Volunteering with the EWSD

  • Welcome! Thank you for your interest in volunteering with the Essex Westford School District. We look forward to partnering with you to provide the best possible experiences for our students.


    To help ensure the safety of our students and staff, individuals interested in volunteering shall be subject to background checks and screenings before providing volunteer services to the district.  Individuals are not able to volunteer unless they have completed the required background check and are on the District’s approved list of volunteers for the corresponding school year.


    The school principal or department director has sole discretion whether to accept or not accept specific individuals as volunteers (subject to the background check results as outlined), to limit a volunteer's service with the District, and in all decisions related to the continuation of a volunteer’s service. 


    The existence of a criminal record does not automatically disqualify a person from serving as a volunteer.  The nature of the criminal record, frequency of criminal activity, time elapsed and age at the time of the criminal record shall all be considered.  The decision of the principal/director on these matters is considered final.


    Volunteer Screening and Limitations

    Individuals asked to volunteer for a specific school event must complete a registration form and background check in order to be added to our Approved Volunteers list. These background checks are required each school year in which you provide volunteer services.  District teachers, coaches, and staff may utilize the volunteers once approved.  

    In order to ensure a safe and respectful environment for our students and staff, the following screening processes will be completed for all volunteers: 

    • Volunteer Registration: Individuals interested in volunteering must register online using a link provided by a school employee. Individuals may sign up for multiple schools within the EWSD when registering. After you complete the online registration form, you will receive an email confirmation of your submission and must confirm receipt of this confirmation before your registration can be processed.
      • Volunteers must register each school year in which volunteer services will be performed. This registration also serves as your authorization for the EWSD to perform the check.
    • Online Vermont Criminal Records Check: An online criminal records check will be conducted on all volunteers through the Vermont Criminal Information Center. This online check is conducted and maintained by district office staff each school year in which a person registers to volunteer. However, if a record exists, the principal or director shall be made aware of the record(s) to determine the suitability of the person to volunteer and/or any limitations related to their volunteer service. Please refer to the Acceptable Standards under Background Checks for a list of crimes that would typically disqualify a person from serving as a volunteer.
    • Sex Offender Registry Check: The EWSD also conducts a name and birth date check with the Vermont Sex Offender Registry and National Sex Offender Registry for any person being considered for service as a work study student or volunteer.


    Volunteers work under the direction and supervision of a teacher or school administrator, and must not have unsupervised one on one (or one on small group) contact with school children in the performance of their volunteer duties.  This not only protects our students from possible grooming behavior, but also protects our volunteers from allegations of inappropriate conduct towards students.  

    In no circumstances shall the adult volunteer be alone with students in a private/secluded setting or behind closed doors.  Any time spent working with students one on one or in a small group should be in a public space within clear view of others, and/or with another adult present.  If a volunteer is the only adult present in a classroom of students, the door must remain open except in cases of emergency.

    In order to ensure the safety of our students, and to protect the volunteers from allegations of inappropriate conduct, the following additional rules shall apply:

    • Overnight Chaperones: Volunteers shall not enter the room of a student(s) unless in the presence of another school employee. If there is a need to speak to a student in their room and there is not a school employee present, the volunteer should speak to the student from the hallway or other public space.
    • Transporting Students: Volunteers assigned to transport students to learning activities must have another adult (who is not their spouse or partner) in the vehicle at all times.  This could be another adult volunteer.  The other adult should sit in the front seat with the driver, and any student riders must sit in the back seat.


    Student Volunteers 

    An EWSD student under the age of 18 shall be permitted to serve as a student volunteer upon recommendation from a classroom teacher, advisor, coach, administrator, or other educational professional who has worked with said student. The individual responsible for coordinating the volunteer’s assignment (if not the supervising school principal or department director) shall be responsible for obtaining the approval of the appropriate school principal or department director prior to assigning the student volunteer.

    The student volunteer will not be assigned to provide direct services to students in an unsupervised setting. Contact with students should be public (never behind closed doors) and in authorized areas only.  Student volunteers are not subject to the background and screening requirements outlined herein.


    Volunteer Expectations

    All volunteers are expected to abide by all applicable EWSD policies and procedures, Staff Behavior Code of Conduct, federal and state laws and regulations, and other administrative rules while providing service within our schools. Please also review the Expectations for Volunteers webpage, which summarizes some of the key policies, procedures and rules applicable to volunteers.

    A Volunteer Coaches Guide has also been created with additional information applicable to volunteer coaches.