FAQs for Volunteers

  • How do I record hours served when I couldn't sign in at school?

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    Did you volunteer on a school field trip, boosters event, or other activity where you were unable to sign in on the school kiosk? Record your hours served on your volunteer profile (see the guide here) or email your school volunteer coordinator to add your time. We know many volunteers serve our students outside of the school building and school day, and we want to make sure we recognize your contributions.

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  • How do I know if I am a visitor or a volunteer?

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    There are procedures in place to differentiate between Volunteers who have been background checked by the district, and Visitors who have not. We want all families to feel welcome in our schools while ensuring safety and minimizing disruptions. 

    Visitors are visiting the school for a specific purpose for a limited amount of time and do not have an assigned activity at the school or school event. Visitors must check in with school office staff, provide ID upon request, and wear a visitor badge while at school. Visitors will always be in the presence of school staff and will never have unsupervised access to students. At the discretion of building staff, additional children like younger siblings are acceptable to accompany you as a visitor. Examples of school visitors include: a parent/guardian attending a school assembly or concert, attending a classroom birthday party, or dropping something off to their child at school.  Visitors are not permitted on school field trips.

    Volunteers have an up to date background check on file with NTPS, have an assigned activity at the school or school event, and may have unsupervised access to students. Volunteers are required to sign in on the school volunteer kiosk, and wear a volunteer badge while at school. Volunteers may not bring additional children with them while volunteering. Examples of school volunteers include: a parent/guardian or community member assisting in the classroom, at a school event, or as a field trip chaperone.

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  • How do I know if my volunteer status is current?

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    You will receive a confirmation in your email (check your spam/junk folder) when your volunteer application has been approved. It can take up to 2 weeks to process an application, maybe longer during high volume times such as the beginning of the school year and the spring. All application types are now valid for 2 school years after approval. Applications submitted at this time will be valid through 7/1/2021. You will receive an email approximately 30-45 days before your expiration date that invites you to renew your volunteer status.

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  • How do I know when my volunteer status expires?

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    You can contact your school Volunteer Coordinator or the district Volunteer Liaison to check on your expiration date. All volunteer applications are now valid for two school years - applications received at this time will expire on 7/1/2021.

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  • I just submitted an application renewal, why am I getting another expiration reminder?

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    This means your application renewal is most likely in our pending queue to be processed. The expiration reminder emails are automatically sent, and don't detect when a renewal is in the pending queue. Getting another expiration reminder does not mean that your renewal application was not received. 

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  • Why are criminal history background checks required of volunteers?

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    Background checks are required per RCW 28A.404.303 in order to maintain a safe learning environment for all of our students and staff. All volunteers must consent to a criminal history background check as part of their application.

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  • Does having a criminal history disqualify me from volunteering?

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    Minor criminal offenses do not automatically disqualify a volunteer application. Length of time since the offense, and the nature and severity of the offense are all taken into account when Human Resources reviews a volunteer application. In certain cases, applicants may be approved to volunteer with restrictions (ex. no driving, no handling money).

    Our background check is very thorough. If you have an offense in your past, you must disclose it on your application. If items are identified on a background check that were not appropriately disclosed, the application will be deleted, and the applicant will be asked to submit a new application with a thorough disclosure.

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  • If I apply as a volunteer coach, do I also need to apply as a parent or community member?

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    No. Your coach application provides an extra endorsement above and beyond the standard volunteer application, and all applications are now valid for two school years. You may need to add additional schools to your volunteer profile in order to volunteer as a parent or community member at other district schools.

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  • Do I need to fill out a volunteer application for each school?

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    Your volunteer application is generally approved for all NTPS district schools. However, your name will only display on the volunteer computer kiosks for the schools selected on your volunteer profile.

    If you need to update your school selections, you can do so through your HelpCounter Home Access account at helpcounterweb.com/ci/volunteer. You will need to create an account, it is not automatically created for you. Be sure to use the same email address that you used on your volunteer application for the system to find you. You can also contact the district Volunteer Liaison to have your school list updated.

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  • Where do I sign up to volunteer?

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    After your online application is approved, you can contact your school Volunteer Coordinator or the district Volunteer Liaison for help connecting to volunteer opportunities.

    You can also see upcoming opportunities by creating a HelpCounter Home Access volunteer profile at helpcounterweb.com/ci/volunteer

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  • Why must I wear a volunteer badge?

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    It is important to identify yourself as a volunteer when in the school building. It helps all staff and students know you and your purpose, and helps ensure everyone's safety. Students who see strangers in the building without name tags are encouraged to report them to a staff member.

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  • Why do volunteers sign in?

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    The district requires all volunteers to sign-in upon entering a school building. This is a safety measure for our children and also helps us account for everyone in the building in case of a drill, evacuation, or emergency. Your sign-in log will also track your hours served, and provide a record for those who write off volunteer mileage on your income taxes.

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  • How do I record volunteer hours if I can't sign in on the school kiosk?

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    If you are volunteering off-site or after-hours (field trips, boosters, evening events, etc.) and are unable to sign in and out of the school kiosk to log your volunteer hours, you have two options for recording your hours manually:

    1. You can record your hours in your Home Access Volunteer Profile

    2. You can email your school Volunteer Coordinator and have them manually enter your hours. For help identifying your school Volunteer Coordinator, contact the Volunteer Liaison

    Please note: If you are a volunteer requiring documentation of your hours for graduation, varsity letter, or other requirements, you must also complete the necessary paper documentation form, including NTPS staff or PTA officer signature, in order for your hours to be valid. Your hours record in HelpCounter can help you keep track of your hours, but cannot be your sole documentation of hours served.

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  • How do I document my student volunteer hours?

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    If you are a NTPS student who needs to document your volunteer hours for graduation or varsity letter requirements, you will need to complete the required paper documentation form with a signature from a representative of the organization you are volunteering with. For volunteering in NTPS schools, this signature would be from a school staff member or PTA officer.

    Contact your HS Counselor or Career Center for a copy of the Community Involvement Documentation Form for the High School & Beyond Plan. Visit the Varsity Letter in Community Service page for a copy of the Varsity Letter Application.

    Please note: You may use your HelpCounter hours log (that is generated when you sign in and out of the school building) to help keep track of your hours, but this record alone does not serve as full documentation. 

     

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  • How do I volunteer at the Family & Youth Resource (FYR) Center?

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    The FYR Center can use volunteers for processing community donations, laundering lost and found items, restocking schools with supplies (clothes, toiletries, etc.), greeting for the kids closet, helping with office tasks, and especially tutoring! We always have a great need for caring adults or older student tutors to provide academic support for struggling students in all grades at all schools. Please contact the Volunteer Liaison with your interest and availability if you'd like to volunteer at the FYR Center.

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  • How do I sign up to volunteer for an ACT night?

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    You must sign-up through the City of Lacey, and complete their volunteer application, in order to help at an ACT night dance at an NTPS Middle School. Visit the Lacey Activities Coalition for Teens website for more information.

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  • What if I can only volunteer once a month or for a special event?

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    That's great! Any time you can invest in our schools and students is always appreciated. Field trips and special events are one of the most popular ways volunteers choose to get involved.

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  • What if I can't make my scheduled time to volunteer?

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    If you are unable to volunteer as planned, please contact your school, volunteer coordinator, or teacher via phone or email with as much notice as possible. Providing at least 24 hours notice gives us the best chance to fill your spot with another volunteer, if needed.

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  • What if volunteering becomes a hardship for me?

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    Please let the teacher or volunteer coordinator know if you need to take a leave of absence, step down entirely, or change your schedule or activity. We are happy to find a way to help that works best for you!

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  • How do I change the schools where I volunteer?

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    You can add and remove the schools on your volunteer profile through your HelpCounter Home Access account at helpcounterweb.com/ci/volunteer. You will need to create an account, it is not automatically created for you. Be sure to use the same email address that you used on your volunteer application for the system to find you. You can also contact the district Volunteer Liaison to have your school list updated.

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  • What if I have more than one child and want to work in each of their classrooms?

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    Each classroom has different schedules and volunteer needs. We appreciate your flexibility in planning a volunteer schedule for you to spend time in each classroom that works best for you and all of the teachers involved.

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  • Can I bring my younger children with me when I volunteer?

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    Please arrange child care for your younger children during your volunteering time. Even a quiet, sleeping baby draws the attention of the students away from their schoolwork. Especially when chaperoning on a field trip, volunteers need to be able to give their full attention to the students they are responsible for.

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  • What if I don't enjoy the tasks that are given to me by the teacher?

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    Talk to the teacher and offer suggestions if you see other needs in the classroom or have other skills or interests you'd like to share. There are likely other tasks, programs, or classrooms where you can be involved in an activity that you enjoy. We want volunteering to be a positive experience for everyone involved!

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  • What if there is an emergency drill while I am volunteering?

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    If there is a drill, you need to leave the building along with the students and staff. Leave through the nearest exit, or if you are in a classroom leave with the class. If there is an earthquake drill, turn away from the windows and seek protection under a desk or other sturdy furniture. This is one reason why it's important to sign-in at the volunteer computer kiosk, so school staff know to account for you in case of an emergency.

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  • While working with students, what if I observe something that I'm concerned about?

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    Please share your concerns with a teacher, principal, or other school staff as soon as possible. Volunteers are expected to maintain confidentiality regarding any student observations or records outside of school.

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Last Modified on February 3, 2020