Parents as Partner Episode # 33 January 18, 2009

 Karen Bantuveris from Volunteerspot joined show hosts Matt Montagne and Lorna Costantini to discuss parent volunteerism in school. Karen is a management consultant in Austin Texas. A little over a year ago she came up with a scheduling tool that freed up teacher and parents time organizing events. Karen provided a long list of fund raising tips, community building activities and teacher stratetgies to increase parent involvement in schools. One of the attractive features about volunteer sport software application is that it is free to the education and not for profit sector.


Chat log


21:02:13 Lorna Costantint -> Room 1: welcome ronnie

21:05:41 matt montagne -> Room 1: hello ronnie

21:08:17 ronniegonzalez -> Room 1: I see.  Now I;m on the right chat.

21:08:29 matt montagne -> Room 1: great, thanks for joining ronnie

21:08:50 matt montagne -> Room 1: hellow msdowling

21:08:55 MsDowling -> Room 1: Hi

21:09:36 matt montagne -> Room 1:

21:11:11 MsDowling -> Room 1: Thank you! 

21:12:27 ronniegonzalez -> Room 1: Matt – Congrats on the baby.  You will really enjoy your bundle of joy.

21:14:40 matt montagne -> Room 1: thanks Ronnie!!!

21:14:50 matt montagne -> Room 1: appreciate it…we’re excited, nervous, etc!

21:16:22 matt montagne -> Room 1: hello Jalldrin…thans for joining us tonight on parents as partners!

21:17:11 matt montagne -> Room 1: Karen is from Austin, TX, and runs a company called volunteer spot

21:17:34 matt montagne -> Room 1:

21:18:33 matt montagne -> Room 1: brutal

21:18:50 matt montagne -> Room 1: email can be horribly inefficient

21:19:30 ronniegonzalez -> Room 1: Very good point.  Sometimes emails from school can become overwhelming.

21:19:52 ronniegonzalez -> Room 1: But we want to be part of our student’s education…

21:20:36 matt montagne -> Room 1: the push/pull paradigm of email versus the web is a difficult one to overcome

21:20:46 matt montagne -> Room 1: I think the solution is not either or, but both

21:21:40 matt montagne -> Room 1: hello sean

21:21:46 matt montagne -> Room 1: welcome to parents as partners

21:21:54 SeanXavier -> Room 1: hi matt, thanks!

21:22:04 matt montagne -> Room 1: we’re talking with Karen Bantuveris of Volunteer Spot

21:22:17 matt montagne -> Room 1:

21:22:26 matt montagne -> Room 1: Karen is located in Austin, Texas

21:22:35 SeanXavier -> Room 1: i heard about this talk on twitter #edchat and scheduled to listen in

21:22:44 MsDowling -> Room 1: same

21:23:10 matt montagne -> Room 1: awesome…Edchat is really an incredibly interesting thing…I participated in my first one last week.

21:23:39 matt montagne -> Room 1: Hey Liz!

21:23:45 matt montagne -> Room 1: Thanks for joining in

21:23:48 ehelfant -> Room 1: hi matt!

21:23:48 SeanXavier -> Room 1: this is an excellent idea. great work, Karen! it really identifies one of the challenges of home involvement and addresses it well!

21:23:54 ehelfant -> Room 1: pulled me away from 24:)

21:24:04 matt montagne -> Room 1: We’re talking with Karen Bantuveris of Volunteerspot

21:24:31 matt montagne -> Room 1: wow, you are giving up 24 to join us!!

21:24:48 matt montagne -> Room 1: Parents as Partners beat out Jack Bauer…the Long Tail is ALIVE and WELL!!!

21:24:51 ehelfant -> Room 1: its recorded- but yes

21:24:57 matt montagne -> Room 1: πŸ™‚

21:24:59 ronniegonzalez -> Room 1: Contributing at school and showing your child that school is important and it is important enought to you to be there and volunteer is important.

21:25:38 MsDowling -> Room 1: But most parents in my district work at least one job full time, if not more

21:25:42 matt montagne -> Room 1: ronnie…very good point…

21:25:51 ronniegonzalez -> Room 1: How can schools reach out to parents to volunteer more???

21:26:03 matt montagne -> Room 1: for parents who do not want to step foot on campus, how can we keep them "involved?"

21:26:52 matt montagne -> Room 1: wow, that is a GREAT idea…confidentiality training. I haven’t heard that, but such a concept makes sense

21:27:15 MsDowling -> Room 1: I think that many parents want to help their students with their homework, but don’t have the resourses to do so

21:27:22 SeanXavier -> Room 1: matt, we can offer them opportunities to assist in tasks they can do where they are, i.e. calls, letters, stuff envelopes, etc.

21:28:23 matt montagne -> Room 1: sean, or even encouraging parents to talk to their children about the things they are learning at school

21:28:49 matt montagne -> Room 1: and those parents can get the tidbits of school happenings from a school Twitter feed, Volunteer Spot, etc

21:29:04 MsDowling -> Room 1: I think if we are more open about what we are teaching in the classroom, either on a blog or twitter, it would encourage more parents to talk to their students about school

21:29:24 MsDowling -> Room 1: oh you just said that πŸ™‚ 

21:29:44 matt montagne -> Room 1: So if parents have the information without having to the time honored "What did you do in school today?" they’ll have a hook that wasn’t there before

21:30:15 SeanXavier -> Room 1: i teach math and families OFTEN cite lack of skill w/content as reason they can’t aid in HW.  i contend they can be effective by supporting quality habits–study strategies, hw strategies, facilitating study groups for their child and classmates…

21:30:33 matt montagne -> Room 1: welcome mwacker! 

21:30:44 mwacker -> Room 1: just read your tweet Matty

21:31:25 SeanXavier -> Room 1: yes, matt, getting parents to engage their children in dialog is huge…and many seem to not know where to begin…

21:31:36 MsDowling -> Room 1: I agree Sean.  Even if they don’t have the math ability, there are many other things they can contribute

21:31:53 matt montagne -> Room 1: sean, I think your approach is bang on…or even just being a sounding board for the students to work through problems with…the parent can become the student and the student can become the teacher (one of the best ways to learn something is to teach it to lots of different people)

21:32:13 matt montagne -> Room 1: Hooray, our torch bearer is in the house!!!

21:32:48 cindyseibel -> Room 1: Just the local celebration tonight. I carry the torch itself on Wed night

21:32:55 matt montagne -> Room 1:

21:33:00 matt montagne -> Room 1: ahh, very cool Cindy

21:33:06 matt montagne -> Room 1: can’t wait to hear more about it…

21:34:15 SeanXavier -> Room 1: matt, you are so correct. empowering a child to teach and share what they are learning affects many positive changes. It also creates a situation where the child begins to think about how they think.

21:35:40 matt montagne -> Room 1:

21:35:47 SeanXavier -> Room 1: matt, please ask Karen to (before she leaves) address some of the best practices in applying her lessons in the high school/middle school environment.

21:35:48 matt montagne -> Room 1: volunteerspot facebook fan page there

21:37:36 cindyseibel -> Room 1: I’ll be happy typing tonight!

21:39:50 mwacker -> Room 1: Exactly! How much does burnout effect that, though? It seems like parents are wiped out by 5th grade often times

21:40:40 mwacker -> Room 1: Volunteerspot seems to make it easier and again "doing something well" gives you a niche’ to be successful even after 5th grade

21:41:20 MsDowling -> Room 1: is it the parents being burnt out or is it that the students don’t want their parents at school?

21:41:47 cindyseibel -> Room 1: @MsDowling my daughter calls online grades her worst nightmare πŸ˜‰

21:41:49 ehelfant -> Room 1: I like volunteer spot- would be gr8 for 10th grade parents who man all the concession stand duties for all athletics

21:42:19 matt montagne -> Room 1: sorry about that

21:43:01 cindyseibel -> Room 1: Can Volunteer Spot help find special skills? Not just the bake sale and concession stuff?

21:43:11 matt montagne -> Room 1: under the hood I’m wondering about volunteerspot integration with the tools many of our par3ents are using…iCal, Google Cal, exchange, iPhones, RSS, email, etc

21:43:15 mwacker -> Room 1: I see burnout a lot 4-6 They are wiped, dealing with beauracracy, clicks, and too much too soon. they start finding reasons not to volunteer

21:43:16 SeanXavier -> Room 1: 6-12 is certainly more hands-off. It makes a big difference for parents and community stakeholders to be present. students remark that it shows them how valuable the community feels the children are. they appreciate having adults work with & around them as young adults as opposed to coddling them.

21:43:18 cindyseibel -> Room 1: I’m thinking about readers, career practitioner support, etc

21:44:22 matt montagne -> Room 1: liz, it might also be really useful for independent school special events…

21:44:31 cindyseibel -> Room 1: @mwacker Do you think that means we need to help them rest 4-6? Or redirect their energies…

21:44:31 matt montagne -> Room 1: like the annual fundraiser, etc

21:44:43 ehelfant -> Room 1: can’t believe  missed it- it looks really useful

21:45:06 matt montagne -> Room 1: a little bit about the business model

21:45:13 SeanXavier -> Room 1: the bigger issue i have seen is the logistics.  each educator has so many students 60-100+.  has karen seen high schools implement volunteerspot with success…what did they do?

21:45:21 matt montagne -> Room 1: probably a "Freemium" service

21:45:40 MsDowling -> Room 1: @chindyseibel I’m student teaching right now and one of my students last semester told me I was the only successful young person she knew.  Having successful people around them encourages them that they can do it too

21:46:03 SeanXavier -> Room 1: @MsDowling I cosign

21:46:05 matt montagne -> Room 1: we are all bringing our old conceptions to bear when we see all these thigns online for free…what we don’t understand is Moore’s law, and the costs of startign a web based company are getting cheaper and cheaper all the time

21:46:08 ehelfant -> Room 1: i can see student council using it to get their volunteers lined up for their coaches for cancer event

21:46:16 mwacker -> Room 1: @cindyseibel Redirect, make it easier, I like volunteerspot, looks and sounds simple an dproductive. Sometimes a group of parent move through like a wave, makes it hard for new volunteers, or those that are tired to jump in

21:46:28 cindyseibel -> Room 1: @MsDowling – ahh so someone else’s parents could fit the "successful adult" bill

21:47:25 matt montagne -> Room 1: so many of these silicon valley start ups don’t even require much funding now…because storage, bandwidth, etc are cheap and getting cheaper…

21:47:28 MsDowling -> Room 1: or other volunteers from the community.  Almost all fraternities and sororities require volunteer hours.  For students who see college as impossible, this may be a godsend

21:47:33 cindyseibel -> Room 1: Yes I like the notion that there is broadness of opportunity to opt in to volunteer assignments. Some people need to be asked directly, others just want to know how they can help.

21:47:38 matt montagne -> Room 1: how is audio stream quality on Ustream??

21:48:11 matt montagne -> Room 1: nice

21:48:34 matt montagne -> Room 1: I love the stories like this…building relationships, solving probelms, connecting people…thru technology.

21:48:39 SeanXavier -> Room 1: @matt it’s pretty good! some echo when you chime in, put it’s very good.

21:48:48 matt montagne -> Room 1: ahh

21:48:53 matt montagne -> Room 1: thanks for heads up sean

21:48:54 ronniegonzalez -> Room 1: Matt –  The audio quality is great!!!

21:49:12 matt montagne -> Room 1: cool, glad to hear it ronnie

21:49:13 cindyseibel -> Room 1: Question: Any notion of whether it helps to do f2f contact first? 

21:50:24 matt montagne -> Room 1: touch a truck

21:50:34 SeanXavier -> Room 1: karen is mentioning so many great examples. does she have these on a website? 

21:50:40 SeanXavier -> Room 1: you read my mind!

21:50:49 matt montagne -> Room 1: LOL!

21:50:58 cindyseibel -> Room 1: Matt – listening on Windows MP – awesome sound quality tonight (mind you I rarely listen this way so actually have no comparison lol 

21:51:26 ronniegonzalez -> Room 1: ANy liability with this TouchaTruck???  Great idea..

21:51:42 mwacker -> Room 1: whoa? I’ve lost earthly contact audio-wise

21:51:43 matt montagne -> Room 1: I spoke too soon…

21:52:07 mwacker -> Room 1: auf wiedersehen

21:52:21 matt montagne -> Room 1: should b better now

21:52:37 ronniegonzalez -> Room 1: Lost you on Ustream

21:52:42 SeanXavier -> Room 1: i can the typing clearly…

21:52:47 SeanXavier -> Room 1: *hear

21:52:49 matt montagne -> Room 1: cindy, cool, glad sound is decent

21:53:00 ehelfant -> Room 1: i hear typing but no audio

21:53:04 ronniegonzalez -> Room 1: I can also hear Matt typing away….

21:53:05 SeanXavier -> Room 1: i don’t hear the ladies though…

21:53:26 matt montagne -> Room 1: should b back

21:53:27 matt montagne -> Room 1: sorry

21:53:28 ehelfant -> Room 1: thanks for this session- back to grandpa jack bauer:)

21:53:28 mwacker -> Room 1: and…we’re live

21:53:33 matt montagne -> Room 1: my bad

21:53:34 ehelfant -> Room 1: audio back

21:53:38 ehelfant -> Room 1: jack can wait

21:53:38 ronniegonzalez -> Room 1: They’re Back…what did I just miss????

21:54:15 matt montagne -> Room 1: sorry about that folks

21:54:24 SeanXavier -> Room 1: ohhh, snap! scheduling conferences! great idea!!

21:54:56 ronniegonzalez -> Room 1: WOW…  Teacher using it to schedule teacher/parent conferences….  GREAT!!!!

21:55:44 matt montagne -> Room 1: volunteerspot’s slideshare decks

21:56:57 matt montagne -> Room 1:

21:58:13 mwacker -> Room 1: Great stuff, thanks for the discussion and sharing!

21:58:25 ronniegonzalez -> Room 1: Great ideas Karen

21:58:53 matt montagne -> Room 1:

21:59:04 SeanXavier -> Room 1: is karen available to visit schools/districts for workshops?… it is so much easier to bring tech-adverse teachers along when the provider comes on-site.

21:59:06 matt montagne -> Room 1:

21:59:55 ehelfant -> Room 1: Thanks all! 

22:00:02 matt montagne -> Room 1: thanks liz!

22:00:23 SeanXavier -> Room 1: ok, sounds excellent!

22:00:38 MsDowling -> Room 1: oh gosh i just realized that there was audio streaming

22:00:51 SeanXavier -> Room 1: thank you, karen! for sharing tonight and what you’ve accomplished with volunteerspot.  thank you!

22:01:29 cindyseibel -> Room 1: @msdowling The audio is archived and available on and itunes

22:01:30 ronniegonzalez -> Room 1: I’m a follower on Twitter now…..

22:01:48 MsDowling -> Room 1: thank you!

22:02:04 matt montagne -> Room 1: thanks to everyone for listening in and contributing via the chat

22:02:32 matt montagne -> Room 1: Monday, February 1 2010

22:02:49 mwacker -> Room 1: Thanks again, Great stuff!

22:02:55 SeanXavier -> Room 1: goodnight

22:03:20 matt montagne -> Room 1: any final questions??

22:04:06 cindyseibel -> Room 1: Feb 1?

22:04:15 ronniegonzalez -> Room 1: Karen – How can we engage parents who might not speak english a litte more?

22:04:18 matt montagne -> Room 1: yes, Cindy

22:04:20 matt montagne -> Room 1: Feb 1

22:04:42 cindyseibel -> Room 1: Awesome show Thanks Karen!

22:09:25 ronniegonzalez -> Room 1: Matt – How do you all converse with your guests?  Telephone, skype??

22:09:39 matt montagne -> Room 1: skype ronnie

22:09:50 matt montagne -> Room 1: then we route the skype convo thru ustream

22:10:05 ronniegonzalez -> Room 1: Thanks for the info.

22:11:06 matt montagne -> Room 1: no prob

22:11:18 matt montagne -> Room 1:

22:11:35 matt montagne -> Room 1: that link has lots of info on the world of webcasting

22:12:32 matt montagne -> Room 1: you can even learn more about how to run a webcast

22:13:25 ronniegonzalez -> Room 1: Sounds great!  Thanks for the info.  Just plugged you all to our Technology Coordinators of Texas listserv

22:14:15 matt montagne -> Room 1: awesome, thanks Ronnie…

22:14:32 matt montagne -> Room 1: to me the parent component is a huge missing link to the "learn 2.0" movement

22:15:46 ronniegonzalez -> Room 1: I agree. Thanks for all the info and a great show.  You better go now.  Congrats again on the baby to be….

22:16:01 matt montagne -> Room 1: πŸ™‚ 

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