The purpose of the Leander ISD volunteer program is to enrich the quality of education for the district’s students by providing opportunities for parents and community members to become actively involved in Leander ISD schools.
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!”
Who can become a volunteer?
Any family member, guardian, community partner, or district employee at least 18 years of age and has completed the LISD volunteer application and has been approved through a Criminal Record Check (CRC).
- 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.
What does a volunteer do?
An approved LISD volunteer may serve in a variety of ways depending on their interests, availability, and campus needs. Stuffing envelopes, sorting lesson materials, laminating, working carnivals, chaperoning field trips, mentoring, participating as Watch D.O.G.S., PTA/PTO member, booster club, LEEF, and Literacy Partners are just a few of the opportunities to volunteer in LISD!
How do I become an approved volunteer?
- 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 here.
Criminal Record Check (CRC):
- All applicants will be processed through a real-time background screening, including 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
Opportunities Requiring Additional Training
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 is 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.
Education Connection Literacy Partners
… every child reading by the end of third grade. To learn more about this program and additional training, check out the Education Connection page.
Volunteer Management System
EZVolunteer is the software program used to screen, recruit, track, and engage volunteers.
Volunteers will be asked to record the hours they served directly in their personal volunteer profiles. Tutorial Video on how to log your hours.
Why Track Volunteer Hours
Engagement Equals Student Success
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 & Guidelines
Attitude & Professionalism
Respect, care, and concern for every student, parent, staff, community member, and partnership are at the heart of everything we do. Although the job is voluntary, the commitment is professional.
- Be on time
- Be dependable
- Be confidential
Adhere to Rules for School District
- Keep in mind that you are a role model for students
- 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 are strictly prohibited on 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
- Volunteers should not photograph or record any students who are not their own, without prior permission from the teacher and or campus principal
- As a representative of Leander ISD, avoid expressing differences of opinion or dissatisfaction with LISD staff, parents, community members, or other volunteers while on a district or campus facility or official communication platform, including social media
- Any volunteer who discusses students, staff, parents, or community members (by name or in general reference) in a disparaging manner, through social media or another public forum, can be removed from the volunteer program
Visit the Dress Code page for more information
Cash Handling Procedures
There may be times when volunteers are involved in activities where the money is being collected
- 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.
Visit the Health Services page for more information.
Safety and Security
- Anonymous Alerts
- Campus Visitor Guidelines
- Emergency Plans
- Standard Response Protocol (SRP)
- School Resource Officers (SROs)
Visit the Safety & Security page for more information.
Safe Interaction with Students
We expect all volunteers to set the example for students that will serve them well in their own conduct and behavior and contribute toward a school atmosphere that is friendly and promotes students learning.
- 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
Sexual harassment is any unwelcome, unsolicited behavior of sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that interferes with the life of the targets. Consequences of sexual harassment are listed in the Student Code of Conduct and Employee Handbook.
Child Abuse and Neglect
In Texas, anyone who suspects that a child is being abused or neglected has a legal obligation to report it. Legal Definitions of Abuse according to the Texas Family Code.
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.
Maintain Student Confidentiality and Privacy
As part of your volunteer service on campus, you may have access to certain private and/or confidential information about students. Volunteers agree to comply with all applicable rules and laws regarding student confidentiality and privacy.
- 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, special education/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 must 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, other parents, or community members
- Unless otherwise specified, all communication with parents should be handled by the teacher or school staff
Parent Information and Confidentiality
As an LISD volunteer, it is important to ensure that any parent and/or student information (including email addresses) you may be given access to, will be treated respectfully and confidentially. Therefore, please keep in mind that parent’s personal email addresses may only be used to communicate on approved topics such as notification of classroom events, upcoming school functions, school volunteer opportunities, etc. Volunteers should not send unauthorized or non-school-related emails to parents’ personal email addresses. This includes emails of a personal nature, emails that advertise or market non-school-related items or activities, and emails discussing confidential information about another student, parent, or staff member.
- 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.
Outside Legal Matters
Volunteers certify that there are no outside legal matters that would interfere with their ability to perform their volunteer duties. (Examples: a parent who has restrictions on visitation with their child, active restraining orders related to a student or employee on the campus, etc.). If any legal restriction is put in place, the volunteer understands that he or she must notify the principal at their assigned campus, and Shannon Lombardo, District Volunteer Coordinator
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 the curriculum
- 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
Working closely with the classroom teacher and school staff includes
Following the direction of a school staff member
- 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
Your volunteer assignment is determined by your skills, interests, and preferences, as well as the volunteer service needs of individual schools and teachers
- 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.
When Speaking to Students
Use a tone of voice that will encourage and make them feel confident
- 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
Basic Skills Students Need That Volunteers Can Help Develop
- How to pay attention
- 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
Assisting Students in their Learning
- Students learn by doing versus passive observation
- 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
What is a volunteer coordinator?
The role of the campus-based volunteer coordinator is vital to the success of the school and the students it serves. The volunteer coordinator’s job is to connect volunteers to specific tasks/jobs or special events at the campus. The position could encompass acting as a recruiter, screener, trainer, supervisor, and advocate.
- Make sure your volunteer profile is updated and submitted for renewal each year. Please remember that anyone interested in volunteering in Leander ISD schools, including booster clubs, mentoring, PTA/PTO, literacy partners, etc., must complete an online volunteer application and criminal background check.
- Attend a volunteer orientation if you are a new volunteer.
- Connect and collaborate with other volunteer leaders on your campus (PTA/PTO presidents, Watch D.O.G.S., booster presidents, etc.) to serve in the most efficient capacity.
- 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!
- Each campus volunteer coordinator should be registered in the EZVolunteer system and will be assigned by the District as a Volunteer Coordinator with specific rights to research and interact with volunteer groups at their campus.
- 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!
Volunteers are required to sign-in as a visitor through the Raptor system prior to entering the building. Volunteer name badges are not required but are encouraged to identify those serving in a volunteer role versus just visiting the campus. The new volunteer management system, EZVolunteer, will allow for the campus volunteer coordinator to print name badges for all active volunteers assigned to the campus if they choose to do so.
Managing Volunteers Districtwide
When volunteers register, they can choose any number of schools to volunteer. Once approved their record will appear on the school list at each campus. Coordinators can add comments to a volunteer record that is shared with campus coordinators for a districtwide profile of the volunteer.
As a Volunteer Coordinator, you will have the ability to create Opportunities (Opportunities tutorial video) for upcoming and ongoing events at your campus. Adding a Form (Form tutorial video) is the tool used to assign multiple shifts to an Opportunity. You will also be able to assign volunteers to become an Opportunity Coordinator(s) for specific events.
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.
Tracking Service Hours
Encourage and train volunteers to enter service hours worked. Tracking hours will help the campus quantify time spent on certain projects and events allowing for a more accurate planning and budgeting process. Volunteers will also be able to use this resource to promote their own community service experiences to showcase through resumes and social network for professionals.
- Introductions and thank you
- 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
- Make COMMUNICATION with your volunteers a priority. All our volunteers need to feel supported and that they are a part of the school community. Ongoing support is a hallmark for effective volunteer programs
- 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 with 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
Frequently Asked Questions
My volunteer account
Q: I completed my application a few weeks ago, but have not received an email or heard anything, how do I know if I have been approved?
A: First, make sure you have checked your junk/spam email folder. The email will come from *Leander ISD Central Office <[email protected]>. You can also log in to your EZVolunteer profile with the username and password you created during registration and click the 3-bar drop-down menu in the top left, select Volunteer > Background. There will be a box at the bottom showing your Background Status.
LISD employee account
Q: If I am a current Leander ISD staff member or an enrolled LISD student, do I still need to register/update a volunteer profile to volunteer at a campus or district event?
A: Yes, current LISD staff members (including substitutes) and LISD enrolled students planning to volunteer must create/update their volunteer profile each year. A background check will NOT be run as long as the “District Staff” or “LISD Student” box has been selected and verified. This profile will allow the volunteer to log hours, receive communications and sign up for specific events.