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Volunteerism in Schools

CHAMPS
Collegiates Helping As Mentors in
Public Schools
CHAMPS volunteer is like a big
brother/big sister, a role model, an
encourager, and, most of all, a caring
friend.
Definition of Volunteer

 A volunteer is anyone who without compensation or


expectation of compensation beyond reimbursement
performs a task at the direction of and on behalf of the
agency. A volunteer must be officially accepted and
enrolled by the agency prior to performance of the task.
Unless specifically stated, volunteers shall not be
considered as ‘employees’ of the agency
General Benefits
of Volunteerism *
 Provide the optimum learning experience for students,
teachers, and parents (structured programs)
 Volunteerism enhances student self-esteem, increases
academic achievement (little empirical work), and
improves student behavior and attendance
 Teacher morale and job satisfaction improve through
consistent support and cooperation with parents
 Volunteers act as friends and partners in developing a
quality learning environment
School Volunteer Program

 Lynchburg, Virginia
 School Board Policy on volunteers
 The administration of the schools and the instructional
program are entirely the responsibility of school board
employees, and this responsibility cannot be delegated in
any degree. Volunteers work under the direction of
principals who retain the responsibility for the instruction
and supervision of students in their charge
 Only the teacher may:
 diagnose (identify a child’s needs)
 contact parents (regarding a student’s
performance/behavior)
 evaluate on a formal basis
 prescribe (decide on a child’s program of study)
 provide initial instruction (introduce new concepts and
skills)
 write comments on papers that go home
 discipline students
Two Types of Volunteer Services

 Occasional projects
To help a few times or even just one time
 Long-term assistance:
Requires an ongoing commitment and regular schedule
Goals of A Volunteer Program
• Stimulates community interest, understanding and support of public
education through improved knowledge about school programs and
enhanced school-community communication;
• Enlarges and enriches the scope of the curriculum by bringing special
skills, talents and experiences of the community into schools and
classrooms;
• Assists and relieves professional personnel in such a way that they
may perform their duty more effectively;
• Allows children more individual attention;
• Provides direct assistance to children in specific curriculum areas such
as in reading, math and other areas of needs; and
• Supplies volunteer services in response to identified school needs.
Code for Volunteers

 As a volunteer, I realize that I am subject to a code of


ethics, a similar to that which binds the professional. I,
like them, in assuming certain responsibilities, expect to be
accountable for those responsibilities. I will keep
confidential matters ‘confidential’
 As a volunteer, I agree to serve without pay, but with the
same high standards as the paid staff expects to do their
work.
 I promise to take to my work an attitude of open
mindedness; to be willing to be trained, to bring to it an
interest and attention.
 I believe that my attitude toward volunteer work
should be professional. I believe that I have an
obligation to my work to those who direct it, to
my colleagues, to those whom it is done, and to
the community.

 Dade County, Florida


Requirements

 A genuine love for children


 Some free time
 Willingness to work under professional supervision
1998 National Distinguished Principals

 Eileen D. Woods - South School (Suburban Pre-K-5,


623 students), Andover School District, Andover,
Massachusetts
 Formation of an effective parent volunteer program,
involving 32 PTO committees and over 250 volunteers,
that has led to excellent relations between teachers and
parents.
 Craig H. Kay - Dassel Elementary School (Rural K-4, 350
students), Dassel-Cokato #466 School District, Dassel,
Minnesota
 Expanded the volunteer program, which now boasts a
parent resource room, a volunteer coordinator, and a
community clothing center.
 Quote: "I believe that everyone is important and does
make a difference, and that I can be most effective when
leading by example."
 Miller's Parent Center is a room in our school which has been
designated for our school parents. Parents are invited to come help
with teacher work, attend ESL lessons, attend parenting sessions, work
on computers, learn about different cultures, or just visit and make
new friends. There will be a Parent Educator working in the Parent
Center from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Thursdays with the parents
who attend. The Parent Educators are a group of trained district
personnel.
 In addition to our Parent Center, we have a Parent Volunteer
Program. As well as helping to make teaching materials, we need
assistance in the classroom, library, clinic, and office areas.
Volunteering in school is a wonderful way to be in touch with your
child's education. We value our Miller parents and encourage you to
participate in our Parent Center and Parent Volunteer Program.
 Miller's Parent Center Coordinator in Mrs. Lisa Montero. She can be
reached at 498-8110 ext. 5783.
General Guidelines
 • A written request for volunteer
assistance/resources must be submitted to and approved
by the principal
 • Volunteers work under the direction and
supervision of a teacher or school personnel
 • Volunteer service is supportive and supplemental
and not substitute for professional teachers
 • School liability insurance includes coverage for
authorized school volunteers
 • Students permanent records are available to
employed school personnel only (state mandates)
Steps to be Taken by Volunteers

 Attend the orientation at your school at the beginning of


the year. On-site orientation will be given if assigned later
in the year
 Complete the volunteer emergency form
 Volunteers who work on a regular basis need to take a
tuberculin test
 Be sure to sign-in and sign-out upon arrival at and
departure from school
 Vista schools are deeply committed to the use of
volunteers to help teachers in the classroom, work in the
school office, help supervise on field trips and perform
many other services for the schools. Volunteers work as
much or as little as they are able. District policy requires
those who work over 20 hours per year to show evidence
of a negative TB test. TB tests are available from the
school nurse for a nominal fee.
The advantages a volunteer program

 Volunteers serve as volunteers


 Volunteers contribute to student learning
 Volunteers expand and extend student horizons
 Volunteers contribute to positive student self- concept
 Volunteers provide a first-hand view of school
2000 SUFFOLK PUBLIC SCHOOLS

 PARENT VOLUNTEER PROGRAM: All elementary


schools encourage families to et involved. Volunteers are
matched according to their talents, skills and interests with
the needs of teachers, students and the school. Jobs
include, but are not limited to performing clerical work,
helping in the clinic, chaperoning field trips, tutoring
students, reading stories to classes, leading craft projects,
entertaining, or speaking on their careers -- just to name a
few. Call your child's school and volunteer!
Do Schools Really Need More Volunteers?
Brian O. Brent
Educational Policy, Vol.14 No4 Sept 2000 p.495-
510
A recent study of volunteers in 57 elementary schools reveals some
surprises.

Table 1
Who Volunteers?
Gender
    Male 12%
    Female 88%
Age
    Under 20 < 1%
    20-25 4%
    26-35 20%
    36-55 62%
    56 and over 14%
Take Note that the above statistics merely showed the
total respondents (N=575) The categories of real
Hours Volunteered Each Year
 40 or fewer 53%
 41-80 22%
 81-200 15%
 201-400 6%
 400+ 4%
Employment Status
 Not employed 51%
 Employed, part-time 39%
 Employed, full-time 10%
 Race/ethnicity
 White 86%
 Black 8
 Hispanic 4
 Asian 2
Education Level
 Some high school 4
 High school diploma 24
 Associate’s degree 19
 Bachelor's degree 31
 Master’s degree 17
 Professional degree 3
 Doctorate 2
 Table 2
 What Do Volunteers Do?
 Duties:
 Classroom (includes tutoring) 89%
 Library 6%
 Administrative Office 2%
 Supervisory Duties 3%

 Grades*:
 Kindergarten 58%
 Grade 1 62%
 Grade 2 53%
 Grade 3 48%
 Grade 4 36%
 Grade 5 26%
 Tasks*:
     Assist students with reading/writing activities
53%
     Assist students with math activities 30%
     Assist students with science activities
4%
     Assist students with computer activities 3
 Assist students with art activities
3%
     Help students make up work 11%
     Prepare games and teaching materials
33%
     Photocopy materials 22%
     Assist with grading 11%
     Decorate classrooms 18%
     Help with field trips 53%

 *Percentages add to more than 100 percent because


 Table 3
 How Do Volunteers Benefit Schools?

Agree Neutral Disagree


 Principals' Responses:
 Improve the school's climate 97% 3% -
 Improve the quality
of classroom instruction 85% 13% 2%
 Can increase individual
student's achievement in reading 87% 13% -
 Can increase individual
student's achievement in math 70% 30% -
 Improve school-community
relations 98% 2% -
 Volunteers' Responses:
 I have learned more about
how schools operate 89% 7% 4%
 I am more interested in
education issues 84% 8% 8%
 I have greater respect
for teachers 90% 5% 5%
 I have greater respect for
school administrators 71% 21% 8%
Cost-Effectiveness of Volunteer Programs

 None of the schools formally evaluated their


programs
 Cost-effectiveness of volunteer resources was
not done due to the following reasons:
3. Such analysis requires that competing
alternatives be compared with regard to their
effects and costs
4. It is difficult to place monetary value on the
benefits that accrue to schools from volunteer
activities
Some Bad News
 • Our analysis confirmed that schools in poor
communities have access to fewer volunteers than
schools in more affluent communities:
First, schools with high percentages of poor children
have fewer parents and community members who
have time to volunteer.
Secondly, many adults in poorer communities believe
that they do not have the skills necessary to volunteer.
Finally, some principals suggested that poorer schools
often are located in communities where many
parents and residents have had unfavorable school
experiences, making them reluctant to volunteer.
Are Volunteers Distributed Equitable?

 Suburban schools secure comparatively higher


levels of volunteer resources than rural and urban
schools
 Schools and students in poorer communities had
less of an opportunity to benefit from volunteer
resources
Volunteerism: The Future Ahead?

 If the purpose of increased volunteerism is to improve


student achievement, members of education community
should proceed cautiously
 It is for to build political support for reform, volunteers
will serve schools well
 Volunteer quality and ways in which schools make use of
their skills remain unresolved
 The concern is the influence of volunteers on matters of
equity. Schools in poorer communities have less of an
opportunity to benefit from volunteer resources
Parent Volunteer Views on Volunteering in Schools
by Charlie Naylor
BCTF Research
 What has been a success in your work with teachers?
• Flexibility
• Teacher and school openness to volunteers
• A recognition and an acceptance of role
• Taking some time to gauge the
culture of the school’
• Recognizing that being a
volunteer meant helping more
than one’s own child
• Patience
• Respect the children
 Have there been any areas of tension or conflict in your
work with teachers?
• Lack of information and
communication
 • Some teachers did not want
volunteers in their class
• Where the roles became blurred
• As a result of staff cutbacks
• When appreciation appeared limited
 
 What would you recommend to other parents who are
about to volunteer, in terms of how to work
successfully with teachers?
• Make some effort to find out more about
the culture of the school
• Take some time to be receptive to
teachers’ views and instructions
• Avoid imposing your own values on
children
• Recognize that student progress can be
very gradual
• Take cues from the teacher
• Talk to teachers and the principal
• Keep a volunteer list
• Be receptive to students and students’ needs
Responsibilities of volunteers

• as an example to students appropriate behavior,


speech and dress
• every task performed in the school is important to
the education of students
• be willing to serve under professional supervision
and direction
• be punctual and reliable in fulfilling volunteer
assignments
• become familiar with individual school’s policies
and practices
• respect the confidential nature of school records
and relationships between staff members and students
• mutual respect and confidence (with staff
members)
• accept willingly the tasks assigned
• inform the community in a positive manner
about the school
• be dependable in attendance
• work toward a team relationship
Volunteers: Always keep in mind:
• Dependability
Volunteer only for the time you can realistically
expect to fulfill
• Time
The school looks forward to seeing volunteers
when they are scheduled
• Confidentiality
Bound to hear privileged information when they
come into school
Need to establish a positive and mutually
respectful relationship with the school
• Adaptability
To what exists rather what would be ideal
Responsibilities for teacher/staff member

• make the volunteer feel welcome


• make sure the volunteer feel comfortable
in the school
• learn about the volunteer’s talents, special
interest, and abilities so that he/she is
utilized
• plan specific and clearly defined duties for
the volunteer
• be patient and diplomatic while
supervising the activities of the volunteer
• provide regular opportunities for
interchange and feedback with the
volunteer
• work toward a team relationship
Responsibilities of the principal

• encourage commitment from staff to participate in the


volunteer program
• Appoint annually a volunteer chair person to lead and
coordinate the program
School principals report that having a coordinator is critical to
their ability to support and maintain a successful volunteer program.
The Volunteer Coordinator can focus on recruiting, training,
maintaining records, and supporting volunteers as they come to the
school. Principals also respond that by having a person dedicated to
coordinating volunteers, it has made a significant impact on their
ability to attract and maintain new volunteers.
City of Seattle
Human Services Department
http://www.cityofseattle.net/humanservices/fys/Family/Com
munityInvolvProgram.htm
• discuss volunteer program possibilities with the school staff
and the volunteer chair person
• assist in the orientation of volunteers to the school
building, its policies and practices
• provide adequate space for volunteer program
needs
• review and evaluate the volunteer program
periodically with staff, school chair person and division
coordinator
• provide recognition for those involved in the
volunteer program
• work toward a team relationship
• Be sensitive to the legal requirements
Legal isu: Volunteer Drivers

 ANYONE TRANSPORTING CHILDREN ON A FIELD TRIP


MUST COMPLETE A "VOLUNTEER AUTOMOBILE DRIVER
AUTHORIZATION" FORM. Drivers must have third party liability
insurance of $1,000,000.00. Seat belts must be used for each child
being transported in the vehicle. Parents are reminded that children
who weigh less than 40 pounds are to be transported in approved car
seats. Volunteer drivers must have less than six demerit points. A copy
of the drivers’ insurance and passenger endorsement must be provided
to the school office. In order to obtain passenger endorsement, drivers
must inform insurance companies that they will be occasionally
transporting students. Some insurance companies may indicate that
you do not need a passenger endorsement in addition to your current
coverage.
Occupation Health and Safety *

 First Aid
 Volunteers need to be aware of ‘Hygiene
procedure for handling blood and other body fluid
of all persons
 Treatment of individuals
 Abuse, harassment or bullying of students,
volunteers, parents or anyone else will not be
tolerated
 Familiarize with school disaster plan such as fire
drill