Parent Volunteers

Welcome, Parents, to Berkeley Schools Volunteers!

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BSV recognizes your critical partnership in ensuring high quality public schools for all children. As such, we’re delighted to support our parent communities, and continue to build your capacity as classroom volunteers and public school advocates.

Your Parental Right to Volunteer


Lawmakers know
parent volunteers make a difference so they’ve protected your right to get involved! The California Education Code (section 51101.3) specifically outlines the rights of parents/guardians to “volunteer their time and resources for the improvement of school facilities and school programs.” Learn more about your rights in the Ed Code here.

Further, parents, grandparents, and guardians have the legal right to take time off work to participate in their child’s education or child care activities (California’s Labor Code, section 230.8) Note that this law only applies to employers with 25 or more employees at a given site. Learn more about the Labor Code here.

The Benefits of Parent Volunteering


There are so many powerful reasons to get involved in your child’s education. 

First, research shows that when parents and guardians get involved in the life of their child’s school, student achievement (including grades and test scores) go up. Further, attendance becomes more consistent and social skills and behaviors improve.  

Second, public schools – as democratic institutions – rely on the voices and ideas of the people to shape and mold them over time. No school policy is static as our world is constantly evolving. Your involvement helps schools grow in the right direction.

Finally, Berkeley Unified is waiting for you! Our district recognizes the powerful and positive influence you have on your child’s academic and social outcomes. In fact, BUSD has set up an entire department to help connect parents to schools. Learn more about BUSD’s Office of Family Engagement & Equity (OFEE).

So Many Ways to Get Involved!


There are so many pathways to becoming an engaged public school parent! We encourage you to find a path that works for your family and work schedules. Remember, you can always ramp up volunteer commitments, or ramp them down, later on – as schedules shift.

Supporting from Home

Supporting at School

  • Read with your child at home 
  • Protect a few sit-down family meals each week
  • Read the school e-newsletter to stay informed
  • Ask your child about homework every day
  • Help your child (or seek help) with homework, as needed
  • Make tamales or cupcakes for a class or school fundraiser 
  • Monitor/limit your child’s screen time
  • Encourage older siblings to read to younger siblings
  • Volunteer regularly in your child’s classroom 
  • Volunteer for a special school or district event 
  • Join affinity groups to advocate for your child and for children like yours
  • Identify another adult at school who can advocate for your child
  • Accompany a class on a field trip
  • Share your own stories in your child’s class or on College & Career Day
  • Attend the school play, the Oratorical Fest, or a sporting event
  • Grill hot dogs at the school Carnival
  • Make a financial donation 

 

All of these pathways make a difference because they signal to your child that you care and that school matters.

Getting Started as a Parent Volunteer


As a parent, California law says you can connect directly with your child’s teacher to arrange your volunteering schedule. And then you can get started right away! No application, no screening steps – just into the classroom!

Switching Classrooms? Parents who wish to volunteer in a classroom other than that of their child do have other screening requirements apply. Considered “Community Volunteers” in this new context, these parents would need to enroll through BSV. As such, all “Community Volunteer” screening requirements would then apply. 

Need support in getting time off to volunteer? Download our “Letter to the Employer.” This letter outlines your legal, parental rights to volunteer as well as your employer’s obligation to give you time to volunteer.  

Extended Family Volunteers?


What about grandparent (and other extended family) volunteers? We love seeing the whole family get involved in the education of their young people!

If extended family members wish to volunteer regularly (at least 1 hour a week for the entire school year), they qualify under the Ed Code as “Community Volunteers.” As such, they would enroll through BSV and would need to meet screening requirements for “Community Volunteers.” 

If, however, extended family members have limited time and would prefer to volunteer just every once in awhile, we have a pathway for that too! They are warmly invited to join BSV’s email listserv to hear about BSV’s periodic One-time Volunteer Events.

BSV’s Learning Community of Volunteers


Like any public institution, schools are in a constant state of evolution and need supporters who are willing to grow and change with the times. As such, BSV is proud to host our very own Learning Community of Volunteers to grow and change with the times. 

In addition to a new volunteer orientation, BSV is proud to offer a suite of ongoing learning opportunities to increase volunteer effectiveness as partners in classroom learning. From how to work more effectively work across differences in a diverse classroom to how to walk the talk of Common Core’s new math, we’ve got a training for you! All trainings are FREE to our extended volunteer community.

  • To learn more about BSV’s Learning Community and Events Calendar, please click here.