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Crawford Central School District

Implementation of Get Connected @ Crawford Central

Parental Engagement







Target group
January 2024
In school, we think we have to maintain all the control. If school trust the families to be partners, then families will step up and become real partners.

About the implementation

We felt we had great involvement by parents at athletic events but we wanted better engagement overall with school. Our parents wanted to engage but they felt they couldn't. We learned that one of the barriers was the difficult process of getting their clearances to physically be allowed to come into school. We created a fun, informal event where teachers helped parents get their clearances.

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.


How did the implementation go?

All our attendees had fun! This activity took us from involvement to engagement from parents. We focused first on having a relationship with the parents and letting them know that we were here to help. By doing so, the parents then felt prepared to engage with the school and started to volunteer for activities where the school really needed parent help and engagement.

The number of volunteers jumped from two to fourteen.
The number of clearances completed increased by four.
A teacher helped parents post-event to complete their clearances.
Teachers now have volunteers they didn't previously have for field trips, school projects, etc.
We are identifying "Clearance Coaches" for parents to help other parents obtain clearances!

Learning Journey

Learn about the process first
We first took the time to understand the process and quickly learned it was not easy to obtain clearances. There were multiple forms to complete, such as the Act 34 Criminal Record and Act 151 Child Abuse History. Parents also had to get a TB (tuberculosis) test and be fingerprinted. And, there was a cost to some of these items, not to mention the time involved. This process, mandated by law, was important to keep school safe but it did not account for different family structures and barriers.
Ask your parents what would be helpful
We asked parents what barriers stop them from obtaining clearances. We learned that they didn't necessarily understand all the steps involved. The process seemed overwhelming, and costly. And, it took time - something that was difficult for parents caring for kids and/or working full-time or even multiple jobs. We realized that we needed to make this a one-stop event for parents and remove all of these barriers.
Involve your teachers and ask for their help
We asked our teachers for their ideas on how to increase parent volunteers and make the clearance process as easy as possible. Immediately, one of our teachers shared that her spouse was qualified to implement TB (tuberculosis) tests. Another staff member shared that providing childcare would help make it easier for parents. Next, we focused on creating stations that were manned by teachers and staff to help parents complete the different steps, allowing them to get to know each other.
Find a community partner - they will help!
For the fingerprinting requirement, we didn't have internal resources so we reached out to a community partner, the Family & Community Christian Association (FCCA), in our local area to help. They set up a station to make it easy for parents to complete their fingerprinting. The school paid for this which took away the barriers of time and cost.
Keep offering to help after the event
Word spread quickly about the event and how easy it was to obtain clearances. Parents asked how they could get their clearances so they could go into school and help teachers and their students. Different avenues were created for parents to help. One teacher continued offering guidance to parents to walk them through the process. A cohort of parents, self-dubbed "Clearance Coaches," also volunteered to help parents every step of the way. We continued to tell our families: We are here to help.


Ours is a big district, encompassing approximately 156 square miles. Crawford Central School District is a midsized, public school district in Crawford County, Pennsylvania. Among others we serve the City of Meadville, the Borough of Cochranton and East Fairfield Township.

11280 Mercer Pike