Volunteer Clearance Information
Thank you for your interest in volunteering in the Lower Merion School District. Volunteers play a vital role in supporting our students, staff and programs. While we greatly value the assistance of volunteers in fulfilling the District's mission and strategic plan, we also must be vigilant in ensuring the safety of our students. Therefore, all adult volunteers (even parents and guardians) entering our schools to work with children must have the clearances mandated by the Pa. Child Protective Services Law.
Upon the recommendation of the LMSD School Safety Task Force, security guards will be using the Raptor® system to check visitors into our buildings. Starting with the 2019-2020 school year, the Raptor® system is also being used to track and maintain volunteer clearances. This system offers a number of benefits:
- You will be able to submit your application and clearance documents online, eliminating the need to visit the District Administration Offices in person.
- The system will notify you prior to the expiration of your clearances.
- You will be able to select specific areas of interest for volunteer opportunities, which schools can access when they are looking for help in those areas.
If you are planning on volunteering in your child’s school beginning in the 2019-2020 school year, you will need to complete two steps. This requirement applies whether you have volunteered in the past, whether you are interested in volunteering for a single event or over a period of time:
STEP ONE: Obtain the necessary clearances (please see the “Obtaining Clearances” section). If you already have submitted your clearance documents to the District, you will still need to complete STEP TWO below.
- If you are unsure whether you have already submitted your clearance documents, you may call the main office of your child's school and ask whether your clearances are on file and still valid.
STEP TWO: Once you have ALL THREE of your clearance documents ready to upload, fill out an online Volunteer Application (please see the “Volunteer Application” section). Unless your clearances are already on file with the District, you will need to have electronic copies of your clearances to complete the application so that your information can be included in the Raptor® System.
- If you are unable to upload your clearance documents, you may bring your original clearance documents and an official form of identification to the District's Department of Human Resources (located at 301 E. Montgomery Avenue, Ardmore, PA 19003) on Tuesdays from 8:30 a.m. to noon or Thursdays from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m.
As part of the Volunteer Application, you will need to affirm that you have read the LMSD Policies related to volunteering in our schools. Click here for links to all of those policies. If you have any questions, please call the District's Office of Community Relations at 610-645-1977.
Under Pennsylvania’s Child Protective Services Law, all Tier 1 school volunteers (as defined below) - including parents - must submit background clearances prior to serving at school. This requirement applies whether you are interested in volunteering for a single event or over a period of time.
Volunteers are defined as individuals eighteen (18) years or older serving in an unpaid position with a program, activity or service project for the District. A volunteer who (1) is responsible for the welfare of a child OR (2) will have direct volunteer contact with children (meaning the care, supervision, guidance or control of children AND routine interaction with children) is designated as a "Tier 1" volunteer.
Examples of the types of roles requiring a volunteer to submit clearances include classroom volunteer assistants, recess and library volunteers, chaperones for field trips and dances, and volunteer coaches/club advisors. The District will provide notification as to whether an event will require a volunteer to submit clearances.
Note that once your updated clearances are on file, you will not need to re-submit clearances for each volunteer opportunity. Volunteer clearances are valid for sixty (60) months from the date of issue. Please note that fees associated with state clearances (State Policy and Department of Human Services) for volunteers have been waived, effective July 2015; however, if you are required to also submit an FBI clearance, you would be responsible for the costs associated with obtaining that clearance.
LMSD also distinguishes between "volunteers" and "visitors" in that visitors are viewed as individuals who are attending and/or observing an event or activity without providing a service to the students, staff, or school/District operations and who would not be responsible for the care, supervision, guidance, or control of children. Some examples of these events would include but are not limited to: Back-to-School nights, parent/teacher conferences, school assemblies, American Education Week, Reading Olympics, school concerts, Halloween parades, etc. In this capacity, school visitors do not need the clearances as described above.