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    SPS Volunteers

    Seattle Public Schools is grateful for each parent and community member who contributes to the success of students.

    Volunteer Opportunities

    Seattle Public Schools engages thousands of volunteers every year in many different capacities. We encourage parents, family members, and community members to volunteer with us! Read about current volunteer opportunities.

    Seattle Public Schools recognizes the valuable contribution by volunteers. In order to provide students with a safe environment and allow for a variety of opportunities for volunteering. All volunteer work must be done under the direction of an assigned teacher, site volunteer coordinator, principal or vice principal. You also have the option to email, scan or fax your completed PDF application directly to the school. Contact the school for additional information.

    You can read the SPS Volunteer Policy No. 5630 here.

    Getting Started as a School Volunteer

    Volunteering Check List

    STEP 1:

    Complete the Volunteer Application Once a year. Our 2018/2019 application will be available online starting August 21. Please check this website for the link and instructions.

    Previous versions of our applications are available below - you can ask the school or department for a copy of the Application Packet.

    Online application launching on August 21 will be available in all Google Translate languages. Schools can provide the following versions of volunteer application on paper if requested by the volunteer.

    Step 2: Prevent Child Sexual Abuse
    View the Adult Sexual Misconduct Prevention - online course (click here)

    Nationally, 1 in 4 girls & 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused before age 18. We can all help protect children by learning to recognize and respond to sexual abuse.

    • If you haven’t in the past, complete the 17-min Adult Sexual Misconduct Prevention training at
    • At the end of the video you will have an opportunity to enter your information, including email address. Once submitted, an automatic email will be sent to you (previously a certificate) - please save it to attach it to your volunteer application. 

    STEP 3:

    Submit your application online (launching on August 21). If you requested a paper application, turn it in to the school or dept. volunteer coordinator/contact.

    STEP 4:

    SPS is committed to providing students with a safe educational environment. This includes ensuring every volunteer and staff member completes a criminal background check.

    • A background check is mandatory once each school year. This allows SPS to review potential new criminal records.
    • The designated school contact will confirm your identity using a photo ID and determine the type of background check required based on your application packet.
    • Volunteer applicants who have lived in our state for the past three years can be screened by SPS via state criminal records database. This database is accessible to SPS for free via Washington State Patrol.
    • Unfortunately, the federal government does not provide an equivalent criminal records database. Applicants who are newer to our state, or will spend regularly scheduled time with students with no other unrelated adults present, must go through a one-time $31 U.S.-wide background check* conducted by an online vendor.
    • If you are instructed to complete the national background check, please click here or go to  and begin your online order. While completing your background check, you may be prompted to enter a special code - it is volspsd
    • If your volunteer opportunity is time sensitive, and you have not lived in Washington State for the past three years, we recommend you initiate your national background check right away while waiting for the rest of your application to be processed. Background check results are usually ready in 1-3 days.
    • If you do not have a debit/credit card or access to the internet, or are unable to pay the fee, please notify staff so we can assist.   
    • Background check processing may take up to three weeks, depending on your residency history, name (more common names take longer to clear), and other factors. If the volunteer opportunity you are interested in has a specific deadline, please plan ahead.

    Every parent or caretaker should have the opportunity to participate in their student’s education. If you face financial or technology barriers to completing the online background check, please notify staff so we can assist.

    Learn more about volunteer background checks and how SPS is keeping students safe here or go to

    * Your background check will most likely cost $31. However, you may incur an extra court charge of $5-$20 (a few counties in NY charge $65) if you lived in one of the following states: AR, CA, CO, FL, LA, ME, MI, MS, NE, NH, NV, OH, SD, TN, WV, WY, VT. This extra fee is charged directly by the jurisdictions providing our vendor with your records. If you ever lived in the State of New York, your VV fee will be at least $65 extra. Please contact to learn about a more affordable alternative. 

    Please note: While all volunteers must be screened through the background check, a criminal history does not automatically disqualify one from volunteering in the schools. 

    STEP 5:

    While you are waiting for approval please read the Volunteer Handbook for additional info and tips to consider while volunteering with SPS.

    Additionally, if you are applying to volunteer during a field trip, you will be instructed to also review relevant check lists and guidelines:

    Bring a copy of your driving record from Department of Licensing

    Volunteering at a Specific School

    If you are interested in working with a particular school, please contact that school directly. Visit the SPS School Directory webpage for contact information.

    Not all schools have a Volunteer Coordinator, but all schools have someone able to respond to people interested in being a volunteer in their school or programs.

    Volunteer as a Coach

    Looking to volunteer as an athletic coach? Athletic coaches (both volunteer and paid) are required to complete additional ASM prevention training and national level background check. Athletic coach role description and application are available at

    Self Help Projects

    The Self Help Projects Program is any project to improve our school buildings or grounds which is initiated and implemented by anyone, or any group, other than staff from Seattle Public Schools.

    Some examples are:

    • Painting a classroom
    • Volunteer work-parties to weed and mulch landscape areas
    • Community volunteers' service day
    • Installing new playground equipment
    • Creating a mural
    • Developing a school garden
    • Landscape renovation
    • Developing a conceptual master site plan

    All Self Help Projects require prior approval by the Seattle Public Schools Self Help Team to ensure that each project:

    • Is appropriate for the SPS buildings and grounds
    • Complements programs taught in our schools,
    • Is completed to district standards, and
    • Provides record drawing.

    For a Self Help Application for project, Contact Program Manager Gretchen DeDecker at .

    School and Community Partnerships

    Seattle Public Schools believes it is vital to engage families and community members in the life of the school as a community center of learning.

    To learn more visit: our Community Partnerships webpage.

    Communities in Schools of Seattle

    Are you looking for ways to meet people, get involved, and give back to your amazing community? Our goal is to connect volunteers. Just take a quick look below to learn about our various on-going projects and programs:

    Watch our video with some of our outstanding volunteers!

    Also on Vimeo at

    The friendly URL for this page is:


    Ania Beszterda-Alyson
    Volunteer Services Program Administrator
    P. 206-252-0631

    For questions about volunteering at Seattle Public Schools, contact the school or site you want to volunteer at. 

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