Volunteers and Visitors
Volunteering in the Classroom
Renton School District has many opportunities for volunteering in schools. For instance, you may opt to:
- Mentor a child through Communities In Schools of Renton (CISR)
- Serve in a classroom
- Assist in the library
- Help with field trips or PTSA sponsored events
If you are a community member interested in volunteering, please follow the steps below to become a volunteer.
Become A Volunteer
1. Read the Volunteer Handbook
- Welcome Volunteers
- Classroom Guidelines
- Athletic Requirements
- Effective Ways to Work with Children
- Miscellaneous "Nuts & Bolts"
- Emergency Procedures
- Review Renton School District Volunteer Policies
On behalf of the students and staff, I would like to welcome you to the Renton School District Volunteer Program.The district appreciates your commitment to the program and your willingness to work with students in our local schools.
Volunteers play a meaningful role in improving the quality of education. The time you give will not only help the students with classroom learning, but improve their confidence and self-image as well.
There are many positive results that usually occur for the adult volunteer as well. I'm sure you will witness the happiness of students who discover, perhaps for the first time, the taste of success and the joy of relating to a friendly, caring adult other than their parent or teacher.
Thank you for your generosity of time, energy and support. Together we can make each student's years in the Renton School District a solid foundation upon which to build a lifetime of successful achievement.
Dr. Damien Pattenaude
Renton Schools Mission and Core Values
What Volunteers Do
There are many ways in which a Volunteer may assist or be asked to help at school. Some examples are:
Helping children in the classroom
- Classroom preparation or display setup
- Field trips
- Athletics Activities/Events
- Day time School Activities ( e.g. Assemblies and/or Fundraisers )
- Hall Monitoring
How the Volunteer Program Helps Schools
Volunteers have always been an important resource for the school district. Some of the positive effects volunteers have on our schools are:
- Teachers have more time to teach and plan.
- Students get more individualized attention enriching the curriculum.
- Community appreciation and parent knowledge of the educational process is increased.
- Discipline problems are reduced and the motivation of students is increased.
- Students can relate to more adults, which increases mutual respect.
What Volunteers Should Expect?
As a Volunteer who is giving valuable time and effort to the school(s), you should expect to:
- Feel that your assistance is worthwhile and contributes to the overall value of the program in which you are participating.
- Feel respected by all students and staff.
- Have a suitable assignment in line with your areas of interest and skills, and if possible, the convenience of location.
- Be given clear instructions and any training necessary for particular volunteer assignments.
- Be given proper orientation to the school with introductions to key personnel and information provided as to parking, storage of personal items and washrooms.
- Have an effective mechanism for two-way communication with staff.
- Be provided with direct support from staff if difficulties arise.
What is Expected of Volunteers?
- Work within the rules of the school as set out by the Principal (sign-in & wear a name tag; be quiet in the hallways; do not cut through classrooms).
- Maintain appropriate adult behavior at all times and expect age-appropriate behavior from the student. Avoid excessive displays of affection. Be sensitive to how a child reacts to you. Avoid physical contact.
- Dress appropriately, always remembering that you are setting an example for the students.
- Ask questions about programs, policies and equipment at a time appropriate for both the staff member and yourself. Talk to the teacher about any difficulties at appropriate times, not in front of students or parents.
- Exhibit behavior that is respectful and assumes equality towards members of the same and opposite sex and all ethnic/racial and religious groups. Do not make any comments that can be construed as racist, sexist, or bigoted. Respect cultural differences.
- Do not promote commercial products, religious doctrines or beliefs, political candidates or parties.
- Never lend money to students or give gifts, money, food, or presents (these may cause issues with equality, allergies and safety).
- Realize that you are not a certified teacher, educational programming assistant, therapist or counselor; but are a caring, supportive adult who accepts the students as they are. Volunteers convey by their interest, attitude and sincerity that students are worthwhile people. When students feel good about themselves, they are able to learn.
- Remember that teachers use recess, lunch, and before and after school times for planning. Please be sensitive to the demands on their time. Volunteer time is not meant for parent-teacher conferencing.
- Keep information about students and teachers confidential unless disclosure to proper authorities is required by law.
- Any information that indicates a student may harm her/himself or another person must be reported to the building administrator immediately.
- If a student reports that he/she has been abused, that information must be reported to the building administrator immediately. This information must remain confidential and should not be repeated to friends, relatives, or coworkers.
- Requests for information from the media (television, radio, newspaper) should be directed to the building administrator.
- Be dependable and punctual.
- Work under the direction and supervision of a member of the school staff; the relationship being one of mutual respect and confidence.
- Support teachers, not supplant them; the teachers are responsible for content and instruction in the classroom.
- Allow the teachers to discipline children. If there are incidents of misbehavior, it is the teacher’s responsibility to respond.
- Treat the teachers, students, and student’s parent(s) or guardian(s) with respect and not criticize or make negative comments about them to or in front of the students.
- Follow the teacher’s established procedures.
- Remember that you are there to help all the students, not just your own.
- Share personal experiences and talents. Let the teacher know where you excel (telling stores, math, science, singing, playing instruments, computer use, photography, etc.). Teachers love to use volunteers when their expertise enhances the curriculum.
- Respect the teacher’s time and don’t use classroom time to talk to teachers about personal issues.
- Remember that the teacher’s desks are their personal workspace. Please ask before you look for supplies and do not go through papers or files.
Field Trip Guidelines
- All volunteers must have passed a Washington State Patrol background check.
- Students must be supervised at all times while at District-sponsored events. Chaperones must be readily available, be mindful of safety concerns, and respond to students' needs.
- We ask that chaperones do not take any personal cell phone calls during the field trips. However, we do ask that you exchange phone numbers with the teacher in charge and any other supervising chaperones.
- For the protection of both the student and chaperone, chaperones shall not place themselves in situations in which they are alone with a student.
- Please work with the supervising teacher to confirm any bathroom hygiene procedures.
- While participating in a District-sponsored event, chaperones are expected to follow the directions given by the District supervising staff members, comply with district policies, work cooperatively with other staff and volunteers, and model appropriate behaviors for students.
The approval process for athletic volunteers meets requirements established by the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) and the District’s Risk Management department.
- Volunteers for high school athletic programs must be at least 19 years old.
- Maintain current First Aid/CPR/AED certification from a “hands-on” class. Online classes will not be accepted. A copy of your card is required.
- WIAA Coaching Standards Program. All volunteers are required to maintain his/her own records of training hours completed. See the WIAA website for requirements under AD-Coaches/Coaches/Coaching Standards Program.
- WIAA online rules clinics – General Rules, sport-specific, concussion, and sudden cardiac arrest are required.
- All football coaches must complete school-district approved technique-specific safety training similar to “Heads Up Football”. The training must include, but is not limited to, “hands-on” Safer Tackling Techniques and Drills, Helmet and Shoulder Pad Fitting, Concussion Management with Return to Play Protocols following a concussion, Heat, and Hydration training and Sudden Cardiac Arrest training. Football coaches will be required to repeat this training every three years.
- Volunteers have no official Renton School District capacity other than that designated by the program they are assisting.
- Volunteers are not authorized to have regularly scheduled unsupervised access to and/or supervision of students.
- Volunteers are not authorized to transport students in their private vehicles unless the following documents are approved and on file with their school Athletic Office:
- Volunteer Driver Screening – Affidavit of Insurance
- Approval for Use of Private Cars for Student Transportation
- Student Private Transportation Permission Form
- Volunteers are not authorized to drive Renton School District vehicles.
- Volunteers cannot be used to supplant reduce or eliminate positions.
- Volunteers should refer all media inquiries to the Head Coach.
- Volunteers are the responsibility of the Renton School District employee (coach) supervising them.
- Once the applicant has met all requirements the District Athletic Office will issue a badge and the volunteer coach may pick it up from the school they will be volunteering. This badge must be worn at all times while volunteering.
Effective Ways to Work with Children
As a volunteer, you will have different levels of interaction with students. When you are asked to interact with students, please keep these guidelines in mind.
Use Nurturing, Encouraging and Positive Remarks
- Students learn best by doing, not observing. Encourage students to ask questions and search for answers, to use all of their senses whenever possible, and to discover, experiment and repeat experiences on their own to build confidence.
- Be patient and flexible, discreet and sincere, warm and friendly.
- Learn the children’s names and show interest in what they are doing and telling you. You are very important as a listener.
- Be generous with praise and courteous with criticism.
- Be willing to discover interests and strengths of each student and to generate enthusiasm about each student.
- Maintain a sense of humor!
Don’t Do the Student’s Work
- When working with children, encourage them to do their own thinking. Give them plenty of time to answer; silence often means they are thinking and organizing what they want to say or write.
- Help students tackle their work, but do not do their work for them. If they get off track help them get back on in a tactful manner.
- If you don’t know an answer or are unsure of what to do, admit it to the children and work it out together. Feel free to ask the teacher for help when you need it.
- Use tact and positive comments. Offer choices as a problem-solving technique.
Do Not Judge the Student
- Accept each student as he/she is. Do not judge a student’s abilities, progress or behavior.
- Be aware that the student you are working with will be at different levels of learning. Be encouraging no matter at which level they are performing.
- Seek something worthy of a compliment, especially when children are having difficulties. Speak in a positive way to students and point out the things they have done correctly and well. Rushing them or nagging causes more problems than it solves. Belittling a student or making comparisons to other students is harmful.
- If a student is upset, encourage him/her to talk the problem over with you. You need not solve the problem, but by listening and talking, you help the student feel you care. Restating the problem shows you are listening.
Reinforce the Teacher’s Rules
- Be consistent with the teacher’s rules for classroom behavior, schedule, and atmosphere. Ask the teacher in advance what techniques are used in the classroom for maintaining focus.
- If a child is misbehaving, try naming the behavior you expect (e.g. “please put that pencil down”, “come sit by me”). Ask the student, “What would your teacher think of this behavior?” If the child continues to behave inappropriately, tell the teacher. Discipline is the teacher’s responsibility.
Miscellaneous "Nuts & Bolts"
- Park in marked (staff, visitors, student) areas of the parking lot. Never leave or park your car in the fire, loading, or bus zones.
- Most of the Renton School District schools have speed cameras out front. Keep in mind the speed limit in a school zone area is 20 mph when children are present.
- Always enter through the front door. This is usually the closest entrance to the Main Office. All other access doors are usually locked.
Sign In and Out
- If your volunteer time requires you to be onsite within the building during school hours you must sign in and out at the Main Office. As a safety measure, it allows the school to know who is or who has been in the building. During a school emergency this will verify if you are on district property.
- When signing in, please take and wear your badge/name tag at all times. This will help everyone, including students, get to know you more quickly and allows the school to know that you have reason to be on campus.
L & I – Worker’s Compensation
- If a volunteer should ever get injured while volunteering, coverage is provided.
- Contact the Administrative staff in the school’s main office immediately.
- Complete the “Self-Insured Accident” report and return it to the school office, or send it to:
- Ryan Rudolph at the RSD Administration Building, 300 SW 7th Street, Renton, WA 98057.
- The accident case will be assigned to a third party administrator; Eberle Vivian.
- For specific questions about medical benefits, call 253-854-6323 ext. 102.
- If you seek medical attention, please notify the doctor that you are a volunteer and we do not require information about your ability to work. As a volunteer, please be reminded that you are not an employee of the District and will not be eligible to receive time loss wages.
What Not to Bring
- Do not bring anything of value to school. Coats or umbrellas may be kept in the classroom where you are working.
- Do not bring preschoolers or siblings when you volunteer or when you chaperone field trips. Exceptions may be made for classroom parties and some field trips if approved in advance by the teacher.
- There is a phone in the Main Office for emergency and school-related calls. Please turn off the ringer on your cell phone when working with students.
- As a volunteer, you must respect and maintain confidentiality in regards to personal information about a child or his/her family. However, reasonable suspicion of abuse, neglect, sexual harassment, illegal or dangerous activities should be reported to the building administrator. Be assured staff will follow up on the information.
- For the protection of all, the relationship between you and a student must be appropriate and limited to the school setting. Out of school contact with a student including phone calls, exchanging of addresses or email addresses, home visits, invitations to your home, social events, office, or vehicle are not permitted. Do not give students money or gifts.
- A handshake, fist bump, or a high five is the only safe and friendly way to touch a child when volunteering. Avoid any physical contact. For some children, and in some cultures, even these gestures may be unwelcome. No child should be subject to unwelcome touching no matter how well intended. If a child ever inappropriately touches you, please inform a staff member immediately.
- You are a role model. Your conversation with students and staff should demonstrate respect for others and avoid language that may be perceived as discriminatory, profane, sexist, or offensive. No student or staff person should ever be spoken to disrespectfully or denied services on the basis of race, religion, disability, age, national origin or marital status. In addition, neither school personnel nor volunteers can encourage or promote religious beliefs through class activities or invitations to their place of worship. Avoid interrupting during class time.
- Volunteers are not permitted to administer prescription or nonprescription medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, etc. to students.
- Volunteers may not use, sell, provide, possess or be under the influence of drugs or alcohol during a District sponsored event.
- Volunteers are not permitted to use tobacco on school property and/or in the presence of, or within sight of students.
- Volunteers are not permitted to possess any weapon during a District sponsored event or on district property.
- The District building administrator has the discretion to not approve the services of a volunteer or chaperone.
Please be sure to take all personal belongings with you when you evacuate a building.
- Get under a table or desk. Hold to keep it over you for cover.
- Stay away from windows, high bookcases, and outside walls.
- Cover your neck with hands clasped behind your head if you feel the building shake.
- The building administrator will advise when to evacuate the building.
- If a continuous sounding alarm is ringing, follow the classroom teacher's instructions.
- If outside of a classroom, use the nearest exit.
- Return to the building after the all clear is sounded.
- Important Reminders for Lockout, Run/Hide/Fight and Secure Classroom:
- The updated stages are fluid.
- The stages of emergency response can change at a moment’s notice.
- Pay attention to your surroundings and use the information provided to keep yourself and others safe.
- Update those around you.
- There is an issue taking place that is minor in nature. There is not an active threat to everyone but there is an incident currently taking place. Keeping others away from the incident is critical to addressing it quickly and without others becoming involved.
- Teachers will secure their classroom by locking their doors and will continue with what they are doing. Upon further instruction from their administration they will unlock their classroom and resume normal activities
- There is an incident taking place off campus or outside of the building. All exterior doors will be locked, and students/staff will stay inside the building. Inside the building, programs will continue but be aware of the surrounding areas. We are LOCKING the problem OUT of the building.
“Run / Hide / Fight”
- This is not a term to be used lightly. There is an active threat to all. Utilize your senses and training to make to decision and react. Remember that proactivity saves lives.
Lockout vs Run/Hide/Flight Review
- Threat is outside of the building.
- There is something taking place near campus but not on campus.
- Doors to the outside are locked.
- Business as usual is conducted inside the building.
- Pay attention to your surroundings.
- No one will go outside the building until the Lockout is cleared.
- Threat is inside of the school.
- Be aware of your surroundings and act accordingly.
- If you can RUN away from the threat safely, run to safety.
- If you cannot safely run, you must HIDE.
- If you cannot run, and the area you’re hiding in is breached or you encounter the attacker, FIGHT!
- It allows you to use facts available to you in the moment, to make informed decisions. Then, Run, Hide, or Fight
- You have options!
- Remember, proactivity saves lives!
***Note – Lockouts are often initiated by law enforcement because of activity near the building. However, any school staff can initiate a lockout if dangerous activity is observed on or near the building. RHF can also be initiated by any school staff should an active threat be inside the building.
Review Renton School District Volunteer Policies
Please review the "Safe and Orderly Learning Environment" Policy and Procedure to learn more about the rules of being a visitor or volunteer in our schools.
2. Volunteer Application and Background Check Process
- Step 1 - Submit your application
- Step 2 - Application Status
- Step 3 - Application Approval
- Step 4 - Congratulations!
Step 1 - Submit your application
Complete the application and background check. For general questions, please email our Renton School District Security Department.
Online Application and Background Check ( English)
Online Application and Background Check (Spanish)
You will receive an email confirmation that your application has been received. If you don't receive a confirmation email, please contact the Renton School District Security Department.
Step 2 - Application Status
Step 3 - Application Approval
If you clear the Volunteer Background Check, you will receive an email that you are now approved to volunteer. This approval is good for two years for any Renton school. On your first visit as a volunteer, please remember to bring a government-issued ID (such as a driver's license) to check in.
If you are denied, you will receive an email. If you have questions about your denial of approval, you may contact the Safety and Security Department at (425) 204-4445.
Step 4 - Congratulations!
- Visitors desiring to visit a classroom must inform the principal or designee not less than one day prior to the date on which visitation is requested, unless mutually agreeable to the classroom teacher and principal or designee.
- All visitors must register at the office upon their arrival at school.
- Classroom visitation must not detract from planned classroom activities.
- Visitors will not use equipment to record classroom activities unless the teacher has given specific permission.
For a complete list of the visitor guidelines please review Renton School Board Policy 4200 and Procedure 4200P "Safe and Orderly Learning Environment".
Visitor and Volunteer Check-in & OUt PRocess
Welcome to Renton School District, we are so glad you are interested in volunteering in our schools. As you enter our district properties, we want to share our new Visitor & Volunteer Check-in and out process. As you enter into our buildings, it is required for you to check-in with the corresponding Office Manager. This process is performed by possible manually signing in to a roster or using out volunteer and visitor management tool. We use both tracking systems to:
- Tracks daily volunteers and/or visitors coming onto and exiting any building within the districts. This information is very helpful to help identify occupancy headcount during an emergency as well as identify any person that should not be on property and notify pre-identified contacts.
- We use a tracking system to monitor who is within the school to help in efforts where contact tracing is needed.