Volunteers a boost for C.R. schools

The Gazette Opinion Staff
Published: April 5 2014 | 12:42 pm - Updated: 7 April 2014 | 3:13 pm in

Question: How does the Cedar Rapids Community School District add more than 7,000 dedicated part-time staff members — willing to work without pay — to support the learning environment for students and staff?

Answer: Through a comprehensive Volunteer Services Program.

Community involvement pulsates through our educational program. Begun in 1973, the Volunteer Services Program of the Cedar Rapids Community School District has grown from 626 volunteers contributing 11,000 hours to 7,029 volunteers contributing 143,754 hours during the 2012-13 school year. The volunteer work force consists of parents, non-parents, youths, retirees, and business and industry representatives.

Volunteers are invited to participate through any of the 31 building programs or through the district Community Relations Department. They may work one-on-one with students, help with enrichment activities or support large-group projects.

Calculated conservatively at the district’s lowest paraprofessional wage last year of $10.75 an hour, these volunteers saved the district $1.5 million, the equivalent of 133 paraprofessionals working six hours a day. This generous volunteer work force outnumbered staff by more than 2 to 1.

It is my honor to thank our volunteers for their contributions and to invite others to “come back to the classroom” as a school volunteer.

Marcia Hughes

Community Relations Supervisor

Cedar Rapids School District

 

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