Frequently Asked Questions

What is a partner, as defined by your office?

Partners ARE:

  • Fully funded
  • Formal entities (non-profit organizations, private corporations, government agencies, etc.)
  • Providing high-quality and ready-to-implement programs/services to SDP school communities on a recurring basis
  • At no cost to the School District of Philadelphia or its schools

Partners are NOT:

  • Individual volunteers (please visit
  • Organizations who charge SDP or schools for their programs/services
  • Organizations seeking funding for their programs/services
  • Researchers (without programs/services)

How can I find out more information about the School Partner Agreement (SPA)?

Please visit our webpage about the School Partner Agreement (SPA) and/or review SPA Frequently Asked Questions page here.

My program does not currently have funding, and/or my program charges either students, schools, or the School District for services. Where can I look for resources?

You can visit the Office of Grants Development website for grant resources.

How can I submit upcoming events or opportunities to share on OSP’s monthly newsletter or the Teacher Information Board (TIB)/Principals' Resource Newsletter?

If you would like to submit an item for the OSP newsletter, please complete our OSP Newsletter Item Submission Form. Please note that we only publish FREE opportunities in our newsletter, and we do NOT advertise field trips.

Please be aware that our Newsletter is sent out at the beginning of every month. We will only contact you if your program seems like an inappropriate fit for the newsletter. Otherwise your item should show up in next month’s newsletter.

You can also use our form to submit items for the Teacher Information Board (TIB) or Principals’ Resource Newsletter. We are happy to forward your items to those boards for review/posting.

How can I connect with schools to begin or expand a program?

Please fill out our Partner Expansion/New Partner form. After you have completed this form, we will review your information and contact you with the appropriate next steps!

How can I learn about the City of Philadelphia’s Community Schools Initiative?

The Mayor’s Office of Education launched the first cohort of Community Schools during the 2016-2017 school year.

Read more about each Community School, the overall initiative and receive updates from the Mayor’s Office of Education:  Community Schools.

How can I request a Letter of Support for a Grant Application?

Visit the Grants Development website and follow their instructions. Please note that the committee meets biweekly, so please allow a few weeks to receive your letter. Email any questions and completed forms to

When will my request for a Letter of Support be reviewed?

Requests for Letters of Support are reviewed at biweekly meetings, which occur on Tuesdays. All dates are listed on the Grants Development website.  Please submit your request no later than the Friday before a meeting in order for your request to be reviewed.

What if my organization is applying for the Educational Improvement Tax Credit program (EITC)?

Pennsylvania DCED Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program (EITC) is a state program that provides tax credits to eligible businesses contributing to a Scholarship Organization, an Educational Improvement Organization, and/or a Pre-Kindergarten Scholarship Organization.

There is a unique form to request an EITC letter of support, which can be found here.

Note: the District is not responsible for and cannot advise you on DCED EITC reports and other requirements. Please remember to review the PA DCED EITC guidelines.

How can I request data?

Requests for data must be reviewed and approved by the District’s Office of Research and Evaluation. Complete the appropriate data request form for the Office of Research and Evaluation. You can also visit the District’s Open Data Initiative page, which contains a number of useful datasets.

What clearances do my employees and/or volunteers need in order to work with students?

Please consult the Partner Onboarding Guide for detailed guidance regarding the clearance policy.

Are volunteers who have lived in Pennsylvania for ten years or longer required to obtain an FBI Fingerprint Clearance?

All individuals who are paid for their work in schools (e.g. staff of a nonprofit who are paid to provide programming to students) are required to obtain an FBI criminal history record check.

Only individuals:

  1. Not paid by your organization for their work in schools (i.e. volunteers) and
  2. Who have lived in Pennsylvania for the past ten years or longer, may sign a request to waive the FBI criminal history record check and submit this waiver along with the other clearance documentation instead of obtaining the FBI background clearance.  All other individuals must submit obtain an FBI background clearance by following the guidance in the Onboarding Guide.

How can I become an approved field trip site?

The Office of Strategic Partnerships does not review or approve requests to become approved field trip locations. To have a site added to the monthly-updated list of approved field trip locations for the School District of Philadelphia, please send a valid certificate of insurance and additional insured endorsement to Ms. Cheryl Rollins in the Office of Risk Management. Once you have the required insurances you can email it directly to Cheryl Rollins at

You can view the current list of District-approved field trip locations (as of 2/1/2020) and approved bus vendors.

Will my school or organization need additional approval/insurances to take students on field trips at city, state and local facilities (e.g. a branch of the library)?

Trips to government-run (city, state or federal) institutions (i.e. public libraries) do not require insurance, and do not need to be added to the list of District-approved field trip locations.

What are the policies for volunteers?

Individual volunteers (e.g. parents or community members) should visit the Volunteer page of the Office of Family and Community Engagement website for information regarding the volunteer policy and process.

Staff members/volunteers of partner programs should consult the Partner Onboarding Guide for information regarding clearances and other required documentation.

How can I donate to schools?

If you would like to donate monetarily, please visit the Fund for the School District of Philadelphia’s Donate Now page.

If you have materials you would like to donate to schools, please reach out to Students Helping Students with specific information about your donation. Contact Bill Zandi at

If your question wasn’t answered here, please feel free to contact us at: