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    Step by Step Instructions and Resources for Volunteer Applicants 

    SPS serves 53,000 vulnerable children and youth - we are committed to carefully screening volunteer candidates to ensure student safety as required by law, SPS policies, and the Washington Schools Risk Insurance Pool.

    Thank you for your interest in volunteering with Seattle Public Schools! Whether you are a parent, a family member, or a community member, the following resources will help you prepare to volunteer with our students.​ 

    Are you a returning volunteer? No need to apply again if you completed our online application in the 2018/19 school year. Click here to check your volunteer status, transfer your application to another school, or update your contact information. 


    STEP 1: Online Training - Preventing Sexual Abuse of Children and Youth

    Nationally, 1 in 4 girls & 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused before age 18. Through this course, you will 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 2: Volunteer Handbook

    Review the Volunteer Handbook for info and tips to consider while volunteering with SPS.


    STEP 3: Volunteer Application 

    • We transitioned away from annual paper applications in August 2018 and since then saved over 14 trees! 
    • Once you are approved as a volunteer in our online system, your application materials will stay active for as long as you volunteer with any SPS school. Every two years, we will ask whether you would like to stay active, and if so, request your permission to complete a new background check. 
    • If you need a paper application, please request it from the school office where you wish to volunteer. 

    Please submit your complete application at least 2 weeks before expected volunteer service start date. Background checks reports take up to two weeks to clear, in rare cases even longer. 

    Click here to complete the SPS Volunteer Application

    Note: Athletic Coaches (both volunteer and paid) must apply through the Athletic Department using this online application. For more information, contact or call 206-252-1800. 


    STEP 4: Field Trip Forms for Chaperones and Volunteer Drivers

    Unlike school volunteers, field trip volunteers and volunteer drivers are involved in direct student supervision. In addition to the volunteer application they must complete the K-12 Day & Overnight Field Trips Chaperone Form. This form is also known as "Chaperone Expectations" and covers SPS student supervision guidelines and field trip safety rules. Volunteer Drivers must complete the main volunteer application, the chaperone form, and the Driver Checklist for Volunteers. 

    Click here to access Chaperone and Driver Forms.


    STEP 5: Background Check

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

    • 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 reside in other states must purchase a $21 U.S.-wide background check conducted by an online vendor. 
    • If your volunteer role will involve regularly spending unsupervised time with students, you must complete the national background check even if you are a long-time resident of Washington. 

    Learn more about volunteer background checks and how SPS is keeping students safe:

    Every parent or caretaker should have the opportunity to participate in their student’s education. If you face barriers to completing the online background check, please visit our web page for family volunteers for information about assistance. 

    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.


    Frequently Asked Questions


    I do not have access to the Internet, how can I apply to volunteer?

    Families without Internet access at home can visit the John Stanford Center for Educational Excellence where two computer stations are available to apply for employment and volunteer opportunities with SPS. They are located between Enrollment and Security offices. 

    For locations of public libraries and community centers offering access to computers and the Internet for free visit this City of Seattle website.

    If your child attends the school where you wish to volunteer, check in with the school office about computer availability. If the school computer lab is not used by students, schools can offer SPS families access to computers for the purpose of completing volunteer applications. 


    I applied to volunteer last year. Should I apply again? 

    If you are a returning volunteer who applied online last year, please do not submit a new volunteer application. If needed, you may update your application. Click here to check your volunteer status, transfer your application to another school, or update your contact information.

    I was approved to volunteer at one of the schools last year, but transferred to a new school since. Am I approved to volunteer here also? 

    Yes, however you must transfer your application to the new school so they can verify your approved status and have access to your contact and emergency information. Click here to check your volunteer status, transfer your application to another school, or update your contact information. 

    I'm a new volunteer and submitted the application - what happens next?

    Applications are processed by individual schools in accordance with SPS-wide procedures. Principals assign one staff member in charge of volunteer screening and keeping volunteer information safe and secure. If you do not hear from your school within two weeks of applying, you can contact the school's volunteer program liaison to request an update.

    How is volunteer information protected?

    SPS and VolunteerLocal signed a memorandum of agreement for collecting, maintaining, and storing volunteer data to ensure volunteer information is rigorously protected and meets or exceeds accepted industry practices, including specifically the International Organization for Standardization's standards ISO/IEC 27001:2005 (Information Security Management Systems- Requirements), ISO-IEC 27002:2005 (Code of Practice for International Security Management). You can review VolunteerLocal Terms of Service here