We believe that providing access to high quality public education is the responsibility of all members of our community and that volunteering is an excellent way to make an impact and give back. Volunteers become lifelong advocates for Oakland public schools and join in our mission to ensure that all Oakland public school students learn, grow, and thrive.
Through Oakland School Volunteers’ screening and training programs, online sign-up system, and dedicated team, we have streamlined and strengthened the experience for both volunteers and schools. Our goal is to bring well-prepared, talented volunteers into schools that need help, without putting unneeded strain on school staff.
Frequently Asked Questions
The Oakland Public Education Fund launched Oakland School Volunteers in August 2016 with the goal of improving school quality by bringing in talented and impactful volunteer support. Following the lead of other Bay Area Ed Funds, Oakland School Volunteers is the single point of entry for any community member or business wanting to volunteer in Oakland Public Schools. Our program…
1. Engages community members
We recruit, screen, train, and match volunteers with opportunities to support students based on teachers’ requests for volunteer support.
- School staff can request volunteer support here.
- Community members can apply to become volunteers here.
2. Helps parent/guardian volunteers complete required clearance
We help parents / guardians to complete supervised or unsupervised state-required volunteer clearance. Parents / Guardians can get started by registering online here.
3. Hosts city-wide volunteer projects
- Volunteers help schools get ready for the first day of school.
- Read-In Weeks celebrate heritage and diversity. Hundreds of volunteers visit Oakland schools as special guest readers.
- We support Computer Science Education with guest speakers to support Oakland students in thinking about college and career.
4. Invites local businesses to Adopt an Oakland School
Businesses are paired with a school to support through impactful volunteer projects for a minimum of one school year. Employee volunteers help to build capacity at their school and bring in unique opportunities for students. (Learn more here.)
The Oakland Public Education Fund holds the clearance records for all Oakland school volunteers. All volunteers must register online, and may get started. Additionally, this clearance graphic outlines all the requirements from the OUSD Board of Directors.
Schools access volunteer clearance records through the online database. Therefore, we do not send individual clearance letters to volunteers. All community volunteers and unsupervised parent/guardian volunteers receive a volunteer ID badge to wear on campus.
All ongoing community volunteers are required to complete a Live Scan fingerprint test, TB clearance, and liability waiver. Their volunteer clearance expiration date is listed on the bottom of the badge. All ongoing community volunteers (including sports coaches) are required to have a volunteer clearance ID badge and may not be on campus without one.
All ongoing parent/guardian volunteers are required to complete TB clearance to be allowed to volunteer while supervised by an OUSD employee. If a parent/guardian volunteer would like to volunteer without being supervised (even just once), they are also required to complete a Live Scan fingerprint test and liability waiver and will receive the volunteer ID badge on a lanyard to prove their clearance to volunteer without being supervised. If a parent only completes the TB clearance, they will not have a badge and therefore may not work with students unsupervised.
Examples of unsupervised volunteering include: driving students in their car for a field trip, chaperoning an overnight field trip, or tutoring students one-on-one without an OUSD employee present.
Partner organizations that host volunteers at your school are responsible for ensuring their volunteers are cleared, and must provide proof to your school if requested. This process is arranged through OUSD’s Community School Partnerships Office and will be stated in your Memorandum of Understanding or Letter of Agreement with the partner organization. If you have questions, you may reach out to Program Manager, Martin Young, email@example.com.
- Please ensure that volunteers have been cleared to be on your campus. (See previous question for more details on volunteer clearance.)
- Please do not allow community volunteers without a volunteer ID badge on your campus.
- Please do not allow parent/guardian volunteers without a TB clearance to volunteer on an ongoing basis.
- Please do NOT allow parent/guardian volunteers without a volunteer ID badge to work with students unsupervised.
- Please make sure your front office staff is aware of these policies.
- Please request volunteer support from the Ed Fund (here).
- Please fill out the twice-annual survey regarding feedback about the volunteer program. We welcome your ideas!
- Please reach out if anything comes up that you would like to discuss outside of survey cycles. Please reach out immediately if you have any issues with a volunteer.
If someone completed volunteer clearance before August 2015, their clearance has unfortunately expired and we will need them to complete the process again.
If someone has done clearance but forgot to register as a volunteer, they may register online and then email us to let us know that they’ve registered belatedly and would like us to search for existing clearance to put on file.
Live Scan fingerprinting results may not be shared between organizations, so we need unique fingerprinting results for someone to become an Oakland School Volunteer. If someone has done fingerprints for a different organization, we cannot use them for the volunteer program. Live Scan fingerprinting results will never expire to volunteer with our program.
Tuberculosis (TB) clearance is valid for 4 years. If someone has an existing TB clearance, they may submit that to us to satisfy that requirement. TB clearance expires every 4 years, and we will require an up-to-date TB clearance every 4 years.
All new volunteers are required to attend an orientation session that prepares them to volunteer in Oakland schools. The orientation includes guidelines and expectations, safety and procedures, tips for working with students, and an introduction to Restorative Justice, unintentional bias, and childhood development.
We also offer optional content trainings in elementary and middle school literacy or math. Volunteers can sign up to attend future sessions here.
Our staff is happy to set up presentations at any Oakland school to help volunteers understand and begin the volunteer clearance process in-person. You can request a site visit whenever needed (contact info below).
All volunteers are required to have a unique, personal email address to register. We can help interested volunteers create an email address if they do not have one. One helpful tip is that all social media accounts require an email. If a volunteer does not remember their email, but use social media, they can find their email address there. All volunteer registration forms and emails are formatted to fit on a smartphone screen.
All of our materials are available online in English and Spanish, and most are available in Arabic and Chinese as well. Please reach out for any other language support, and we can make accommodations on a case-by-case basis.