Volunteering

Dear parents,

mural_gym_13You may be aware that Pennsylvania has recently passed legislation that requires additional clearances, training, and other documentation for those who work with children and youth.  In the past most of this was required of employees only, but now much of it is extended to volunteers.  Mercyhurst Prep has always been fortunate to have so many of you who volunteer in myriad capacities; often it is your time and effort that enable us to offer the events that we do and to execute them well.  Now, due to the new requirements, we will need to ensure that all of our volunteers meet the state and diocesan mandates.

There are several categories of volunteers, and I will try to give a clear explanation of each.  In order to facilitate your continued volunteerism on which we depend, it would be extremely helpful if you could read the explanations and anticipate those activities in which you may become involved at some point in the school year.  Then, if you could now obtain the clearances, forms and trainings required, you will be free to participate.

VOLUNTEER CLEARANCE REQUIREMENTS

So many of you are willing to support MPS programs through volunteerism, and we are very, very grateful.  Below is the necessary information to help expedite compliance with the legal requirements of a school volunteer.

VOLUNTEER CLEARANCES

1) The first is a category called OCCASIONAL VOLUNTEERS.  Most of you would likely fall into this category as it is for people who have occasional contact with children/youth.  This category includes chaperones for dances, mailing helpers, school committees that include students, athletic and other boosters selling concessions at school-sponsored events, workers at registration tables and concessions at events like the Laker Glow, parent helpers setting up for events like the gala if present when students are present, etc.

These volunteers must have on file:

2) The next REGULAR VOLUNTEER category deals with all volunteers having direct or regular contact with children.  This would include a volunteer coach who works with a team, a club moderator or helper who meets with students every week, a parent working side by side with a student on a project such as set building, a driver for an overnight trip and any adult who is in the presence of students for any type of overnight trip (crew and other athletic trips, Europe trips, ski trip, etc*).

These people must have on file the following:

* Adults who are paying travelers on a trip and who have NO SUPERVISORY duties need only obtain the three clearances – criminal record check, child abuse, and FBI (if not continuous residents of PA for the past 10 years) – and need not complete the other trainings.  However, in this case, they may be given no supervisory duties of any kind throughout the duration of the trip.

3) The third category is for VOLUNTEER DRIVERS.  Many of you help us out by driving students to competitions, games, field trips and other events, and it is much appreciated.

Volunteer drivers need:

We know that this can seem overwhelming at first glance, and we appreciate your willingness to begin the process of becoming a cleared volunteer.  Our experience has been that the PA Criminal Record Check and Child Abuse clearances are processed pretty quickly, and they are free of charge for volunteers; the FBI clearance can take some time.  Perhaps you would consider applying for them now so that you can participate in events like the prom, the Laker Glow 5k, and winter and spring sporting events.  We all are grateful for your support of school activities.

As you receive your clearances, complete forms, and print out documentation for trainings, those papers can be given to the moderator of your activity or group or you can give them to Jo Ann Simonelli, who works in the treasurer’s office.  All she needs to know is what volunteer activity you plan to support.  Once Mrs. Simonelli has reviewed your paperwork, she will notify the moderator that you have been put on the volunteer list.

Mandated Reporter Training

  1. Go to http://pdesas.org.
  2. Choose from the two links at the upper right-hand corner of the page: REGISTER or LOGIN. Choose REGISTER if you need to set up a new account; select LOGIN if you already have one. If you have an account and forgot the password, click here to reset it.
  3. Once you have registered and logged in, look for your name and My SAS Tools in the upper right-hand (yellow) corner of the page.
  4. Click on My SAS Tools, then select PD Center, then Course\Catalog Registration.
  5. Click on the tab along the top that says Non-Facilitated, then locate the following item under Act 126 called Professional Ethics and the Educator Discipline Act – Staff Member Track. It’s the third item listed under Act 126. Be sure you have selected the STAFF MEMBER TRACK.
  6. Click on the OPTIONS button to the right of the item, then choose REGISTER.
  7. Check that your course registration information is correct, then click on REGISTER.
  8. Once you have completed the course, be sure to print your certificate document and provide this documentation to Jo Ann Simonelli.
  9. If you have any difficulty accessing the course, please contact Jo Ann Simonelli at jsimonelli@mpslakers.com or Kristin Lynch at klynch@mpslakers.com.
Sincerely,

Deborah Laughlin
Principal, MPS