Portland Public Schools (PPS) will be requiring all SMART Reading volunteers to undergo the district background check in addition to SMART Reading’s background check. This requirement is effective immediately, and we’re working quickly to get this implemented.

Link to Portland Public Schools online background check

Link to PPS Student Privacy Statement and Volunteer Confidentiality Agreement

Link to PPS Volunteer Code of Conduct

Link to paper form

PPS Background Check Q&A:

Q: Why is PPS requiring this additional background check? And why now?

A: Previously, SMART Reading had an agreement with PPS in which our background check application was allowable for SMART Reading volunteers to enter PPS schools. The district has recently examined this agreement and decided that relying on our background check alone wasn’t sufficient to meet their liability requirements. We are seeing similar trends across the state where districts are requiring volunteers to undergo their own background check in addition to ours, and we are looking at this issue overall in the long-term to determine how we can best accommodate our school partners and reduce the burden as much as possible on our volunteers.

Q: How is the PPS background check different from SMART Reading’s? 

A: The difference is less about the background checks themselves, and more about PPS’ internal procedures and liability requirements. SMART Reading’s background check is very comprehensive and this decision on the part of PPS is not related to any concerns or issues with SMART Reading volunteers.

Q: How can I complete the district background check?

A: Use the links above to complete the district’s background check. As part of your application, you will need to indicate that you’ve read the two documents above: the PPS Student Privacy Statement and Volunteer Confidentiality Agreement, and the PPS Volunteer Code of Conduct.

Q: When do I need to complete the background check if I’m a SMART Reading volunteer in a PPS school?

A: Right away, please. You will need to have a cleared background check in time for your next reading session (week of October 23). Please note that the background check will take 2-3 business days to process, so you’ll want to complete it as soon as possible.

Q: Who is required to do this background check?

A: All SMART Reading volunteers in the PPS district. The process is for all volunteers, juvenile or adult.

Q: The background check application asks for a driver’s license or Oregon ID number. What if I don’t have one?

A: PPS knows that not everyone has ID so the system is set up to allow people without ID to apply by simply leaving those fields blank. Immigration status is not used in determining a person’s eligibility for volunteering.

More questions? Feel free to contact us at metro@getsmartoregon.org or 971-634-1628.