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9.29.P.1 School Volunteers
PROCEDURE PROCEDURE
Members of the community who want to make a difference in the lives of children and support educators are encouraged to apply to become a volunteer with the Dysart Unified School District. 

Visitors are individuals who are visiting a school, but not volunteering.  Visitors do not need to be a registered volunteer. This includes parents. All visitors need to follow the District office and school sign-in procedures. 

Volunteers are individuals who volunteer more than five (5) hours per year for any scheduled pre-arranged activity. Volunteers are persons who are given a scheduled prearranged activity by a staff member to assist in the school.  All potential volunteers - including parents of students in the Dysart Unified School District - must complete an application, be fingerprinted and receive clearance through the District office before they can begin volunteering in any classroom or school activity.  This includes field trips. Volunteer chaperones on overnight field trips or who serve as volunteer athletic coaches must be fingerprinted, regardless of the number of total hours volunteered. 

All volunteers are required to be fingerprinted. Fingerprinting and background checks will be renewed every five (5) years. Volunteer badges reflect the approval and expiration date of the application. Volunteers will be provided with a Volunteer Fingerprint Requirement Form which must be notarized. The Dysart Volunteer Coordinator will take the fingerprints and notarize the form. Photo identification will be required for proof of identity. A volunteer candidate will be approved as a District volunteer after clearance has been received from the Arizona Department of Public Safety, the volunteer orientation video has been viewed and the Volunteer Handbook has been read. The fingerprint fee will be paid by the District. 

After a volunteer is approved, the Dysart Volunteer Coordinator will schedule a meeting for non-parent community member volunteers to meet the teacher and students with whom they will be working. A school delegate will meet volunteers at the school where they will be volunteering, provide a brief tour, and introduce volunteers to the teacher(s) who will help set up the volunteer schedule in the classroom and discuss the volunteer duties. 

When a volunteer discontinues participation in the Dysart Volunteer Program, the ID badge must be returned to the Volunteer Coordinator or the school secretary. 

Dysart Unified School District does not accept high school students as volunteers. All volunteers must be over 18 years of age. 

Dysart works diligently to maintain safe schools. Wearing the photo ID badge is very important to school safety and the badge must be visible at all times when volunteering. This will enable the staff to recognize volunteers as a registered volunteer and also identify them as an important member of the school’s educational team. 

Volunteers may be covered by the District’s liability insurance policy while they are on campus and working under the direct supervision of the school staff. Volunteers must be registered at their school site, and a record of volunteer hours must be maintained at the school office. For this reason, it is very important that all volunteers log in and out of the attendance computer program each time they volunteer. Volunteers are not covered under the District’s health and medical benefits or workers’ compensation insurance. 

Each volunteer must log in and out at the school office computer each time they come to the school campus. For security and liability insurance coverage reasons, the District must have a record showing the days and hours each volunteer works on campus. A special volunteer attendance computer program has been set up in each school office for volunteers to log their attendance. Sports volunteers also have access to the computer program to log their volunteer hours. A record of each volunteer’s hours enables the school to evaluate its volunteer program and recognize volunteers for their valuable contribution to the District. In order to remain an active volunteer each year, volunteers will need to log their hours through the volunteer attendance page.

School volunteers work under the direct supervision of the professional staff at each school and only with those teachers who have requested the services of the volunteer. The District is responsible for the education, safety and well-being of each student. Any volunteer whose actions are not in the best interests of the school or students will not be permitted to continue to volunteer.  

Students rarely exhibit behavior problems while working with volunteers. The schools have a detailed discipline plan included in the Student and Parent Handbook. The responsibility for discipline rests with the school staff. Volunteers may not discipline students.  Volunteers should make the teacher aware of any discipline problems that occur while they are working with a student.  

Staff restrooms are located in the school offices and are available to volunteers. Volunteers are asked not to use student restrooms.  

As volunteers work with the school staff and students, information of a confidential nature may be shared. Issues, challenges, behaviors, problems, and confidential information of students, their parents, and the staff should never be disclosed to anyone who does not have a professional right or need to know. Like teachers, volunteers are bound by a code of ethics to keep confidential matters within the school. Volunteers should not discuss a child’s school progress or difficulties with the student’s parents. Occasionally, a child might confide in a volunteer about family matters or personal problems.  Volunteers should discuss the child’s conversation with the teacher or principal in private. If a volunteer suspects child abuse, concerns must be reported to the principal and Child Protective Services.

Volunteers may never dismiss a student from school. Children who must leave school early must receive permission from the school office. A parent or guardian must sign the student out before leaving. Under no circumstances may a volunteer take a student off campus. 

Volunteers are expected to dress appropriately for the school environment.  Revealing clothing, tube tops, tank tops, and short-shorts are not acceptable and volunteers are required to follow the District dress code.  

Volunteers are asked to absent themselves from volunteer duties when they are not feeling well.  They are asked to call in advance to let the teacher know they won’t be coming in at the scheduled time. Schools are particularly concerned about keeping students and staff healthy. This is another reason for staying away from school with a contagious illness. 

Volunteers are encouraged to carefully consider the commitment they are making. The work of volunteers is important work. Whether in the classroom, main office, media center or health office, the staff and students quickly become dependent upon volunteer assistance. It’s preferable to start out with a few hours per week and gradually build up to more hours or days than to promise more than can be delivered The District will accept whatever hours are available to volunteer.  

Volunteers are asked to be prompt and consistent. The teacher will be expecting a volunteer on the days scheduled to volunteer – and so will the children. When volunteers fail to show up as scheduled, everyone is disappointed. Volunteers can call the school office and leave a message for the teacher or staff member with whom they work to let them know in advance if they are unable to volunteer on any given day.

Volunteers are expected to become familiar with the rules and policies of the school where they volunteer. Supervising teachers can explain the school’s policy for use of telephones, eating facilities, fire drills and emergency procedures. 

Volunteers may not bring non-enrolled children with them to school when volunteering. 

Volunteers are an important part of the educational team. The suggestions and opinions of volunteers are always welcome. It is the professional staff, however, that is held responsible by law for the decisions that are made regarding the instruction of students and the management of the school. For this reason, volunteers always work under the direct supervision of teachers and administrators.

School staff is responsible for everything that goes on in a school building, including student instruction, safety and discipline. Volunteers supplement and support the program, but may not: 
  • Provide the curriculum or teaching plan  
  • Discipline students  
  • Take charge of the classroom for any length of time  
  • Have access to students’ permanent record files (psychological records, grades, health histories, etc.)  
  • Diagnose student needs  
  • Evaluate achievement  
  • Counsel students 
  • Discuss student progress with parents 

A volunteer is never considered a substitute for a member of the professional school staff.