Minors Policy / Background Checks

Since mid-2017, MIT has outlined a minors policy, which provides requirements for all programs at MIT that minors participate in, with the intent of improving safety and protection of minors.

For Spark 2019, the concrete requirements are as follows:

  1. Every class must have at least 2 adults present. All MIT students count as adults regardless of age.
    • As a special exception, walk-in activities are exempt from this requirement (since all walk-ins will occur in one classroom.)
  2. Spark teachers that are not MIT students, staff, or faculty must be background-checked.

These requirements are important — teachers who do not satisfy this requirement may not be allowed to teach for future ESP programs.

Two adults per room

Because of the first requirement, we recommend that you find a coteacher for your Spark class if possible. (They do not necessarily need to actively teach the class with you, but they must physically be in the room.) Alternatively, if you are willing to observe a different teacher’s Spark class at a different time during your Spark availability and have another teacher observe in your class, we can attempt to match you up with another teacher. However, we cannot guarantee we will be able to match all sections up.

If you are a teacher, after you register a class, please fill out this form by Thursday, February 15, once for each class, to inform us how you plan to satisfy this requirement of the minors policy for your class.

Background checks

If you are teaching for Spark but you are not an MIT student, staff member, or faculty member, you will need to receive a background check from MIT by Spark. There are several ways to satisfy a background check:

  1. If you have been background checked by MIT in the past year, you already have a prior background check and are good to go!
  2. If you are on MIT campus or able to visit it, you can get an in-person background check.
  3. If you are not able to visit MIT campus to get a background check, you must get a remote background check.

Prior background checks

If you have been background checked by MIT in the past year, you are good to go! In particular, this is true if you were background checked for Summer HSSP or Splash in 2017. (Rarely, you may be required to do a background check on a case by case basis. We will let you know if this is necessary.)

(We were previously informed that non-MIT-students must obtain a new background check for each ESP program, but the policy has been updated since then.)

In-person background checks

If you don't have a valid background check from MIT, but are on or can visit MIT campus, you should get a background-check from the MIT background check office. You should print out and bring this form. Also, you will need to bring either a passport or driver's license, and you will need to know your address history for the last 7 years. Background checks can take up to 3 weeks to go through, so in order to teach for Spark, you must initiate this process by Friday, February 23. There are several options for obtaining a background check in person:

  1. At a Spark teacher orientation. Spark is planning to offer background checks at selected evening teacher orientations in February/March. However, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to have the background check service available at all orientations. Please plan accordingly.
  2. Walk-in service. To obtain a background check via walk-in service, visit the Atlas Service Center on MIT campus (E17-106, on the first floor of Building E17) during the walk-in hours listed on MIT's background check page. You should expect the process to take about 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. By appointment. Finally, if you are not available during either Spark orientation with background checks or during walk-in hours, you may request an appointment for a different time with Andrea Finnin, andreaf@mit.edu. Please only use this option if it is completely necessary, as Andrea’s availability is limited.

This background check is valid for one year for any MIT program involving minors. After that period, you will need to do another background check for future programs. (We were previously informed that non-MIT-students must obtain a new background check for each ESP program, but the policy has been updated since then.)

Remote background checks

If you are unable to make it to MIT campus to perform a background check before Spark, there is a process for remote background checks available. To start this process, contact Andrea Finnin at andreaf@mit.edu with your full legal name and preferred email address. Afterwards, you'll be contacted by MIT to continue.

This background check is valid for one year for any MIT program involving minors. After that period, you will need to do another background check for future programs. (We were previously informed that non-MIT-students must obtain a new background check for each ESP program, but the policy has been updated since then.)



Last modified on Jan. 01, 2019 at 12:49 a.m.