What did you do in practice?
We hosted an informal, fun event for parents to get their clearances to volunteer at school. We created stations to make it easy for parents to complete the different steps mandated by law. This included completing the Act 45 Criminal Record and the Act 151 Child Abuse History Form. A teacher’s spouse was at one station ready to provide TB tests. And, a community partner managed the fingerprinting requirement. Our school staff was ready to take care of any payments and we offered childcare for families. We removed every barrier we could think of for parents to obtain their clearance.
Why did you do this implementation trial?
It's important for schools to be safe and it's also important to realize that parents don't necessarily understand why there are such institutional barriers. A lot of work is required to get clearances. Offering some assistance from the school takes away that barrier and creates trust because it says "we're willing to help you." And, the school benefits because more parents will be involved in what is happening at school and volunteer for field trips, class parties, and school projects like helping 4th graders be scientists.