Please sign in at the school office each time you arrive. For the student’s safety we need to know who is in the building and where to find you in case we receive a call for you.
Become familiar with the rules and policies of the school where you will volunteer. Ask your supervising teacher or principal to explain the school’s policy for smoking, use of telephones, eating facilities, fire drills, & emergency procedures. Use reasonable judgment in making decisions when there appears to be no policy or when the policy is not communicated. As soon as possible, consult with the supervising staff member for future guidance. All volunteers are required to fill out a volunteer application form.
Most of the time, volunteers are coordinated through the school’s PTA. Some PTA’s have a dedicated building coordinator. School secretaries and principals, and Community Education program coordinators can assist you in placement and orientation.
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 classroom and school. For this reason, volunteers always work under the direct supervision of teachers and administrators.
SCHOOL CALENDAR & CLOSINGS
Please ask the building secretary for a school calendar so that you are aware of school holidays and teacher workshops. Also, be aware of school and field trip cancellations due to weather. Cancellation announcements are broadcast on area TV and radio stations as well as on the district website.
Both teachers and children have planned their day around you. They depend on you to arrive on time. Please call the school if you will be late or absent.
Students rarely have behavior problems while working with volunteers. However, our schools have detailed discipline plans and the responsibility for discipline rests with professional staff. Volunteers may not discipline students. Please make the teacher aware of any discipline problem that might arise while you are working with a student.
Let us know if you would like us to sign off on your documentation of your volunteer hours. We realize that many employers now recognize the marketable value of skills learned through volunteering.
Your out-of-pocket expenses such as miles, parking fees and any direct gifts of money connected with volunteering may be deductible on your Federal tax return. Keep accurate records. For more information check out Publication 526 from the Internal Revenue Service for Charitable Contributions.
You are covered by the same liability insurance as school district employees while you are volunteering.
The foundation of all school volunteer programs is confidentiality. As you work with the staff and students, information of a confidential matter may be shared with you. The problems, abilities, grades/scores. relationships and confidences of students, their parents and the staff should never be discussed with 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. The staff and students needs to know they can trust you. If you do have concerns, please discuss them with the teacher, principal, coordinator or director. MN
SAFE & SUPPORTIVE SCHOOLS ACT
Winona Area Public Schools adheres to the MN Safe and Supportive Schools Act. This legislation identifies bullying behavior and provides guidance on handling bullying incidents. According to the act, bullying means:
- Intimidating, threatening, abusive or harming conduct that is objectively offensive.
- There is an actual or perceived imbalance of power between the student engaging in prohibited conduct and the target of the behavior.
- The conduct is repeated or forms a pattern.
- Materially and substantially interferes with a student’s educational opportunities, performance, or ability to participate in school functions or activities or receive school benefits, services or privileges.
If, as a volunteer, you have concerns or witness an incident that appears to be bullying in nature, please contact the teacher, program supervisor or principal.
CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECK
The school district will conduct a criminal background check on individuals 18 and over who will be working one-on-one with children and/or vulnerable adults or chaperoning field trips. Criminal background checks will also be completed on those coaching athletic and academic activities. Offering these types of volunteer opportunities to an individual shall not be made available until receipt of the final results of the criminal background check from the BCA are deemed acceptable to the school district and approved by the school board.