Planetarium Class Coordinator Support

Thank you for volunteering to coordinate the Planetarium volunteers in your child’s class.  Class coordinators provide a vital link between the teacher, parent volunteers and the Planetarium Committee.  This page will give you information about how to perform this role successfully and what to do if you need further support.

As Class Coordinator your responsibilities are as follows: 

·         contact your team to allocate teaching dates to volunteers

·         add practice times to calendar as requested by the volunteers in your class

·         send reminders to volunteers & teacher prior to each class

·         liaise with the classroom teacher and planetarium committee should a session need to be rescheduled. 

Where do I start?

In early to mid November, you will receive an email from the Planetarium Committee Schedule Coordinator with the Planetarium schedule for your class.  The other parent volunteers in your class will also be on the email.  Once you receive it, please contact the other parents immediately to identify their availability and preferences for teaching for the dates your class has been assigned. You'll want to start by finding out dates that parents are not available and whether they prefer teaching the lecture or dome part of the lesson.  As some volunteers teach in other classes, it is worth asking who would prefer to teach fewer or more sessions, depending on how many volunteers your class has. Typically, one volunteer will teach the 20-minute “lecture” and another the 20-minute “dome” section.  Some parents may prefer to teach an entire class alone.  Preferences often depend on a parent’s work schedule and their experience teaching Planetarium lessons.  Then, taking this into account, assign dates and team people up.  You may wish to use a scheduling app like Sign-Up Genius, though most parents find that it is not a time-saver in this application.  

When contacting parents, remind them that all volunteers must be trained before teaching Planetarium.  If they have not attended Planetarium training, be sure they plan to attend one before the date they are first scheduled to teach.  Typically, parents only have to attend training once and they are set to teach for as many years as they'd like afterwards.  However, a new dome projector was installed in the Planetarium in 2017.  This new digital equipment is very different than the previous analog projector.  All volunteers must therefore be trained to use the new digital projector before they can sign up to teach the dome portion of a class, even if they had experience with the former dome projector.  The equipment is not intuitive and costly damage could result if a parent uses it without the required training.

Please be mindful of your class’ first scheduled visit to the Planetarium and ensure that parents are identified to teach that date as soon as possible.

Still need a little help getting started?  Click this link for an example of an email to initiate schedule assignments.

If you find that a parent volunteer has not replied to your initial email after a couple of days, resend the email to that parent or parents.  If you still receive no response, contact the Planetarium Volunteer Coordinator and inform him/her that you have a volunteer who is unresponsive.  The Volunteer Coordinator can help you work through these issues.  Please see the list below for the Planetarium Volunteer Coordinator Contact information.

Confirming Teaching Assignments

Once you have developed an assignment schedule, please forward it to the parents and the classroom teacher.  Be sure to note the lesson plan assignments per the curriculum for each session in this email.  You will also want to include the link to the Planetarium Lesson Plans page, which has a link to the lesson plans available on Google Drive.  Ask volunteers to confirm receipt of the schedule and their availability to teach on the dates assigned.

You do NOT need to provide the parent assignment schedule to the Planetarium Committee.  If you have dates that are unassigned after 3 or 4 attempts to identify a parent, please contact a member of the Planetarium Committee for assistance.  

If you are looking for an example of an email confirming the session assignments, please click this link.

Coordinating During the Planetarium Year

Once the parent assignment schedule has been completed and confirmed, keep a copy handy so that you can reference it during the school year.  One week before each session, please confirm with the parent(s) assigned to teach and your classroom teacher that they are aware of the upcoming date and still available to be in the Planetarium as scheduled.  If a parent indicates they are no longer available, please try to find another parent to take the spot.  You may even want to ask the parent originally assigned to find another parent to fill-in for them.  In any case, please do your best to find a parent to teach on the day/time assigned.  It can be very difficult to reschedule a planetarium session.  If you absolutely cannot find a parent to teach a schedule session, contact the Planetarium Schedule Coordinator to arrange rescheduling the day/time. 

Scheduling Practice Time

As Planetarium Class Coordinator you have access to schedule parent practice time on the Planetarium calendar.  Please use this access to schedule practice time for the parents in your class who request it.  Please do not provide the link to the parents in your class to schedule their own practice time.  

To schedule practice time, go to Planetarium Use Calendar and log into the Planetarium Class Coordinator Google Chrome account.  The ID and password are: 

Google Account ID: planetwaes@gmail.com

password: look-high

Practice time can be scheduled from 8:45 am to 4:00pm on regular school days.  Practice time cannot be schedule during evenings or on weekends.  We allow volunteers at least 15 minutes prior to their class to set up, so do not schedule practice time during the 15 minutes before another class is scheduled to be in the Planetarium.  Also, limit schedule practice times to 1 hour a day to allow everyone time to practice.  When scheduling a practice time, please label your entry "Practice - Teacher's Name" and be sure to mark the status as "public" at the bottom of the scheduling screen.

If you need a class session to be rescheduled, please contact the Planetarium Schedule Coordinator.  As a class coordinator, you do not have access to reschedule a classroom session.  This must be done by the Planetarium Schedule Coordinator.

Saying “Thank You”

Wood Acres has been able to provide 6 Planetarium sessions to each classroom ever year for almost 30 straight years.  We couldn’t do it without the dedication of over 100 parents every year.  At the end of the Planetarium year for your class, please send an email to all the parents in your class and your teacher thanking the parents, by name, who volunteered to teach in your class.  For an example of a thank you email, please click this link.  Please be sure the edit the data as appropriate for your grade and class.

Planetarium Committee Support:

The Planetarium Committee is always available to help you with any questions or challenges you encounter as Class Coordinator.  If you have any issues regarding the dates or times your class are assigned to be in the Planetarium, please contact the Planetarium Schedule Coordinator.  If you have questions regarding the curriculum or need assistance finding parents to teach scheduled sessions, please contact the Planetarium Grade Coordinator for your grade.  These individuals and their contact information appear below:

Planetarium Schedule Coordinators:  Betsy Dodson and Amy Warfield

Planetarium Volunteer Coordinator:  Val Gendleman

 

© Wood Acres PTA  2014
5800 Cromwell Drive / 240-740-1120 / School Day: 9:00 am - 3:25 pm

 
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