The CCNS Experience

A cooperative is an organization that is owned by and operated for the benefit of the people using its services. CCNS is a non-profit cooperative owned and operated by its “members” – the families whose children attend the school. This means that, depending upon who is enrolled in the school, there is a different group of members each year . Some families are members for two years (if their child attends from ages 3 – 5), while others with more than one child in the school may be members longer, depending upon the ages of their children who attend. Some even return years later with a new child, and recently, we’ve had a few member parents who were actually students themselves in the first years that CCNS opened!


CCNS is operated by all members but is led by an Executive Board. The Board includes a President, Treasurer, Secretary, Membership Coordinator, Publicity Committee Chairperson, Fundraising Chairperson, Education Consultant, and a Regulations & Health Coordinator. The school and teacher salaries are entirely funded with tuition and fundraising. Members take care of everything at the school, including teacher hiring and reviews, recruiting and enrolling new membership, budgeting, payroll, taxes, fundraising, publicity, cleaning, maintenance….you name it. And because members operate it – we have a say in our children’s education.


The cooperative idea can seem intimidating at first. Some potential members are concerned  they don’t have experience that would help with the operation of the school, or that it would be overly time-consuming to participate. But it’s important to know that the member families at CCNS are families just like yours. We’re all busy, normal families experiencing potty training, tantrums, picky eaters….and all the fun kid stuff, too! We come from various towns, income, and work situations. In fact, most of our member families have two parents working full-time (which means we have a lot of grandparents, aunts, and uncles involved at school, which is welcomed and encouraged). The cooperative experience is one in which the family learns right along with the child. It’s rewarding and satisfying to learn things about running the school, to make decisions together, to meet new friends with children the same age (which means play-dates for the kids and you!), and, ultimately, to the see the efforts of your hard work in the daily operation of a community gem like CCNS.

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As part of the cooperative agreement, your family will be asked to:  

  1. Hold a position within the school (this can be serving on the Executive Board, or serving on the publicity or fundraising committees)
  2. Attend monthly meetings
  3. Provide a snack and beverage for the class on an assigned basis
  4. Participate in fundraising activities (these can be events we need help with organizing and running, selling items, or financially “opting out”)
  5. Complete a thorough school cleaning approximately once per school year, but frequency depends upon enrollment levels  
There is also one very important piece of the cooperative that is not mandatory but is strongly encouraged: Parent of the Day, or “P.O.D.”. When you or another adult in your family serves as P.O.D., you come to school with your child and get to experience the whole day with her. It’s a great way to get to know the teachers, see how your child interacts with his friends, and be an active participant in your child’s education. Mandatory P.O.D. was made optional in 2011, but we’ve noticed that although it’s no longer mandatory, parents still serve just as often! You get to choose when and how often you come, and most parents think this is one of the most fun parts of being at CCNS. Best of all, it’s a thrill for your child that she’ll be talking about weeks ahead of time!
If there is one aspect of the cooperative model that will stay with you throughout your child’s education, it’s learning how to advocate for your child, to get involved, and to keep communication open with your child’s teachers and school. These skills will benefit your child and set an example that education – and advocating for it – is one of the most important things in life.