• DISTRICT POLICIES CONCERNING VOLUNTEERS
    Please note that the following are summaries of policies. Full test versions of these policies are available in each building office.
    SCHOOL VOLUNTEERS

    The Board recognizes that community volunteers can make valuable contributions to the educational program.  The use of community volunteers is endorsed by the Board, subject to legal requirements and administrative procedures.

     

    Volunteer one who voluntarily offers a service to the school district without compensation.

     

    The Board authorizes the selection and use of parents/guardians, community members and other as volunteers to assist and supplement regular district staff.

     

    Building and organization volunteers shall be approved by the appropriate administrator.  Athletic volunteers shall be approved by the Board.

     

    Volunteers shall be required to undergo a Background Check verification using screening software to become approved for the district volunteer program. The cost for such screening may be the responsibility of the volunteer.

     

    The basic requirements of volunteer service are an interest in the Highlands educational program, enjoyment in helping children, and a sincere belief that volunteering makes a positive contribution to the learning process.

     

    Volunteers shall not be asked to assume professional staff responsibilities.  Volunteers may provide supportive assistance under the direction of staff members.

     

    Any school volunteer program that will require financial support from the district budget shall require a formal recommendation for approval by the Superintendent to the Board, and approval by the Board, prior to implementation.

     

    Under no circumstances shall a volunteer be considered an employee of the district.  A volunteer shall receive neither wages, nor any other valuable considerations for the performance of volunteer services.  A volunteer position is not a right, but rather a privilege.  As such, any volunteer position may be eliminated at any time.  Also, any volunteer may be removed from a volunteer position for any reason or no reason.

     

    Transportation

     

    No volunteer shall be required to transport students in district or personal vehicles as part of his/her duties.

     

    The Superintendent or his/her designee shall develop administrative guidelines to assure the proper support for the volunteer programs of the district.  The following requirements shall apply:

     

    1.       Any building administrator who uses volunteers in any capacity shall be responsible for training said volunteers to perform the specific duties associated with their assignments.

    2.       The building administrator or designee shall assume general authority and responsibility over all volunteers serving at that site.

    3.       Volunteers shall comply with the legally mandated employee requirements and procedures for a criminal history and child abuse background report, the cost of which is to be paid by the individual. If under the pertinent laws or regulations, his/her criminal history/child abuse report would preclude him/her from being hired as an employee, that person may not be a volunteer.

    4.       Volunteers shall meet all standards established by federal, state or local governments, as well as those established by the Board or administration, from time to time.  The volunteer must agree to be bound by all applicable privacy laws and regulations.

    5.       Volunteers are neither permitted to directly administer student discipline, nor are they permitted to administer first aid, except in the case of an emergency. 

    6.       Volunteers shall not have access to, or handle, any materials of a personal or confidential nature.  Volunteers will maintain confidentially in all matters pertaining to staff and students arising from the performance of their duties as volunteers and from their presence in schools.

     

    TOBACCO USE

    The Board prohibits tobacco use by any persons in its school buildings and property, buses, vans and vehicles that are owned, leased or controlled by the district. The district shall annually notify staff, parents/guardians and members about the district's tobacco use policy by publishing such in handbooks, new posted notices, and other efficient methods.

     

    PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

    The Board has the authority to prohibit at a school event the attendance of an individual whose conduct may constitute a disruption. The Board prohibits and the possession and use of controlled substances, alcoholic beverages and weapons on school premises.

     

    SCHOOL VISITORS

    The Board welcomes and encourages visits to schools by parents/guardians, community members or interested educators.

     

    The Board recognizes that some school visits are planned and scheduled, while some are informal. Examples of informal visitations may include, but not be limited to: delivery of school materials or other items to students, visiting with the school nurse, meeting students for early release, or dropping off students for late arrival. Scheduled school visits may include, but not be limited to: teacher conferences, discipline meetings, IEP team meetings, or class observations.

     

    The Board also recognizes that there will be visits to the school during special times such as American Education Week or other specifically designated programs.

     

    To assure that the greatest benefit can be derived from such visits and to ensure safe order in the schools and the protection of the rights of students and staff, the following guidelines shall govern all school visitations.

     

    The School Code provides that the sole responsibility to make regular visits to the various schools of the district and to report to the Board concerning such visits is vested in the district Superintendent. Therefore, the district Superintendent has the authority and responsibility to implement these guidelines.

     

    The Superintendent or building principal shall have the authority to permit or deny entry of any person to a school building of this district when the following procedures have been complied with:

     

    Reporting To The Office

    All visitors must report to the buildings main office or to the designated school greeter to register before proceeding to their destination in the building regardless of whether prior approval for the visit has been given. All visitors will be escorted to their destination by a school employee.

     

    Scheduling Visitations

    While all visitors must have a scheduled appointment, less formal visits as identified above will not need an appointment. Parent-Teacher Organization meetings and building programs where parents/guardians receive written invitations from the building administration are considered scheduled appointments. Exceptions may be made in the case of emergencies at the discretion of an administrative cabinet member, building principal or designee in matters that affect the safety of the students and staff.

     

    Interruptions

    Visitors may not interrupt any staff member carrying out his/her professional duties. Visitors are not to interrupt a teacher during preparation times or other related instructional duties unless an appointment has been made or other advance notice given according to the guidelines provided herein.

     

    Conferences With Teachers

    Conferences with teachers are encouraged. Such conferences may be requested by either the parent/guardian or the teacher and should be scheduled during the teacher's preparation time or before or after school. Unscheduled conferences will be at the discretion of the principal and teacher. Conferences shall only be granted to parents and/or legal guardians. During conferences, teachers should not discuss information about a student or his/her progress with visitors other than a parent or legal guardian unless the parent or legal guardian is present.

     

    Classroom Observations

    Classroom observations by parents/guardians, community members or interested educators can be valuable, even though they may disrupt the class. It is believed that parents/guardians, other community members, and educators can gain a better sense of the instructional process by observing teaching and learning activities.

     

    Observations will be considered when the parent or legal guardian submits a request, verbally, or in writing to the principal one (1) school day prior to the visit and receives approval from the principal either verbally or in writing.

     

    The principal will consult with the teacher and subsequently notify the parent or legal guardian by phone to discuss the scope of the visit.

     

    The principal will consider the following factors in the approval process:

     

    The purpose of the observation.

    The duration of the observation.

    The classroom activities planned during the observation.

    The number of previous observations of that particular class.

    The needs of the children in that class.

    There may be circumstances when an administrator will observe the class with the parent/guardian, if permission to visit is granted.

     

    Principals are encouraged to schedule parent/guardian classroom visits during American Education Week and other specially designated times.

     

    Conditions of Visitations

    In order to make the visit effective and maintain the integrity of the classroom instruction, the following conditions shall be observed for all visits:

     

    Visitors shall consist of not more than two (2) people designated by the parent/guardian at any one (1) time.

     

    Parents/Guardians must identify in writing the name, address, telephone number and professional credentials of, and must sign a release permitting the disclosure of personally identifiable information to, any appropriately qualified professional that they have designated to visit the classroom or program site of their child.

     

    A district staff member other than the teacher, assistant teacher, or related service providers working with the child may accompany any visitor.

     

    Visitors shall refrain from disruptive conversation and from interaction with children or staff during the period of classroom or program observation.

     

    The principal or designee may terminate a visit at any time if, in the judgment of that staff member, the visit is significantly disrupting children, staff, or the learning process or becomes a threat to the health, safety, or welfare of children or staff.

     

    During the visit, all visitors shall remain in such locations within the classroom or program site as are designated by the accompanying district staff member or the staff member responsible for the classroom.

     

    Questions or concerns about a visit or about anything observed during a visit must be addressed to the accompanying district staff member, or by appointment, to the staff member responsible for the classroom, before or after the visit and outside the presence of children or working staff members.

     

    7.   Discussion of Students

    Teachers should not discuss individual students or the performance of those students with any non-school persons except that student's parent/guardian, or surrogate parent, without the written permission of such parent/guardian, or surrogate parent. Exceptions to this policy may apply in connection with cooperation with law enforcement officials.

     

    8.   Non-Parent Attendance At Conferences

    If a parent or legal guardian wishes to invite another individual to a school meeting regarding his/her child, the district requests that the parent/guardian provide the district with twenty-four (24) hours notice of who they intend to bring. Such notice, while not required, will assist the district in making arrangements for the meeting, such as the amount of space needed or additional information needed, and help ensure a productive, child-centered meeting. Failure to provide such notice will not result in the rescheduling of a meeting. School employees may not discuss confidential information about a student with an advocate unless the student's parents/guardians are present (in loco parentis).

     

    9.   Audio, Video Recording or Photographs

    No visitor shall be allowed to photograph, record audio, or videotape any person or any part of any building or to tape record any conversation of any kind without prior approval by the building principal.  An exception to this policy shall apply in the case of public meetings or work sessions of the Board.

     

    10. Loud, Abusive And/or Profane Language Or Behavior

    It is the policy of the Highlands School District to prevent disruptions to district operations and the instructional process.  All persons, including but not limited to, students, parents/guardians, employees, visitors and members of the general public are prohibited from the use of foul, profane and abusive language, whether spoken or written, or for a tirade in any manner in the school buildings or upon school grounds.  If any visitor threatens, verbally abuses, or harasses a school employee, student, or another visitor, a building administrator will direct the visitor to leave the property.

     

    All persons are therefore warned that if a visitor refuses to leave district property voluntarily, he/she will be subject to removal from district property by district security or local law enforcement and be charged with trespassing for failure to promptly vacate the property upon notice or notification.  In all cases, violators may be subject to appropriate laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

     

    PARENTAL ORGANIZATIONS

    The Board recognizes voluntary organizations which exist solely to advance welfare of children and youth in the home, school and community.

     

    For organizations to become officially recognized by the Highlands School the following guidelines shall be met:

    1. The organization shall have an established constitution and/or bylaws.

    2. An annual budget shall be submitted.

    3. The organization should strongly consider that its officers be bonded.

    4. A list of the officers shall be submitted each year.

    5. Each organization is limited to one (1) fundraising activity per year, unless otherwise approved by the districts administration.

     6. In the event an organization is disbanded, the Board must be notified in including the organizations plan for the disbursement of funds.

    7. The school district does not supervise or establish by-laws for individual organizations.

    8. The school district will not be held responsible for the actions of each organization.

    9. The school district is not responsible for loss of funds for any organizations.

    10. The school district recognizes that all organizations are founded for the students, but the district has no authority over the actions of said organizations.

     

    VOLUNTEER COACHES

    Volunteer coaches may be utilized as necessary to enhance the program that the regular staff is providing to students.

     

    Volunteer coach Any person approved by the Board to work as an unpaid coach to assist the head coach and their assistants in the various responsibilities of teaching and working with the student athletes of the school district. All successful candidates must abide by and observe the philosophy, rules and regulations of the PIAA, WPIAL, and the District.

     

    Any interested persons wishing to be considered for a volunteer coach position must file an application. Applications are available in the Athletic Office or in the principals office.

     

    Parents/Guardians of an athlete are not eligible to become a volunteer coach of the sport in which their child participates as an athlete.

     

    All applications should be completed in their entirety and returned with a written letter of recommendation from the head coach of the athletic team. The Athletic Director will accept all applications.

     

    The appropriate building principal will be notified of the request to volunteer and for approval.

     

    Applications will be presented to the Board for approval.

     

    Volunteer coaches shall be required to undergo a Background Check verification using screening software to become approved for the district volunteer program. The cost for such screening may be the responsibility of the volunteer. If a volunteer coach has not coached the previous year, new clearances must be furnished.

     

    Volunteer coaches will operate under the supervision of the Board-approved supplemental contracted coach.

     

    Anyone that is not approved by the Board cannot and is not permitted to work with student athletes on a daily basis.

     

    Approved volunteer coaches must:

    1.       Comply with the same set of rules and regulations as a paid coach. They must help to provide opportunities for young athletes to develop their respective capabilities to the fullest extent develop positive attitudes and promote and teach only ethical, aggressive fair play while stressing good sportsmanship at all times. The coach must be a leader and set by example.

    2.       Have reached the age of nineteen years.

    3.       Always be under the direct supervision of the head coach.

    4.       Never be given supervisory duties without the presence of an employed staff coach.

    5.       Never be the sole coaching representative at any athletic activity.

    6.       Never drive a leased van or school district vehicle.

    7.       Never receive any type of compensation from the District for hi/her coaching efforts.

    8.       Apply each year for Board approval.

     

    Permission to utilize a volunteer coach may be revoked at any time by the head coach, the school principal, the Superintended and/or the Athletic Director.

     

    The head coach will assume responsibility for the actions and training of a volunteer coach.