Volunteer Programs

Definitions

For purposes of this procedural directive, school volunteer programs are designed to advance the school/district’s educational priorities, goals, and mission; and to support student academic achievement.

For purposes of this procedural directive, “volunteer” means an unsalaried person (parents, guardians, family or community members) authorized by Albuquerque Public Schools to perform volunteer program services for the district.  Volunteers serve in such capacity without compensation or employee benefits of any type. Volunteers serve at the discretion of the superintendent (and/or his/her designee) without any expressed or implied privileges beyond those found in this procedural directive and may be released from volunteering if so deemed by the superintendent or his/her designee.

For the purpose of this procedural directive, “supervised volunteer” means a volunteer that when with a student(s) is in line of site of district person(s) at all times; not including APS Food and Nutrition employees.

For the purpose of this procedural directive, “unsupervised volunteer” means a volunteer  with unsupervised access to students at any point and for any length of time.  Volunteers participating in out-of-school time programs are considered unsupervised volunteers.

For purpose of this procedural directive, “visitor” means an unsalaried person who attends a district-sponsored event or activity or visits a site in the district for a short time mostly to observe or participate. All visitors are subject to the policies and procedural directives of Albuquerque Public Schools. 

Purpose of School Volunteer Programs

Albuquerque Public Schools encourages parents, guardians, families and community members to volunteer in its schools.  Albuquerque Public Schools shall strive to have a volunteer program that advances the school or district’s educational priorities, goals and mission and to support student academic achievement.  Volunteer functions include things such as:

  • Assist teachers in providing basic skills instruction and enrichment opportunities that complement quality instruction and foster college and career readiness
  • Enhance social and emotional skill development and experiences for students; increases student motivation for learning; assists students and families with support services that reduce barriers to learning
  • Support attendance promotion, chronic absenteeism reduction, and dropout prevention by providing supplementary instruction and supports such as, but not limited to, tutoring, mentoring, and enrichment activities
  • Build an understanding and support of school programs among interested citizens and business/community organization partnerships
  • Strengthen school/family/community relations through positive participation opportunities
  • Promote family engagement by actively supporting and seeking collaboration with PTA, school/community advisory councils, and other parent groups.
  • Support the safety and aesthetics of facilities
  • Enhance district educational programs, but does not displace district employees or programs

Requirements and Examples of Volunteers 

All volunteers shall be responsible for understanding the provisions of this procedural directive and shall:

  • Submit and receive approval of a volunteer application 
  • Perform volunteer work under the direction of assigned teacher, school volunteer coordinator, and/or school administrator
  • Monitor their volunteer clearance or FBI fingerprint background clearance expiration date and shall be responsible for renewing their clearance prior to its expiration date
  • Complete a required district volunteer training program and a school site orientation prior to beginning volunteer service
  • Not bring other children with them when volunteering during the instructional day

There are two categories of volunteers who receive differing levels of background check clearances and badging: volunteers with unsupervised access to students and volunteers with supervised access to students.   

  • Volunteers with Unsupervised Access to Students - These are volunteers who may conduct functions that lead them to have unsupervised access to students at any point and for any length of time.
    • Unsupervised volunteers must obtain FBI fingerprint background check by APS School Police.
    • Unsupervised volunteers must obtain a badge with their name, photo and expiration date from the APS School Police prior to providing services or having access to a school or students.  They must:
      • wear the badge on their person in plain sight at all times when volunteering
      • only use the badge for approved volunteer services and locations, and
      • return the badge to the APS School Police when no longer volunteering
    • Unsupervised volunteers must sign in and out of APS schools and facilities every time they provide volunteer program services
    • Unsupervised volunteers must be able to present some form of current government-issued photo identification (driver’s license, passport, military ID, US or other government identification)
    • Typical examples of volunteer functions with unsupervised contact with students include, but are not limited to:
      • volunteer coaches
      • support personnel for athletics
      • tutors and mentors
      • chaperones (especially during overnight trips)
        • Chaperones who drive for field trips shall be required to meet requirements in additional Board of Education policies and administrative procedural directives.
      • school-site safety patrols
      • after-school programs and club activity leaders
  • Volunteers with non-stop supervised access or no access to students– These are supervised volunteers who serve in public settings and classrooms where they have no solitary unsupervised time with students; they remain always within an unobstructed view of paid APS employee (not including APS Food and Nutrition employees); and have no unsupervised access to students
    • Supervised volunteers are volunteers who conduct functions that guarantee that they never have unsupervised access to students at any point and for any length of time
    • Supervised volunteers must obtain a general volunteer background clearance by APS School Police and show a volunteer clearance to the school/department prior to providing services
    • Neither schools nor school police shall issue supervised volunteers a badge. Schools will provide supervised volunteers with a sticker or label that is used for visitors
    • Supervised volunteers must sign in and out of APS schools and facilities every time they provide volunteer program services
    • Supervised volunteers must sign in and out of APS schools and facilities every time they provide volunteer program services
    • Supervised volunteers must be able to present some form of current government-issued photo identification (driver’s license, passport, military ID, US or other government identification)
    • Typical examples of volunteer functions with supervised contact with students include, but are not limited to:
        • classroom tutoring
        • classroom reading
        • classroom assistance
        • library assistance
        • front office assistance
        • family room assistance

District Students Who Volunteer

  • APS students over the age of 13 who volunteer in any school or program must meet all criteria for volunteering including all volunteer screening requirements for either supervised volunteers or unsupervised volunteers
  • Students under the age of 18 must have their parent or legal guardian’s permission to obtain a volunteer clearance or FBI fingerprint background clearance

District Staff Who Volunteer

  • District staff who wish to volunteer at a school (other than the school where they are employed) or other program/location shall obtain a volunteer clearance prior to volunteering. This includes volunteering to chaperone field trips
  • District staff who wish to volunteer shall request personal or annual leave and obtain their supervisor’s permission prior to volunteering, except district staff volunteers participating in the APS CARES program
  • District staff who are exempt and who are not assigned to report to a school location(s) shall be eligible to participate in the APS CARES program
    • APS CARES program shall provide volunteer services to school sites for specific school programs/activities that are pre-approved by the district

Qualifications of Volunteers

Approval of volunteers shall be at the discretion of the site administrator and/or a Volunteer Programs and Special Projects manager.  Volunteer approval and assignment shall be based on factors including, but not limited to:

  • Completion of all volunteer requirements
  • Identification of the service areas and functions where they can best serve the school’s volunteer program goals
  • Volunteers in the schools, under the authority of the principal, may work directly under the supervision of the school volunteer coordinator, in accordance with approved procedures
  • A volunteer’s service must be connected to advancement of the school/district’s educational priorities and mission, help schools achieve district goals, and support student academic success.  Services that do not meet this criteria are not considered to be appropriate school volunteer activities
  • Possess a positive attitude; interest in and enthusiasm for working with/supporting children
  • Possess the ability to work cooperatively and under the supervision with school personnel
  • Possess adequate communication skills
  • Possess good health, moral character, dependability, and personal hygiene
  • Possess the ability and willingness to participate regularly, and willingness to complete a volunteer agreement with the school’s volunteer coordinator

Authority

  • Volunteers in the schools, under the authority of the principal, may work directly under the supervision of the school volunteer coordinator, in accordance with approved procedures
  • A volunteer’s service must be connected to advancement of the school/district’s educational priorities and mission, help schools achieve district goals, and support student academic success.  Services that do not meet this criteria are not considered to be appropriate school volunteer activities

Disqualification or Release of Volunteers

Volunteers serve at the discretion of the superintendent. Volunteers may be suspended or released from service at a specific school or throughout the district.

Volunteers may be released from service to the schools or district in the following circumstances:

  • When the needs of either the school or the volunteer cannot be met
  • Volunteers who violate district codes of conduct, any local, state, or Federal law, or violate a district policy or procedure
  • Background clearances with felony and misdemeanor convictions or registered sex offender may eliminate volunteer eligibility
  • Changes in the criminal background of a volunteer that results in a change of status in their volunteer clearance or FBI criminal background clearance, as verified by the district fingerprint and background checks department

Responsibilities of Albuquerque Public Schools and Individual School Sites

The Coordinated School Health Department shall develop objectives and guidelines to administer all phases of school volunteer programs.

The Coordinated School Health Department shall complete the following tasks:

  • facilitate and support the objectives of the district and school volunteer programs
  • develop and conduct annual professional development for principals and site volunteer coordinators regarding volunteer support screening procedures
  • provide training and support for site community outreach and engagement efforts
  • develop and disseminate/conduct volunteer training
  • create a district volunteer coordinator and volunteer handbook outlining volunteer procedures and best practices
  • serve as a liaison with school personnel, local agencies, business/organization partnerships, and the community in support of volunteerism

Individual School Sites – School Principals

School principals shall be responsible for leadership and oversight of the school volunteer program, and ensure that:

  • the scope, priorities and functions of the school volunteer program are determined through input and data about/from students, families, community partners and staff
  • a site volunteer coordinator is designated (or that they act in such capacity) to serve as the administrator of the school volunteer program, meets the responsibilities noted herein, serves as the immediate supervisor of volunteers and submit that person’s name and contact information to the Coordinated School Health Department annually
  • the scope of volunteer needs and functions are determined after performing a school volunteer needs assessment. This shall include determinations of which volunteer positions fit into each of the volunteer categories
  • they and/or the school site volunteer coordinator attends an annual district training regarding the screening of volunteers and volunteer coordination best practices
  • pursuant to state regulation, shall conduct an annual evaluation of the school volunteer program and adjust the program as required to ensure that volunteers are advancing the school’s/district’s educational priorities, goal, and mission and/or supporting student academic achievement. Evaluation tools shall be made available to principals in the Volunteer Coordinator Handbook
  • they promote a climate and develop an infrastructure whereby volunteers feel welcome, needed, and effectively utilized on the school campus
  • volunteers receive notification of release from service (when appropriate)
  • staff monitor visitor and volunteer sign in and out processes, including: checks of photo identification, issuing a paper sticker (with our without photo) for all supervised volunteers and visitors daily, confirmation that the volunteer has a current clearance
  • instruct all staff to ask any person on campus who is not wearing either a daily-issued volunteer/visitor sticker or district issued unsupervised volunteer badge, to inquire as to the purpose of that person’s presence in the school building

Individual School Sites – Site Volunteer Coordinator

The site volunteer coordinator shall be responsible to :

  • help to gather input and to design; then implement and evaluate  the school volunteer program
  • conduct interviews of all volunteers, ensure that all volunteers are screened into one of two volunteer categories, ensure that volunteers meet requirements and support the purpose of volunteer programs, match and assign volunteers to specific volunteer positions, and conduct recognition/appreciation events at the school to support retention and recognition of volunteers
  • serve as coach and direct supervisor of volunteers
  • pursuant to state regulation, shall provide and/or ensure that all school volunteers completes an annual volunteer orientation. Training module will be available through the Coordinated School Health Department
  • confirm clearance status of volunteers prior to their serving the school
  • promote sign in and out processes for all types of visitors and volunteers
  • participate in an annual district training regarding the screening of volunteers and volunteer coordination best practices
  • maintain volunteer records and track the number of volunteers and the dates and hours worked at the school
  • promote volunteerism in the school community, recruit volunteers, ensure that all volunteers complete the volunteer orientation and provide volunteer recognition activities
  • notify the school principal of any volunteer not meeting requirements, with grounds for disqualification, or who is no longer needed or recommended for service and may request assistance from the Coordinated School Health Department
  • obtain badges from volunteers no longer working in the school and return them to APS Police

Purpose of Visitors

Albuquerque Public Schools encourages parents, guardians, family and community members to visit its schools. 

Requirements and Examples of Visitors

A visitor is an unsalaried person who attends a district-sponsored event or activity or visits a site in the district for a short time mostly to observe or participate.  No background clearance is required to visit a site in the district.  Visitors shall have no unsupervised exposure or contact with students. Visitors whose time on campus becomes more then a casual visit, or becomes more consistent shall be encouraged to become a volunteer

Visitors shall comply with the following requirements:

  • Visitors shall report their presence and sign in at the school office if the visit occurs during the instructional day, but may not be required to sign in if the event or activity is after the instructional day
  • Visitors will have no approved badge issued by any school, department, or other entity in the district or community.  Schools will provide visitors with a sticker or label to designate them as such while on campus, which they will display at all times and surrender following the event or activity
  • Visitors must be able to present some form of current government-issued photo identification (driver’s license, passport, military ID, US or other government identification)

Examples of visitors include, but are not limited to:

  • guest/resource/career information speakers
  • persons with one-time appearance for school or classroom event like a literacy day, play, or presentation
  • parents and family members who attend school to eat lunch
  • parents and family members who attend school athletic events or extra-curricular performances
  • visitors for a one-time family involvement activity with their student
  • parents dropping off items for their student at the school or picking or dropping off their student
  • vendors making a delivery to a school
  • persons attending at parent-teacher conferences or student meetings

APS School Police Department

APS School Police shall conduct appropriate screening and background checks for supervised volunteers and unsupervised volunteers.  The APS Police Department shall maintain all criminal background clearance records. 

Volunteers and field trip chaperones are not covered under APS Worker’s Compensation Insurance.  If a volunteer, provider volunteer, or field trip chaperone is involved in an accident while performing unpaid assignments, the accident shall be reported to the salaried APS employee in charge, and APS Risk Management shall be notified as soon as possible so that the proper forms and procedures can be followed.

APS School Police shall provide badges for all volunteers with unsupervised access to students.  Badges shall include the volunteer’s name and the date of expiration of their clearance.

Administrative Position:

  • Associate Superintendent of Equity, Instruction, Innovation and Support
  • Chief Operations Officer

Department Director:

  • Director of Coordinated School Health 

References

Legal Cross Ref.:

  • §22-10A-5 NMSA 1978
  • §22-29-7 NMSA 1978
  • NMAC 6.50.18

Board Policy Cross Ref.:

Procedural Directive Cross Ref.:

NSBA/NEPN Classification: IJOC

Revised: May 1995
Revised: April 1996
Revised: May 1997
Revised: May 2003
Revised: November 2012
Reviewed: October 8, 2019
Revised: October 18, 2019