The Osage Community School staff, administration, and Board of Education wish to express our sincere appreciation for your interest in volunteering with our school system. Your interest, time, and commitment will assist and help our students in their learning process. Our district has a variety of educational needs, and your efforts will provide assistance in the instructional process and help students gain valuable skills.
Goals of the Osage CSD Volunteer Program
- To encourage community and business members, retirees, parents, and those with special skills to enrich and broaden the experiences of children.
- To provide students with individual one-to-one attention.
- To provide teachers with more time to work with students.
- To enrich the curriculum and to assist with broadening student learning opportunities by adding a voice of experience and background knowledge.
- To enhance and support the instructional and co-curricular programs and activities of the District.
Becoming a Volunteer
Volunteers do not need to have a teaching certificate, however, you should:
- Be a parent or patron of our school district
- Have a genuine interest in helping students
- Be committed to your volunteer duty
- Be flexible
- Exhibit regular attendance
- Complete the application form in its entirety. Emergency contact must be completed as well.
- Applications and references will be reviewed by the District Office and forwarded on to the appropriate building administrator/supervisor/coach.
- Applicants will be contacted by the appropriate staff person to schedule an interview with the respective building administrator/supervisor/coach.
- Upon approval by the administrator/supervisor/coach and acceptance from the applicant, the applicant will need to complete the necessary paperwork at the Administration Center, which will be kept on file:
- Confidentiality and Disclosure Form
- Criminal Background Check Forms
- Child Abuse Clearance
- Tobacco & Substance-Free Workplace Form
- Sex Offender Law Compliance
- Provide photo identification
- Upon an approved background check, the applicant will then be notified by the Superintendent’s Office. Applicants will come in for their district-issued ID Badge (that you will be required to wear each time you volunteer), and a Volunteer Handbook.
- Volunteers will then need to call their administrator/supervisor/coach to receive details of their assignment.
- Congratulations! You are ready to begin your volunteer experience!
All volunteers are required to officially register and complete the necessary paperwork at the beginning of each academic school year.
The Osage Community School District offers a variety of areas for volunteers to assist in. We attempt to put you in a position that interests you and will best utilize your skills. Volunteers will have specific duties assigned to them and work under the supervision of school personnel. Below is a listing of available opportunities. The descriptions provided are examples of what you may be assigned to assist with, but other duties may be asked of you that are not listed, depending on your time available, skills, and abilities.
- Making bulletin boards
- Gathering materials for class
- Making charts, name/locker/desk tags
- Copying papers
- Assisting with student-related activities such as:
- Working with small groups or 1:1
- Listening to students read
- Playing educational games
- Practicing skills taught by the teacher
- Class projects
- Chaperoning field trips
- Making instructional games or learning centers
- Correcting papers
- Setting up displays
Extracurriculars & Athletics
Persons may volunteer to assist with a variety of extracurricular activities including speech, drama/theater, band, chorus, orchestra, Model UN, cheerleading, the Academic Decathlon, and others as needed.
In addition, persons may volunteer to assist with middle school and high school athletics in football, volleyball, cross country, basketball, wrestling, baseball, softball, golf, swimming, tennis, and soccer.
Successful candidates will serve with no pay, will work under the direction and supervision of the director/teacher/supervisor/head coach, may be required to do physical movement and may participate in off-campus activities. Individuals are required to follow all district procedures and will be required to submit an authorization for a criminal background check. For additional information, contact the Office of the Superintendent.
- Answering incoming phone calls
- Delivering phone messages
Media Center Volunteer
- Shelving books
- Typing, filing, or other clerical duties
- Assisting in the computer lab
- Helping students
- Reading books to students
- Prepping for special class projects
Art Room Volunteer
- Hanging/displaying artwork
- Preparing materials
- Assisting with clean up
Classroom teachers use speakers to help share a topic they are currently covering in class. Speakers may be asked to bring in examples so students can relate to the speaker’s hobby or career.
Special events volunteers help with one-time events throughout the year. This may include academic/athletic/music events and other short term projects.
Volunteers can assist teachers in helping students progress by providing tutoring assistance. Tutors can help an individual or group of students develop at their own pace to learn a subject or new skill.
If you have another specialized skill/experience that you would like for us to consider, please do so. We are very willing to consider how we might utilize the skills and talents of our volunteers.
RESPONSIBILITIES & GUIDELINES FOR ALL VOLUNTEERS
As a volunteer for the Osage Community School District, it is important to remember and to adhere to the following responsibilities and guidelines outlined below.
- All volunteers are required to sign in and out of the main office and to wear a “Volunteer” badge.
- Understand that your role is a supportive one. The principal and/or teacher/supervisor is in charge. All volunteers will work within the guidelines established by the school administration and professional(s) they have been assigned.
- Be prompt and consistent in your attendance. The teacher and students alike are depending on you. Notify the building secretary as soon as possible if you are unable to attend at your scheduled time.
- Giving gifts, without the approval of assigned professional(s) is inappropriate.
- Never be left alone with a student out of the view of other people. There should always be visual or auditory contact between you and a school official.
- Come excited and ready to go each and every day, the students will catch your enthusiasm.
- Be a positive role model for children in attitude, language, behavior, and dress.
- Your role as a volunteer does not include disciplining students. Always report any concerns to the appropriate school official.
- Be respectful of children’s diversity of culture, religion, and background. Don’t assume a child celebrates the same holidays as you. Also don’t assume the make-up of a child’s family (size, race, or gender). Practice correct pronunciation of the children’s names if unfamiliar.
- Be aware of how you interact with children. Never initiate touching a child (hand-holding, lap-sitting, etc.). It is fine for you to respond to a child’s initiation of appropriate touch.
- Establish and maintain respectful and honest communication with school staff and other volunteers.
- Never use profanity, be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, smoke, carry a weapon, solicit, or proselytize while on school grounds.
- Volunteers are not allowed to bring others with them when they volunteer.
- Should you decide to end your volunteer relationship with the district in the middle of the year, please attempt a positive closure. Make sure the school staff and students you work with are clear about your end date. The children need to understand you enjoyed your time working with them.
Individuals who do not meet the appropriate requirements for volunteers working with students, as established by state law and Osage CSD, will not be allowed to volunteer. If a volunteer does not conform to the guidelines, the administrator may suggest alternative actions or assignments. The administrator does have the option to dismiss a volunteer at their discretion if reasonable cause exists.
Volunteers must keep the information you learn about students between yourself and your assigned professional(s) as outlined in your Privacy Statement and Confidentiality Agreement. A misplaced comment can be devastating to a student, their family, and the volunteer program. If you have questions or concerns, talk with your building administrator or the Office of the Superintendent. Any breaches of confidentiality will result in immediate dismissal.
Liability & Accident Coverage
Under the Osage Community School District’s insurance coverage, volunteers are included as “Additional Insureds” from a liability standpoint. If someone is injured as a result of work being done by a volunteer, the teacher they are helping, or the District, the school liability insurance would provide legal liability protection for all these entities subject to terms and policy limitations with the carrier. It should be understood that the District has tort liability protection for the volunteer but not accident insurance which would pay for injuries to the volunteer doing such work. In order to be covered under this coverage, you must be an approved volunteer and sign in and out each time during your volunteer service. Volunteers must provide their own accident insurance coverage for injuries to themselves while they are doing volunteer work
TIPS FOR OUR VOLUNTEERS
Emergencies: In case of emergency or when you have concerns for student safety, immediately report this information to a school official.
If You Need Help: If you need more information in order to perform a task, just ask. Establish a method of communication with the professional(s) you are assigned, either written or verbal.
Prior To Your First Day, Find Out:
- Where you should park
- Where you need to check in
- The building layout and location of your assignment(s)
- What is expected of you as a volunteer
- What to do if you are absent
During Your First Few Visits, Find Out:
- How to work with a substitute teacher
- Fire drills and safety rules
ENJOY THE STUDENTS!!!
Our students each bring their own personality, identity, and background. They are all very unique and diverse in their needs. Accept students as they are, even when it may be different from yourself. By giving of yourself, and sharing your time, and simply by caring; you are touching a moment of their life, you are making a difference. Always remember that you are appreciated.
When Working With Students:
- Use the student’s name at every opportunity.
- Listen attentively, encourage and praise.
- Be in the moment! Be receptive and genuinely interested.
- Be patient.
- Encourage the student.
Volunteer Conduct: Your conduct and appearance as a volunteer reflects the image of yourself as well as the Osage CSD. It is everyone’s responsibility to wear appropriate attire and maintain proper grooming and personal cleanliness. In addition, cooperation with building requirements such as following procedures and trainings is expected at all times. The use of or being under the influence of illegal drugs or alcohol, while volunteering is strictly prohibited and shall be cause for immediate dismissal from the Volunteer Program.
Safety Considerations: The Osage CSD would never intentionally refer a volunteer to an assignment where there are safety issues. However, in the course of your work, if you feel you are in an unsafe or threatening environment, please remove yourself from the assignment immediately and contact the Office of the Superintendent immediately to relay your concerns. Additional consideration and care will be taken, if work requested is something that is physically beyond your limitations. Communicate your concerns to the immediate professional to determine if accommodations can be made. If proper resolution is not achieved, immediately remove yourself from the assignment and contact the Office of the Superintendent to relay your concerns.
Confidentiality: As a volunteer of the Osage CSD, you may have access to personal information concerning those whom you are working with (students, other volunteers, and/or employees). This information must be held in the strictest of confidence. At no time should you release the name, address, phone number, academic, behavior, or any other information that may identify an individual to anyone outside of your working area. Breaches of confidentiality may result in the dismissal from the Volunteer Program.
Communication: If you are unable to volunteer for any reason, please contact the building secretary at your building either by phone or via email as soon as possible. If you have concerns at any time regarding the safety of students, it is imperative that you report it immediately to any school official. Communication is an important component in building relationships with students and staff.
Phone Calls: You may use the school phone in the building office for brief local calls. Personal cell phone calls should be limited and only made away from the instructional setting and students.
Meals: You may purchase school lunch if you are planning to be at the school during the lunch hour. Check with your building’s main office for the procedure to follow for making payment.
Restrooms: As a volunteer, you may use any staff restroom in any school. Please ask the professional that you are assigned where these restrooms are located.
Copy Machine Use: The copy machine is for school official use only. If you are assigned a job that needs the use of the copy machine please have the professional you are assigned to inform the school office.
Mileage: Volunteers can deduct mileage on their state income tax returns. Please consult with your tax preparer for additional information and details.
Emergency Drills: In case of an emergency, please follow the instructions of school personnel. Please become familiar with all emergency procedures.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
- Why do volunteers have to check in? The district requires every person who enters a building to check in through the office in order to be covered by the district’s insurance in case of an injury. This also serves as a protection mechanism for our students and staff and provides accurate information as to who is in the building in case of an emergency. The record of volunteer hours is also important as support data for many of the grants for which the school may qualify.
- How should I tell the building secretary to check me in? As a volunteer, you simply need to go to the main entrance of the building you have been assigned. You will need to ring in, at which point a school official will ask who you are. You will inform them of your name and that you are there to volunteer. Upon being allowed into the building you will need to report to the office. The building secretary will have a list of all volunteers who are scheduled for where and when. You will need to sign a document each time you enter and again each time you exit the building.
- Why are name tags required? The teacher knows who I am. We monitor the safety of our students at all times. It is true that the teacher you are working with knows you, however other teachers or substitutes may not. Anyone who does not recognize you will be asking you what you are doing in the building, therefore you should always wear your district-provided name tag.
- What if something happens and I can’t make my scheduled time to volunteer? Dependability is important, but unexpected events do occur that may result in your absence. Please call the school to let the teacher know with as much advanced notice as possible.
- What if I can come in only twice a month? Classroom teachers schedule volunteers according to their individual needs. Ask the teacher about scheduling.
- What if I have more than one child and want to work with each of their classrooms? Each classroom and building has a different schedule and different volunteer needs. We will do our best to accommodate you, however, we cannot guarantee a placement.
- I have younger children. Can I bring them when I volunteer? Children under the age of 16 are not allowed to volunteer in the District. In addition, we only allow scheduled and registered volunteers to attend, again for safety purposes of our students and staff.
- What if I have a question or concern about my child? Please arrange for a separate time to conference with your child’s teacher. Volunteer time is valuable and is often tightly scheduled. Ask your child’s teacher if you can contact them by email, or before or after school.
- Should I tell my neighbor if I see his/her child misbehaving at school? Volunteers have a responsibility to maintain the child’s confidentiality. Sharing tidbits about a child’s behavior or academic progress at school can be detrimental to a child who is still learning to control him or herself. If you see a problem, talk with the child’s teacher, school counselor or principal so that the parent(s) can be advised. The professional(s) in the classroom will use their experience and knowledge to make the best determination possible regarding the situation.
- Should I discipline students that are misbehaving? With the exception of verbally and politely requesting the students’ attention, volunteers are not to discipline the students. All discipline concerns should be directed to the appropriate school official.
- What if I observe something that I’m concerned about? Do I tell the parent? Absolutely not. It is not a volunteer’s job to contact parents about anything occurring in the classroom. Let the teacher or principal know your concerns. Teachers and principals are governed by multiple legal obligations and restraints. It is the teachers and principals responsibility to decide when it is necessary to take further action.
- What should I do if I suspect child abuse or neglect? Although volunteers are not necessarily a mandatory reporter of child abuse or neglect, we would ask that you take the following actions, should you suspect child abuse or neglect.
- Report any suspicion of abuse and neglect to a school official immediately.
- If necessary and at the request of the school, assist in the evaluation of making a child abuse report.
- Complete any required paperwork about the incident.
- What do I do if I don’t enjoy correcting papers and that’s all the teacher gives me to do? Tell the teacher. No teacher wants you doing something you don’t enjoy. Communication is very important for both of you.
- What should I do if I start volunteering at school and find I don’t like it or it becomes a hardship for me? Please let the teacher/school know. We want to have you here with us, but we don’t want you to stay only because you may feel obligated. Volunteering is not for everyone – however, we encourage you to always try a different volunteer activity instead.
- I like to travel, will that cause problems with schedules? No, not at all. Just let us know when you will be out of the area for an extended period of time. That is just one of the many great advantages of volunteering—you tell us what your schedule is!
State Law and Local Procedures
Volunteers are integral members of our educational team. State law and district policy and procedures provide specific restrictions on what volunteers may or may not do.
Notice of Nondiscrimination
Students, parents, employees, and others doing business with or performing services for the Osage Community School District are hereby notified that this school district does not discriminate on the basis of age (except for students), color, creed, disability, ethnicity, gender identity, genetic information, marital status, national origin, political affiliation, pregnancy, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, veteran or military status, or on any other basis protected by federal and/or state law, in admission or access to, or treatment in, its programs or activities.
The school district prohibits discrimination and promotes affirmative action in its educational and employment policies and practices required by Title IX of the Educational Amendment of 1972, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1964 and other applicable laws in its hiring and employment practices. Any person having inquiries concerning the school district’s compliance with the regulations implementing Title VI, Title VII, Title IX, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), § 504 or Iowa Code § 280.3 is directed to contact:
Barb Schwamman, Superintendent
Osage Community Schools
who has been designated by the school district to coordinate the school district’s efforts to comply with the regulations implementing Title VI, Title VII, Title IX, the ADA, § 504 and Iowa Code § 280.3.