The Care and Feeding of School Volunteers

A Utah high school teacher — and friend – who has contributed to this blog before just sent me the following suggestions to “help establish a motivated and competent cadre of helpers who are pleased to educate children and return frequently to do so.”

“A good teacher instructional aide,” this teacher comments, “is worth his/her weight in gold. The following suggestions would promote a school culture and methodology that recruits, trains, values and supports those adults who wish to give their personal time to help teach our children.

Administrations must actively create a volunteer school culture designed for their school
1. School leaders must train all school employees to use best practices in working with school volunteers
2. All school employees must actively recruit school volunteers: friends, relatives, neighbors. Schools must also:
3. Conduct volunteer security checks
4. Create individual job descriptions
5. Allow volunteers to choose their best job description
6. Appoint an experienced volunteer to lead other volunteers
7. Provide teacher volunteer planning and strategy time
8. Reward volunteers
9. Allow volunteers to have student-viewed equality with all regular staff

I’d be curious to know what kind of experiences blog readers have as — or with — parent and community volunteers. Any further ideas, or war stories, to contribute?

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