Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Seattle Schools Updates Fieldtrip Volunteer Policy

(Editor's note - the district is making a distinct difference here between oversight chaperones and day fieldtrip volunteers - I believe that may be what "A" and "B" volunteer categories are but I have a call into SPS about that.)

From SPS Communications:

To ensure the safety of our students and volunteers, Seattle Public Schools has updated our Volunteer Administrative Procedures, including certain instances where fingerprinting will now be required.

Starting Feb. 1, schools should follow these procedures:
    • As previously required, all overnight field trip chaperones must be screened via the WATCH (Washington Access to Criminal History) check.
    • Any overnight field trip chaperones living continuously in Washington state for more than two years shall not be required to be fingerprinted; clearance via WATCH (Washington Access To Criminal History) shall suffice.
    However, if a prospective chaperone cannot provide verification of a two-year residency in Washington, fingerprinting will be required.

    • Verification of continuous residence may include: drivers license, insurance documents, utility bills, rental agreements, mortgage statements, property tax statements, or employment verification.

    For the remainder of this school year (2013-14), the District will not require any volunteer chaperones to pay for their own fingerprinting.

    Beginning in the 2014-15 school year, we expect schools to include the fingerprint fees – if any chaperones require fingerprinting – with their other field trip costs. 

      o We understand that even spreading costs among all participants may make participating in overnight field trips difficult for low-income families to participate.
      o We will be conducting some outreach to explore this impact and follow up with you prior to the beginning of the 2014-15 school year to share how we will address these equity concerns.
    • All volunteers are required to read and sign the volunteer handbook, complete an online training course related to Adult Sexual Misconduct Prevention located on the volunteer Web page: http://bit.ly/SPS-Volunteering, and submit results of training to the school volunteer coordinator and the Volunteer Management Department beginning Feb. 1, 2014.

    • All Category “A” and Category “B” volunteers will continue to follow the current Administrative Procedures and guidelines listed on the Volunteer internal website: http://volunteer.mysps.seattleschools.org.
We know that the role volunteers perform in schools is vital to the success of student learning. Seattle Public Schools serves a highly diversified community and a strong volunteer program will help us meet three goals outlined in the Strategic Plan 2013-2018:
    • Ensure educational excellence and equity for every student.
    • Improve systems Districtwide to support academic outcomes and meet students’ needs.
    • Strengthen school, family and community engagement.
Schools partner with volunteers in a variety of ways. Your school’s designated site coordinator keeps our students safe and helps reduce the District’s risk and liability by correctly and consistently screening volunteers. It is very important for each school’s safety to ensure compliance with District Policy No. 5630 (Volunteering).

For a complete list of updates and details changes to our Volunteer Administrative Procedures, please visit our internal website: http://volunteer.mysps.seattleschools.org.


Unknown said...

Very interesting. Unfortunately, the link to the volunteer handbook leads to a 404 error page. As you noted, it is unclear what A and B volunteers are, and the "current Administrative Procedures and guidelines listed on the Volunteer internal website" require some kind of login password. It's hard to become informed when the information isn't available.

Anonymous said...

More "clear as mud" communication from the district...

- Clarity

Anonymous said...

Hmmm - middle school overnight field trip leaves this Monday Feb 3rd. I highly doubt the chaperones will be cleared with the WATCH program by then. Might end up being a case of ask forgiveness vs. permission.

QA Parent

Anonymous said...

QA parent- WATCH checks are the ones that are routinely done on any volunteer. You'll recognize the form here http://goo.gl/hn6C50
All the chaperones on that trip should have already filled it out.

Volunteer handbook link on the left menu works (not the one in the main webpage text) (it's a Jan2014 revision) P 20 has the Category A and B descriptions