We each possess skills that are valuable to a student. Some of the things you can do to contribute are...
- Be a tutor or a mentor
- Help students with homework
- Listen to children read
- Play educational games with students
- Assist with math or science
- Share information about local history
- Help students learn another language
- Support special projects, activities, or field trips
- Assist with after-school programs
- Provide office support
- Become involved with school leadership
To volunteer at your local school, please contact that school directly to find out about its specific volunteer opportunities. For volunteer forms, district map, list of volunteer coordinators contacts, and additional information about volunteering with Seattle Public Schools, visit Getting Started.
Highlighted Volunteer Opportunities
- Tutor or Mentor
- Observation Hours/ Degree Students
- For High School Students
- Group Projects
- Other Opportunities
Tutor or Mentor
Volunteer Opportunity with the Secondary Bilingual Orientation Center
The Secondary Bilingual Orientation Center (SBOC) is a Seattle public school on Capitol Hill serving newcomer refugee and immigrant students aged 11-21. It is a wonderful place for anyone interested in working with students of diverse backgrounds. The SBOC is a transitional program which helps students better understand the North American school system and improve their literacy in English before entering mainstream schools.
Volunteers are needed to assist in various ELL subjects, such as Literacy, Math, Science, Social Studies and Multimedia. Previous tutoring experience is not necessary, but volunteers must:
- Have an open mind, a passion for education and excellent communication skills
- Be dependable, patient, flexible and able to commit to a weekly volunteer schedule of at least 2 hours per week, preferably for the remainder of the current semester
Familiarity with other languages and cultures is appreciated, but not required; Spanish, Somali, Chinese and Vietnamese are our largest language populations.
If you are interested in getting involved with the SBOC, please contact their school at: 301 21st Ave. E, Seattle WA 98122 (206) 252-2200.
Volunteer with the Washington Reading Corps
The Washington Reading Corps is a statewide program that matches volunteer reading tutors with elementary students who are reading below grade level. Daytime and afterschool reading tutors are in demand at these schools located in Central, South and Southwest Seattle. If you are interested in becoming a reading partner for these students, or would like additional information, please visit the Washington Reading Corps.
Tutoring/Mentoring with the Interagency Academy
The Interagency Academy is comprised of small schools throughout Seattle that serve the most academically and socially challenged of our middle and high school students. Students in these schools are or have been in detention, in treatment programs, or have not succeeded in regular and alternative schools. Volunteers go through additional training and screening to make sure they are prepared for working with these students. For more information about volunteering for the Interagency Academy, please contact the Principal at 206-252-0069.
Big Brothers/Big Sisters School-Based Mentoring Program
The BB/BS school-based mentoring program is an innovative approach to reach a more diverse population of children. Located primary in the central and south end of Seattle, the mentor meets with the student on the school campus, once a week, during school hours, for a minimum of one year. The goal is student success through academic support, one-to-one friendship and positive role modeling. For more information about this program, please call 206-763-9060 or visit www.bbbsps.org (outside link).
Be a Mentor or Tutor with Community for Youth
Community for Youth (CfY) inspires and supports the social, emotional and academic development of students through mentoring, learning experiences, and participation in a powerful community.
CfY seeks adult volunteers to work one-on-one with high school students who are having difficulty in their academic and/or personal lives at Rainier Beach, Cleveland, Chief Sealth, and South Lake High Schools. Mentors commit to one school year of regular weekly contacts with a student, typically serving about 3 hours per week. Mentors receive prior training and on-going training throughout the year from CfY staff. For more information, please visit www.communityforyouth.org (outside link) or call (206) 325-8480.
Observation Hours/ Degree Students
Classroom Observation Hours
If you are a college-level student, or prospective college-level student, wishing to earn classroom observation hours for a university program, please contact your local school directly. University of Washington students may contact the Pipeline Project (outside link) directly at (206) 616-2302.
For elementary school-aged observation or volunteering, contact the school volunteer coordinator. For middle or high school ages, contact the department head of the subject area for which you are interested in volunteering or observing through the School's main number. A school directory can be found here on the Seattle Public Schools website.
Volunteer Your Technology Skills with TECH CORPS
TECH CORPS is the leading national nonprofit mobilizing technology volunteers into schools. In partnership with Seattle Public Schools, they are looking for volunteers to
- Participate in technology planning
- Conduct teacher training seminars
- Repair, refurbish and install computers
- Provide technical support
- Mentor students and staff, and
- Assist teachers with classroom technology projects
If you have technology experience and are interested in using that talent for your local school, please visit www.techcorps.org (outside link) to learn more and register as a volunteer. Or you can contact Washington TECH CORPS at (206) 463-3344, email@example.com.Top
For High School Students
Become a Cross-age or Peer Tutor
Schools encourage older students to get involved in tutoring peers or becoming tutor-mentors to younger students. Put your talents to good use and become a volunteer at your local school! Contact the school you would like to work with to find out about opportunities.
Team Read is a Seattle School District tutoring program that pairs high school students with elementary school students to provide tutoring in reading. The tutors (also referred to as reading coaches) receive compensation. They can choose hourly pay, community service credit, or college tuition. Reading coaches learn responsibility, diligence, determination, patience, insight and confidence while building a unique and special friendship. Team Read also looks for volunteer adults to supervise the program and tutoring sessions. Visit www.teamread.com (outside link) to learn more.
Washington Reading Corps
Become a volunteer tutor with the Washington Reading Corps! Help struggling elementary students learn to read! Visit the Washington Reading Corps web site for more information.
Many schools have after-school programs that also need volunteers to help with academic, social and enrichment programs. Contact your local school and ask about after-school volunteer needs.
Community Learning Centers are great programs for volunteers in the afternoons. For more information about Community Learning Centers, please visit Community Learning Centers.
Evening Volunteer Opportunities are available at various schools. While regular school programs are limited in the evening, your local school likely has several events or programs throughout the year that call for volunteer assistance such as family literacy nights, dinners, auctions, and evening meetings and classes. Contact your local school and ask how you can help!
There are also a few alternative schools with evening programs, such as Seattle Evening School.
We also have valued community partners with evening volunteer opportunities. These organizations are not directly connected to schools, but provide valuable support and services to our students.
Seattle Public Schools welcomes groups from the community, including employee groups who wish to be involved with the schools together on a short-term or project basis, or long-term involvement.
Maintenance Projects are a great way to involve larger groups of people for one-day events. These types of projects are coordinated by our Self-Help Office (schools that are helping themselves to complete identified maintenance or building projects). Please contact Gretchen DeDecker at 206-252-0637 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
We recognize that there is a variety of experience and talent in the Seattle Community that does not necessarily fit into a category such as tutoring. If you have something to share, there are students or school staff who would love to learn from you. Please think outside the box when considering volunteer options, and contact your local school to discuss your ideas.
Speaking/Presentations: We encourage community members who have particular experience and stories to offer our students, even though Seattle Public Schools does not currently have a Speakers Bureau. Your neighborhood school may be able to suggest ways that you can engage the school and share your expertise.
If you are interested, it will be helpful for you to put together a written proposal or other information, including promotional flyers about the presentations or workshops you offer. If possible, identify the grade levels or course subjects with which your information best fits.
Leadership: Schools are often looking to involve families and the community in leadership and advisory roles, and those people who can help advocate for schools and children in the larger community. Please contact your local school to find out what leadership or advisory roles they have for volunteers.