of his time in the Lower School. I also started volunteering as a classroom representative once Emily started Rowland Hall in 4PreK. I found that it was a great way to meet other parents and interact with students in the classroom.
Alexis: I first became aware of the Home & School program through various volunteer opportunities that I participated in the last two years. Two of my favorite events were Teacher Appreciation Week and the Auction. I thoroughly enjoyed volunteering my time interacting with the children, teachers, staff, and parents, while doing my part to enhance the Rowland Hall community.
Jamie: As a new family, we wanted to get involved in the school and meet Rowland Hall families. I volunteered with Home & School as a room representative and in the library. Spending time in the classroom gave me insights into my daughter’s learning, and we love seeing each other at school.
As a Home & School president, what are your goals for the 2023–2024 school year?
I hope we can help all families feel a stronger connection to Rowland Hall and to each other.—Virginia Gowski
Virginia: My priorities as Home & School president this year are to continue Amy Damico’s great work of getting more families involved, and to build an even stronger community with current and new families. COVID took away so many opportunities for us to connect, and got us out of the habit of reaching out of our comfort zones to meet new people, welcome new parents, and really get to know our students’ teachers and administrators. Through the creation of some new roles on the Lincoln Street Campus Home & School Board, including in community outreach and parent socials, I hope we can help all families feel a stronger connection to Rowland Hall and to each other. We have a great team on the Home & School board this year, and I’m so excited for the dedication and enthusiasm around the table.
Aimee: Some of my goals for the 2023–2024 school year are to continue to educate families about the work that Home & School does and inform them about the multitude of ways there are to get involved. I would also love to increase the number of people who volunteer with Home & School, especially encouraging those who have never volunteered before. Volunteer opportunities are always open to all Rowland Hall parents and caregivers and no prior experience is necessary.
Alexis: My goal is to continue to support and advocate for our children by partnering with the faculty to create a safe and inclusive Rowland Hall community where children have a positive learning environment.
Jamie: I would like to help families be engaged and make meaningful connections, foster a community of kindness and treating others with respect, and support our amazing faculty and staff in a positive manner. Together, at both home and school, we can develop our kids into people the world needs.
How do you hope to get more families involved in Home & School, and why do you recommend that they do so?
Virginia: Home & School is the connection point between parents and school. It’s a great way to get to know the community that our children spend so much time with. Home & School’s monthly meetings are always open to anyone, whether or not you have an official role. We’ll publicize those meeting dates, times, and locations in Friday Facts. We’ll have a number of opportunities to volunteer time or bring things (food, supplies, etc.) starting as early as Convocation the first week of school and ending with graduation events for eighth and twelfth graders in June. The best way to stay on top of how to get involved is to read Friday Facts—all the way down to the bottom where the Home & School news is posted—or to visit the Home & School page on the Parent Portal. Middle School parents, keep an eye out for your grade-level e-newsletters launching next school year. Finally, new families will receive an email or phone call from a current parent, who can also be a resource for learning more about Home & School. And always, please reach out with any suggestions or questions.
The stronger we are as a connected community, the easier it is to support our students.—Jamie Waters
Aimee: I hope to get more families actively involved in Home & School by continuing to provide an open and inclusive environment for any parent or caregiver to participate in. Home & School is also a great way to meet and learn from others who you might not have otherwise interacted with (families with children in different grades or divisions). I would recommend volunteering to anyone interested in meeting more people and to learning more about Rowland Hall.
Alexis: I hope to expand the inclusiveness of the Rowland Hall community that the previous Home & School members developed. It’s important to me that existing and new families feel welcome and know that their ideas are encouraged. By doing so, I believe it will increase volunteer participation.
Jamie: Parental involvement in school boosts student achievement. But sometimes we are reluctant to be involved because of time constraints or unsure of how to proceed. I encourage families to be involved in a manner that works best for their lives and never hesitate to contact us with questions or comments. I would also like to help families, especially new families, feel welcome and connected. The stronger we are as a connected community, the easier it is to support our students.