programs

Mark Day School offers more than 20 programs that contribute to the overall education, social, and community experiences of the student body. Program chairs are responsible for the planning, facilitation, and execution of a successful program for a single school year. Click here if you see something below that interests you.

Adventures After School

Adventures After School offers an exciting array of classes for students in kindergarten through 8th grade. Classes are held in the comfort and convenience of Mark Day School's campus and offer students wonderful opportunities to enjoy shared experiences with friends, learn new skills, and build self-confidence in a fun and safe environment. Two sessions are held throughout the year.

Chair Role: In conjunction with Kim Danforth, the Program Chair determines which courses to offer, markets the program to the school community, researches and finds outside providers/teachers, tracks enrollment, and assists in maintaining the calendar.

Art Curators

Volunteering usually entails matting and labeling artwork, working with the art teacher to showcase student art around campus, and then displaying it. Art expertise is not needed. Art curators are encouraged to lend a hand with the annual show in the spring. This is a good opportunity for someone who'd like to pop in for a limited amount of time every so often and help but not have to commit to a given schedule.

Chair Role: The Chair works directly with Karen Klier to identify when there is new artwork to display and then coordinates volunteers to get it done.

Buddy Family Coordination

Buddy families are currently enrolled Mark Day School families who help support the transition of new families. The program is managed by the Admissions Director, who solicits buddies each year and does the "matchmaking."

Chair Role: Once the families are matched together by the Admissions Director, the Chair is responsible for reminders to the existing Mark Day families about opportunities to be in touch with their pair family. This involves sending out two or three emails over the course of the year and assisting with any issues.

Community Engagement

HOLIDAY GIVING

Each year in December, we undertake a school-wide effort for Adopt-a-Family of Marin and Ritter House, both organizations that support low-income, homeless, and marginally housed families. Lower School students make crafts, cards, and decorations to be included with the gifts donated by Middle and Upper Divisions to Adopt-a-Family.

Chair Role: This job is short but carries a big responsibility for communicating about the program to the community and coordinating the classes and volunteers.

Lower School

  • Determine schedule for pick-up of donations from classrooms and delivery of goods to the agencies.
  • Email the teachers in late November to remind them of the program and to let them know when pickup of their class donations will occur.
  • Purchase gift accessories based on the number of families we are supporting in a given year, and distribute them to each class. (Purchases are reimbursed).
  • Organize accessories by family and assign them to each class to make sure each class gets approximately the same number of families or family members.
  • Pick up the contributions from each class on the designated day and deliver them in the afternoon to the agencies.

Middle/Upper Division

  • Sixth grade does a toy drive, with donations of new, unwrapped toys solicited from the school community and delivered to Ritter Center for its annual "toy store," set up for parents of the families it is serving. Volunteers need to coordinate the drive, publicize it, and arrange for the delivery of the toys with the students.
  • Upper Division mentor groups work with Adopt-a-Family, soliciting donations from the school community of gift cards from Safeway, retailers, and movie theaters to provide the families with gifts and comfort during the cold months.

CANAL ALLIANCE

The Canal Alliance is a nonprofit in San Rafael assisting primarily Spanish-speaking immigrant families in a variety of realms, including education. Our partnership began as an opportunity for students from the two communities to meet, socialize, and tutor each other. The students are of the same age but have different home languages and life experiences. One afternoon a week, 7th and 8th graders from Mark Day School visit their partners at the Canal Alliance, where they work on homework and projects; they also share ideas and histories, communicating primarily in English. On a different day each week, Canal students come to our campus to participate in the Spanish Cultural Exchange Club, assisting Mark Day School students to express themselves in Spanish.

Chair Role: The Chair is responsible for recruiting drivers and managing the driving schedule. Parent volunteers are needed to pick up Mark Day School participating students once a week at 3:20 p.m. and drive them to the Canal Alliance in San Rafael. Drivers are also needed to pick up the students from Canal Alliance at 5:00 p.m. and either take them home or back to Mark Day School. This program runs the full school year and is also well supported by the faculty.

BIZJACK SERVICE WEEK

This is a partnership between the 7th grade and Bay Area senior communities. It is named after the school's founding headmaster, Ray Bizjack, and was for many years a service-oriented program. Now, students are paired with senior partners. They interview their partners to learn about the impact of an historical event on their lives or to get their perspective on an event. In return, Mark Day School students help their senior partners with aspects of technology (such as using apps or programs to connect with their own families).

Chair Role: The parent volunteers for this program work with the faculty to do outreach to senior communities and find suitable partners for every 7th grade student, help arrange interview schedules, talk to activity coordinators, and arrange transportation to the site.

Eco Paper Goods

In an effort to make our school more sustainable, we use products and utensils that are commercially compostable for our events and programs.

Chair Role: Manages inventories of paper goods in the kitchen, reorders when necessary, and works with program and event chairs to provision for their needs.

Emergency Preparedness

The school maintains an emergency plan and conducts many fire, earthquake, and shelter drills every year, including a level-3 earthquake drill with simulated injuries, triage, search-and-rescue, and student release procedures. There is also a stock of food, water, and other crucial supplies.

Chair Role: The Chair is responsible for drafting volunteers with an interest and, preferably, some expertise in emergency preparedness to serve in an advisory capacity to the Head of School and Director of Facilities. This team also accompanies employees of the school during the level-3 drill to observe the processes and advise on improvements, as well as helps the Director of Facilities ensure that emergency supplies are kept at the necessary level and updated when need be.

Merchant Cash Back Programs

Are you an Amazon shopper? Help promote the Amazon Smile cash back program and others like it.

Chair Role: Send periodic emails and on-campus reminders that Book Passage, eScrip, and other local merchants will give cash back to Mark Day School if we mention it.

Faculty Gift Coordinator

While gifts are not obligatory or expected, many families want to give monetary gifts at the holidays and the end of the school year to faculty and staff, in addition to handmade gifts or cards. The school and the PA have developed a specific procedure for collecting, pooling, and distributing monetary gifts. (This policy is available at any time from the Director of Development).

Chair Role: The Chair is responsible for contacting all room parents to inform them about the process of collection and the deadlines for collection so that the funds can be totaled and distributed. It is the room parents' responsibility to contact their classes and ensure funds are collected in a timely fashion. The Chair collects and distributes the funds for pooled groups of staff (e.g. support, office, and maintenance staff).

Family Sunshine

The Family Sunshine Committee provides temporary, short-term support for families within the Mark Day School community during times of unusual need. Its purpose is to live out the caring and inclusion that are at the heart of our community.

Chair Role: The Chair organizes volunteers who discreetly coordinate those members of the school community who wish to contribute time or resources to support a family in need, such as meals and transportation to and from the school; it is not the responsibility of the committee to provide the resources themselves, but to solicit and organize.

Hot Lunch

The school's hot lunch program is provided by an outside vendor. Families sign up online for three sessions per year. Volunteers are needed to work the serving tables for both Lower and Middle/Upper Division five days a week.

Chair Role: The chair role manages the outside vendor and the schedule for the school year and reminds parents to sign up for each session. The chair also creates a schedule (generally a Google doc) for serving and soliticing volunteers.

Lice Check Brigade

At the beginning of the school year, volunteers check the students' heads for lice and then check again subsequently after vacation.

Chair Role: The coordinator works with the office manager to schedule lice check dates, organize volunteers, and executes school-wide lice checks.

Lost and Found

Manage the significant number of items (clothing, water bottles, lunch boxes, and so on) that are left around campus. Labeled items are returned to the classroom homeroom for grades K-6 and directly to individual lockers for 7th and 8th graders. Two display days are scheduled each month, when all unlabeled clothes are hung on clotheslines and other items displayed on a table for easy discovery by parents and children. Any items not picked up during that month's display days are donated to Next Generation.

Chair Role: Responsibilities include maintaining the lost and found shed, scheduling display days for the unlabeled items (coordinate with admissions so the displays are not scheduled for tour days), notifying maintenance staff of scheduled days, announcing display times in the Hip Pocket News, and reminding parents to label children's things.

Calendar/Marque Keeper

Important dates pertaining to the school year are displayed on a monthly basis on the message board at the front of the school.

Chair Role: Works with the Office Manager to make sure important dates are displayed in a timely fashion. This is a fun job to do with the younger children who can help.

On-Call Volunteer

On-call volunteers help with short-term, spontaneous projects that come up in the course of the year. This is a good opportunity for someone who wants to get involved, but isn't able to commit to specific dates at the beginning of the year.

Chair Role: Not applicable.

Organic Garden

The organic garden serves as an outdoor classroom and provides many volunteer opportunities for parents, as outlined below:

  • Green Thumbs: Parents help supervise children in optional garden time at lunch recess.
  • Garden Room Parent: For K-3, parents coordinate assistance for classroom time in the garden.
  • Chicken Care: Parents and children provide weekend and holiday care for our chickens. Chicken care training is provided.
  • General Garden Maintenance: Ongoing and as-needed opportunities to work with the garden teacher and provide maintenance in the garden.

Chair Role: The Chair is the representative for the parent body on the Garden Council. The Chair communicates with parents who are actively involved with the garden. The Chair prepares the agenda, leads the monthly meetings, and keeps the minutes; oversees the garden; and manages the sub-chairs for fundraising, volunteer coordination, and garden maintenance.

PA Storage

This person periodically organizes the PA storage shed, keeping a general inventory of its contents.

Chair Role: The Chair typically is the one keeping the shed organized and keeping track of the contents.

Parent Speaker Series

The Parent Speaker Series is designed to help educate and provide thought leadership to the parent community at Mark Day School. This program leverages experts--from both outside and within our own community--to provide insight on topics that are of interest to our families and are aligned with the education happening in the classrooms.

Chair Role: The Chair works with Head of Lower School Thad Reichley to identify potential topics, programs, and speakers. The Chair then solicits speakers and works with them to understand and address the specific interests and concerns of our school community.

Room Parent Coordinator

Each classroom has room parents, who work with the teachers to coordinate any parent help needed in the class, such as for special projects, cooking, field trips, parties, etc. Each room parent uses sign-up genius for volunteer opportunities at the beginning of the year and then communicates with the parents on an as-needed basis throughout the year.

Chair Role: The room parent coordinator needs to be organized and a bit of a "cheerleader" for the school. He/she helps new kindergarten parents get involved, answers questions, and helps them get acclimated. The Chair needs to be calm and know the school well. Other work involves looking at the classroom and PA activities for the year and informing room parents when they need to communicate with their classes and sometimes providing them with email language--for example, potluck sign-ups, teacher gift collection, etc. The time commitment is not onerous, but it is heavily weighted to the beginning of the school year. There is already an excellent room parent handbook put together with ALL the details.

School Store

The Mark Day School store provides required wear to current families (blue polo shirts/PE shirts) and encourages school spirit and culture by designing and selling spirit wear, which also serves as an important marketing tool in "promoting" the school wherever it is worn.

Chair Roles: The Chairs design and order all branded clothing and accessories (working with third-party vendors as necessary and our online store provider). The school's Director of Communications will help ensure that items adhere to the school's branding guidelines. Additionally, store chairs organize volunteers who help at sales tables and maintain inventory.

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