APOLLO-RIDGE VOLUNTEER INFORMATION
The Apollo-Ridge School District strongly supports the involvement of parent/guardian and community volunteers. State law now requires that any volunteer who has direct contact with students to have necessary clearances on file with the District.
Please note that clearances on that have been obtained for other organizations (township, sport organizations, scouts, employment, etc.) will be accepted if they match the list below and are within the acceptable time limit. Copies must be obtained from these organizations and brought to the District in order to be on the list.
What school volunteers are required to have background checks?
The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) website provides this information: Under Act 15 of 2015 (the Act), which amends the provisions of the Child Protective Services Law, volunteers who are responsible for the child’s welfare or who have “direct volunteer contact” with children at a school— meaning the care, supervision, guidance, or control of children and routine interaction with children will be required to have background checks. The Act clarifies that “routine interaction” means “regular and repeated contact that is integral to a person’s employment or volunteer responsibilities.” PDE’s view is that mere visitors are not normally required to obtain background checks to the extent that such visitors are not responsible for a child’s welfare or are visiting the school irregularly and not providing for the care, supervision, guidance, or control of children. Some examples of situations where such visitors normally would not be required to have background checks would include but are not limited to: Back-to -School nights, parent/teacher conferences, school assemblies, school concerts, assisting with school birthday parties, parent guest readers, chaperones for field trips and dances (so long as not routine or responsible for the child’s welfare), Halloween parades, collecting tickets to sporting events, working concession stands, participating in “Career Day,” etc. In this capacity, school visitors do not need the clearances. By contrast, persons who are responsible for the child’s welfare or who wish to visit the school regularly to serve as volunteers and to provide for the care, supervision, guidance or control of children would be required to have background checks. Some examples of persons needing background checks would include but not be limited to regular classroom volunteer assistants, recess and library volunteers, and volunteer coaches/club advisors.
What forms are necessary?
The Apollo-Ridge School District requires the following clearances:
- Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance (Act 151)
- Pennsylvania State Police Criminal Record Check (Act 34)
- FBI Federal Criminal History Record (Act 114)
- Volunteers who have resided in Pennsylvania for ALL of the past ten years may request a waiver of the FBI Fingerprint Clearance. The waiver form - entitled Disclosure Statement Application for Volunteers may be downloaded from the right-hand column on this web page.
- If the volunteer has been a resident of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for the entirety of the previous 10 years AND WILL ONLY BE WORKING WITH STUDENTS IN DIRECT SUPERVISION OF AN EMPLOYEE OF THE DISTRICT, they may sign the volunteer affidavit in lieu of fingerprints.
- Volunteer Affirmation Form - required for volunteers, whether casual or program volunteers as described in Board Policy 916. This form is available for download from the right-hand column on this web page.
Acquiring the clearance documents takes time and we recommend that parents planning on volunteering in the schools complete the process as soon as possible. The documents will remain on file with the District for FIVE years at which time new clearances will be necessary.
What is the difference between a casual and a program volunteer?
According to Board Policy 916: Volunteers, the definitions are as follows:
A volunteer is any individual who performs a service for the School District without compensation, remuneration or other consideration and who otherwise meets the requirements of this policy. A volunteer must be at least 18 years of age. A volunteer need not be a parent of a student enrolled in the School District. A School District student who serves as equipment manager or assistant athletic trainer or who provides other volunteer assistance in support of a curricular, co-curricular or extra-curricular activity is not considered to be a volunteer for purposes of this policy.
A casual volunteer is a volunteer who comes to a school infrequently and works in the presence of a teacher/administrator when with students. A casual volunteer does not have direct contact with children and is not required to obtain criminal history reports or child abuse clearances. Examples include: individuals who volunteer to assist in the planning or conducting of classroom celebrations; single-day field trip chaperones; guest speakers; and concert/performance ushers.
A program volunteer is a volunteer who: 1) works under the general direction and supervision of a teacher or administrator employed by the District; and 2) provides direct services to students or may, from time to time, have or may be reasonably expected to have direct contact with children. Examples include: volunteer tutors; chaperones for overnight student trips; volunteers who assist on the coaching staff of an athletic team; volunteer athletic trainers or equipment managers (excluding School District students serving in those capacities); and choreographers, musicians and other individuals who provide instruction to students in the marching band or school musical.
Direct contact with children -- The care, supervision, guidance or control of children by a volunteer and routine interaction with children.
Routine interaction -- Regular and repeated contact that is integral to a person’s volunteer responsibilities. Final determination of a volunteer’s status is the responsibility of the principal or principal’s designee.
How do I get my clearances?
Child Abuse Background Check
Before making application, you will first create an individual account. Please retain the login and password information as you will need to log back in to download your child abuse history report.
Criminal Background Check
After you have completed the application process, you should be able to print your clearance. In the event that it is not readily available to you, please retain the Control Number and the date you submitted your application. You will use the "check the status" link and log in with those details at a later date to obtain your clearance.
FBI Fingerprint Background Check
In order to obtain a federal criminal background check, you must register through IdentoGO and schedule an appointment at a fingerprinting location convenient to you. Payment is made at the time of the actual fingerprinting.
The table below provides details on the process including costs and timelines. When you are ready to begin, click the links at the bottom of each column to begin the online registration. You may also click here for an overview from the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services.
When should I sign my Volunteer Affirmation Form?
The volunteer affirmation form should be signed prior to serving as either a casual or program volunteer.
Where do I submit my clearances and Volunteer Affirmation Form once I obtain them?
Please submit the Volunteer Affirmation Form and all clearances that may be required to either the office of the school building you will be volunteering in or the Athletic Office if you will be serving as a volunteer for an athletic program. All necessary paperwork should be submitted at the same time, as opposed to piece by piece. The office that you had submitted the forms to will keep a confidential copy on file in a secure location, and those program volunteers who are approved by the Board will also have a copy securely kept on file in the central administration office.
Do I need to have a TB test?
Most volunteers do not. According to Board Policy 916, “Prior to performing services for the School District, program volunteers having direct contact with children for ten (10) or more hours per week are required to undergo a tuberculosis examination in accordance with regulations of the Pennsylvania Department of Health and to furnish such report to the School District.”