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HAP Volunteer Guide


HAP (Homework Assistance Program) is a program sponsored by Holy Disciples Catholic Church and dedicated to helping students at grade levels K-12 succeed in school.  All are welcome at Holy Disciples; you need not be a member of Holy Disciples nor share the Catholic faith to participate in any way in HAP.  We do expect all who participate in the program to respect Holy Disciples as a faith based community and not undermine the goals and mission of the community.

Safety and respecting the privacy of participants in HAP is important to Holy Disciples and HAP.  The Archdiocese of Seattle requires that anyone (excluding minors) working with minors or vulnerable adults in parish programs such as HAP must be certified by completing a short training program and passing a criminal background check.

HAP volunteers are expected to come from many backgrounds, ages and interests.  Some may be interested in working with students as tutors and some in helping the sessions run smoothly as facilitators.   Other my be interested in helping with the administrative work of the program which includes getting the word out about HAP to parents and students or with the many other tasks that help make HAP a more effective program.  Tutors need not be professional educators.  Students in upper grades may be able to tutor those in lower grades.   Retirees can offer a lifetime of experience and know-how in many ways, and those in between can bring a contemporary and practical view to help HAP succeed.  The common thread is believing in the importance of students being successful in school and the desire and will to help them succeed.

Promoting a Safe Environment for All

        A safe environment course and criminal background check are required by The Archdiocese of Seattle (and every other diocese in the country) for anyone working with minors and vulnerable adults in programs associated with the church.  There is no charge for either of these. The course is a three-hour course offered at various times and places throughout the Archdiocese.  For more information concerning these requirements and places and times where the course is offered click here.

         Compromising situations may arise if one is alone with students.  Therefore at least two adult volunteers must be present wherever and whenever a student is present.  Also, under no circumstances should students be transported to or from the HAP site by volunteers.  Be aware of what is inappropriate physical contact, conversations and gestures and avoid such contacts.

         Tutoring outside the program is allowed and volunteers may receive requests for such tutoring.  Tutoring outside HAP is done without the sponsorship of Holy Disciples Parish and is completely separate from HAP.  If the Program Coordinator receives a request for tutoring outside the program, the Coordinator may relay the request to those tutoring in the program and each volunteer can then decide if he or she will respond to the request.  Any tutoring that occurs outside a time and a place scheduled by HAP is considered to be “tutoring outside the program.”  Information concerning volunteers in the program, e. g. name, address, contact information, etc. is considered to be information for use by the program only and is not to be made available outside the program.

         Weapons should not be brought to tutoring sessions.

Promoting a Respectful Environment for All

         Privacy and confidentiality is extremely important when working with students. We must respect both of these.  If you hear or read personal information about a student do not share that information with anyone other than appropriate HAP workers on a need to know basis only.

         Food and drink can be distracting and perhaps cause damage in the tutoring setting.  Bottled and capped water is allowed at sessions; eating should be avoided and done only in exceptional circumstances, e.g., if experiencing distracting hunger or for medical reasons.

         Personal electronic devices are another source of distraction in a learning environment.  None should be brought to tutoring sessions with the exception of cell phones and devices used for health concerns or learning purposes, e. g. computers and calculators.  Cell phones are for emergency use only or for making transportation arrangements and should be set to a silent mode.  All electronic devices brought to a session are brought at the owner’s risk.  Neither Holy Disciples Parish nor HAP is responsible for any damage that might occur to the devices.

         Behavior of all involved in a tutoring session should promote an atmosphere of respect, learning and not disturb the focus or those trying to teach or learn.  In order to promote a respectful atmosphere and serve as an example to those being tutored, HAP encourages the use of proper titles, Mr., Mrs., etc., when addressing or referring to HAP workers and adults during tutoring sessions. Unacceptable behavior at sessions includes, but is not limited to, bullying, harassment of any kind, using improper language or gestures and improper attire.  Unacceptable behavior may require that the offender leave the tutoring session.

Volunteer Procedures and Policies

         A HAP Volunteer Information Record should be completed by each volunteer.  The record contains contact information, times when the volunteer is available to tutor or facilitate and subject and level a tutor is willing to tutor.  The record can be updated whenever circumstances warrant a revision.   The record is kept by the program coordinator and used for planning schedules, etc.

         Sign in and out at the reception table each time you arrive at or leave a tutoring session.

         Tutors are encouraged to collaborate with each other during tutoring sessions.  Tutors are encouraged to seek help from other tutors as needed as well as to offer such help.  Tutors should feel free to be with another tutor during a session to learn from that tutor and to judge their own capabilities.

         A HAP Tutoring Record form should be completed by tutors for each student helped at each session.  The purpose of the Tutoring Record is to let both parents/guardians and tutors know what work has been done with the student and the student's progress and possible needs. In the “Tutor’s Remarks” section of the form the tutor should record information about the session with the student e. g. material covered, progress made by the student during the session, suggestions for further work with the student, and other concerns relating to the success of the student.  There is also a place on the form for parents/guardians to make comments.  Look for these comments and respond if appropriate. This report should be placed in the Student’s HAP Packet.  Each student you tutor should come to you with his or her HAP Packet.  The packet will contain the student's Registration Form and Tutoring Records from previous sessions and other HAP Information.  The student’s packet may contain sensitive information and is, therefore, returned to the student after you finish working with the student.  HAP does not retain the packet. The student and/or his or her parents or guardians are the keeper of the packet. 

         Parents or guardians are welcome to attend tutoring sessions and be with the student during the session.  They are encouraged to confer with the tutor about the student’s progress and other concerns related to the student’s success in school.  This may best be done outside the presence of the student.

         Emergencies and unexpected situations require that HAP volunteers take appropriate action.  In emergency situations that involve health or safety call 911; emergency numbers for parents or guardians of students are in the student's HAP Packet and on file at the HAP session site.  A first aid kit is available for minor injuries.  For other situations call the Program Coordinator or a designated alternate.  If you are unable to attend a tutoring sessions for which you have been scheduled, let the Program Coordinator or a designated alternate know as far in advance as possible so a replacement can be arranged.

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