Volunteer

 

If just 1 in 13 San Franciscans volunteered, every student would have a tutor or mentor.

As a school volunteer, you serve as a caring adult figure in a student’s life and help your student develop the skills they need to succeed.

Volunteering is also fun and rewarding. You play an important role in helping students learn a new concept, reach a goal or grow their confidence in a school subject. You also join a community of like-minded San Franciscans who want to make a difference in their city by supporting public education.

The San Francisco Education Fund offers specialized trainings, regular check-ins and ongoing support along the way. Volunteering with us is flexible, and there are a variety of opportunities to dedicate time according to your schedule.

  • Literacy Program Help a K-3 student learn to read.
    6 schools

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    Become a Literacy Program Volunteer!

    With just one to two hours a week, you can help a child learn to read. Students who can read proficiently by the end of third grade are nearly four times more likely to graduate from high school. By helping a student master literacy, you increase their odds of going to college, completing a degree and earning a living wage. But beyond that, you help open new worlds. Reading invites children in to experience adventure, excitement and discovery. It sets them up for a lifetime of learning (you can’t get far in learning math, science or history without learning how to read!)

    Designed with input from local teachers and literacy specialists, our Literacy Program will train you to tutor struggling readers. Along with making a big difference in the life of a child, your support goes a long way in helping teachers focus their attention on other students who need individualized instruction. Volunteering is also fun and rewarding. You get to help a child learn and grow while joining a community of like-minded San Franciscans who want to make a difference in their city.

    “It has been so awesome and humbling to work with the kids. I am always very excited to work with them. So far, this experience has honestly been priceless and very rewarding. Those students work so hard during their sessions and I notice improvements every day that I am with them!” – Literacy Volunteer, first-grade, El Dorado Elementary

    What will you do as a volunteer?

    You will help students in kindergarten, first-, second- or third-grade improve their literacy skills. You can work with individual students as a one-on-one Literacy Tutor or support an entire classroom as a Group Literacy Volunteer. You will read books with students, play literacy games like sight-word bingo, help students journal about what they’re reading and more.

    All Literacy Volunteers:

    • Support students’ reading comprehension, letter/word recognition and overall confidence in their reading ability.
    • Commit to volunteering one hour a day, one to two days per week, for one school year. Days and times are generally flexible but are usually Monday through Friday, 8:30 – 10:30am.

    One-on-one Literacy Tutors are matched with students in kindergarten through second grade. Group Literacy Volunteers are matched with a kindergarten through third-grade teacher and assist the entire class during their literacy block.

    Which schools can you volunteer in?

    While we match volunteers with students in public elementary schools across San Francisco, we focus our literacy programming most deeply in six high-need elementary schools: Bessie Carmichael School (PreK-5 campus South of Market), Dr. Charles Drew Academy (Bayview), Dr. George Washington Carver Elementary School (Bayview), El Dorado Elementary (Visitacion Valley), Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academic Elementary School (Castro) and Junipero Serra Elementary (Bernal Heights). Our staff works closely with the volunteers, teachers, principals and other staff at each of these schools to help students reach literacy benchmarks.

    How will we prepare you?

    You will receive:

    • A three-hour training in which you will learn about the Literacy Program model, effective Literacy Volunteer practices, session planning and tips and activities for letter and word study as well as reading comprehension.
    • A Literacy Toolkit of resources, including a small whiteboard, markers, pens, pencils, notebooks and stickers to use during your volunteer sessions.
    • Ongoing support, check-ins and visits from an Education Fund staff member.
    • Invitations to volunteer parties, supplemental trainings and other special events throughout the school year.
    • A chance to become part of a larger community of volunteers who care deeply about San Francisco public schools.

  • Math Program Help a 6-8 grade student master math.
    3 schools

    BessieCarmichael_MathVolunteer_Short

     

    Become a Math Program Volunteer!

    With just one hour a week, you can help a student improve their math skills. Mastering math is the key to unlocking careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), one of San Francisco’s most successful sectors. Students scoring in the top quartile in eighth-grade reading and math standardized tests are 61% more likely to enroll at a four-year college.

    By helping a student master math, you increase their odds of going to college, completing a degree and earning a living wage. Getting involved in one of our schools is also fun and rewarding. You get to help a student learn and grow while joining a community of like-minded San Franciscans who want to make a difference in their city.

    “Volunteering is not only about teaching kids math, or helping kids with their math homework. You build a relationship with these kids because you see the same group every week for an entire school year. Volunteering is also a great way for us to get a break out of our work day. Interacting with kids in the middle of a work week when you’re surrounded by professionals is a great refresher.” – Math Volunteer, Bessie Carmichael K-8

    What will you do as a volunteer?

    You will help sixth- and seventh-grade students better understand math concepts underlying the new Common Core State Standards. You will work with a student or a classroom of students for an hour every week during the school year. Days and times are generally flexible but are usually Monday through Friday, between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.

    Which schools can you volunteer in?

    While we match volunteers with students in public middle schools across San Francisco, we focus our math programming most deeply in three high-need middle schools: Everett Middle School (Castro/Mission) James Lick Middle School (Noe Valley) and Bessie Carmichael (6-8 campus South of Market). Our staff works closely with the volunteers, teachers, principals and other staff at each of these schools to help students reach math benchmarks.

    How will we prepare you?

    You will receive:

    • A three-hour training in which you will learn about the Math Program model, effective Math Volunteer practices, session planning and tips and activities for helping students develop their math skills and confidence.
    • A Math Toolkit of resources, including a small whiteboard, markers, pens, pencils, math overview book and Common Core workbook-packet to use during your volunteer sessions.
    • Ongoing support, check-ins and visits from an Education Fund staff member.
    • Invitations to volunteer parties, supplemental trainings and other special events throughout the school year.
    • A chance to become part of a larger community of volunteers who care deeply about San Francisco public schools.
  • College & Career Readiness Program Help a 10-12 grade student map their path to college and career.
    3 schools

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    Become a College & Career Readiness Coach!

    You can help a high school student plan out a path for college and beyond by serving as a College & Career Readiness Coach. Many of the students we work with come from low-income households and would be the first in their families to graduate from college. You would serve as an important role model to support a high schooler as they navigate the college-going process. With a college degree, adults in San Francisco are four times more likely to make enough money to support a family.

    The San Francisco Education Fund’s College & Career Readiness Program will train you to mentor a high school student and help them make a plan to achieve their dreams. Volunteering is also fun and rewarding. You get to lend your knowledge and expertise while joining a community of like-minded San Franciscans who want to make a difference in their city.

    “She always helped me a lot and asked me about my grades and how I was doing in class. One thing that I like about my coach is she is a wonderful person.” – 10th-grade student, Mission High School.

    What will you do as a volunteer?

    As a volunteer mentor and coach, you will work one-on-one with a 10th- or 11th-grade student to help research careers that fit their interests, explore colleges and map out a path to reach their goals.

    You will be matched with a sophomore student at the beginning of the school year and participate weekly in in-person or virtual meetings focused on college and career pathways and personal development. Volunteer coaches and their students participate in activities like discussing hobbies, crafting an elevator pitch and creating achievable goals.

    Volunteer coaches typically commit to meeting with students for one hour on-site at their schools at least once a month, usually during lunchtime.

    Which schools can you volunteer in?

    While we match volunteers with students in public high schools across San Francisco, we focus our college and career programming most deeply in three high-need high schools: June Jordan School for Equity (Excelsior), Mission High School (Mission) and Phillip & Sala Burton Academic High School (Portola). Our staff works closely with the volunteers, counselors, principals and other staff at each of these schools to help students reach college and career goals.

    How will we prepare you?

    You will receive:

    • A training in which you will learn about the College & Career Readiness Program model, effective College & Career Readiness Volunteer practices, session planning and tips and activities.
    • Ongoing support, check-ins and visits from an Education Fund staff member.
    • Invitations to volunteer parties, supplemental trainings and other special events throughout the school year.
    • A chance to become part of a larger community of volunteers who care deeply about San Francisco public schools.
  • Tutoring & Classroom Support Program Work with students or support an educator in a classroom.
    117 schools

    Become a K-12 Tutor or Classroom Assistant!

    The San Francisco Education Fund trains and supports volunteers to fill a variety of roles in K-12 classrooms across San Francisco’s public schools. Whether you volunteer as a tutor or classroom assistant, your presence in the classroom will make a difference in the lives of our students and teachers. Each year, we receive more volunteer requests from teachers than we can fill, and you will play a vital role in helping us fill these requests so students and educators receive the support they need.

    “My Education Fund volunteers completely changed my classroom this year in a positive way! With 30 kids and one of me, I was feeling challenged to get them the attention they so badly needed. Having another adult in the room to tend to their academic, social and emotional needs was wonderful” – Helana Corda, teacher at James Lick Middle School.

    What will you do as a volunteer?

    Volunteers help students and teachers in a variety of subjects at the elementary, middle or high school level during the school day. With just one hour a week, you can make a world of difference in a classroom.

    • Tutors: Work with students one-on-one or in small groups in academic subjects like English, math and science, or in enrichment subjects like art and music. Whatever your area of expertise, we can find a classroom that will benefit from your support.
    • Classroom Assistants: Support a teacher in a classroom. Help the teacher prep for lessons and set-up classroom activities, or maybe work with students one-on-one or in small groups. Every day is different!

    Which schools can you volunteer in?

    We engage volunteers in classrooms throughout San Francisco’s public schools, including a set of Focus Schools. We assign volunteers based on teacher requests as well as volunteer preference.

    How will we prepare you?

    You will receive:

    • A training in which you will learn about the program model, effective tutor and classroom support practices, session planning and tips and activities.
    • Ongoing support, check-ins and visits from an Education Fund staff member.
    • Invitations to volunteer parties, supplemental trainings and other special events throughout the school year.
    • A chance to become part of a larger community of volunteers who care deeply about San Francisco public schools.
  • Mentoring Program Help a student build his/her school and life skills through our partner program.
    38 schools

     

    Become a Volunteer Mentor!

    As a volunteer mentor, you can change the life of a student in San Francisco’s public schools.

    Mentors serve as positive role models who motivate students to do their best. Research shows that school-based mentoring programs help students reduce school absences, improve their overall academic performance and increase their college participation.

    Volunteering as a mentor is fun and flexible. With just one hour a week, you can serve as an important caring adult for a K-12 student. The San Francisco Education Fund partners with San Francisco Unified School District to train and support volunteer mentors in the district’s Mentoring for Success Program.

    “I’m able to directly give back and make a difference in someone’s life. It is extraordinarily gratifying.” – Volunteer mentor at Everett Middle School

    What will you do as a volunteer?

    Mentors are most often matched one-on-one with K-12 students but may also serve as a mentor to a small group. As a volunteer mentor, you’ll play ice-breaker games, discuss interests and hobbies and have the opportunity to participate in a variety of other activities with your student.

    Mentors meet with their students for an hour every week on site at the student’s school during the school day.

    Which schools can you volunteer in?

    The program serves about 40 schools across San Francisco, including elementary, middle and high schools. Visit the Mentoring for Success website for a list of participating schools.

    How will we prepare you?

    You will receive:

    • A training in which you will learn about the Mentor Program model, effective mentoring practices, session planning and tips.
    • Ongoing support, check-ins and visits from an Education Fund staff member as well as support from a Mentor Program Coordinator at the school site.
    • Invitations to volunteer parties, supplemental trainings and other special events throughout the school year.
    • A chance to become part of a larger community of volunteers who care deeply about San Francisco public schools.
  • FAQ

    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.

    The steps to become cleared to volunteer in a school include:

    • Attend our information session
    • Complete the volunteer application
    • Attend a training
    • Submit proof of a negative TB test
    • Pass 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.

    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 most from community volunteer support and we have worked hard to build 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 in our Focus Schools and on filling teacher requests so we can personally arrange placements for volunteers in those two instances. If you choose to pursue a different volunteer placement, we ask you to arrange that placement yourself and contact us with the details so we will be able to 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 offer some opportunities to volunteer after school. Of course, if you are willing and able to dedicate more of your time, that is always appreciated!

    How long does it take to be cleared to volunteer?

    After you have attended a training and been fingerprinted, it will normally take 5-10 business days to get cleared, depending on when you provide us with your TB test results and when we hear from your two references. If there is a delay in receiving your fingerprint results from the Department of Justice we will contact you.

    In general, the sooner you send us your TB test results and the sooner we hear from your references, the sooner you will be cleared to volunteer.

    How soon can I start?

    After you are cleared it will take, on average, two weeks to obtain a placement in a school but sometimes 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. Although teachers are excited to have volunteer help they are incredibly busy and often cannot respond quickly to phone calls and e-mails.

    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.
    2. A government issued picture ID (ex. driver’s license, passport)
    3. Cash or check to pay for fingerprints (the fee is $78).
    4. A smile! Your photo will be taken for your volunteer badge.

    When you check-in for the training session, we will collect your TB test results if you have brought them with you, so please have a copy of the original ready when you arrive.

    Please attend the training even if you don’t have your TB test with you. You can send us a copy of the results later via e-mail, fax, mail, or by dropping them off.

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

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

    Are there any costs involved?

    • TB test: If you are not seeing a private physician for your TB screening, see our TB test form for a list of clinics in the City that are either free or use a sliding scale for pricing.
    • Fingerprinting: 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 prior to every training session. You will pay for and get fingerprinted when you arrive at the training. This is also when you can fill out a short scholarship form if you cannot pay the full amount.

    If you are a SF State 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.

    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 employer.

    Why is fingerprinting so expensive?

    Starting in 2008, the San Francisco Unified School District mandated fingerprinting for all volunteers. The full cost for background clearance is $78.00 per person, and we ask every volunteer applicant to cover this cost through a 100% tax-deductible donation to the San Francisco Education Fund. Here is the cost breakdown:

    • $50.00 – DOJ/FBI background checks
    • $16.00 – Fingerprinting rolling fee
    • $12.00 – Administrative costs
    • $78.00 – TOTAL

    Fingerprint costs for some other organizations may be lower. The most common reason for this is that some organizations do not require their volunteers to be printed for both DOJ and FBI background checks. To ensure student safety, the Education Fund requires both.

    What if I can’t cover the cost of fingerprinting?

    The San Francisco Education Fund is committed to engaging the community in our city’s public schools, and we believe that everyone, regardless of means, should be able to volunteer. As a result, the Education Fund raises funds for scholarships to off-set the cost of volunteer clearance for individuals who can’t afford to pay the full cost.

    If your current financial situation prevents you from paying the full cost, we ask that you contribute as much as you can, and we require all Education Fund applicants to pay at least a small amount to demonstrate their commitment to volunteering. Scholarship forms are available to fill out when you check in at your training.

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

    Once you have attended the Info Session, completed a training, and we have received your TB test and fingerprint results, and 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 attend an Info Session and be fingerprinted through the Education Fund (SFUSD is not allowed to share its fingerprint results with us). 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 (typically from 8am to 3pm). Spending time working with students in a classroom can provide a welcome and rewarding break from the office.

    If your schedule still doesn’t permit regular weekly volunteering, we offer one-day event volunteering throughout the year. Please contact us if you want to be an event volunteer. Once you’re in our system you’ll be notified of event opportunities as they come up. You can also view our upcoming events here.

    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 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, can I change my commitment, or volunteer in some other way?

    If your schedule changes, it is always possible to decrease your level of commitment. Helping out at special events is an easy way to keep volunteering even with little free time.

    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.

The path to become a school volunteer

Step 1: Attend a one-hour information session.

You will learn more about volunteering in our schools and receive a volunteer application for you to complete via email.

Step 2: Attend a specialized training and complete the clearance process.

This training will prepare you to volunteer in your selected program. All school volunteers must pass a background check and test negative for tuberculosis (TB).

You should bring a government-issued photo ID so you can be fingerprinted for your background check and answer a few questions about your TB risk.

Step 3: Secure your volunteer placement.

If you are volunteering in our Literacy, Math or College & Career Readiness Programs, one of our staff will match you with a student at one of the schools served by these programs. If you are volunteering in our General Classroom Support or Mentoring for Success Programs, we can help you fulfill a volunteer request made by an educator, or you can reach out to the school of your choosing to find a volunteer opportunity.

Step 4: Begin Volunteering!