Volunteer Resources Questions
- What will the school/district do with my clearances once I submit them?
- Can someone else submit my clearances for me?
- Do all volunteers have to submit clearances?
- I have students in multiple school buildings; will I need to submit my clearances to each school?
- Will volunteers receive ID cards once approved?
- Will I be notified when my clearances are expiring?
- All of my clearances have different dates. What date(s) will the District use in determining an expiration date?
- I already have my clearances. Will I need to get new ones?
- Who is responsible for accessing the database at the building level and how are the names of approved volunteers shared with the organizers of various activities?
- I want to volunteer but I can’t afford the cost of clearances. What should I do?
What will the school/district do with my clearances once I submit them?
The school or District representative will document the clearance information in a shared database that can be accessed by all schools in the District. The database will include the names of approved volunteers as well as the expiration dates for each individual clearance. A copy of the clearances/exception forms will be maintained in the District for a period of five years at which point the clearances will be destroyed.
Can someone else submit my clearances for me?
Yes. Another individual is permitted to submit clearances on your behalf. They will need to follow the submission procedures noted earlier.
Do all volunteers have to submit clearances?
The Gateway School District defines volunteers in one of three ways. Assistive, Independent and Coach/Sponsor Volunteers are required to obtain and submit clearances prior to serving in a volunteer capacity. The school and District administration will communicate the types of volunteers needed for each activity.
Independent Volunteers – Any volunteer who 1) works under the general direction and supervision of an adult 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 unsupervised contact with students. Examples of Independent Volunteers include, but are not limited to: volunteer tutors, classroom center volunteers and chaperones for field trips.
Assistive Volunteers – Any volunteer who 1) works directly under the supervision and direction of an adult employed by the District; and 2) does not provide direct services to students or have unsupervised contact with students. Examples of Assistive Volunteers include, but are not limited to: homeroom parents, individuals who assist with school activities and holiday parties.
Volunteer Coaches/Sponsors - Any individual who voluntarily provides services to the school district, without compensation, and who: (1) works under the general direction and supervision of a coach or student activity sponsor employed by the district; and (2) directly supervises or instructs students engaged in the activity or may from time to time, be reasonably expected to have unsupervised contact with students. Examples include but are not limited to: individuals who volunteer to serve on the coaching staff of an athletic team; volunteer athletic trainers or equipment managers; and choreographers, musicians and other individuals who provide instruction to students in the marching band/school musical.
NEW -Classroom Presentation Volunteers – Any individual who volunteers to present during a classroom lesson or school activity and is under the direct supervision of a classroom teacher or administrator during the entirety of the presentation. These volunteer opportunities are typically one-time events. Examples of Classroom Presentation Volunteers include, but are not limited to: Guest Speakers, Readers, TAG volunteers and College Admission Career Day volunteers. Elementary Field Day volunteers may fall into this category provided they are under the guidance of and directly observed by a classroom teacher or administrator throughout the event.
I have students in multiple school buildings; will I need to submit my clearances to each school?
No. Since there is only one GSD volunteer database that is shared among the buildings, you will only need to submit your clearances to one location.
Will volunteers receive ID cards once approved?
Special ID cards will not be distributed to approved volunteers. The names of approved volunteers will be kept in a shared database accessible to all buildings throughout the District.
Will I be notified when my clearances are expiring?
Yes, the volunteer database will send an automatic reminder to individuals when their clearances are 90 days from expiring.
All of my clearances have different dates. What date(s) will the District use in determining an expiration date?
The expiration date for all clearances will be noted in the volunteer database. The District will use the oldest clearance to determine an official expiration date.
I have the following three clearances: PA Criminal-October 1, 2013, PA Child Abuse-January 15, 2014, FBI-November 20, 2014. All three dates will be noted in the volunteer database, but the expiration date for clearances will be September 30, 2018 (60 months from the date of the oldest clearance which is the PA Criminal). If I submit an updated PA Criminal clearance on September 10, 2016, my new expiration date will be January 14, 2019 (60 months from the date of the oldest clearances which is now the PA Child Abuse).
I already have my clearances. Will I need to get new ones?
Act 153 stipulates that clearances are good for 60 months from the effective date. You can submit your current clearances as long as they are within the previous 60 months.
Who is responsible for accessing the database at the building level and how are the names of approved volunteers shared with the organizers of various activities?
Each building will identify specific employees who will have access to the approved volunteers’ database. If an event is planned that will require the use of volunteers, the organizer of the event will work with the secretary and/or principal to ensure that these volunteers have provided the appropriate clearances.
I want to volunteer but I can’t afford the cost of clearances. What should I do?
Volunteer applicants are permitted to receive one certification free of charge every fifty-seven (57) months for the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP -ACT 34) and the Pennsylvania Child Abuse (Act 151) clearances. Volunteers who have been a resident of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for the entirety of the previous 10 years are not required to obtain the FBI certification. They may complete the Volunteer Exception form. The District does not want the cost of the clearances to discourage someone from volunteering at a school. If you do not meet the 10 year eligibility requirement and need to apply for the FBI clearance and need support in covering this fee, please contact the GSD Administrative Offices at 412-3373-5713. A date and time will be established where you can come to Central Administration and someone will work with you on applying and paying for the clearance.