Volunteers play an important role in creating a successful school. This information outlines the expectations and guidelines that volunteers must follow to create a safe and successful experience for students and staff.
SCHEDULE AND SIGNING IN
All volunteer opportunities are arranged by East School staff or PTO event chair. It is important to be prompt because teachers try to follow a set schedule. In an elementary school, every minute counts and so a small delay can impact the remainder of the day. All volunteers must sign in at the front office. All school visitors are provided with a visitor pass or badge that must be displayed at all times while on school property. Please sign out as you leave. If you cannot make your scheduled time, please call the main office. Do not send an email or leave a voicemail for the teacher because it is not possible for staff to check for messages while conducting class.
TIME AT SCHOOL
- Volunteers are expected to work with all students and should not work with their own children unless directed by the teacher.
- If possible, please do not bring younger children to the school during your scheduled time. Younger students can be a distraction during classroom time.
- Please turn off cell phones and refrain from making personal calls or texting while on school property. Please be present during you volunteer time.
- Smoking is prohibited anywhere on school property.
- Appropriate attire is expected.
- The use of school computers for personal use is prohibited.
- Volunteers are not allowed to share photographs taken during school events on social media. Please remember that there is an official school photographer and typically, a class photographer for the purpose of documenting events.
- Volunteers are discouraged from excessive socializing with other volunteers.
- If you need to use the rest room, please use the one located outside the teacher mail room.
- A room parent is expected to be at all events that require multiple class room volunteers.
Volunteers are expected and required to keep all student information that they obtain while working as a volunteer for the school confidential. The Family Education Right and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) prohibits school personnel and volunteers from releasing any student information without parent/guardian permission. Student information includes all academic, medical and personal information. It is very important that volunteers maintain confidentiality at all times. Volunteers should not discuss students or their classroom performance with others - including their parents/guardians. It is the responsibility of the teacher to communicate with the students’ parents/guardians. Do not make references to student’s abilities in front of other students or adults. Direct questions about the student should be referred to the classroom teacher.
CORI (CRIMINAL OFFENDER RECORD INFORMATION)
Volunteers assigned to oversee or work with students while not under the direct supervision of school personnel need to complete a CORI check. In other words, if in your volunteer work, you ever have the possibility of being alone with a child such as on a Field Trip, you need a CORI. The information is valid for three years and the main office has a list of volunteers with updated CORI checks. Each organization needs to complete a CORI check because CORI information is confidential; it is not shared between town departments. Therefore, a CORI form submitted to the Recreation Department or a Youth Sports Organization cannot be used by the School Department. If you are unsure if you need a CORI, then please talk to Principal Tony Keady, Assistant Principal Becky Case or School Secretary Sharon Hall.
CORI Form: http://hinghamschools.com/school-administration/files/2012/05/CORI-1-15-14-.pdf
SUSPECTED ABUSE AND NEGLECT/BULLYING
If a volunteer suspects that a student may be the victim of abuse or neglect, it should be reported to the classroom teacher or school administrator as soon as possible. Volunteers are not allowed to share their observations with anyone other than school personnel.
Please do NOT post any pictures of any children (other than your own) to any social media site. If the teacher asks you to take photos of a classroom event please just email the teacher those photos and have the teacher distribute to the classroom. This is following the East School photo policy.
Assist classroom teachers as needed throughout the school year. Responsibilities include coordinating classroom volunteers, managing class parties, coordinating one class "coffee" or social event for parents in the Fall*, coordinating teacher gifts/appreciation (see gift policy below) and helping drive class participation in PTO Annual Appeal and Get Smart About Art Program.
One class parent must be present at classroom events to assist volunteers.
Field trips require advance planning and coordination by the classroom teacher and the PTO Enrichment Team. Therefore, volunteers for field trips should be certain that they will be able to go on the scheduled date and time. Before offering to chaperone a field trip, volunteers should verify their CORI and the details with their classroom teacher to assure that the scheduled time will not conflict with previous commitments. Volunteers should follow the guidelines as set forth by the school staff. For example, chaperones should not offer to purchase gifts or snacks for students unless approved by the classroom teacher. Chaperoning a field trip requires diligence with a focus on safety for all students.
The guidelines for teacher gifts always brings forth many questions and it is not possible to address every possible scenario.
Here is the policy for Gifts to Public School Teachers and Staff as set forth by the Massachusetts State Ethics Commission:
- A teacher may accept a personal gift, or several gifts during the school year, from public school students and/or their parents and guardians, with an aggregated value of up to $150. (i.e $75 at the Holidays/$75 at end of the year or $50/$100..whatever Room Parents decide.)
- The personal teacher gift should be identified only as being from the class and the identity of the givers and the individual amounts contributed should not be disclosed. Handled this way, the teacher is not required to disclose this gift to the state ethics commission.
- A teacher may accept a personal gift from persons who did not participate in the group gift but unlike the group gift, this individual gift (if it has monetary value) must be disclosed.
- On TOP of a personal gift, a teacher may accept a classroom gift or items for the classroom for which there is no dollar limit. The teacher accepts this classroom gift with the understanding that these items become property of the school district. For example; if Room Parents collect $500 from families to cover a year of teacher’s gifts (approx. $20 per family with 25 Students in Class), $75 is given to the teacher personally at the holidays, $75 saved for the end of the year personal teacher gift, the remaining $350 is given to the teacher in a Gift Card to an educational supply store - Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Lakeshore Learning, etc... either during the holidays or at the end of the school year or divided between the two.
Hingham families have been generous and thoughtful in past years in their attempts to recognize the efforts of the school staff. We provide these guidelines to assist the teachers and staff in their compliance with the state conflict of interest law (Mass General Laws Ch 268A) and to avoid any embarrassing situations such as a teacher having to return a gift.
If families are interested in giving individual gifts, students should be encouraged to offer alternatives to material items. Surveys of teachers have repeatedly reported that after the class gift cards, the most appreciated gift is the hand written thank-you note.
Each PTO Chairperson has an approved annual budget for the activities that they are managing. It's important that each volunteer that is responsible for spending the approved budget talk to their chair to make sure that the spending is in line with the budget. Any expenses incurred that are in excess of the approved budget require approval by the PTO Board. The budget is managed very conservatively with an annual plan that all expenses match all sources of revenue (mostly the Annual Appeal).
Expense Reimbursement (for payments made by volunteers on behalf of the PTO)
- Complete form for all expenses you have paid personally. Form is available on the PTO website: www.east-pto.com/forms.html and also in a folder in the PTO mailbox at East Elementary School.
- Attach original invoice(s)
- Submit form either via email at email@example.com or place in the “Treasurer”(Heidi Smith) folder in the PTO inbox to the left of the photocopier at school. The folder is checked weekly.
- Please allow up to 14 days for reimbursement (payments are processed via on-line app at Eastern Savings Bank and it can take 4-5 business days for processing). Most payments will be made within 7 days.
Check Requests (payments made directly to Payee / Vendor for an Activity / Event)
- Complete Check Request form.
- Attach original invoice(s)
- Submit form either via email firstname.lastname@example.org or place in the "Treasurer" (Heidi Smith) folder in the PTO inbox to the left of the photocopier at school. The folder is checked weekly.
- Please allow up to 14 days for bill payment (payments are processed via on-line app at East Bank and it can take 4-5 business days for processing). Most payments will be made within 7 days. IF MORE EXPEDITED CHECK IS NEEDED EMAIL HEIDI AND SHE CAN COORDINATE A PICK UP OF A CHECK. IT IS IMPORTANT IN THE FORM YOU LET HEIDI KNOW IF ELECTRONIC PAYMENT IS OK OR IF A MANUAL CHECK NEEDS TO EITHER BE PICKED UP OR MAILED TO PAYEE/VENDOR.
If your classroom teacher has incurred a PTO expense and needs reimbursement, you will find a staff check request form here: www.east-pto.com/forms.html
The PTO sponsors a Sunshine Committee that acknowledges events in an appropriate way. Flowers, cards, donations to causes, etc... This is done on behalf of the East School PTO. If a class would like to acknowledge a life event, that should be organized by the Room Parents or a willing volunteer and the expense is the class responsibility.
SignUp.com (formerly Volunteer Spot)
If you would like to create a sign up page for any of your classroom or group activities we are using signup.com. You can create a page on your own (East login NOT required) and then share the page with your class. Or, if it is something you would like shared with the school please send a link from the page to Zoe Pirnie (email@example.com) or Wendy Driscoll (firstname.lastname@example.org) and they will put it on the East PTO website. Want to the signup to go in the newsletter? Send the link to email@example.com.
Thank you very much for volunteering your time to East Elementary School!