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    Step by Step Instructions and Resources for Volunteer Applicants

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    Volunteer applications are closed for the summer.

    Please visit this page in late August for information about 2020/21 School Year remote/virtual volunteer opportunities! 


    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. You can review and update your volunteer application, or transfer it to another school.

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

    SPS is committed to the safety of our students. Training on recognizing and reporting adult sexual misconduct must be completed by all applicants prior to volunteering.  

    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

    Carefully review our online Volunteer Handbook to make sure Seattle Public Schools is the right organizational for you, learn about volunteer responsibilities and rights.

    Note that PDF volunteer handbooks are outdated. Our web-based handbook is accessible, includes videos and the google translator.


    STEP 3: Volunteer Application

    • We transitioned away from annual paper applications in the 2018/19 school year and saved 114,000 sheets of paper = 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.

    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.

    RETURNING VOLUNTEERS: Review and update your online application.

    NEW VOLUNTEERS: Complete the SPS Volunteer Application.

    Please submit your completed application at least two (2) weeks before the expected volunteer service start date. Background check reports take up to two weeks to clear, occasionally longer.


    STEP 4: Field Trip Volunteers

    Unlike school volunteers, field trip volunteers and volunteer drivers perform direct student supervision duties. In addition to the volunteer application, prospective field trip volunteers 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. 

    Chaperones volunteering during field trips longer than 3 days must also complete a $21 online national background check (alternatives and cost details are available here).

    Volunteer Drivers for field trips are also considered chaperones since they supervise students during the field trip while they are in their vehicle. Drivers must complete the main volunteer application, the chaperone form, and the Driver Checklist for Volunteers



    If you are experiencing technical difficulties with our online forms, please review the following tips:

    • Do not exit the browser immediately after submitting your application. Wait for the next page to load & check if corrections are needed. A "thank you" page will indicate that your application was submitted successfully, followed by an automatic email confirmation.
    • File size limits: 10MB per file and 20MB total. Each file you attach must be under 10MB. If needed, submit two files at first, then use a link in your confirmation email to add more.
    • Using a smartphone to apply? VolunteerLocal recommends a device with a larger screen and the Google Chrome browser.
    • Still unable to submit the application? Please try submitting without any attachments and add those after receiving your profile link.


    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 will 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. Please go to for instructions.
    • If your volunteer role will involve regularly spending unsupervised time with students, 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. 

    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 an applicant from volunteering in the schools.


    What To Expect After Submitting Your Volunteer Application

    • You will receive an automatic email confirming receipt of your application.
    • Your application will be reviewed by the school you selected. Applications with all requested attachments and no criminal records to review are usually processed within two weeks. If your residential history requires a national background check, the school will wait to receive the results of your background check first. Typically, national background check results take 2-3 days, but occasionally as long as three weeks. This depends entirely on processing times by out-of-state jurisdictions.


    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 or transfer it to another school.

    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. Review your volunteer application, 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). Review Volunteer Local Terms of Service.