Fostering a Welcoming Parent Community

Fostering a Welcoming Parent Community
Celebration of Giving 2021-2022


Originally published in the Celebration of Giving 2021-2022. Giving at Carroll is something we do both to build that sense of belonging in our community, and as a response to that sense of belonging—and we give in many different ways. We give our time and service. We give our advocacy. We give philanthropically. Learn more on our Giving website.

Carroll is a school with a broad geographic reach. This creates challenges for families who want to get to know and spend time with other families—new friends who might live a few towns away, versus down their street.

The Parents’ Association helps facilitate these relationships for Carroll families… and helps parents give back to the educators who have changed their lives.

A cow costume.

That’s what Caroline Boeckman remembers wearing when she hopped out of her vehicle to greet other parents in the carpool lane at Carroll on an otherwise normal day.

The laughter—and conversation—that ensued is emblematic of the way Caroline sought to engage with other parents after her children came to Carroll, and later as President of the Parents’ Association (PA).

The Parents’ Association at Carroll School automatically includes every parent who has a child at Carroll, and each member is encouraged to bring their own unique and valuable personality, passions, and contributions to the community. With families as spread out as they are across different towns—and even states—finding ways to spend time together is critical.

“My children were just six and eight when I moved from our farm in New Hampshire to Concord for my daughter to attend Carroll. She’d been diagnosed with Dyslexia and ADHD at seven, and I soon learned that Carroll was the ideal place for her to be—but I didn’t know anyone there, and no one knew us.

I hid at first after we got there, but when I let myself open up, it was exactly what I needed. That’s how I knew some of the other parents might just need, well... an unexpected cow to make them smile.”

Though all parents are members of the PA, many parents over the years have stepped up to take on important leadership roles. PA presidents gather input from many, but also have the opportunity to share their unique passions and skill set. As well, our PA leaders have done an amazing job of tailoring programs to respond to the changing needs of the community. Jolie Helmbrecht, Anne Plante, Carol Neville and Erica Benedick were all challenged with building community events remotely during the pandemic. Ultimately, every PA president brings something unique and special through their leadership, and Caroline is no exception.

Many students and their families cherish Carroll’s “Clap Out” tradition on the last day of school, when staff and faculty line the driveway to cheer for them… but they might not know that it was actually Caroline’s idea!

In that same way, Caroline Kuhlman brought her passion for diversity and inclusion to the PA, and partnered with Osa Osagie, Carroll’s Director of Equity and Inclusion to create the Inclusion Diversity Equity Alliance (IDEA). Stephanie O’Keefe, the current Communications Coordinator and former President, built on that effort to create the Reading About Diversity program (RAD).

For Stephanie, her involvement with the PA felt like a natural progression from her participation in the PTO at her kids’ schools in Milton—but with an extra emphasis on community.

“In the town where we live, maybe 60% of the parents are walking their children to school, and everyone lives a few minutes from one another. We have no ‘walkers’ at Carroll—so helping parents to develop that foundation with one another is so important. From potlucks to Fall Festival, PA events create community, and remind us we're in it together.”

Another important facet of the Parents’ Association is the way it enables families to thank the faculty and staff at Carroll for all they do to transform students’ lives.

Stephanie says, “We can’t possibly thank them enough for all they do—but we can give these amazing people something delicious to eat or drink, organize a special surprise that brightens their day, or just tell them every chance we get.”

Each year, the PA is strengthened by its new leadership, but it’s also a product of the hard work and passion of every parent that has given their time and effort over the years to make Carroll an even more supportive and welcoming community.



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Carroll is a school with a broad geographic reach. This creates challenges for families who want to get to know and spend time with other families—new friends who might live a few towns away, versus down their street. The Parents’ Association helps facilitate these relationships for Carroll families… and helps parents give back to the educators who have changed their lives.

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