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Volunteer

Current and Returning Volunteers

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Thank you for your past volunteer service – we are excited you are interested in continuing to volunteer with Seattle Public Schools or take on a new volunteer role! 

How to verify if you filed an application with SPS before

  • Go to the application form and check the first two boxes to reach the “User Information” section.
  • Enter the email address you were most likely to use 2-3 years ago and try to set a password. A notification will appear if a user with that email address already exists.
  • If you do not have an application on file, please follow the instructions for new volunteers.

How to get approved to volunteer during the 21/22 school year

Follow steps 1-4 below even if your application was approved prior to this school year.

1. 2021-22 School Year COVID-19 Safety Requirements

In addition to a regular application process, this school year volunteers are required to complete an online Health & Safety Course and show proof of receiving full COVID-19 vaccinations.

  • Complete the 23-min Health & Safety Course.
  • Answer test questions during the course and on your volunteer application. 
  • School staff will verify your vaccination card in person.

If you only plan on volunteering remotely, those additional requirements do not apply to you.

2. Volunteer Handbook

Review our updated Volunteer Handbook to familiarize yourself with new volunteer program guidelines.

3. Renew and/or update your volunteer registration

Access your volunteer registration through the volunteer portal where you can:

  • approve a new background check if expired (required every two years),
  • add required COVID information (vaccination status and online course ),
  • update your criminal history, if applicable,
  • transfer your existing application to other SPS schools.

4. School Approval

Before your first volunteer shift at a new school, the school volunteer program liaison will verify your information in person or through an online meeting (for remote volunteers). Please have the following available: 

  • A government-issued photo ID.
  • COVID vaccination card (for in-person volunteers).

If the school volunteer program liaison confirms your identity and verifies that you selected the correct background check type on your volunteer application, they will add you to the “Approved Volunteers Roster” for that school.

If you have questions about your application or background check,  call the school office or email the school volunteer program liaison.

Leaving the volunteer program

If you don’t plan on returning to any SPS school as a volunteer, you can opt-out of volunteering in one of two ways: 

  • When you receive an email from our volunteer application system requesting that you renew your application, look for an “opt-out” link at the bottom of the message and click for instructions.
  • Submit your resignation via our online form
  • Every two years, we will email you to give you the option to renew or opt-out of volunteering.

Expired applications are archived every two years.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often are SPS volunteers screened for criminal records?

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

  • New and returning volunteer applicants are screened for free by SPS via the state criminal records database – WATCH. This background check is sufficient for all Category A volunteers who have lived in our state for the past three years. 
  • If you moved to Washington State less than three years ago but purchased the national background check two years ago, please contact your volunteer program liaison so they can verify and approve your renewal without additional cost to you. 
  • More information is available here.

What type of volunteer roles require Category B screening?

  • If your volunteer role will involve spending unsupervised time with students (including as a remote/online volunteer), or you will chaperone 3+ day overnight field trips, you must complete the national background check even if you are a long-time resident of Washington. More information is in the Volunteer Handbook.
  • When updating your volunteer application, select “B. I was recruited to serve as a Category B volunteer”. At the bottom of your volunteer profile page click “SAVE”. This will generate an email with instructions from Sterling Volunteers. 

Is there a different screening process for remote volunteers?

If you were approved to volunteer with SPS schools in the past but not as a “remote/virtual volunteer”, ask the staff member who recruited you for support to determine if your role is a Category A or a Category B volunteer

If your remote volunteer role will fall under Category A, no additional screening is needed. If your remote volunteer role will fall under Category B, please follow the instructions in the volunteer handbook (Remote Volunteers section).

How quickly are my background check results available?

  • If your state background check is clear, you will be notified immediately via email.
  • If you purchase the national or international background check, you will receive your results directly from Sterling Volunteers, usually within a few days.
  • If there are any records on your background check or your report shows possible duplicates (criminal records of other Washington State residents who have similar names to yours), the school’s volunteer program liaison will need to review your background check manually. Expect an additional week for processing. 

I have an old misdemeanor conviction. Will this prevent me from volunteering with my child’s school?

Criminal history does not automatically disqualify an applicant from volunteering in the schools. However, if you do not disclose any of your past convictions, you will be ineligible to volunteer with SPS.

If you’d like to know if your criminal record may affect your ability to volunteer with SPSplease review this flow chart used by schools to determine eligibility.

How long does it take to renew my application?

Volunteer re-authorization times vary by school – please allow at least two weeks. If your background check returns any criminal records, your application renewal may require extra time to process.