Volunteer Commitment

become a volunteer

What It Means to Volunteer at Phillips Elementary

Thank you for volunteering to serve our school. Volunteers are a critical element in ensuring the success of every child and school. It speaks volumes that you willingly give from the heart by giving of your time. Please know that the Phillips Administration along with our PTA board is here to support you as you support our campus.

The Phillips Elementary Volunteer Handbook is designed to provide you with information and guidelines to help you perform your volunteer services as effectively as possible. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

Once you have passed the online background check, you are ready to volunteer!

The teachers, administrators, and students are extremely grateful for your willingness to assist our school. Thank you for sharing your time and talents with us. We hope that you find your volunteer experience both meaningful and rewarding.

Introduction

Volunteers have an important and valuable role at Phillips Elementary, whether volunteering for the school or for the PTA. It does not matter if you volunteer for one hour or one hundred hours over the course of the school year; any help you give is essential in enhancing the education of our students. Some volunteers may assist the teachers with instructional or clerical tasks. Others may help shelve books in the library, serve as a PAL (Parent At Lunch), or work with the PTA on projects and fundraisers. Besides supporting the school, your volunteer efforts teach our children the obligation we all have to give some of our precious time to worthwhile causes. We hope you find your volunteer experience to be a rewarding one.

To get the most from your volunteer experience, it is important to be informed. This handbook contains important information about your work at Phillips Elementary; please take time to read through it. Additional information may be found in the Frisco ISD Elementary Student Handbook.

If you have questions about volunteering, please contact the PTA or the school.

How to Be a Successful Volunteer

No matter what kind of volunteer work you do, or who you do it for, there are some common qualities that will help you be a successful volunteer at Phillips Elementary.

Have an interest in our students

  • Believe that each child can learn and succeed.
  • Accept children of all ages, abilities, backgrounds and personalities.
  • Encourage children to do their best and offer genuine praise.
  • Be friendly–learn students’ names and be a good listener.

Support the staff

  • Be respectful of the teachers.
  • Do not publicly question or criticize the teacher or the methods used.
  • Ensure that your interpretation of rules and expectations matches that of the school or classroom.
  • Involve appropriate school personnel when students disobey school or classroom rules; don’t take corrective measures into your own hands.

Be committed and dependable

  • Make sure you have the time to serve.
  • Be prompt and reliable; people are counting on you to be there!
  • Set an example for the students by dressing appropriately and demonstrating good citizenship.
  • Let people know if schedule changes prevent you from keeping a commitment.

Maintain confidentiality

  • Ensure that children’s work and behavior are held in confidence.
  • Discuss matters relating to a student’s behavior and performance only with appropriate school staff members.

Communicate 

  • Ask if you are unsure about how equipment works or how your job is supposed to get done—there are no dumb questions!
  • Don’t let small problems turn into big ones.
  • Provide feedback to the appropriate person about volunteer experiences.

Phillips Elementary Volunteer Handbook

Attendance/Absences 

If you are unable to volunteer at your assigned time, please arrange for a substitute volunteer, call the staff member with which you are scheduled to work, or contact the school office, 469-633-3925.

Background Check

Each school year, all adult volunteers must complete DPS background checks through FISD and be approved before being allowed to volunteer one-on-one with students or attend field trips. To submit your information for volunteering, do so online at www.friscoisd.org.

Confidential Information

Information learned about students while volunteering is considered confidential and is not to be shared. Volunteers who have a concern about a student should talk with the teachers, Principal, Assistant Principal, or Counselor.

ALL jobs will be picked up, completed, and left in the MAIN WORKROOM. 

  • An organizational system (crate, file, tray, etc.) will be set up in the workroom with a file for each teacher.
  • Teachers will leave all materials in the area assigned to each grade level.
  • Specific instructions will be provided with each job.
  • Teachers will pick up completed jobs from the workroom.

Volunteers are not allowed to make copies or use the laminator.

Dress Code for Volunteers and Adult Visitors

Elementary-aged students are very impressionable, especially those nearing adolescence. It is important for all adults in the school setting to serve as positive role models by following school rules including the dress code.

Volunteers and visitors must sign in at the school office, receive a visitor’s sticker, and meet the standards of the school dress code as follows:

  • Shorts, dresses or skirts must be loose fitting and approximately fingertip length including tennis skirts and/or workout clothes.
  • Inappropriate or revealing clothing will not be permitted:
    – No strapless or spaghetti strap tops/dresses
    – No halter tops
    – No bare midriffs (shirts ending above the waistline)
    – No see-through clothing.
  • Clothing with offensive pictures or slogans will not be allowed including clothing with liquor or tobacco advertising.
  • Shoes must be worn at all times.

PALs (Parents at Lunch)

Parents who volunteer at lunch should familiarize themselves with the Phillips’ Café procedures and expectations below so as to support the teachers in the enforcement of cafeteria rules:

Cafeteria Expectations

Students will follow these guidelines…

L – Low voices
U – Use your manners
N – No sharing food
C – Clean up after yourself
H – Hand raised for permission to get out of seat

Each PAL will wear an apron with pockets full of extra items such as plastic ware, napkins, ketchup, etc. Students are to eat the lunch that they purchase or bring from home. For the safety of all students, parent volunteers should not purchase lunches for students other than their own child(ren). Students may have restrictions on their lunch accounts set by their own parents, or students may have food allergies. If there is a problem with a student’s lunch, the teacher and/or café staff needs to be alerted.

If the noise level gets too loud, a teacher on duty will use the microphone to ask the student to lower their voices. Five minutes before the end of lunch, a teacher will use the microphone to signal for voices off. The teacher will call for students to throw away trash and dump their trays in the nearby trash cans before walking their trays to the kitchen window. Students will then proceed to the designated area for their class and wait quietly for their teachers.

Parents as Mentors

Parents as Tutors/Mentors are required to complete and pass a background check online through www.friscoisd.org. If you are interested in tutoring or mentoring students during the school day, please let your Volunteer Coordinator know. Parent tutors/mentors may be asked to work with students individually or in small groups. They may be asked to offer assistance in reading, math, writing, social studies, or science. The teacher will let the parent know what s/he needs to work on with the student(s).

Tips for Mentoring
  • Set a positive, friendly tone when working with students… a mood that promotes good feelings and learning. It takes time and patience to build the desired relationship in which you and the student(s) feel comfortable.
  • Names are important to people. Learn the students’ names and their correct pronunciations as soon as you can. Also, be certain students know what you want to be called.
  • Give honest, specific, and deserved praise for student achievement and effort. Success breeds success, and you are in a unique position to focus on students’ strengths and positive behavior. When you must criticize, keep it constructive and try to preface the corrective remark with something positive or encouraging. A light or witty comment helps mistakes seem less tragic.
  • Realize that most young people have short attention spans. Make every effort to respond to a child’s need for movement and variety. If students are restless, disinterested, chatty, or misbehaving, they are probably not learning much, and you may end up frustrated.
  • If you are tutoring/mentoring an individual, take breaks as needed. If you are helping a small group, refocus their attention and spark their interest if students get distracted. Be flexible and aware of cues from the students that it is time to move on or switch gears.
  • Be patient. Sometimes progress is slow. All children are different, but each has the same need for your attention and interest in his/her accomplishments.
  • Your warmth and enthusiasm have a very positive effect on children. Show simple gestures of caring… a smile, a pat on the back, a high five!
  • Treat students with the courtesy and respect that you expect in return. And if you do not get these desired responses from a student, try not to take it personally. Assume that the child is having a problem, which is not related to you. Be fair, consistent, and impartial; and, by all means, keep your sense of humor!
  • Model proper language usage. Children learn language from the language they hear. Expect to hear some fantasies, tall tales, and incorrect and unacceptable language. Some children hear language and see behavior at home, which is not acceptable at school. Instead of criticizing a child’s home, explain the type of language and behavior that are appropriate for school use.
  • Make good use of wait time. It is easier to maintain discipline when students are busy working on worthwhile, interesting tasks. If possible, fill transition moments with a thought-provoking question, a riddle, a song, a mini-activity, or encouragement to reflect on the day or the lesson. Young people love to voice their opinions and know they are heard.
  • Try to enjoy children because they are different rather than merely tolerating differences. Look for the unique contribution each student can make.
  • If you have a close relationship with a student, such as in a tutoring/mentoring situation, be sensitive to the possibility that she/he might take your absence personally. If you are unable to attend a tutoring/mentoring session, a special message to that student might alleviate this potential problem.
  • While tutoring/mentoring a child, if there is ever a problem that you feel uncomfortable handling, please talk with the child’s teacher or the counselor. Remember, confidentiality is of the utmost importance at all times.

Relationships with Teachers

Volunteer time is valuable and very much appreciated!

  • Save private conversations with teachers for times when students are not present. Do not interrupt classrooms when teachers are teaching. It is easy to lose the momentum of an activity when students are distracted or forced to wait while adults carry on conversations.
  • Please do not use your volunteer time to speak to your child’s teachers or other staff members about your child. Schedule an appointment with your child’s teachers or school staff to address any questions or concerns related to your child.
  • Leave discipline matters to the teacher. The teacher is responsible for maintaining classroom order, even when other adults are working with students in the room. If you have a discipline problem with a student that cannot be resolved by gentle prompting or a few positive words, speak with the teacher.
  • Respect the confidentiality of all information and activities related to school staff, faculty, students, and their families. Stay enthusiastic and positive!

Sign-In Procedures

All volunteers must sign in/out at the front office and wear a badge/sticker. A valid drivers’ license must be scanned on the initial visit to the school.

Your Commitment

As a volunteer at Phillips Elementary, you agree to:

  • Follow all guidelines outlined in the Phillips Elementary Volunteer Handbook as well as FISD policies and regulations applicable to your position as a volunteer.
  • Set an example for the students by following the dress code and school rules.
  • Honor the commitment to work as scheduled. If you must be absent from a scheduled commitment, you will notify the teacher, staff member, or PTA representative.

If you have any questions, please email colleen@sosbee.net.