Parent and community involvement plays a critical role in the academic growth and achievement of students! Research proves that students and schools that enjoy high levels of parental involvement and community engagement are higher-performing. GRPS encourages all parents to be engaged in their child's education and numerous opportunities are available for both parents and community volunteers/organizations to get involved. You are also encouraged to contact a school directly and talk with the Parent Action Leader or principal about what volunteer opportunities are available. Thank you for your interest and support!
1331 Franklin SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49506
Phone: 616-819-1821 Fax: 616-819-2017
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Involved Parent vs. Regular School Volunteer: What’s the Difference?
Parental involvement is essential to a child’s success. Research proves that students whose parents are actively engaged in their education are more motivated, have higher attendance rates, participate more in class, are more likely to complete homework, and are more likely to do better academically in school.
There are many simple and productive ways for parents to positively influence their child’s performance and behavior at school and at home. However, it is also important to note that there is a big difference between basic parent involvement and a parent becoming a regular school volunteer where they may be involved directly with children other than their own without the benefit of staff supervision. Parents have a right to be involved in their individual child’s education. However, when a parent becomes a regular volunteer, they are also involved with children in the classroom or school other than their own. This is why the Grand Rapids Board of Education has established policies and procedures regarding regular volunteering.
A “regular volunteer” as defined by the District in accordance with the Grand Rapids Board of Education’s Volunteer Policy (#9230) is:
A volunteer who volunteers regularly in the District. “Regularly” is defined to mean that the volunteer assignment requires an individual to be in school or on school property or affiliated with a school program at least once per week or two or more times per month for two months or more (please note: there is no limit on how often a parent can come to school to interact with his/her own child; the restriction applies only to volunteer assignments);
Any volunteer assignment which requires a volunteer to have direct one-on-one contact with students without the direct involvement or supervision of school district personnel; or Any volunteer who will be responsible for taking students off-site.
In order to ensure the safety and well being of all GRPS students, the Grand Rapids Board of Education policy #9230 requires that all volunteers are “appropriately screened” with a “criminal background check.” The results are strictly confidential. The information listed here will help you understand when a background check is required.
If the results of the criminal background check reveal that an individual has been convicted of a felony or certain misdemeanors, then they are not allowed to become a regular, certified volunteer. However, those individuals may still be able to volunteer if they file an appeal and can demonstrate that they can safely volunteer in GRPS schools.
Individuals who have been denied as a volunteer may file a written appeal within 60 days of receipt of the volunteer denial notice. The written appeal is submitted to Mr. Larry Johnson, Exec. Dir. of Public Safety and School Security (Grand Rapids Public Schools, P.O. Box 117, Grand Rapids, MI 49501-0117). Appeals will be determined by a committee of individuals appointed by the Superintendent and will be responded to, in writing, within 60 days of the appeal receipt.
As can be expected, student safety is a top priority for the district. Even though some parents may not be eligible to be regular volunteers, they are welcomed, encouraged, and have the right to remain actively involved in their child’s education.
For more information about the district’s volunteer rules and procedures, you can review the District Policy 9230 which is available at www.grps.org. Just click “About Us”, then click “Board of Education” and “GRPS Policies and Rules.”
Volunteer Positions Where You Must Have a Background Check:
- One-to-one, unsupervised student interactions with a child other than your own, such as tutoring
- Coaching or assisting a coach
- Supervising a group of children on a field trip
- Driving children to events or field trips
- Providing technology assistance (photos, access to personal information & email)
- Providing child-care for student events
- Volunteer positions involving access to school funds or financial records
Parental Involvement Activities that You Can Do with Your Own Child without a Background Check:
- Visiting your child’s classroom
- Helping at athletic events, e.g. keeping statistics for an athletic team, selling popcorn
- Assisting in parent-led group events (such as a pancake breakfast, holiday parties, decorating for events, etc.)
- Assisting with a book fair
- Shelving books in the library
- Planning committees
- Welcoming committee for new parents/families
- Serving on the Parent Teacher Association or Parent Advisory Committee
- Participating in fundraising events
- Operating phone trees and calling projects
- Attending athletic, extracurricular, and other school activities, including special events like Daddy-Daughter events
- Accompanying your child on field trips (driving separately)
- Attending parent-teacher conferences, parent nights, and other school activities
- Meeting with a teacher regarding your child’s behavior
- Attending parent workshops