We are off to a great start this year at Orca! Committees are filling fast with volunteers, rolling up their sleeves to dig in the garden, paint the playground, and help in the classroom. One of great traditions at Orca K-8 is the strong history of volunteer support. There are so many meaningful ways to get involved at Orca that will enrich not only the academic experience of our students, but your community experience here as well.
Ready to volunteer? Review the Q&A below, and look for volunteer opportunities in the PTSA Weekly Digest.
I have never volunteered at Orca, how do I start? First, recognize that you are in for a great experience, as you become a part of your child’s school in a special way. Volunteering gives you inside knowledge of the school and allows you to better connect with your child, as you learn first-hand about the things they are doing. Introduce yourself to your Room Coordinator who will have lots of ideas about how you can best get involved. Watch for the Weekly Digest with all the latest PTSA news and events that require volunteer support. Look for the SignUpGenius links that will allow you to sign up for a specific volunteer slot.
How often should I volunteer? We ask each family to commit to a minimum of 20 hours a school year, or roughly 2-3 hours a month. For example, a typical month could be working in your child’s class for an hour and helping with an event, like the Harvest Festival, for 2 hours.
What if I work during the day? There are a lot of opportunities for people who are not available during the school day. The garden has work parties throughout the year on the weekends. The auction committee has opportunities to help in the evenings. Things that need support during off school hours inevitably come up during the year.
What is required before I volunteer: Before volunteering at Orca K-8, ALL volunteers are required to:
- Complete Volunteer Application Packet (annually)
- View the Adult Sexual Misconduct Prevention – online course
- Turn in your application to the school or dept. volunteer coordinator/contact.
- SPS is committed to providing students with a safe educational environment. This includes ensuring every volunteer and staff member completes a criminal background check. For more information about background checks go to the https://www.seattleschools.org/volunteer.
Volunteer forms (pink) went home in the PTSA packet, and additional copies are available outside the main office, next to the elevator. Turn your pink volunteer forms into the PTSA box in the office.
How to Apply to Volunteer with Seattle Public Schools
Why Volunteer in Your Child’s School?
- Higher grades, test scores & graduation rates
- Better attendance
- Increased motivation & self-esteem
Checklist for New Volunteers
Visit our volunteer website to:
- Review volunteer handbook
- Complete online training
- Apply securely online
- Background check required
Questions? Contact your school office or visit Volunteer
Additional Steps for Certain Volunteer Roles
The following volunteer roles require a national background check, regardless of how long the volunteer has resided in Washington:
- Unsupervised volunteers who work with children regularly (including remote/virtual volunteers).
- Volunteers chaperoning overnight field trips longer than three days.
- Volunteers involved in any sports or gym activities coordinated by the school (for Athletics see *).
If situations 2 or 3 apply to you, visit the volunteer website to learn more.
* Important: Athletic coaches must apply via SPS Athletics Department.
All gym and sports volunteers must be current on CPR, First Aid, Sudden Cardiac Arrest and Concussion Courses.
Field trip volunteers supervise students. Once approved to volunteer, request additional forms from the field trip organizer to review and acknowledge your important responsibilities.
Keeping Students Safe
Child Abuse Prevention
Nationally, one in four girls and one in six boys are sexually abused before age 18. Volunteers help to protect children by learning to recognize and report potential abuse.
At SPS, each volunteer completes an online Sexual Misconduct Prevention training before start of their service.
Criminal Background Check
- If you have lived in Washington State for the past three (3) years, SPS will complete your state background check at no cost to you.
- If you came to Washington from another state in the past three years, you will need to purchase a one-time national background check.
New or newly returned to the U.S.?
Why is there a fee for out-of-state background checks?
Unlike our state, the federal government does not provide schools with free screening tools. SPS selected a vendor to offer secure, affordable background checks for the volunteers who need them ($21 in most cases).
Frequently Asked Questions
I completed an online application in the fall of 2019. Do I have to reapply this year?
Your online application is still on file so please do not create a new application. On your second volunteer anniversary, you will receive an email with log-in instructions to update your application.
Can I use my smart phone to apply?
Yes! Our online volunteer application is smart-phone friendly!
Thank you for helping create safe schools, and for your generous donation of time and talent!