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Parent Cooperative Program

Teachers + Parents = Bright Orion Stars

We believe that when you have both parents and educators working together in a close-knit community, children gain confidence, self-awareness, and the motivation to succeed. Orion's mission is to focus on the education of the whole child while nurturing compassionate global citizens.

Orion Alternative Elementary is a “School of Choice,” a non-boundary program within the Redwood City School District (RCSD). This means that Orion does not use an address/neighborhood to determine priority for enrollment. The Orion program is a parent-cooperative model, for parents who want to be actively involved in their child’s education. Parents agree to participate in classroom or school activities, parent education, and school leadership activities during the year.

Families are invited into the classroom and are active participants in the life of the school. Seeing their child’s class in action, parents and guardians are exposed to the teacher’s education style and can better understand how the curriculum is being implemented. Research shows that this enhanced understanding allows parents and guardians to more easily support their child's educational journey socially, emotionally, and academically. At Orion, the family voice is incorporated into school-wide decision-making and policy updates in areas that support strategic planning, such as amending School Site Council bylaws and voting on new members, and as a result, parents and guardians feel an increased sense of ownership and belonging. 

The students get to see their parents and guardians as a part of their education. This provides an increased feeling of support and encouragement, and facilitates the development of the student’s self-confidence while boosting classroom motivation. Research shows that students who see their parents and guardians involved in their education are more successful and more likely to feel a sense of belonging. Our families are regularly invited to not only participate in their child’s learning by helping in the classroom, but they are also encouraged to share with the class about family traditions and cultural celebrations, further expanding our student’s global awareness. For students from diverse backgrounds, research has shown that achievement improves as a result of bridging the gap between the culture at home and the school.

Orion staff and administration benefit from this home-school partnership as well. Our teachers feel a strong connection and close relationship with their students’ families. The transparency of having a parent participating  means that the teachers’ communication and rapport with families is enriched. Orion has so many wonderful families with a vast array of talents that can directly benefit the classroom and the students. Being a member of the cooperative means that families have the opportunity to share their talents.

We encourage parents to tour Orion to see first-hand if the program is a good fit for your family.

For more information, please visit our Starship PTO Website