Importance of Parent and Community Involvement
We know that each volunteer contributes an amazing amount of time and talent to Leander ISD campuses. But one of the most important aspects of parental involvement in our schools is what your presence says—not only to your own child—but to all students… “Education is Important!”
• Community members
• Business partners
• LISD staff
• Mentors and tutors
• One-time guest speakers
• Science fair judges
• Booster club members
• PTA/PTO groups
Currently enrolled Leander ISD students may volunteer in our district under the supervision of a district employee. Homeschool, private and/or charter school students (any non-LISD students) must comply with the age requirement listed above.
• New to LISD, REGISTER online.
• Returning and currently approved LISD volunteers will receive an email notification one month prior to the approval anniversary date with a request to renew or remove their volunteer profile for the upcoming year.
• Once approved, access to your account is located on the LISD Volunteer webpage.
Criminal Record Check (CRC):
• All applicants will be processed through a real-time background screening, to include an in-state DPS screening, Texas county court, and a nationwide search.
• Allow 2-3 business days for processing
• The applicant will receive an email from the domain ezcommunicator.com (be sure to white-list these messages) with their approval status and login credentials for their volunteer account
• Communications will be sent regarding events, news, meetings and volunteer opportunities based on the specific campus(es) chosen in the volunteer profile
• As part of standard school safety practices, all volunteers and visitors to Leander ISD campuses must provide a photo ID each time they visit a site
A volunteer who has the opportunity to use technology in place of traditional in-person contact to support our campuses, teachers, and staff in student learning. This technology could include phones, tablets, or computers (internet, desktop apps).
Off-Campus Event/Club Chaperone
An Off-Campus Event is defined as any school-sponsored event/club taking place on or off-campus, after regular school hours or overnight trips*. Examples of a school-sponsored event/club include, but are not limited to Destination Imagination, Robotics, Band, Dance, Student Council.
Volunteers interested in serving as a chaperone responsible for administering medications and maintaining protected health information, during an off-campus event, will be required to attend specialized training and receive clearance from the Leander ISD district nurse. The completion of this training will allow the volunteer to serve in this role for the current school year. For current training dates and locations, please visit the LISD Volunteer webpage.
*Field trips taking place during regular school hours do not fall into this category.
Our HEROES mentoring program in a one on one, school-based program. All meetings will occur on school property during normal school hours. To become a trained HEROES mentor, there is a one and half hour required training prior to serving in this role. Training dates and more information can be found on our HEROES Mentor page.
Volunteer Management System
Volunteers will be asked to record the hours they served directly in their personal volunteer profile. Tutorial Video on how to log your hours.
Because the research shows student outcomes improve when parents actively participate in their children’s education, family engagement has become a vital part of our culture. Making sure that family and community members are matched to useful volunteer opportunities and recording hours helps quantify that engagement when looking at the whole child and student success.
Community Partners Seek ROI
Collaboration between your school and local partners highlights the business or organization that is working with your students. Often the partner is contributing employee time, as well as other materials and supplies. Tracking all those hours and their value, and then sharing that back with those organizations shows your commitment and can help build an even stronger, sustainable partnership.
Time Is Money
When your school can demonstrate on a grant application how many community members are engaged the chances of a grant award only go up. When you can provide quantitative data on volunteer hours the odds improve even more. In fact, more and more socially-minded, nonprofit organizations require engagement metrics either as part of the application or as part of the reporting of outcomes. Make your application stand out with verifiable details like growth in volunteer numbers and hours, year over year.
Volunteer Expectations and Guidelines
• Be on time
• Be dependable
• Be confidential
• Know your campus resources. Learn which restrooms, cafeteria lines, phones, parking lots, libraries, copiers, and bulletin boards, etc. are available for use and when
• Alcohol consumption, smoking, and/or tobacco use is strictly prohibited on the campus. This includes parking lots, stadiums and outside fields
• Respect the teacher’s time. All personal concerns should be addressed at a scheduled parent conference
• Be flexible to changing needs and schedules at each campus
• School equipment should not be used for personal purposes
• Make sure your cell phone is silent while on campus
• Please ask your campus volunteer coordinator for individual campus administrator guidelines regarding bringing young children to the campus when volunteering
• Remember that you are included in the day’s lesson plan – the staff and students count on you to be there. If illness or an emergency arises, please call the campus office as soon as possible
• Your home or meeting place is considered an extension of the school whenever the interest of the school is involved on or off school grounds in conjunction with/or independent of classes and school-sponsored activities. All rules and policies are to be enforced
• As a representative of Leander ISD, avoid expressing differences of opinion or dissatisfaction with teachers, staff, administrators or other volunteers while on campus
• Volunteers should not photograph or record any students who are not their own, without prior permission from teacher and or campus principal
• Any volunteer who discusses students (by name or in general reference) in a disparaging manner, through social media or another public forum, can be removed from the volunteer program
• Volunteers are prohibited from collecting or handling district money without the approval and direct supervision of trained LISD staff
• PTA and booster club representatives are responsible for the collection and handling of their organization’s funds. PTA and booster club money should never be commingled with district funds
• Any questions about cash handling procedures can be directed to the campus administrative assistant or bookkeeper
Cash Receipt Procedures
• All cash collections received for fees, dues, sales, fundraising, etc. must be deposited upon receipt. All funds must be supported by some type of record documenting the source and amount of funds. Such documentation should be readily available for audit purposes.
• It is recommended that deposits be made daily if the total receipts on hand exceed $250.00. If daily receipts are less than $250.00, deposits shall be made within one week even if the receipts for all days combined are less than $250.00. All money must be deposited prior to holidays and weekends.
• Campus Visitor Guidelines
• Emergency Plans
• Standard Response Protocol
• School Resource Officers
Click here for more information.
• Do not engage in social networking with students via Facebook, MySpace, Instagram, Snapchat, Vine, Twitter, YouTube or any other social networking website to initiate or maintain a relationship(s) with any student that is not consistent with appropriate professional behavior and/or boundaries
• Do not say or write things to a student that you would be uncomfortable sharing with the student’s parents, district/school administrators or the teacher you are working with
• Do not make any comments that are based on gender or could be construed as sexist
• Do not make any comments and/or innuendos that are sexual in nature or could be construed as sexual
• Do not make jokes that belittle or diminish another person
• Do not give students compliments that focus on physical attributes
• Do not initiate conversations or correspondence of a private and/or personal nature with students
Working Alone with Students at School
• Always keep the door open and lights on
• Do not post anything on class windows that would obstruct a clear view into the room
Call the Abuse Hotline toll-free 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, nationwide, or report with the secure website and get a response within 24 hours.
By Phone: 1-800-252-5400
Online: Texas Abuse Hotline
Refer to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (TxDFPS) – Child Protective Services (CPS) website for more information.
• FERPA: Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act protects the privacy of student records. A student record is defined as any document that contains information directly related to a student (i.e. discipline reports, attendance records, test scores, written student statements, grades, transcripts, meeting notes, Sp.Ed./504 records, etc.).
• Other privacy laws exist that prohibit volunteers from verbally sharing information, communicating about a child other than their own, or identifying a child on social media without express permission.
• Volunteers should understand that the academic and personal information they know about a student should be shared only with the appropriate teachers and school staff and should not be shared with neighbors, friends or other parents
• Unless otherwise specified, all communication with parents should be handled by the teacher or school staff
• Please note that LISD must comply with privacy laws by ensuring that all staff members and volunteers who have access to confidential information ONLY use that information as authorized. Unauthorized use of confidential information, including parents’ personal email addresses, can result in removal from the volunteer program.
• Because parents have not consented to share their personal email address with other parents, the best practice is to “bcc” email recipients. This ensures that each email recipient does not see the email address of all other parents in the classroom/campus.
The Principal is the LEADER
Volunteers should always work within the rules of the school as set by the principal. The campus principal has the final say as to what can and cannot be done on the campus. Teachers are responsible for the curriculum, content, techniques, and discipline in the classroom.
You Are Part of Our Education Team
Volunteers who are committed to helping students succeed are important members of the school team. These individuals are essential to bringing the community into the school. Students need contact with individuals who can share experiences and bring other perspectives into the classroom. They need adults who can guide them through the learning process.
• Enrich children’s learning opportunities
• Provide help for individual students
• Provide opportunities for meaningful service
• Relieve teachers of some non-instructional tasks
• Enhance a school and community partnership for quality education
• Enhance all aspects of the educational process
• Respecting the privacy of teachers and students by not discussing school matters away from the classroom
• Understanding that evaluation of a student’s learning can only be done by the teacher
• Seeking help from the teacher when you need additional information or instruction
Enjoy working with students by:
• Finding ways to establish a good rapport with students
• Providing help and assistance without doing the work for students
• Showing a genuine interest in each student
• Accepting each student and encouraging the best from him or her
• Using patience and kindness
• Volunteers are placed in classrooms where teachers have specifically requested assistance. Feel free to discuss your preference with the school’s volunteer coordinator
• Sometimes a volunteer placement may not be the right fit for the volunteer, teacher, student, or campus. If your volunteer placement does not work for you, for whatever reason, please let your campus volunteer coordinator know immediately
• In supporting the best interests of our students and the district; a principal or district administrator has the authority to remove a volunteer from their position if the partnership has proven to be unsuitable
Helpful Hints when Working with Students
Listening to a student is one of the most important things you can do for them. It helps to teach most of the basic skills students need.
• Show an interest in what each student says
• Avoid comparing students and their work
• Give students a choice only when you intend to abide by the choice
State directions in a positive form (e.g., “Use the blocks for building,” rather than “Don’t throw the blocks”)
• Your goal should be the success of the students
• The desire to listen
• Body awareness: How it works and where it is in relation to the environment
• Language skills: Be able to ask questions when they do not understand
• The ability to verbally express themselves
• The ability to carry on a conversation with other students and adults
• The ability to understand different sounds
• Knowledge of time and space
• Understanding and use of numbers
• Planning a task and following it through
• Problem-solving at their own level
• A good self-image
• Getting along well with students of their own age
• Students learn by asking questions and by searching for answers to their questions. Ask students questions that may lead to the correct answer instead of telling them the answer directly
• They learn by discovery. Let students discover properties of materials by themselves, e.g., let them discover which materials are attracted by a magnet
• They learn by using all their senses when possible. Encourage students to feel, smell, taste and listen, as well as look at objects
• They learn by experimenting. Let students try new methods of doing things even though you already know an easier way
• They learn by sorting and combining objects. Let students sort and combine according to their own ideas, e.g., shapes or sizes rather than colors
• They learn by repeating the experience. Give the students as much time as they need (often weeks or months) to understand a new idea
• They learn by building confidence in themselves
Volunteer Coordinator Duties
• Attend a volunteer orientation if you are a new volunteer.
• Meet with the campus principal and decide together what is reasonable and a priority.
Helpful points to discuss:
• Which person will you directly report to on campus
• Regular communication. The principal will generally be glad to get an update. • • • This might be a monthly memo via email or simply part of your newsletter updates.
• Discuss existing campus programs you want to continue/improve and programs • you would like to implement.
• What school procedures do the volunteers need to follow?
• What equipment can volunteers use and when?
• Can you attend a faculty meeting to let staff know how the volunteer program can help meet their needs and how they can contact you?
• Recruit, recruit, and recruit!
• Hosting a volunteer orientation or two for your new volunteers is a great way to engage and include new parents and community members. * The orientation can provide new volunteers with helpful information about school procedures, student/campus confidentiality, signing in/out procedures, knowing where materials are kept and where to find help and assistance. You may wish to have several at different times in order to accommodate busy schedules, etc.
*A Volunteer Orientation PowerPoint has been designed (and can be customized for your campus) to assist with these meetings. Coming soon!
At off-campus events, Volunteer and/or Opportunity coordinators can sign a matched volunteer in and out or record hours for all volunteers who signed up after the event. Alternatively, a volunteer can sign in online, view, and log their own hours.
• District/campus guidelines
• Sign-in procedures
• Overview of Volunteer website
• Who to notify with scheduling issues or absence notification? Most scheduling conflicts can be handled through the EZVolunteer website as schedule changes warrant; however, volunteers should notify the volunteer coordinator or campus staff if last-minute conflicts arise that would keep them from making their commitment. Remember to review the Leander ISD school calendar that could affect their volunteering, such as holidays, testing schedules, or early release days
• Q & A – Always give them a chance to ask questions
• Campus tour
• Delegate when you can. You might be able to identify some other volunteers who can take on some of your tasks. Make it a team effort if possible
• Establish defined boundaries. Remember that your role as a volunteer coordinator is different than your role as a parent at the school. As a leader at the school, you will likely have different roles with the staff, students, and their families than other parents. Try to keep those roles distinct and help others understand when you are functioning as the volunteer coordinator and when you are functioning as your child’s parent. Your role at school should make a positive impact on your child’s education