Frequently Asked Questions

What qualifications and experience are required for volunteers?

If you like children, enjoy learning new things, and would like to make a difference in the life of a child, you are qualified to be a VIP! We welcome volunteers from all walks of life. We will provide two half-days of training before you are sent to work in a classroom.

What are the requirements?

You will need to complete an orientation and training and pass a fingerprint background check before you report to the classroom. You are asked to work at least one hour per week on a regular schedule for the remainder of the school year.

What if I have travel or other plans that might cause me to miss a couple of tutoring sessions throughout the year?

This is certainly understandable. You are asked to give the teacher notice of the day(s) you will miss so that he or she can plan accordingly.

What do VIP volunteers do?

VIP volunteers work directly with students in kindergarten through grade six to provide instruction. You might work one-on-one or with small groups of children out in the media center. Or, you may work alongside the teacher in the classroom by answering individual questions from students. Most volunteers help students with reading and math, but the teacher may ask you to help in other subject areas, too. Volunteers who offer to work a two- or three-hour shift are often given the opportunity to work with two or three different teachers. You will have the chance to express grade level and subject area preferences, if you have them.

To which school will I be assigned?

Eventually, we would like to place VIPs in every one of the Paradise Valley schools that makes a request for volunteers. However, in a district the size of the PVSchools it will take many years to recruit enough volunteers to accomplish this. We are currently serving teachers and students in seven elementary schools. You may express your school preference.

Can you tell me more about the Volunteer Orientation? I haven’t decided whether I am ready to make a commitment yet.

The orientation should prove most helpful in making your decision. We will provide detailed information about our schools and VIP volunteer responsibilities. We will also allow ample time to answer questions. If you are ready to make a commitment at the conclusion of our one-hour presentation, our Human Resources technicians will help you complete the paperwork and fingerprinting at that time. If you still require a little more time to think things over, we can arrange for you to complete the fingerprint background check process at a later date.

I have a fingerprint card. Will I still need to be fingerprinted?

Maybe not, if the card is an unexpired Level One Fingerprint Card. Please send us the information in advance and bring the card with you to the orientation. 

I was fingerprinted when I volunteered for another school/nonprofit.  Will I need to be fingerprinted again?

Yes, you will probably need to be fingerprinted again. There is no central database, so it is not possible for us to verify your clearance. There is one exception. If you were fingerprinted by PVSchools as a former employee or volunteer, please let us know so that we can alert the Human Resources Department; they may be able to look up your name in advance.

Is there a charge for fingerprinting?

No. The company that performs this service does charge the school district (approximately $55), but the district has traditionally absorbed that cost for volunteers. VIP applicants who wish to make a donation to help defray the cost to the district are welcome to do so. However, we do not want this expense to be an obstacle to anyone who wishes to volunteer his or her time in our schools.

What will I learn in training?

Specialists from our PVSchools Curriculum Department have developed and will lead hands-on training in strategies for teaching language arts/reading and math, and will introduce materials available for VIPs to use with students. You will also learn about the assessments teachers use to individualize instruction, the new Arizona College and Career Ready Standards (formerly Common Core), emergency procedures, child abuse reporting plus school funding, legislation and policies. The training will be given in two sessions, each three hours long.

How is ongoing support provided once I begin work in a school?

The VIP Coordinator sends regular VIP News via email, and reminders of upcoming early release days and school holidays are included.  You are asked to complete a monthly report sharing your challenges and successes.  Questions, concerns and suggestions from volunteers are always welcome at any time. Last, but certainly not least, we can arrange for our VIP Mentor to meet you at your school during your volunteer session to model a lesson, observe you and answer specific questions.  She is a retired educator and an experienced VIP.

The home page mentions continuing education seminars and socials. Can you tell me more?

Yes!  Numerous opportunities are offered, and all are optional. Professional development workshops are provided by district specialists, trainers, and educators and may be similar to those offered to our teachers. One-time service projects such as the PVCC Club Ed Structured Autism Events may take place at your own school or other school campuses. You may volunteer to chaperone field trips. Volunteer recognition events are held at the school and district level.  

What should I do if I have a problem while volunteering?

The VIP coordinator is available to discuss any problems that may arise in the course of your service. Contact her via email or (602) 449-2053.

Will schools participating in the VIP program continue to use parent volunteers?

Yes, definitely. Our schools have a long history of utilizing parent volunteers and their contributions are invaluable. The VIP program is designed to welcome other adults who may not yet have a connection to our schools. (A parent, stepparent or legal guardian of a student at the school where the parent, stepparent or legal guardian wishes to volunteer may contact the teacher or the school directly.)

What is the VIP College Corps?

College students enrolled in education courses at Paradise Valley Community College and Northern Arizona University receive credit for the service-learning and practicum hours they earn while interning in PVSchools.  Other aspiring educators are welcome to consider joining our original VIP program.  It is a great way to gain classroom experience, build a resume and network with the professionals in our schools.

What if I have additional questions?

Bring them with you to the Volunteer Orientation! Or, contact the VIP Coordinator via email or (602) 449-2053.