Parker Area Homeschool Co-op

Handbook

Table of Contents

Welcome                                         

Mission Statement                                

Enrollment                                           

Communications                                  

Filling a Role at Co-op                         

Inclement Weather                              

Vacation/Holidays                                

Tuition and Fees                                  

Signing in and Out                                

Safety Policy                                        

Leaving the Premises                          

Class Descriptions and Sizes                

Corrective Procedures                        

Confidentiality                                     

Accident Reports                                         

Grievance Procedures                         

Student Code of Conduct                     

Disciplinary Actions                              

Parent Code of Conduct                       

Teacher Responsibilities                      

Assistant Teacher Responsibilities 

Additional Handbook Information        

 

Welcome

Welcome to Parker Area Homeschool Co-Op (PAHCO).

We are a learning co-op in Parker, Colorado, for families that homeschool, cyber educate, unschool, etc. PAHCO is an inclusive, member directed, homeschool support group. We come together once a week to co-teach and learn. We complete lessons from Core Workshops in the morning, and offer Subject Intensives, clubs and elective in the afternoon. Also, through Parker Area Homeschool Coalition (PAHC), we will be offering many exciting get togethers like park days, field trips, craft days, science experiments and moms night out.

We have many members with different backgrounds that can offer advice if you are new to learning at home. Co-op and park days will take place in the Parker area.

PAHCO is a private group and not sponsored or supported by any specific school or curriculum. As a parent driven organization, we allow our members to tell us how they would like to apply their talents to the mission of the co-op, and which curriculum to use (if teaching).

Teachers from various schools and programs, speakers, and special guests, attend PAHCO from time to time. Special visitors are permitted upon member invitation.

 

Mission Statement

The purpose of this co-op is to encourage, support and empower families who learn at home; inclusively and respectfully of all teaching methods and philosophies.

Enrollment

At the beginning of each school year a registration packet must be completed and the annual enrollment paid. In addition, our landlord requires a Release of Liability Form signed and due upon registration.

A teacher orientation will be held before the start of each Co-op school year.

Co-op Communications

We have established an email-based communication system for our group. You will receive emails from the Leadership Committee and your student’s workshop teachers. Information regarding weather delays, student progress, special events and other information will be delivered through this system. Please remember to check your email for vital information.


Filling a Role at Co-op

Each parent of an enrolled child is required to fill a position, either as a workshop teacher, enrichment leader or an assistant. PAHCO and its members are dependent on everyone's participation, to make sure the programming and offering is successful and affordable. Following is a brief description of positions available with PAHCO.

Greeters at Welcome Station

This person is responsible for welcoming new members and visitors. The greeters also make sure that everyone is following necessary sign-in and sign-out procedures. 

Core Workshop Teacher

This person is responsible for teaching an assigned series of lessons in a workshop format. This is a serious commitment, as each grade level’s Core Teaching group will be responsible for keeping the class running. Children count on you and need continuity in their classes.  (In case of vacation or sickness, a substitute teacher must be in place to keep the class on schedule.) See CORE WORKSHOP TEACHER RESPONSIBILITIES section for more information.

Core Workshop Teacher’s Assistant

This person assists the teacher in overseeing the class.  Duties are found under CORE WORKSHOP TEACHER’S ASSISTANT RESPONSIBILITIES.

Subject Intensive Tutor

This important role is filled by either parent members or teachers invited by members. It is small group, or individual, tutoring in math and writing. The goal is to affirm the learning which is already taking place in the home by review and practice with another adult. Subject Intensives, as with any of the other courses, are not intended to replace other education, but to support it.

Lunch Monitors

This person is responsible for overseeing lunch. They will be responsible for the following:  see that the children clean up after lunch, maintain a respectable noise level, and ensure the children remain in the appropriate areas and do not roam the hallways.

Nursery Workers

These people are responsible for providing a caring environment for our youngest members.

Field Trip Coordinator—this person plans and coordinates field trips throughout the year for the entire group. Teachers and individual parents may also plan field trips, but should work with the Field Trip Coordinator to avoid conflicts. 

Electives Teachers—the electives offered each year are dependent on the involvement of parents. All that is required is a parent who is willing and able to teach a class and students who are interested in taking the class. Contact the leadership if you are interested in teaching an elective.

PAHCO Board of Directors

Officers

Board President

The Board President shall convene regularly scheduled Board meetings and shall preside, or arrange, for other Directors to preside at each meeting in the following order: Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer. The Board appoints Committee Chairs.

Vice Board President

The Vice President will chair committees on special subjects as designated by the Board. In addition, the Vice Chair will facilitate meetings in the absence of the Board President.

Secretary

The secretary shall be responsible for keeping records of the Board's actions, including overseeing the taking of minutes at all board meetings, communicating meetings with the Board, distributing copies of agendas and minutes, and assuring the organizations records are maintained. The secretary also serves as the main communicator with the co-op's families and emails announcements, special events, weather delays, maintains website information, etc.

Treasurer

The treasurer shall make a report at each board meeting. The treasurer shall prepare the annual budget, develop fundraising plans, and make financial information available to the Board members and the public. This individual is responsible for keeping track of payments and deposits received, and work closely with Co-op Leadership to insure payment of rent, supplies, events, etc. We have a no-refund policy of tuition and fees.  The treasurer may have finance and/or fundraising committee to assist.

Section I: The business of the organization shall be managed by a Board of Directors comprised of at least 3, and no more than 5 Board members. The Board of Directors of Parker Area Homeschool Co-Op (PAHCO) is responsible for maintaining the overall policy and direction of the organization. The Board shall lead the organization according to the mission; The Board shall delegate responsibility of day-to-day operations to the Executive Director and appropriate committees. Board members shall receive no compensation for their services to the co-op or board (exception is reimbursement of expenses). 

Section 2: The board shall meet at minimum twice per year at an agreed upon time and location. Board members shall not miss more than one meeting per year. Parents and members are welcome to attend the board meetings.

Section 3: PAHCO Board members are sought who are committed to the quality education of their children, are firm in their belief that parents are the sole decision makers for education decisions of their children, respect diverse teaching approaches, and can make policy decisions for an environment that encompass a wide age spread in student population, and participating member families.

Section 4: All board members shall serve for two years and can be eligible for re-election two consecutive times.

Section 5: Any board member may be removed from office without assigning any cause by the majority vote of the Board at any meeting of the Board.

Section 6: Any Board member may resign at any time by giving notice to the organization.

Section 7: In the event of Board vacancy, the Directors shall fill the vacancy.

Section 8: A quorum of at least 3 board members, or majority of board composition, must be present prior to business transaction or motions can be passed.

Inclement Weather 

The Leadership will determine if Co-op will be closed or delayed due to inclement weather. The decision will be made by 7:00 a.m. and you will be notified by email communications. If there is a delay Co-op start time will be 10:00 and the schedule will be adjusted accordingly.

Vacations/Holidays 

A calendar of all scheduled Co-op vacations and holidays will be given out at the beginning of the year.

Registration Fees and Tuition

Each family is required to pay a $20.00 semester registration fee for each child (including pre-school students and excluding nursery students) attending the PAHCO. In addition these is a $1.50 cost per week, to be collected per semester. The same tuition applies to children in the nursery. These tuition fees cover most of the co-op's expenses, such as facility costs and cleaning supplies. We have a no-refund policy. Weekly tuition is $1.50 per week per child, including children in the nursery.

Parents of nursery children may be asked to bring supplies such as wipes, Lysol spray and other supplies as determined. Parents of K-12 students will occasionally be asked to bring minimal supplies for classroom projects.

Some clubs and special workshops may have an additional supply fee or required materials purchasing (ex. Guitar lessons require a guitar). This will be clearly marked on the enrollment form, if applicable.

The weekly tuition is due at the beginning of each semester and must be given to the Treasurer. A receipt will be given at that time. 

Signing In and Out

Children should NEVER be dropped off at the door. A parent/guardian must always accompany the child(ren) into the building and sign him/her in at the welcome desk. This will be the location where parents obtain important information and can take care of necessary business issues. The students will participate in the “Pledge of Allegiance” and announcements. Workshop Teachers will then escort their classes to the appropriate classroom.

At the end of the day, parents will meet up with their children to break for lunch, attend enrichments or clubs, or leave for the day. Parents will sign out on the Sign-in/Sign-out sheet. 

Safety Policy

For the safety of our children and teachers we will have adequate staff for each class. Nursery and Preschool will have a ratio of one caregiver to 5 children at all times.  For Kindergarten through 5th grade there should ideally be one Teacher and one Assistant Teacher in each classroom. If a child needs to leave the room for any reason (bathroom, drink, or to get supplies) the Teaching Assistant or a parent should accompany them. If there is a discipline issue, either the parent will be asked to come get the child or they will be delivered to their parents.

At the end of the day parents should pick up their children from their classrooms.

Leaving the Premises

It is STONGLY recommended that you remain on the premises while your

children are in class. Under SHORT-TERM circumstances, arrangements

may be made with another consenting parent to accept responsibility for

your child(ren). You must sign over responsibility to the designated adult

on the in-and-out form. You must leave your contact information as well

as a back-up emergency phone number.

Due to liability issues, neither Parker Area Homeschool Co-op Leadership nor its landlord will be responsible for the safety of your child(ren). Should you disregard this policy, you may also be subject to corrective procedures by PAHCO Board of Directors. See Corrective Procedures for how this will be handled.  Furthermore, our landlord requests to have open communication with the PAHCO should it be apparent to the landlord that a child needs correction.

Lunch

All students and parents who wish to stay will bring lunch and enjoy their mid-day meal together either in the gym or outside, weather permitting, picnic-style. Afternoon electives will begin after lunch, bathroom breaks and clean-up.

PAHCO would prefer a nut-free environment.


CLASS DESCRIPTIONS AND SIZES

Class Descriptions

We realize that parents may choose to combine multiple children in different grade levels in certain subjects, but it is necessary that all children be placed in classes where they will be able to perform comfortably. Keep in mind that ability levels need to be taken into consideration when bringing a student to Co-op.

Nursery is designed for infants and toddlers of co-op teachers who are active volunteers. 

All parents with children in the nursery are expected to work at least one hour to help cover the nursery hours. More hours may be requested if there is a need. 

Pre-school (if applicable) is designed for children 3 years of age and up and potty trained.  Children must be able to follow simple directions, and sit for short periods of time. Preschool will include times of structured activities (art projects, story time) alternated with supervised free play.

K-8th Grade

Students in grades K-8 will be divided into grade levels for Core Workshops. In the case of students who are taking classes in different grade levels, they will join the Core Workshops in which they are enrolled. 

High School (if applicable)

High School aged students will be in the Core Workshops as enrolled.

Subject Intensives

Students meet in small groups, or individually, based on enrollment for subject review or refreshment in math and writing. Ability based placement.

Electives – After lunch, electives will be offered, and students will be placed in elective classes based on ability rather than grade levels. Possible elective courses may include Music, Foreign Languages, Creative Writing, and Chess. If a group of parents agrees to hire a professional to teach an elective course, such as Music, those parents can agree to pay additional fees to the instructor, and only parents who wish to pay the extra expense will be allowed to join those classes.

Class Size

PAHCO has the right to limit class size in order to provide an environment most effective for learning. Our maximum class size should be no more than 15 students per class, and our minimum class size will be 3 students. Should you be interested in a class that has been closed, you may be put on a waiting list. If any students drop from that class, you will be contacted and offered the option to join the class at that time.

 Corrective Procedures

It shall be the duty of the Leadership to implement proper procedures for the smooth operation of the Co-op. This should include reasonable rules and procedures for all families. In the event that anyone is in need of correction, the Board of Directors shall be responsible for making such correction.  Depending upon the circumstances:

1st Warning:  At least two members of the Leadership will privately address the parties involved, offering assistance and correction. (If a child is involved, a parent or guardian will always be a part of these formal corrective procedures.)

2nd Warning: A written corrective action will be officially presented to the parties involved.

3rd Warning: A third warning will result in dismissal from the Parker Area Homeschool Co-Op (PAHCO)

Confidentiality

Every individual has the right to complete confidentiality. We request that no grievance EVER be handled in front of students. We also request that everyone involved keep the matter confidential.  There should be no outside involvement without the knowledge of all parties involved. This includes talking to other parents/teachers. Should this happen, it is grounds for corrective procedures.

Accident Reports

If an accident occurs, involved parties will fill out an Accident Report, found in the Sign In book.  One copy will be kept on file at the Welcome Desk in the Sign In book and another copy will be given to the parent.

Grievance Procedures

For effective problem solving, it is necessary to seek help from the proper chain of command. Should anyone experience disagreement within the Co-op he/she must adhere to the following steps for resolving the conflict. During this process it is absolutely necessary that complete confidentiality be upheld.  Refusal to adhere to this policy may result in dismissal from the Co-op.

· Go to the person with whom you have a disagreement.

· If not resolved, parties involved need to meet with a member of the Board of Directors.

· If the issue cannot be resolved, it must be presented to the entire Board of Directors.

 The final decision will be at the discretion of the Leadership.

 STUDENT CODE OF CONDUCT & DISCIPLINARY ACTIONS

 It is the responsibility of the parent to make sure all students understand the rules that are in place. Please review the Student Code of Conduct with your child. If students do not comply with the Student Code of Conduct, disciplinary actions may need to be instituted.

 Expectations that all children are expected to follow:

 · Respect individuals in authority at all times. This includes but is not limited to, teachers, teacher’s aides, hall monitors, and Co-op leadership.

· Respect fellow students. Students must respect one another’s personal space.  There will also be no gossiping, yelling, or teasing one another, even in fun. They will speak to and about everyone in a kind and encouraging way.

· Respect the building and church property at all times. If a student seriously damages church property, parents may be financially responsible for the damage and more serious disciplinary actions may be taken.

· Students are expected to participate in class.  They should answer questions, and share related, short, personal ideas or experiences when called on.

 Discipline for the above infractions will be handled as follows:

 Step 1:  Student will be gently encouraged to better behavior and reminded of the expectations by the Teacher or Assistant Teacher.

Step 2:  Continued deliberate disregard for authority will result in either the removal of the student from the class or the student’s parent joining the student for the remainder of the class. If the student is removed from the class he/she will be delivered to the parent.

Step 3:  After the child has been removed from classes three times in one day, the student will not be permitted to return to class for the remainder of the day. If this happens twice the parent will be required to be in attendance with their child at all times.

More serious disciplinary infractions and their consequences are as follows:

 · Any abusive or foul language.

· Threats and/or intimidation toward teachers, parents, or fellow students.

· Willful physical harm to any person or property.

· Theft.

This behavior will not be tolerated in any way and will result in immediate dismissal for the day. Depending on the seriousness of the offense, the student may be dismissed from the program and may face charges with appropriate civil authorities.

 Because we desire to provide a safe and nurturing environment for all students, there is a zero tolerance policy regarding the following behaviors, meaning that a single infraction will result in the immediate and permanent dismissal of the student from the Co-op:

 Possession of weapons, firearms, alcohol, or any controlled substance.

The student will be dismissed from the program immediately and charges will be filed with the appropriate civil authorities.

 PARENT CODE OF CONDUCT

Following are the responsibilities of Parents involved in PAHCO:

Preparation for Class

· Assist your child in being successful in class by being involved in the lessons they are working on. It is important to know what your child is learning.

· Check for papers/emails regarding supplies students need each week. It is

suggested that you keep a bag or pack ready with basic student supplies. 

At Co-op

·  Accompany your child into the building every day–no drop-offs.

·  Pay tuition and class fees promptly.

·  Make sure students go to the bathroom and get a drink before school begins.

·  Bring art projects and other finished work home each week. Check lost and found box at the Welcome Desk for any missing belongings.

· Communicate any special needs that your child may have to teachers, for example:

o ADD/ADHD students may need to stand.

o Children with bladder issues need to go to the bathroom often.

o Children need to go to parents for medication.

Follow-Up

· Discuss problems or concerns with teachers after class and not in front of other students—see GRIEVENCE AND DISCIPLINARY POLICIES.

· See that students follow through with homework and at-home projects.

· Give children online assessments, after reviewing lesson if necessary.

General Concerns

· Due to space constraints, and so that the authority of your child’s teacher is not compromised in class, please refrain from sitting in your child(ren)’s classes unless you are a designated helper. You may request special permission from a teacher under special circumstances.  Your presence, though not purposeful, may be disruptive to your child and other students.

· Be considerate of others and DO NOT bring sick children to Co-op. Conditions

include but are not limited to: fevers, extreme runny noses, diarrhea, vomiting

within 24 hours, etc. These are contagious conditions and you should school your child at home.

· Be prepared for your Co-op commitment. Please report to your area of

responsibility a few minutes early. You should remain in your area for the

designated amount of time even if it appears that you aren’t needed.

· Be a few minutes early to Co-op so you have adequate time to get your child(ren) signed in to Co-op. Coming in late on a consistent basis is extremely disruptive to the teacher and other students in the class.

· Read and be familiar with this handbook.

Examples of Unacceptable Parent Behavior

· Disrupting classes for reason other than emergencies, including but not limited to: talking and socializing with teacher and students during class time. If you need to talk to your child, please wait until after class.

· Reprimanding or disciplining children not directly under your authority (recognize special needs and differing parenting styles). Please bring any concerns up with the parent or appropriate authority unless there is an imminent safety risk.

· Shaming children publicly­–this includes your own. If you find it necessary to

discipline, please follow discipline policy. Should you need to discipline your own child, please do so in private.

· Grabbing or pulling students; yelling or shaming students publicly.

· Talking over the class or correcting the teacher during class. Please speak to the teacher afterwards in private if you have an issue.

· Doing work for students.

· Engaging in arguments with students.

· Treating students unfairly or with bias.

 TEACHER RESPONSIBILITIES

Following are the responsibilities and expectations of Teachers at PAHCO:

Teacher Preparation

· Be prepared to teach the lesson. Please read through the material before class time and make sure that you cover the objectives of the lesson. Copy of printed lessons should be used if no computer will be available for a given day.

· Use creative teaching methods where possible. Prepare projects that are designed to further learning for auditory, visual, and kinesthetic learners.

· Be on time. This means you should be at least 5 minutes early to set up your class.

· Start and end promptly. Plan time for clean up. Please be considerate of other teachers and their class times.

 Teacher Communication

Please use email to communicate with parents and other teachers. Each teacher is expected to communicate to parents:

· Supplies that are needed weekly.

· Homework, projects or assignments to be completed at home.

· Lessons needing review if children cannot grasp concepts covered in class; lessons that have been completed. This should be done weekly, via e-mail.

· Behavior issues or concerns with students. Remember to preserve confidentiality and respect feelings.

· Each teacher is required to communicate with the supply staff for items needed for your class at least 5 days prior to the needed item(s).

· Meet with your Assistant Teacher to communicate your expectations.

 Teacher Understanding

· Be aware of and sensitive to special need students in your class.

· Remember, Co-op may be the first educational group experience these students have experienced.

· Be generous with expectations.

 ASSISTANT TEACHER RESPONSIBILITIES

As an Assistant Teacher your main responsibility is creating an environment in which the teacher can effectively teach. This includes but is not limited to:

· Keeping an eye on students.

· Noting combinations of students that are disruptive and encouraging other seating arrangements. You can achieve this by gently tapping children on shoulders to remind them to settle down or whispering to remind disruptive children to be quiet.

· Helping students come in quietly and sit down while teacher is setting up.

· Passing out supplies and worksheets.

· Assisting students in getting what they need from their bags.

· Directing students to find appropriate worksheets, etc.

· Taking students for emergency bathroom breaks.

· Helping with set-up and tear down during class time as needed (i.e. art might need water cups for painting.)

· Taking unruly students who have not responded to gentle encouragement out of class upon direction of the teacher, or locating parents to join unruly students in class.

· Reading lesson ahead of class in case teacher is unexpectedly absent.

· Contributing to the lessons as agreed upon with the Teacher.

 

Additional Handbook Information

The Leadership Committee of Parker Area Homeschool Co-op reserves the right to append, delete, or modify any section of this handbook as needed. If any changes are instituted, the Board will notify all members and landlord of the change as soon as possible.