A warm welcome from Barnstable Public Schools! We believe that volunteers are a wonderful asset to our school communities, and we appreciate your willingness to enhance the lives of our students. The Barnstable School Committee's vision captures our commitment to students:
Barnstable Public Schools educates the whole child by creating a student-centered school culture that addresses students' physical, social, emotional, and academic needs by creating a safe and healthy learning environment in which students are challenged, supported, and engaged.
Research shows that volunteers are positive role models who help create supportive and welcoming school environments, contributing to better school attendance, improved academic outcomes, enriched social skills, and enhanced student engagement with school.
Additionally, volunteers play a critical role in connecting our community with schools and students. We couldn't be more excited to launch Barnstable Volunteers in Public Schools, or VIPS, to expand and promote community engagement throughout our schools. We invite you to identify a role that best fits your interests and availability. We have many opportunities available, whether helping in a classroom, aiding with various tasks within a school, or assisting with career awareness and readiness.
This guide outlines Barnstable Public Schools' policies and practices for all Barnstable Public School volunteers and the expectations we have of you as you serve in a Barnstable school. It also provides specific school information for your particular school site.
On behalf of Barnstable's students, families, educators, and staff, thank you for your commitment to our children and youth. We look forward to working with you as we fulfill our district theme of Achieving Excellence Together.
Dr. Sara Ahern Superintendent of School
The mission of the Barnstable Public Schools Volunteer Program is to enhance the development of the whole child by promoting volunteerism and building community partnerships.
Standards and Procedures for all Barnstable Public School Volunteers
For the safety and security of all students, every volunteer must complete a CORI (Criminal Offender Record Information) or background check. It must be approved before volunteering in schools can begin. A CORI may be submitted through the main office of any Barnstable Public School, or through the Family and Community Engagement Center. CORIs for BPS volunteers are valid for 3 years with any Barnstable Public Schools.
Volunteers must sign in at the school's main office prior to every session, wear a Visitor tag while in the school, sign out, and return tag to the main office at the end of each session. A picture ID will need to be provided on your first visit.
Volunteers working directly with students may become aware of confidential information about specific students. This information may include students' academic performance, student records, behavior, disabilities, immigration status or other personal matters. Volunteers will not disclose such confidential information except to school employees who have a need to know.
Volunteers should not photograph students unless authorized by the building principal or designated staff. Volunteers should not share photographs of students. Volunteers should not use social media, "friend" or text with students.
Volunteers should never assume responsibility for the supervision of a class in the absence of a certified teacher.
Volunteers should never assume responsibility for the discipline of a student.
Volunteers are not authorized to transport students.
Volunteers should use adult restrooms only.
Ensure positive closure. If you plan on ending your volunteer involvement before the end of the school year, please notify your teacher and the tutor coordinator. It is especially important that the student is aware of your final tutoring session. The student needs to be left with the clear message that you have enjoyed working with him/her.
Follow "safe touch" suggestions. Volunteers do not initiate touching a student (pats on arm or back, or for younger children, hand-holding, hugs, or lap-sitting), but may respond to the student's initiation of appropriate touch.
Gifts for students are inappropriate. Don't bring gifts or food treats for individual students. With teacher or program coordinator approval, volunteers may bring snacks for the entire class or group, or they may make a donation of books or supplies for the class or group.
Maintain contact only in a school setting. Do not initiate contact with the students with whom you work or their families outside of the school or program setting.
Conflict of Interest Law. Massachusetts requires that all state, county and/or municipal agency employees complete periodic training regarding the Conflict of Interest laws. The definition of "employee" is very broad and generally includes unpaid volunteers. The District's volunteer coordinator will determine which volunteers are required to participate in this training and will provide the training as appropriate and necessary.
Release of Liability: The Barnstable Public Schools and the Town of Barnstable require all volunteers to review and sign a separate release of liability prior to beginning volunteer services.
Barnstable Public Schools requests that volunteers complete an opt out form if they do not wish BPS to publish, print or post to its website your photograph as part of your volunteer activities. Please see the BPS Family and Community Engagement Coordinator if you wish to complete the form.
School specific information will be provided at your Welcome Orientation with each school's Volunteer Liaison.
Volunteers Make a Difference! We appreciate your commitment to our students.