Fill Out Your PTO Volunteer Form Online

Welcome back to school O’Hara families!

Parents and guardians are needed to help with a variety of activities in and out of the classroom throughout the year.  Please fill out the PTO Volunteer Form to express interest in upcoming volunteer opportunities or to serve as a Homeroom Representative.  You only need to submit one form per family (we hope you appreciate the reduction in paperwork as much as we do!), and it will take less than a minute to complete.

Also new this year, we are asking that you opt in to become a PTO member (see Section 2 of the online form).  PTO membership is open to any person who is a parent or a guardian of a child attending O’Hara Elementary School or any member of the O’Hara Elementary faculty, staff, or administration. There is no fee to join. Membership is required to vote on PTO business.  If there is a second member of your household who would like to be a PTO member and/or volunteer, we ask that each of you complete the online form separately.

Please submit the volunteer form by Friday, September 1st.

O'Hara Elementary PTO

Thank you for your willingness to provide support in your child’s classroom and at the school! We look forward to working with you this year.

p.s. Don’t forget that clearances are required for almost all volunteer opportunities.

PTO Meeting Recap

2016-2017 Officers (from left to right): Faith Moser (Vice President), Dana Rofey (Co-President), Tonja Condron (Treasurer), Sarah Shaffer (Secretary), Carrie Work (Co-President).

On behalf of the 2016-2017 Officers, thank you to everyone who came out to the first PTO meeting of the school year!  If you missed Friday’s meeting,   here’s what you need to know:


Dr. McNamara, interim principal, provided clarification on recent administrative changes.  As previously announced, Kristi Batis has been hired as Principal. Mrs. Batis is currently on maternity leave and will be begin October 31st.  A Vice Principal, Stephen Edwards, has also been hired. His start date is still TBD and will be based on his release date from South Fayette SD.

While Dr. McNamara and Mr. Winkler fulfill their roles as interim principals at O’Hara, they are available to address concerns from parents, and they are implementing changes that were planned at the end of the 2015-2016 school year.

One of these changes was the switch to an 8:40 a.m. official drop off time, a topic parents requested be addressed at the September 16th PTO meeting. Dr. McNamara shared that the reason behind the change has to do with contractual issues. Teachers will now have a full 40 minutes before students arrive for preparation and planning.  Dr. McNamara stressed that all changes are being made with the best interest of both students and teachers in mind and are consistent with other schools in our district.

Interim Principals, Mr. Winkler and Dr. McNamara, came out of retirement to help O'Hara Elementary. Both have ties to the school district and have dedicated their lives to public education.
Interim Principals, Mr. Winkler and Dr. McNamara, came out of retirement to help O’Hara Elementary. Both have ties to the school district and have dedicated their lives to public education.

Several parents also expressed concerns over late and/or inconsistent bus drop off times.  Dr. McNamara took down several bus numbers and will be speaking with the bus transportation company to address these concerns.

 Volunteer Opportunities

Committees are seeking volunteers for several projects. Details for current opportunities are included below. All of these opportunities require clearances be on file with the school.

  • Traveling Art Gallery (TAG).  As a Traveling Art Gallery volunteer, you will make four separate 20-minute presentations in four different classrooms on one great painting. You will schedule with a teacher assigned to you for the months of November, January, March and May. Volunteers are needed for all grades and NO art background is needed. Email Annie Avondolio with questions or to sign up.
  • Scholastic Book Fair  (October 3 – 7).  Volunteers are needed to help escort students to the book fair and assist with purchases, as well as to serve as cashiers. You can select you child’s scheduled time at the book fair. Email Maggie Mulhern for more information.
  • Yearbook (year round). A great opportunity for anyone with a decent camera (sorry, your iphone doesn’t count!) to help document the school year for the yearbook.  Email Lisa Correnti to learn more.
  • Library Helpers (year round).  Whether you are roughing it in the stacks, cutting out paper flowers, organizing books for research projects, putting up bulletin boards, or making copies, O’Hara Library Staff can use your help year round.  Visit and search using the email address “” to find available volunteer spots by month.
  • 5th Grade Day.  In beginning planning stages – email Heather Strittmatter to help out!

Great News

  • The school greenhouse is being revitalized! Once repaired and fully functioning, it will be used for STEM activities in all grades.  We’ll be sharing more about this exciting project throughout the year.
  • The Back to School Social raised over $2,100!  Thank you to everyone who helped make the event a success.
  • Apples to Students raised over $3,600 for O’Hara last year with 933 cards registered to our school.  All you have to do to contribute to this no-cost fundraiser is register your Giant Eagle card and go about your grocery shopping as usual.  Our school code is 0790.

Want more information?

Read the full meeting minutes here.  Questions and feedback are always welcome and appreciated – Comment below or contact the PTO Officers.

Want to Volunteer? Get Cleared Now!

This post has been updated to reflect January 2019 updates to the District’s volunteer clearance process. 

Parents and guardians are needed to help with a variety of activities in and out of the classroom throughout the year.  You’ll notice that school clearances are required for just about all of the volunteer roles.

Want to help with your child’s Halloween class party?  You need your clearances.  Want to chaperone your child’s field trip? Pick up your volunteer badge and get on the bus!  Want to help with the yearbook? You guessed it: clearances required.

It can take around 2-3 weeks (longer if you go the snail mail route!) to get all of the records back and another 60 days to be cleared through the Raptor system, so you are highly encouraged to get your clearances as soon as possible (do it now!) so that you can take advantage of volunteer opportunities throughout the year.

PTO volunteer

The good news is, once clearances are obtained and filed with the school they are valid for 5 years.  Detailed instructions are included in the Volunteer Manual, but here’s what you need to do:

  1.  Register online to obtain you FBI fingerprint background check. Enter service code 1KG6Y3 (this public-school code is specific for a volunteer through the Department of Education).  The cost is $22.60.
  2. Get fingerprinted!  Click here for a list of locations.
  3. Submit your application for the PA Criminal History Clearance online.  There is no cost for volunteers.
  4. Submit your application for PA Child Abuse Clearance online. Again, this is free of charge for volunteers.
  5. Once you have received all of the clearance reports back, submit through the District’s Raptor System.

The district will verify your clearances. This process will take 30-60 days to complete.A notification will be sent to you via email when you are approved to volunteer.

Please note:

  • When submitting clearances through Raptor, you must have all three clearances ready for upload. All three are required for a successful submission.
  • Once submitted, clearances will continue to be verified by administration.
  • The submitted clearances must be the correct required clearances (please see “Submission of Clearances”). If a submitted clearance is one that is not accepted, it will result in a delay to volunteer.
  • Once approved, volunteers will receive an email via Raptor. Volunteers will also receive an email from Raptor when their clearances are about to expire. The emails will automatically generate 90 days and 30 days prior to expiring.
  • FCASD does not provide copies of clearances. Remember to keep your own!
  • The most significant change will be the new timeline for volunteer approval. Clearances will be verified at the beginning of every month AND only once a month. Provided that all information submitted is correct, prospective volunteers can anticipate a 30-60 day waiting period before being approved. See chart below.

volunteer clearance schedule