Volunteering at Petaluma City Schools
Petaluma City Schools welcomes and values parent and community volunteers in our schools and at our school activities. We have many opportunities for you to help our students! If you are interested in being an athletic, classroom, field trip or parent volunteer, please contact the school you would like to support. If the school has a need for volunteers, you will need to complete the District's volunteer application. In some cases, fingerprinting will be required.
The following guidelines are in place to clarify the volunteer process, to ensure student and campus safety, and to help maintain the educational environment.
Guidelines for School Volunteers
Welcome to Petaluma City Schools. We welcome parent and community volunteers and appreciate the time you are devoting to supporting our students’ success. To help make your time in the classroom both enjoyable and productive, we ask that you adhere to the following guidelines.
- Upon arrival at the school, please check in at the office, sign in, and pick up your volunteer badge. Wear your badge at all times while you are on campus. It is important to come to the office, sign out, and return your badge before you leave the campus. This helps us know who is on our site, should we need to contact you while you are on campus.
- To support the flow of classroom instruction, it is important to be on time and come to school on the days that you have agreed to volunteer. Classroom teachers plan instruction based on your commitment to volunteer in the classroom on a specific date and time. It is helpful if you arrive a few minutes early so that the teacher can smoothly transition to the activities and lessons with which you will be helping.
- Children respond best to positive, supportive interactions with adults. Please keep this in mind while you are working with students.
- If you hear or observe inappropriate or dangerous situations, please share what you have heard or seen privately with the teacher or principal. Dangerous situations should be brought to the teacher’s attention immediately.
- It is important that all student information be kept confidential. Please do not discuss other student’s progress with other parents (including their own). Please direct any parent questions to the teacher. The best rule of thumb is to not discuss individual students with anyone but the classroom teacher.
- There may be a time when you have a concern about your own student’s progress in the classroom or want to share information about your own child with the teacher. This is best done after class, at a time and place arranged with the teacher, when the teacher can give you full attention.
- Students learn best by doing. Students are at different educational levels and learn in different ways and at a different pace. When helping students, give them the time they need to think about the problem or project on their own. It is helpful to review instructions and respond to students’ questions, but not to do the work for them.
- Please take your guidance from the classroom teacher. Teachers make final decisions concerning volunteers in the classroom. They select volunteers as needed in the classroom and give volunteers specific assignments and directions in the best interests of the students and to best utilize volunteer skills.
- Wear comfortable clothing. We ask that adults adhere to the school dress code and model for students our expectations for behavior and dress. Please avoid “tank tops, spaghetti strap tops, halter-tops, bare midriffs or chests, see-through outfits, or off-the-shoulder blouses”.
- Please use the adult bathroom facilities only.
- An evacuation chart for fire and emergency drills is located in the classroom by one of the exits. Please direct your attention to the classroom teacher when a drill or emergency occurs.
- Should you have any questions about these guidelines, please discuss them with the classroom teacher or principal.
School Procedures for Volunteers and Fingerprint Information
- All volunteers, including parents, grandparents, and guardians, must complete a “School Volunteer Application”.
- After approval by the school administrator, the “School Volunteer Application” is kept on file in the school office.
- All volunteers, other than parents, grandparents, or guardians, are required to have fingerprint clearance with the California Department of Justice. However, parents, grandparents, or guardians who are chaperones on an overnight field trip are required to have fingerprint clearance (see “Fingerprint Facts”).
- If the volunteer has been in the State of California less than one year, the volunteer will also be required to have a National Verification Background Check through the FBI.
- The school notifies Human Resources that the volunteer needs to be fingerprinted by completing a “Request for Fingerprint Clearance for Volunteer” form (attached) and forwarding it to Human Resources.
- The fingerprint process (and FBI check, if required) will be coordinated through Human Resources. Any information gained from a background check will remain confidential.
- Human Resources will notify the school and the volunteer when the fingerprints have cleared so that the volunteer may begin volunteering in the school.
- If the fingerprint check reveals a criminal history record, the Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources will meet with the person and will determine if the person is approved or not approved to volunteer. The Assistant Superintendent of HR will notify the site administrator of the decision.
- Subsequent arrest notifications, if any, will be received by HR and the Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources will meet with the person about the arrest. HR will notify the site administrator if a volunteer is no longer eligible to volunteer (no other information will be given).
- All volunteers must provide current evidence of tuberculosis (TB) clearance before being allowed to volunteer. A free TB clinic is conducted once a month at the District Office by District Nurses. TB clearances will be kept on file in Human Resources. The District hosts TB clinics every month during the school year. The clinics are held at the District Office between 3:00 PM and 4:00 PM and are for current employees, coaches, volunteers, etc.
- A Megan’s Law Check will be conducted on volunteers who will not be fingerprinted. The school administrator will designate a site district employee to conduct this check.
- You can access a database on registered sex offenders (extracted from the California Sex and Arson Registry (CSAR)) on the California Megan’s Law Sex Offender Locator website. Here you can search by name for a specific volunteer. This website also allows you to search for registered sex offenders in proximity to schools and parks, along with listings in a zip code, city, and county.
- The school will maintain a sign-in and sign-out registry for guests and volunteers. Guests and volunteers must sign in at the front office before proceeding to other locations on campus.
- The school will maintain a list of volunteers that will include the volunteer’s name, date of application, fingerprint clearance (if required), TB clearance, and Megan’s Law check. The school employee who completes the Megan’s Law check will also initial alongside the date of the check.
- All volunteers will receive a copy of the “Guidelines for School Volunteers” from the school before they begin volunteering.
- Volunteers may not be used to replace District personnel who have been reduced in hours or laid off.
- Schools are to notify Human Resources when a person is no longer a volunteer at their school, including the reason why this person is no longer volunteering.
Thank you for volunteering and working together with our schools to maximize the educational opportunities and environment for our students!