Thank you for your interest in serving as a Washington Community Schools volunteer! Every day, Washington Community Schools students and teachers beneﬁt from the generosity of volunteers who share their time and talents. The countless tasks performed by volunteers are vital to the continued operation and success of our schools. Sharing your life experiences, technical know-how, and friendship with a young person can make a huge impact on their life, both today and in the future.
This Volunteer Handbook provides important information regarding how to sign up to be a volunteer, guidelines and responsibilities for all volunteers, and school safety procedures. At the end, we have included a space for you to indicate that you have read and agree to abide by our volunteer expectations.
WASHINGTON COMMUNITY SCHOOLS VOLUNTEERS ARE EXPECTED TO:
- Complete the limited background check to be approved to serve as a volunteer.
- Abide by the Volunteer Agreement as described in the Volunteer Handbook
- Adhere to the district’s sign-in/sign-out procedures
- Wear appropriate attire when volunteering
- Wear a visible nametag at all times while volunteering
- Maintain communications with the volunteer supervisor
- Adhere to all WCS policies
ABSENCE AND PUNCTUALITY
Volunteers are asked to commit to speciﬁc times and days, as teachers need to plan accordingly. If you are unable to volunteer when scheduled, or if you will be late, please let the school building office know as soon as possible to allow the school to plan accordingly.
All Washington Community School volunteers are required to complete a limited criminal history background check.
Washington Community Schools reserves the right to run random background checks and to deny volunteer privileges as necessary. In general, persons convicted of a felony may not volunteer in our schools, although the Superintendent will make the ﬁnal decision.
Volunteers will follow school policy on personal communication devices. For more information, contact the Principal at the school where you are volunteering.
Volunteers should not use their phone (or other electronic devices) to video record or take pictures of staff or students while they are volunteering.
CHILDREN NOT REGISTERED AT THE SCHOOL
Volunteers may not bring non-registered or non-school-aged children with them on volunteer assignments.
Federal laws mandate the privacy of student information. As such, volunteers are expected to respect the conﬁdentiality of all students, staff, and data.
Student discipline is the responsibility of school staff, not volunteers. Any problems a volunteer might have with student behavior should be reported to the classroom teacher or building principal.
Volunteers are expected to dress in accordance with school standards. If you have questions about this, ask the school principal.
PROTECTING OUR STUDENTS: MANDATORY REPORTING
School staff will help you follow proper procedures established by state law and School Board policies when dealing with the following concerns.
- If child abuse and/or neglect is suspected, immediately report your concerns to the building principal or report concerns immediately to the Department of Child Services (DCS) hotline: 800-800-5556.
- If a student talks about harming themselves or others, report the conversation immediately to school staff or report the incident to DCS immediately.
- School volunteers who witness bullying (teasing, social exclusion, threats, stalking, physical violence, theft, sexual, religious, or racial harassment, public humiliation, destruction of property) must report the incident to a staff member immediately.
- Volunteers do not take pictures or videos of students without the appropriate staff permission.
- Volunteers do not email or contact students.
- Anti-Bullying Policy
Bullying is deﬁned as:
- Unwanted, aggressive behaviors that are repeated over time.
- The behavior includes verbal or written communications, images or messages sent digitally, physical acts, aggression, or any other behaviors that are committed by a student or group of students against another student with the intent to harass, ridicule, humiliate, intimidate, or harm the targeted student.
- In addition, it is considered bullying if the actions towards a student create a hostile school environment that
- Places the targeted student in reasonable fear of harm to the targeted student’s person or property
Places the targeted student in reasonable fear of harm to the targeted student’s person or property
Has a substantially detrimental effect on the targeted student’s physical or mental health
Has the effect of substantially interfering with the targeted student’s academic performance;
Or has the effect of substantially interfering with the targeted student’s ability to participate in or beneﬁt from the services, activities, and privileges provided by the school.
The bullying discipline rules shall apply regardless of the location in which the bullying occurred when the bully and the targeted student are students at a school within the same school corporation.
Washington Community School employees, volunteers and contracted service providers who have contact with students are required to verbally report alleged violations of this policy to school staff within 24 hours of when an incident was witnessed or when reliable information regarding the occurrence of an incident was received.
Washington Community School employees, volunteers or contracted service providers who promptly report an incident of harassment, intimidation or bullying, are protected against any legal actions arising from the incident.
PROTECTING OUR VOLUNTEERS
For your safety, you should always remain in sight of school staff when working with students. Make sure you are working in an open, visible area and do not allow yourself to be in a situation where your actions might be misconstrued. Avoid physical contact beyond handshakes and hands on shoulders.
All volunteers must sign in at the school ofﬁce each day that they are volunteering. Once signed in, volunteers will receive a volunteer badge which must be worn at all times when acting as a volunteer with Washington Community Schools. At the end of their shift, volunteers must sign-out in the school ofﬁce.
The ﬁrst responsibility of a volunteer is to tend to the safety of students in their care. Washington Community Schools has a school safety plan in place for all school buildings. Please be aware of posted evacuation routes in the event of a fire, safe locations in the event of a tornado, or lockdown procedures in the event of a threat requiring a lockdown. School personnel can provide more information for each given scenario as needed.
Please download and print the Volunteer Handbook Acknowledgement Form and return to your child's school. Printed copies will also be available in the main office of each school building.