Series 806.5P - Guidelines for Volunteers
Adopted: June 2011
Revised: January 2020
Thank you for your interest in volunteering in District 196! Your commitment and assistance are sincerely appreciated. Before you begin volunteering, the school district needs you to review the following information in order to keep students and volunteers safe and to make your volunteer experience as positive as possible. Please review the information below and don’t hesitate to ask questions about anything that you aren’t sure of after you finish reading.
Volunteer Information Form
Before beginning to volunteer you must complete the volunteer information form on page 3. The form asks for basic information about you such as contact information, availability and areas of interest. The form will be used by school administration and staff for purposes of administering volunteer placements. Completion of the form is a prerequisite of volunteering. In some cases, a criminal background check will also be required before you start. You will be informed if a criminal background check is necessary.
Volunteers are asked to sign in each time they work at a school. This is required of all visitors to schools, including volunteers. For security reasons, and in case of an emergency, it is important for the principal or building supervisor to know who is in the school.
Please come when promised and on time. Students, staff and other volunteers count on you. If you are unable to keep a commitment, call and leave a message for the appropriate teacher, principal or building supervisor as far in advance as possible.
Volunteers must respect the privacy of students and their families by not talking about a specific student’s academic progress, behavior or a school-related incident. Most information about students is classified as private information under the law and there are strict limitations on how it can be shared. Any discussion of a student by a volunteer is restricted to the student’s teacher or as otherwise permitted by law.
Volunteers are not to discipline students. It is alright to redirect a student’s attention or to ask them not to use inappropriate or disrespectful language in your presence, but all disciplinary concerns should be directed to the appropriate school employee. The professional staff of the school is responsible for discipline. If you have disciplinary concerns about a student you are working with, please let the student’s teacher know.
Abuse and Neglect
As you build trust with the students you work with, you may become aware of abuse or neglect in their lives. By law, school staff members are required to report any suspected abuse or neglect. You can report any such suspicions you have to the teacher, principal, school social worker or counselor.
Students have the right to be safe and free from threatening situations on school property, at school activities and in district vehicles. Bullying interferes with students’ ability to learn and teachers’ ability to educate students in a safe environment. To the extent bullying affects the educational environment of the schools, it is the school district’s intent to prevent bullying from occurring, and to investigate and respond to bullying that has not been prevented. You are expected to report to the principal or coordinator any instances of bullying behavior observed while serving in your volunteer capacity.
District 196 does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, familial status, status with regard to public assistance, disability membership or activity in a local human rights commission age or genetic status in its programs and activities. Volunteers are expected to adhere to all nondiscrimination requirements as well. Please remember that our community is diverse. It is important that we work with one another positively and consider cultural, physical and value differences.
Appropriate Boundaries and Touch
Do not ask students for personal information (e.g., phone number, address or email address) and do not give them yours. Do not include them in any of your online social networks. Keep your relationships with the students professional and not personal.
In addition, when working with students, whether individually or in small groups, try to work in a highly visible area. This is not only for the protection of students, but volunteers as well.
Avoid initiating unnecessary physical contact with students. Physical touch can be easily misunderstood and you may be working with young people who may not be aware of appropriate boundaries. Keep in mind that students may also see your physical contact as a sign of preferential treatment.
Keep in good communication with staff, students and other volunteers. Any question is a good question, be sure to ask! Make every effort to arrange a time to talk with the teacher or other appropriate staff member when there are problems or questions.
Tobacco, Drugs, Alcohol and Weapons
The use of tobacco and tobacco products and the possession of activated electronic delivery devices (e.g., liquid or electronic cigarettes, vaping devices) drugs, alcohol and weapons are prohibited on school district property, as is the possession of weapons. School district property includes, but is not limited to: buildings, grounds, and vehicles owned, leased or contracted by the school district and school-sponsored functions.
Use discretion when utilizing technology with a student. Many websites are not appropriate for students, and volunteers must take care not to expose students to such sites.
Thank you for your commitment to District 196!
Volunteer Information Form
Detach and return this form to school/program
School/program where you wish to volunteer
last first middle
address city state zip
I am a (please circle)
*Parent/Guardian of a student(s) *Family member of a student(s) *Community member
Name(s)/grade(s) of student(s)
Describe your availability to volunteer (e.g., days, times, frequency)
Describe the kind of volunteer work you are interested in
Describe any special skills, training or talents you would like to share
I certify that the information I have given on this form is accurate.
I acknowledge that I have received and agree to follow Procedure 806.5P, Guidelines for Volunteers.
I understand that I am not guaranteed acceptance as a volunteer and District 196 has sole discretion to choose volunteers, make volunteer assignments and dismiss volunteers.
I understand that volunteers may be required to submit to a criminal background check performed by District 196 before being placed in certain types of volunteer positions.
NOTE: Form should be kept on file for duration of volunteer’s involvement with the school program.
For Office Use Only
□ Background check completed.