Procedural Guidelines for Volunteering
Thank you for your willingness to volunteer your time at our District. We believe that you are an integral part of our work educating students and encourage you to actively participate in your child’s education by volunteering at our schools. One of the most important things we can do for children is to allow them to see parents and teachers working together. This helps children realize that there is a bond between home, community, and school. Parents and other caregivers who work in the school gain a deeper understanding of their child’s education.
Volunteer Selection Process
All volunteers shall be approved by the Hamburg Area Board of School Directors. Generally, volunteers are accepted on a first-come-first-served basis. However, there will be situations where the district staff will need to determine the number of needed chaperones and choose appropriate volunteers for specific situations, including but not limited to, specific student needs, past experiences and prior knowledge of the field trip location, and past experiences as a district volunteer.
Scheduling a time to volunteer
When you are volunteering at school you are demonstrating your support for education. We appreciate this very much. Please make sure to schedule your volunteering time in advance with the teacher so that she/he is prepared for your arrival and is able to best utilize you in the classroom.
Signing in at the office
You will need to sign in at the office and obtain a visitor’s badge each time you volunteer. The visitor’s badge needs to be worn at all times while on campus. The procedure of having all visitors and volunteers sign in serves two functions. In the event of an emergency, the school office will know exactly how many people are on campus. A more important function is that by having visitors sign in at the office and issuing badges, the school staff is instantly able to identify a parent on campus who is authorized to be at school as opposed to an unauthorized visitor.
In December 2014 and July 2015 the PA General Assembly made significant changes to the background check requirements for school district employees, contractors, and volunteers. Volunteers are now required to obtain the Child Abuse History Check (Act 151) and PA State Criminal Record Check (Act 34) every 60 months. These clearances are free when obtained for volunteer purposes. The Federal (FBI) Criminal Background Check (Act 114) is also required if the volunteer has lived outside of Pennsylvania in the past ten years. If the volunteer has lived in PA for the past ten years, the volunteer affirmation is required in place of the FBI background check. The PDE-6004 (Act 26) arrest/conviction report and certification form is also required for volunteers. PLEASE NOTE: Clearances obtained for volunteer purposes are not able to be used for employment purposes. However, clearances obtained for employment may also be used for volunteering.
In addition, due to December 2014 changes to the Child Protective Services Law, volunteers are now mandated reporters of suspected child abuse. Information about being a mandated reporter is included on the Parent Portal/Volunteering.
Confidentiality is of the utmost importance in your association with teachers and students. What you see and hear at the school is private. You are in a unique position when you volunteer in the classroom to have information that is not meant to be shared. Students you observe in the classroom or the school cannot be discussed with other parents, faculty, or staff. Please refer any question regarding students to the child’s teacher or the principal.
Remember, we are all (teachers, staff and volunteers) role models for the children around us. “Little eyes” are watching, listening, and learning appropriate behavior from our actions. Inappropriate language or discussions are not allowed on campus or on field trips.
Working in the classroom
We realize that you are volunteering because your child is a student. We also understand that your natural tendency will often be to focus on giving all your attention to your child. However, we ask you to explain to your child that you are in the classroom to help the entire class. Your child should expect to be treated like all other classmates and not be given special treatment or attention. Prior to volunteering, please explain to your child that you have a job to do and so does she/he. This will ensure that both you and your child have a positive experience.
Volunteers are not to discipline students. Discipline is solely the responsibility of the teacher. The teacher is the professional whose responsibility it is to plan the course of study and see that it is implemented. The volunteer always works under the direction of the teacher to HELP, not replace, the teacher. On field trips when you are the adult supervising a group of children and the teacher is unavailable, volunteers may appropriately address safety or behavior issues. It is the responsibility of the volunteer to inform the teacher as soon as possible about these issues. However, any consequences for behavior are the responsibility of the teacher, not the volunteer.
The administration is given authority to arrange with the district’s liability insurance carriers for appropriate liability insurance coverage for the volunteers to cover them in the performance of their volunteer services.
Parents and guardians are asked to use good judgment with regard to proper school attire. Please do not wear any clothes that carry a sexual, vulgar, or offensive message or reference the use of alcohol, tobacco or drugs.
Schools are tobacco free zones. This means you may not even bring tobacco products on campus in your purse or pockets.
When attending a field trip, parents must ride on the bus with the class. This will ensure that everyone arrives and leaves at same time and the class is not delayed waiting for a chaperone. Chaperones must also adhere to the district bus safety rules for all bus passengers (no standing on a moving bus, eating, or drinking). Please also remember that you may not bring another child or sibling on any field trip. Under no circumstances should a volunteer transport any student in their personal vehicle.
Cell phones are to be turned off in the classrooms. If you need to be reached, please let the office know you are expecting a call and the office will either take a message or try to locate you.
When volunteering for a field trip please share your cell phone number with the trip organizers to help facilitate communication on the trip.
Volunteers are not authorized to perform first aide on a student except in an emergency.
NOTE: These guidelines are intended to give an overview of the District Board Policy 121, Field Trips, and District Board Policy 916, School Volunteers. The complete policies are available on the district website, www.hasdhawks.org.
- Volunteer - an adult individual serving in an unpaid position who is responsible for the welfare of one or more children or has direct contact with children.
- Responsible for the welfare of one or more children – means providing permanent or temporary care, supervision, training, or control of a child in lieu of parental care, including direct or regular contact with a child or children through any program, activity, or service sponsored by the District or one of its schools.
- Direct contact with children – means care, supervision, guidance, or control of one or more children or routine interaction with one or more children.