Volunteering and Visiting CPS

  • Volunteering and Visiting CPS

    Welcome to Columbia Public Schools!

    The philosophy of volunteers in Columbia Public Schools embodies the belief that community participation in our schools enriches the school program and fosters the public's interest in our schools, both of which can make a positive difference and strengthen the educational environment.

    The safety and well-being of our students, staff and volunteers is our number one priority. Parents and community volunteers enhance the educational experience and we value everyone’s time and support.  If you are interested in helping our schools, please contact your child's school or our Community Relations Office.  We welcome the involvement of parents and community members in our schools. 

    Volunteers are defined as visitors when they assist CPS employees at school. Visitors accompanied by a CPS employee DO NOT require a background check.  Visitors are invited to the campus for a specific event/reason, sign-in and sign-out from the main school office on a visitors log, and under the direction of the principal.  Visitors are neither alone with nor supervising any students. Volunteers who require a background check must complete one prior to receiving a volunteer assignment.  With the guidance of a teacher, school principal, or program coordinator, determine whether you'll be a visitor or a volunteer.    

    How to Become a CPS Volunteer or Visitor

  • Become a CPS Volunteer

    1. REACH OUT to the teacher, building principal, or Community Relations Office to express your interest.

    2. SELECT A PROJECT: Seek assistance from principals, teachers, and the Community Relations Office to discover opportunities for volunteering or visiting.

    3. IDENTIFY YOUR ROLE: With the guidance of a teacher, school principal, or program coordinator, determine whether you'll be a visitor or a volunteer.  This is especially important if your volunteer role involves being alone with students in a supervisory capacity.

    4. PREPARE: If a background check is deemed necessary, you can initiate the online background check process through the CPS HR Department website:
    Volunteer Background Check: Non-Employee Registration. Once you receive approval, prepare to make a positive impact!

  • Additional Information

    Missouri law requires school volunteers who will be alone with students, unsupervised by CPS employees, to have criminal background checks that include fingerprints before volunteering and interacting with students.  Fingerprint records are submitted to the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for a search of criminal history files and will come at a cost to the volunteer.  

    Volunteering and visiting Columbia Public Schools procedures are updated with Missouri law changes. 
    We determine by definition if someone is visiting (under the supervision of a CPS employee) or volunteering (alone with students in a supervisory role).

    Updating Information
    The district may update all criminal background checks required under policy at least every five years if the person is still volunteering or working for the district or working on district property.

    Defining Volunteers and Visitors

    Volunteers:  Any individual who assists the district on an uncompensated basis and who is unsupervised by a CPS employee while with students. These individuals with a completed background check conducted by our Human Resources Office may volunteer to assist with student activities before or after school, and chaperone students on field trips.  

    These individuals may be on school grounds to interact with their child(ren), attend activities, school events, assemblies or have lunch with students with a Columbia Public Schools employee present.  They may also be assisting the school with supervision by a CPS employee such as a room parent for classroom parties, assisting students in the classroom or media center, assisting the office with making copies or some other similar activity.  Visitors do not require a background check. School visits are coordinated with schools.

    A few things to note about visiting CPS:

    • Visitors are under the direction of the building principal. 
    • Visitors sign in/out of school buildings. 

    All visitors and volunteers shall act in accordance with district policies, regulations, and school rules. Volunteers and visitors are under the direction of the building principal. Volunteers and visitors may be asked to leave the campus if they violate a school rule.  Volunteers shall maintain the same confidentiality standards expected of certificated personnel and exhibit the ethical behaviors of a professional. Volunteers shall not have access to confidential student files or records without a completed background check.  Volunteers will be covered under the district's liability insurance policy while performing services sponsored by the school or the district.

    Volunteer program questions may be directed to the Office of Community Relations at cpscomm@cpsk12.org or (573)214-3960.

    Thank you for your support of the community and Columbia Public Schools. Your contribution makes a difference!