Have questions? Learn more about the San Francisco Education Fund’s volunteer process.

How do I become a volunteer? I was told I need to be fingerprinted with you.

Volunteers in San Francisco Unified School District sites must be “cleared” to become a volunteer. The steps to clear as a volunteer include:

  • Attending our online information session
  • Completing the volunteer application
  • Attending a training
  • Providing proof of a negative TB test or screening
  • Passing a Department of Justice background check (this includes fingerprinting)

You will receive detailed information throughout each step of the process either by phone or email.

Can I choose the school where I volunteer? Can I choose the grade level and subject matter?

Yes, to a point. We look at your skills and interests and make a meaningful match to a teacher with similar needs. Our goal is to match teacher requests with volunteers’ skills and interests to best meet the needs of both. Through responses you provided on your volunteer application and subsequent conversations with the appropriate Education Fund volunteer coordinator, we get a sense of your skills and interests so we can place you where your volunteer experience can be most effective and rewarding. The more flexible you are with your location and grade requests the easier it is to place you where your service can be the most valuable.

Does the Education Fund have a preference where I volunteer?

We strive to place as many volunteers as possible in our Focus Schools. These under-resourced schools benefit greatly from community volunteer support, and we have built strong relationships with leaderships at these schools. Volunteers in these specific schools also benefit from having an Education Fund staff member who:

  • Arranges their classroom/teacher placement
  • Checks in regularly to see how things are going
  • Helps to problem solve
  • Shares best practices about working in schools

The Education Fund happily provides volunteers to any school in the city, but due to our small staff size, our emphasis is on placing volunteers within our Focus Schools and other schools where we have built partnerships. If you choose to pursue a different volunteer placement, we will ask you to arrange that placement yourself and contact us with the details so we can send your volunteer badge and clearance letter to the appropriate school and teacher.

What is the time commitment to volunteer?

We ask all volunteers to commit to a minimum of one hour per week, during the school day (typically from 8am-3pm) for an entire school year.  We also have limited opportunities to volunteer after school from about 3 to 5 pm, particularly in our Math Program.

How long does it take to be cleared to volunteer?

After you have attended a training and been fingerprinted, it will usually take between one to three weeks to be cleared, depending on when we hear from your two references and get the results of your fingerprinting. If there is a delay in receiving your fingerprint results from the Department of Justice we will contact you.

How soon can I start?

After you are cleared it typically takes a couple weeks to obtain a placement in a school, but sometimes this can take longer. Focus School placements and teacher requests are typically filled the quickest but have been known to take up to a month, so we ask for your patience as we work to find the best placement for you and the teacher.

Please do not start volunteering with students until you’ve been notified of your final clearance and your placement has been confirmed with the Education Fund.

What do I need to bring to the training?

Please remember to bring the following documents:

1) A copy of your negative TB test results if you have them. If not, we often have a nurse on-site who can assess your TB risk.

2) A government issued picture ID (ex. driver’s license, passport)

3) Cash or check to pay for fingerprints (the fee, which is considered a tax-deductible donation, is $78).

I need to change the date I signed up for, how should I go about doing that?

If you have already signed up for a training but would like to change the date, please call or email the Education Fund and we can reschedule it.

Are there any costs involved?

The cost for fingerprinting (and the per person cost to us) is $78. This fee is considered a tax-deductible donation. This is a hard cost to the Education Fund. However, we never want money to be the reason someone does not volunteer. If you need assistance with paying or need to pay on a sliding scale, please let us know, and we have a simple scholarship form you can complete.

Where do I get my fingerprints scanned?

For your convenience, we have arranged for a fingerprinting service to be on-site at the beginning of every training session. You will pay for and get fingerprinted when you arrive at the training.

If you are a SF State University student or employee you can choose to be fingerprinted at the SFSU campus police station at a discounted rate. You must, however, use the San Francisco Education Fund’s LiveScan form to ensure your fingerprint results are sent to us. Be sure to ask for one of these forms before you leave the training. It is imperative that if you get fingerprinted outside of the Education Fund offices you complete an application PRIOR to being fingerprinted. If we do not have an application for you we will have no way of tracking your fingerprints and clearing them in our database.

I’ve been fingerprinted through my company, school or past job with the district; do I need to be printed again?

Yes. The Department of Justice does not allow organizations to share fingerprint results with each other, so you must be printed separately for every organization. The only way we will receive your results is if you are fingerprinted through us. We also cannot share the results with any other organization or your workplace.

When do I find out I’m cleared? Who will notify me?

Once you have attended the online information session, completed a training, and we have received your TB screening and fingerprint results along with responses from your two references, you will receive a call from the appropriate Education Fund volunteer coordinator to notify you of your clearance and to discuss your school placement in more detail.

I am currently a San Francisco Unified School District employee and I want to volunteer, what is the process?

SFUSD employees are encouraged to volunteer in schools. Current or former SFUSD employees must complete the online information session and be fingerprinted (as required by SFUSD) through the Education Fund. We do not require TB test results or references, however. Volunteer training will be waived in the case of current or former instructional staff only.

I work full-time. How can I fit volunteering into my busy schedule?

Many of our volunteers work full-time jobs and have a multitude of commitments during the week. Volunteers often find one hour a week before work, during a lunch break, or in the early afternoon during the school day. It becomes a standing meeting on their calendars just like any recurring commitment. Spending time working with students in a classroom can provide a welcome and rewarding break from the office.

I am a teaching credential student looking for early field experience. Can I go through your organization?

Early field experience is required for admission to many local teaching credential programs. Usually a minimum of 45 hours of volunteer or work experience is required with the age of the students in which you plan to teach. During the placement process we help to connect volunteers with an appropriate school site that meets the credential application requirements (1/3 English Language Learners, culturally or linguistically diverse).

Although you are only required to complete 45 hours of observation for your credentialing program, the Education Fund has a requirement that volunteers commit to a minimum of one hour a week for the entire school year to provide consistency for both the teachers and students.

I want to start a class, club or program at a school. Can you make this happen or connect me with schools who would be interested?

Currently we only place volunteers to fill the needs expressed to us by school staff. We do not clear volunteers for other community-based organizations. To bring your program to an SFUSD school you must get it approved through the school district office by contacting Donna Blanchard or Rayna Coats.

I volunteered through San Francisco School Volunteers many years ago and would like to volunteer again. Do I need to go through the clearance process again?

If you volunteered with San Francisco School Volunteers four or more years ago, you will need to attend a training again. If you volunteered at a time when SFUSD did not require its volunteers to be fingerprinted you will need to be fingerprinted now. You will also need to submit an updated TB test result.

If you volunteered with us within the past four years, you will just need to check if your TB test is still valid (they are good for four years). You are not required to attend a training, although you are encouraged to do so.

If I can no longer fulfill my volunteer commitment. What should I do next?

It’s very important to notify the staff at the Education Fund when you end your volunteer commitment. We may contact the teacher you worked with to ask if they would like another volunteer.

Does the volunteer program provide a letter of recommendation or verification of hours?

We encourage volunteers to track volunteer hours with and obtain a letter of recommendation from the teacher with whom they work. Since we are not with you at the schools our staff can only write a letter verifying that you were cleared and placed to volunteer with our organization.

Have a question we did not answer here?

Email us about general volunteer inquiries, or visit our staff page to contact individual staff members.