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Background Check Policy and Instructions

School Year 2022-2023

Prenda requires Guides and any adult over the age of eighteen (18) who lives in the microschool facility, volunteers with the microschool, or may otherwise have direct contact with students to complete a Prenda-provided background check with Prenda’s third-party background check partner, free of charge, prior to having any contact with Prenda students. Details on who is subject to a background check are expanded below. 

Guide background check clearance is required prior to onboarding. Prenda will re-run all background checks on an annual basis for returning Guides and those adults subject to a background check affiliated with the microschool. Returning Guides must resubmit a comprehensive list of all background checks required for the microschool on an annual basis and ad-hoc throughout the school year as volunteers or cohabitants change. 

Prenda’s background check will search for convictions including, but not limited to, fraud, felony and misdemeanor offenses including sexual, violent, or aggressive offenses, serious traffic infractions, any charge including a minor, and inclusion on terrorism watchlists, sexual offender registries, or most-wanted lists.  

Who Is Subject To A Background Check

All Guide candidates must pass a background check prior to becoming an approved Guide and thereafter on an annual basis prior to the start of the academic year. Prenda will initiate annual renewals in May of each year for returning Guides and adults affiliated with each microschool. The following individuals are also subject to background checks:

  1. Microschool location residents: Any individual eighteen (18) years or older who resides at the microschool site for any length of time during the academic year.
  2. Microschool location house guests: Short term guests who may be temporarily visiting the Guide and their family are not subject to this policy, so long as they do not have the opportunity to see or interact with the students during core microschool hours. 
  3. Adults who may exert control: Any individual eighteen (18) years or older who may have the ability to exert control over a microschool student for any length of time during core microschool hours. 
    1. “Control” is defined as having any supervisory or disciplinary oversight or authority over a student other than the individual’s own child, even if such oversight or authority is limited, or for a limited period of time. 
    2. Examples of persons who fall into this category include, but are not limited to, volunteers in the microschool environment who will be interacting with students and parents/guardians who wish to drive microschool students other than their own to microschool activities or field trips.  

There are two types of background checks: (1) premium, which is for Guides, and (2) basic, which is for additional microschool individuals. The basic search runs federal and state data, whereas the premium also runs county-level data. 

Common Parent/Guardian Visits

Parents/guardians are not subject to Prenda’s background check in order to engage in microschool activities related purely to their own child. This means parents/guardians do not require a background check for things like GPS Meetings or Guide conferences, or when visiting the microschool to pick up their child or view their child’s project or performance.  

Parent/guardian observational visits must be approved in advance, however, by the microschool Guide.  The Guide must also monitor all parent/guardian visits to ensure they do not have unsupervised access to other students and must complete a visitor log entry at the time of their visit, per the Visitor Log. 

Background Check Denial 

If a resident of the microschool facility does not pass Prenda's background check, the Guide must either find another location to hold their microschool or participate in Familyschool.  

Notice of Responsibility

The Guide is responsible for notifying Prenda of all possible individuals who meet the background check criteria, including new individuals in the space on an ad-hoc basis throughout the year. The Guide is also responsible to notify Prenda on the next business day if they are arrested for any reason whatsoever during the academic year.

Failure to identify all individuals subject to a Prenda background check, either intentionally or negligently, or failure to disclose a new legal issue may result in Prenda refusing to approve of a - or closing down a previously approved - microschool location.  Prenda also retains the right to seek all appropriate judicial relief and damages that result from a Guide’s failure to identify all individuals subject to the background check. 

Background Check Request Instructions

Guides complete the Background Check Request Form, bit.ly/PrendaBGCRequest,  with the background check candidates' first and last name, email address, and state. 

This must occur prior to the individual spending time with or in the microschool. The person requesting access to the microschool should not be permitted on the premises during core microschool hours until clearance has been confirmed. 

Background Check Request Process and Timeline

Prenda will communicate via email through the background check process. Guides will receive a confirmation of candidacy, updates as the candidate's status changes, and confirmation of clearance at the end of the process. This process is managed daily by Prenda staff.

It takes anywhere from two (2) hours to upwards of two (2) weeks for Prenda’s third-party platform called Checkr to complete the background check. It is therefore advisable that Guides submit the Background Check Request form as soon as possible.

The individual for whom the Guide is requesting a background check will receive an email from Checkr, which will request additional information. The individual is then responsible for completing the request electronically.

Prenda will contact the Guide once it receives the background check update from Checkr.  

Background Check and Criminal Offenses 

The background check may yield results that either: 

(1) render the Guide eligible, 

(2) automatically render a potential Guide or other adult for whom the background check was requested ineligible, or

(3) consider, which may require additional character references upon request. Character reference review will be handled on a case-by-case basis by Prenda’s legal team.  

Automatic Ineligibility

Any individual is ineligible to become a Prenda Guide if the background check establishes that the person has either been convicted of or pled guilty or nolo contendere to, any crime that would make the Guide ineligible for employment as a teacher in a school in the state where the microschool is located.

If any other applicable adult other than the Guide has a similar conviction, they may not interact with the students during microschool hours.  If the individual resides at the microschool facility, the microschool will need to be moved to another location. 

If a Guide applicant potentially faces charges or faces unresolved charges for an offense for which a conviction, guilty plea, or plea of nolo contendere would render the applicant ineligible to work in a public school in that state, the applicant will be considered ineligible to serve as a microschool Guide until such charges are resolved.

Character References

Prenda will require three (3) character references for any potential Guide, or other applicable adults, who has a record of any of the following charges:  

  1. Any arrest if the case is still pending,
  2. An arrest for any charges involving a child at any time,
  3. An arrest for any charges involving violence at any time,
  4. A conviction of a non-violent, non-child-related misdemeanor at any time, or;
  5. Any charge in the last seven (7) years that Prenda, in its own discretion, determines it should investigate further, even if it was dismissed.

Decision for Character References

Whether an individual needing character references passes the background check will be based on an individualized assessment of the following:

  • The facts or circumstances surrounding the offense or conduct,
  • The number of convictions,
  • An older age at the time of a conviction or release from prison,
  • Evidence that the individual performed the same type of work, post-conviction, with the same or a different employer, with no known incidents of criminal conduct,
  • The length and consistency of employment history before and after the offense or conduct,
  • Rehabilitation efforts, such as education and training,
  • Employment or character references and any other information regarding fitness for the position, and
  • Whether the individual is bonded under a federal, state, or local bonding program.

Interview And Final Decision

Prenda will also conduct a follow-up interview with the individual before any final decision is made.  Prenda retains the discretion to deny approval of, or close down, a microschool if any applicable individual has a record of any of the charges noted above.