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    Volunteer at SPS

    Google translate icon To translate, use the Google Select Language button located at the top right of this page. Español: Vea el sitio en su idioma,  Af-Soomaali: Ku fiirso Webside-ka SPS Luqadaada, 中文: 用您自己的語言查看西雅圖公立學校網站 谷歌, Tiếng Việt: Xem trang web SPS bằng ngôn ngữ của quý vị

    COVID-19 and school volunteers: SPS is following guidelines from OSPI in limiting nonessential visitors and volunteers to our schools.  At this time, we are only engaging remote/virtual volunteers and volunteers supporting approved outdoor education pilots (more info here). We look forward to the day we can welcome volunteers back into our schools! 

    Seattle Public Schools encourages parents, family members, organizations, businesses, and other community members to volunteer with us!

    • Looking to volunteer in your child's classroom or in another volunteer role in the school building? Review these step-by-step instructions.
    • Are you a community member interested in helping at a school? Visit our volunteer opportunities page to learn how to locate a school in need of volunteers.
    • For athletics/coaching, apply here. Please note athletic volunteer applications follow a separate onboarding process led by the Athletics Department

    Volunteers make a BIG difference in the classroom

    When volunteers commit to serving at a school, students achieve higher grades, have access to more opportunities, and gain community connections to help them thrive.

    • Research shows that students who receive direct support from volunteer tutors achieve higher grades, test scores, and are more likely to graduate.
    • When volunteers provide clerical support to staff, educators have more time for instruction and individualized support for students.
    • Volunteers make programs supporting the lowest-income students possible: Friday food backpacks preventing weekend hunger, school supply drives, etc.
    • Schools with large numbers of volunteers offer students more learning experiences through clubs, field trips, enrichment.


    Students in a classroom


    Can every school count on volunteer support?

    SPS-wide, schools enjoy tremendous volunteer support with over 20,000 individuals available to help. Unfortunately, some schools receive hundreds of volunteer applications while others only a few.

    On average*, Title I schools receive 100 volunteer applications per year, compared to 250 for remaining schools. The higher the percentage of low-income scholars in the school, the fewer volunteers are available to support classrooms.

    Volunteers in schools - inequities


    Step Up for Equity

    Volunteer where the need and opportunity for impact are the greatest

    Help a student get closer to meeting academic goals, feel supported and more confident coming to school. Volunteer for 1-2 hours every week to show your support for “Title I” schools!

    • If tutoring is not for you, how about organizing books or instructional materials?
    • Want to make sure students don’t go hungry over the weekend? Help stuff backpacks with food on Fridays. 


    For lasting impact and the most rewarding volunteer experience, make a 3-month commitment to one classroom or program. This is a big ask, as are volunteer needs in Title I classrooms. By showing up at the same school regularly, you show students that their success matters to you and that their school is supported by the community. You also develop rapport and trust while learning how to best support your scholars and can make a big impact on their lives. 

    Reny Mathan and Melissa Bean volunteer weekly at Northgate Elementary as tutors and classroom helpers in Mrs. Mulder’s Kindergarten Classroom. Reny (sitting on the left below) intentionally selected Northgate Elementary (one of our Title 1 schools) for her volunteer service.

    Volunteers in the classroom

    “Volunteering at Northgate Elementary gave me an opportunity to put my efforts where I felt they were needed and appreciated, and where I could feel I was making a difference, whether it be helping teachers with class prep or students with learning.”


    Volunteering at a high school

    KING5 Morning News Anchor Steve Bunin recently returned to Seattle. This former ESPN anchor mentored teens in every city his career took him and received the President's Volunteer Service Award from Barack Obama. Steve volunteers at Rainier Beach High School as a mentor – he was matched with athlete Anthony Allen because of their shared interest in sports. Steve and Anthony’s weekly meetings focus on supporting Anthony's goals in school.


    What are Title I schools?

    Title I schools have high numbers or percentages of disadvantaged students who:

    • live in poverty,
    • are homeless or lack stable housing,
    • live in foster homes,
    • regularly experience food insecurity,
    • lack access to after-school academic supports.

    * Based on 2017/18 school year data for K-8 schools.

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    Quick Links: 

    Volunteer Handbook

    Apply to Volunteer

    Renew/Update Your Application

    Volunteer Portal

    Learning Opportunities

    SPS Policy: Policy No. 5630 (Volunteers)




    For questions about available volunteer opportunities or the status of your volunteer application, please contact the school or site where you would like to volunteer.

    Submit questions about Volunteer Program procedures and policies here.