During the 2018-2019 school year, Volusia County Schools reported 341 college student volunteers providing almost 19,522 service hours! College students may volunteer in classrooms, mentor, or tutor. Most college students are obtaining their first experiences of helping a teacher, working with students, and visualizing the educational world from the teacher's perspective. Their purpose might be to meet a requirement of their college course curriculum or complete a community service project through an extracurricular organization. Usually they are obtaining hands-on knowledge about their future career choice. No matter the purpose, when a college student becomes a VIPS (Volunteer in Public Schools), they fall under the procedures and guidelines of other adult VIPS volunteers.
How to Become a School Volunteer - Applying to Volunteer
Completing the Application to Volunteer.
The application in electronic form can be accessed from any computer. The online application is available in English and Spanish versions.
Online Application Instructions
- Fill out the online application form on any computers or the Raptor Kiosk at any school. Be sure to use your full legal name and birthdate.
- Have your government issued ID scanned at a school or district site. Your ID must match the name and birthdate you provided on your volunteer application.
- Once approved, you will receive an e-mail to the address you provided in your application. Approvals are immediate if there are no alerts from the background check.
- All volunteer approvals will expire on June 30, 2020, requiring volunteers to renew. Your ID will not need to be scanned again unless your name has legally changed.
NOTE: The Raptor System that is used to check in visitors and volunteers has been upgraded. Any volunteer who was cleared prior to June 3, 2019 will need to have his/her ID re-scanned. IDs will not transfer as part of this upgrade. Renewals will be required on or after July 1, 2020.
Contacting a School
AFTER you receive notification that you have been cleared to volunteer, you may call the school of your choice and ask to speak with the volunteer coordinator. Every school has a volunteer coordinator, but many are volunteers themselves, so you may need to leave your name and phone number and they will return your call. Make an appointment to visit the coordinator. The volunteer coordinator will: 1) check the Raptor System to confirm your volunteer clearance; 2) provide information on school policies/volunteer procedures; and 3) match you with a teacher in need of your service at the times you are available. Please note that the program reserves the right not to place a volunteer if there is no teacher requesting the services of a student volunteer. If that should be the case, please contact another school for placement.
Safety & Security
Obviously, conducting a background check when processing your volunteer application was the first safety precaution. We also request you always: 1) report to the school office, 2) sign in and out of the volunteer sign-in book or computer, and 3) wear your nametag while on the campus. This helps us safeguard our students and maintain campus security.
The School Volunteer Handbook (link above) contains guidelines, resources and opportunities for all VIPS volunteers. Always feel free to ask questions concerning your volunteer responsibilities.
It is important to be very mindful of the following volunteer guidelines:
- VOLUNTEERS MUST MAINTAIN STRICT CONFIDENTIALITY concerning information they see and hear about students and staff, including students' grades, records, and abilities.
- Volunteers DO NOT discipline students. Think instruction. Use classroom rules to help you "instruct" students in expected behavior. If discipline issues arise that cannot be controlled through "instruction," report the problem to the teacher.
- Volunteers must always be supervised when working with students. They may not supervise a classroom or give permission for a student to leave a classroom. These are the teachers’ responsibilities. Accept direction and supervision, recognizing that you are an important helper.
- Volunteers do not diagnose student weaknesses and strengths, prescribe activities for students, or evaluate student progress.
- Volunteers' discussions with teachers should not interrupt class time.
- Volunteers are not to bring preschool children into the classroom during instruction time. This is disruptive to the classroom.
- Volunteers should set a good example for students by their manner, appearance, and behavior. They should be well-groomed, appropriately dressed, and maintain professional conduct/language.
- Volunteers should be in good physical and mental health.
- Volunteers may not give any medication to students.
- Volunteers' comments should not be written on student papers that are to be sent home.
- Volunteers should not laugh at or belittle student answers or efforts.
Making a Good Impression
- College students are often obtaining volunteer experience to one day include on their job resumes. Consider the following:
- Be prompt and regular in attendance. Report on time and remain for the period of time for which you are committed. If illness or an emergency arises, please call the school and leave a message for the teacher.
- Your appearance in dress and grooming should be appropriate for the setting. Ask the teacher or the volunteer coordinator for the school's dress code for employees. (As a school volunteer you are an unpaid employee!)
- Silence all beepers and/or cell phones while in class. Once a teacher has the attention of a class, they do not appreciate loosing it!
- Ask questions, but reserve your questions for when the teacher has a break from instruction.
- Take notes! Make a list of questions and take notes with the teacher's responses. They will appreciate your conscientious effort to maximize their time and your volunteer experience!
- Bring your enthusiasm and a listening ear! You CAN make a difference, one child at a time! See the School Volunteer Handbook (attached above) for ideas on how to work with students.