''Homework is a very hot topic,'' Georgiene Dempsey, the principal of the Springhurst Elementary School in Dobbs Ferry, said in a telephone interview.
''Parents sometimes have the idea that if they see more homework, the more they think the child is learning. Research shows that homework has no value in itself until fifth grade. Its only value is creating a habit for children to sit down and do homework. When is homework too much? All of us are in this craziness together.''
Overall there has been no significant increase in homework, according to a study released by the Brown Center on Educational Policy, a research center on educational issues at the Brookings Institution, a nonprofit research organization in Washington. The study, released as part of the 2003 annual Brown Center Report on American Education, said the exception was homework for children ages 6 to 8. Based on data from the Population Studies Center at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan, the study reported that homework in that group increased to 2 hours and 8 minutes a week, from 52 minutes a week, between 1981 and 1997.
Try telling Westchester parents, especially those in high-powered schools, that homework hasn't increased significantly if at all.
''Students are so much more active outside of school now -- with soccer, sports, dance -- that even if homework might be the same amount, it's more difficult to manage,'' said Anne Wallace, the director for guidance at the middle and high schools in Rye Neck.
But there is a growing revolt, exemplified perhaps by parents in Ardsley who are circulating a petition to take to the school board about the difference between the district's stated homework policies and the amount of homework students actually have to do, asking simply that the current homework policy be enforced.
''Seventh- and eighth-graders are supposed to have an hour and a half a night,'' said Jason Sapan, a father of two children in the district, one of whom is a seventh grader at the Ardsley Middle School. The last straw was when his daughter was still not done with homework at 11 one evening. ''I don't think this helps in their education. It takes the joy out of kids who are exceptional, and overwhelms those who are struggling.''
Margot Steinberg of White Plains, whose children are in the Ardsley district, said: ''The kids get so much homework, they're not getting something out of it. They're doing it to get it done.''
The reasons for an increase in homework are several. ''Because of the standards and testing, kids these days are asked to write, and organize information in a much more complicated way than in the past,'' said Lisa Freund, a former special education teacher who now tutors students after school. ''They're given research projects in fifth and sixth grade, using the Internet, so the assignments are qualitatively different than they used to be. Part of my job is to free the parent from being responsible for what goes on after school.''
Douglas Both, the principal of the John Jay Middle School in the Katonah-Lewisboro school district, said state and federal standards are a factor. ''The higher standards require more information, and we can't cover everything,'' he said. ''What we're having to do is ask kids to do more at home, to have active instructional time at school. We're also dropping subject matter down a grade. We're teaching algebra in sixth grade. In order to prepare for more interactive classes, kids have to do more at home.''
STUDENTS see several stages of homework, said Paul Folkemer, assistant superintendent for instruction and curriculum in Scarsdale. ''Because of the English language arts exam, and also because of math and science, fourth grade is seeing a significant change in the amount of work,'' he said in a telephone interview, but the big changes come in middle school. ''In seventh grade, it's the first time students have five major subjects, and we group for mathematics. Many have advanced math, and foreign language.''
As Mr. Both said: ''The issue comes up every year. A lot of our middle school kids come from self-contained classrooms in fifth grade. All of a sudden, they move to the middle school with 10 to 11 teachers and subjects, English social studies, math, science, and reading, art, technology, home and career, music, and physical education.
''It's more subject matter specific, and students feel responsible to four to five different people every night. It's harder to track how much homework a child has in a given night. We work hard at it here, but teachers can't always address, 'How much are you giving?' Kids are trying to please a number of adults. And sixth-graders overwork their assignments. With five subjects, they become overwhelmed. We try to caution parents to stay out of homework. We have to wean them off it, just as we try to wean children from that kind of support.''
Some say that it's not so much the homework as the extracurricular activities that are to blame.
''We purposely don't do much after school because of homework,'' said Jamie Pearlman, a Mount Kisco resident whose two children attend Chappaqua schools. ''I didn't want her to go to bed at 10 or 11.''
The ways that teachers, schools, students and families choose to deal with homework are as varied as the players themselves.
Many parents who extol the virtues of their challenging public schools also complain that homework assignments, especially long-term projects, intrude on weekends, vacations, family meal times and children's sleep time, play time and down time.
Extracurricular activities are particularly at risk. Some Conservative Jewish congregations have scaled back their twice-a-week afternoon Hebrew school programs to once a week, because parents were reluctant to make that kind of time commitment for their children.
Other stresses are obvious, too. Dr. Karen Benedict, assistant superintendent for curriculum in Katonah-Lewisboro, said: ''People's lives are very busy. There are lots of dual parents who are working, and family time is valued. When students have to spend a lot of time on homework, family time is reduced.''
Beyond that, many conversations about homework include the assertion that ''my parents never did my homework for me,'' even Mom, who in a boomer's family might not have worked outside the home. Yet homework is now an issue not just for parents, but also for those who care for the children of working parents.
''The first question parents ask when they come here is, 'Is your homework all done?''' said Pam Koner, who runs the Homework Club in Hastings-on-Hudson. It is a private after-school program that has as one of its goals the completion of homework. ''At 6 at night, the last thing most parents want to do is homework. In the last six to eight years, the amount of homework has stayed the same -- but it feels to me that intellectually, things have been bumped up. Third-grade work is now in second grade, and it can be challenging for some of these kids.''
Despite any coping mechanisms, conflicts about homework -- between parents and children, or parents and educators -- are not unknown.
A White Plains parent, Barbara O'Keefe, said in a telephone interview: ''My youngest child, a freshman in high school, has more difficulty. I have to become a policewoman.''
Style differences, and students' own abilities and affinities for subject matter, can also come into play.
''One of mine can't start homework until 8 p.m.,'' Ms. Steinberg said. ''In my family, math goes quickly, but writing pieces are a nightmare.''
These forces have led to thriving tutoring industries in some communities. Some parents hire homework tutors to supervise or assist their children, reluctant to leave the task to nannies or non-English speaking housekeepers. And if tutors were once used to help struggling students, now it's not uncommon to find tutors engaged to help ''A'' students maintain their class standing.
''We know that there are a lot more tutors,'' Mr. Both said. ''In a community like ours, everyone is looking for that edge.''
Many districts have embraced after-school (and even before-school ) centers.
''Some kids have more help than others at home, so we try to build in more support at school,'' said Marjorie Holderman, principal of the Dobbs Ferry Middle School. The school is open before classes start in the morning as well as after school.
The Boys and Girls Club runs similar programs at its Mount Kisco, Yorktown and Tarrytown sites.
''The amount of homework children are getting has been increasing,'' said Barbara Cutri, the director. ''An hour is not enough to get all the homework done, beginning in third grade. Parents' expectations are that they want the homework done. We're an after-school program, and the main focus is on fun activities after school. We're not an education center, and want to give kids a break -- but kids are not going home with all the homework finished.''
Colleen McNamee, a regular at the Mount Kisco Boys and Girls Club, said she prefers to do her homework on her own. ''My Mom won't even know some of this stuff,'' she said. ''Homework takes over everything.''
Although private schools are known for tough academics, being liberated from state requirements means that homework has a different flavor.
Bob Cook, head of the upper school at the Harvey School in Katonah, said high school students usually have 30 to 40 minutes per subject each night. ''I've been in prep schools for 27 years, and I don't see that the amount of homework has changed much,'' he said. ''We limit homework on three- to four-day weekends, and over long vacations, there's no written homework, except for AP classes. That's really family time. And my department heads get together to make sure kids don't get make work. We tell teachers that if they don't have homework on a given night, don't give it for the sake of giving homework. In our middle school, the students get one night off per week per subject.''
Granted, homework doesn't have to be an overwhelming experience. And, educators say, it certainly shouldn't be in elementary school.
Mrs. Dempsey, who taught in Scarsdale for 17 years, said: ''I had a second-grade teacher this year, a terrific teacher, who said she was going crazy because the first hour of every day is spent with homework, and many of the kids haven't been doing their homework. I said there's another way. I told her, 'Don't give homework.'''
When Mrs. Dempsey was in Scarsdale (she left in 1987) the district's unofficial custom was not to give homework until the third grade, a practice that has since disappeared.
''I believe children should be reading every night, but not a multitude of math problems or reading assignments,'' she said. ''I can see how homework helps children when they're having struggles -- like doing math facts for a second grader, as opposed to 21 drill problems every night. If kids have worked hard in school, they should be out playing.''
In the high-powered Chappaqua schools, there is no regularly assigned kindergarten homework, although teachers may sometimes give assignments, mostly as a means of getting students accustomed to the idea of homework. First graders are supposed to have short assignments. It's not until second grade that students are expected to get regular language arts and math assignments, with daily reading part of the routine.
In response to a perception that there is too much homework, many of the county's middle schools have tried to find solutions.
Gail Kipper, the principal of the Farragut Middle School in Hastings, said that a few years ago, a committee of parents, teachers and administrators developed a pamphlet and policies about homework that is distributed at the fall open school night. Each grade hallway in the school, for example, has calendars with assignments posted.
''There should be no more than two major tests in a day, and long-term assignments are to be staggered,'' Ms. Kipper said.
At the Dobbs Ferry Middle School, coordination among the teachers is vital, said Ed Feller, a sixth-grade English teacher and team leader. ''We meet daily to discuss projects that we've given, so we stagger due dates.''
One solution has been to use technology. ''In middle school, kids want to break away from mom and dad, and parents want to hold on to that connection,'' said Peter J. Mustich, the superintendent of the Rye Neck school district, where the middle school recently began posting homework assignments on teachers' Web pages. ''Parents and students can look at the homework assignment, students can do the worksheet online.''
Some educators, and parents of children who are in college and beyond, caution that the homework umbilical cord needs to be cut sooner, not later. What seems like an innocent practice of helping a fourth-grader with a science poster can set a dangerous pattern. Between faxes and e-mail technology, it's not uncommon for college students to send term papers home to their parents for comments or editing, meaning that the homework issues can go on indefinitely.
In many households, homework stress is constant. Patty Warble, a mother of five grown children, speaks both as a parent and as a professional, because she is the executive director of the Bedford-Lewisboro-Pound Ridge Drug Abuse Prevention Council, as well as a staff member for the Tarrytown-based Student Assistance Services Corporation, a private nonprofit substance abuse and prevention organization.
''There's more pressure on kids to succeed, and homework becomes a power struggle,'' she said. ''Parents need to disengage from the power struggle. The idea is 'whose problem is it?' Let the people at the school who are the professionals handle it.''
Still, that's not necessarily an easy lessons for parents to absorb completely.
''When parents take over, it sends two messages,'' said Ms. Wallace, guidance director for the middle and high schools in Rye Neck. ''One is 'I'm supporting you, this is important.' And the other is 'I don't think you can do this on your own.' As parents, we don't want to see them fail.''
Assignment: How to Cope
WHILE homework will never go away, experts say there are ways to reduce stress among the various parties: students, parents, teachers and other educators. Homework has to get done, and done on time to meet teachers' requirements -- but exactly how and when can be different for different people. Before they buckle down, some children need to decompress after school, maybe by taking a half-hour to instant-message friends, nap on the couch or work off excess energy by jumping on a trampoline. If children and parents understand this about one another, it can reduce a lot of family stress on homework, just as it may well pay for a parent to understand that her work style is different from her daughter's.
Some other tips follow.
1. Once you get past the earliest elementary grades, remember that it's your homework -- not your parents'.
2. Establish a regular routine to do homework, so that you have the habit of doing your work at the same time, and in the same place, most days.
3. Pay attention to due dates for long-term projects, and keep to that schedule.
4. If you're struggling, or an assignment is taking you longer to complete than anticipated, do as much as you can and discuss your problem with your teacher.
1. Support and supervise your child's efforts, but remember that it's not your homework. Your role should be that of a monitor or coach, not a partner.
2. Step back. Your value as a person isn't dependent on how your daughter does on her seventh-grade science lab or what your son gets on his fourth-grade poetry folder.
3. Provide a quiet time and study area for your child, to establish good study habits and encourage independence.
4. Expect regular assignments, and contact the teacher if there are problems or if homework doesn't arrive home regularly.
1. Be sure that you're assigning work that students can do on their own, based on what they've learned in class, and that the assignments are clear to them. If parental input is expected on a long-term project, or extra credit assignments and challenge activities, define parents' role during open school night or at some other appropriate time.
2. Monitor the ease or difficulty of homework assignments for your students.
3. Check and return assignments promptly. Think about the value of homework. Maggie Worell, a third-grade teacher at the Hillside Elementary School in Hastings-on-Hudson, and a 35-year veteran of the profession, said: ''Homework should address the needs of diverse abilities. So teachers make adjustments for students.''
1. Set clear homework guidelines, and be sure the classroom teachers follow them.
2. Have a definite time limit for each grade. Ten minutes times the grade level appears to be one common standard.
3. Homework isn't about introducing new skills or concepts, but about reinforcing what happened in the classroom. Make sure that teachers understand that policy.
4. Keep in touch with parents. Find out if they're satisfied with the quality and quantity of homework assignments, and be prepared to adjust your policies if community expectations change or evolve. Merri RosenbergContinue reading the main story
Parents should contact the program if a child will not attend the After School Program on a regularly scheduled day. Please contact the program coordinator or leave a message with the school office to be relayed to the program coordinator prior to After School hours. The program coordinator will check with the school office, the child's teacher, and, finally, attempt to call the parent in an effort to locate a child not in regular attendance. If your child attends clubs or other afternoon activities, please give your program coordinator written notification so the child will not be expected in After School on those days.
Bathroom Accidents Policy
Unlike most kindergarten classrooms, we do not have constant access to the bathroom. Children are given scheduled group bathroom breaks and individual ones when requested. All children entering school and the After School Program are assumed to be potty trained (please see second paragraph of the "About Our Program" section of the ASP Homepage).
If your child has a bathroom accident we will call you. You will be expected to pick up your child or arrange for pickup as soon as possible within one hour.
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Children are expected to comply with all regular school rules and regulations in addition to the Behavior Management Policy. Discipline will be handled by the program coordinator, the program group leaders, and, in some cases, by the school principal or assistant principal.
A parent is required to sign a copy of the Behavior Management Policy for each child at the time of enrollment. A parent is also required to sign the Behavior Notice at the time a child's behavior is inappropriate. However, a parent's refusal to sign a Behavior Notice does not excuse inappropriate behavior of a child and does not prevent dismissal of the child if behavior warrants dismissal.
The basic policy includes methods such as talking to the child about the problem, removal of the child from the group, use of positive redirection whenever possible, limiting privileges, and/or consulting with parents. Parents contacted about behavior problems are expected to cooperate with staff in assuring the elimination of inappropriate behavior. One of the goals of our behavior process is to help children develop self-discipline and give them choices whenever possible. Corporal punishment, sarcasm and yelling by the staff are not acceptable means of disciplining children in the program.
Limits are set on behavior to provide a safe and caring environment where children can play and learn. Limits are set for three primary reasons: 1) to prevent children from injuring themselves or others; 2) to prevent the destruction of property, materials, or equipment; 3) to help children learn respect for themselves, other children, and adults.
A child may be immediately dismissed from the program if the child’s behavior is determined to be detrimental to the child or to the well-being of others in the program. Immediate dismissal of an entire family may occur in the event of inappropriate behavior of parents who are on school property. Adults are expected to model the desired behavior that is expected of the children. Profanity, threats, or disruptive behavior will not be tolerated.
A child who is dismissed due to behavior issues will no longer be eligible to attend at any time.
Breaks, Winter and Spring
Every effort will be made to offer care at selected sites during Spring and Winter Breaks. Please check with your program coordinator for locations. Registration is required. If you register, but your child does not attend, you are financially responsible for the tuition unless you give timely advance notice to the program coordinator at the site your child was to attend by the date specified on the registration form. Field trips and extra activities are usually planned. Please check with the program coordinator to see if any activity fees apply or permission forms need to be completed.
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After School Program personnel have been instructed to ask for identification from any unfamiliar person who arrives to pick up a child. Usually, this is not required after the first few weeks of school and staff becomes accustomed to family relationships. However, if a child attends a site other than the regular site for winter or spring breaks or a teacher work day, parents/caregivers should be prepared to present identification before a child is released. In addition, anyone who picks up infrequently (even if authorized on the child's application) should be prepared to present identification.
Child Abuse, Reporting Suspected
After School Program staff will have in-service training on recognizing and reporting suspected child abuse as part of the orientation period. We are required by law to report suspected child abuse. If a staff member suspects child abuse, the program coordinator will be notified, the principal and counselor at the school and the appropriate After School Program Specialist will be informed, and a report will be made to the Department of Social Services.
UCPS ASP is not responsible for children who attend a school-sponsored club during after school hours until the club sponsor signs the child in with UCPS After School Program.
After School Program staff, including administrators, program coordinators, and group leaders, will meet with any parent who has a concern about a child or the operation of the program. The first Wednesday of each month will be available for parent conferences. If you feel you need a conference at any other time, please talk with your program coordinator. If a resolution is not agreed upon, please call After School Program Central Services..
Emergency drills (fire drills, tornado drills, bomb threats, etc.) will be held as set forth by State Regulations and Union County Board of Education policies.
- Evacuation: After School Program staff and students will follow evacuation map posted in each room to exit the facility. Students are to line up quietly and follow the group leader. Once outside, leaders will call roll to account for all students in attendance. Everyone is to stay in the “safe area” until notified by the program coordinator to return to the building.
- Fire Drill: Each site is required to conduct a monthly, unannounced fire drill. Each program coordinator will conduct the fire drill and record documentation.
- Power Failure: A power failure can be a safety factor especially if it occurs while children are in the restroom or a group is moving in a hallway from one area to another. The group leader should contact the program coordinator by walkie-talkie to see if the incident is isolated or is campus-wide; keep the students calm until the power is restored. The group may proceed to a lighted area if the move can be done in a safe, organized manner.
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Emergency Preparedness and Response (EPR) Plan
Parents should be familiar with the ASP Emergency Preparedness and Response (EPR) Plan that is designed to assist licensed child care programs to be adequately prepared to respond to the needs of children and others in the event of disasters and emergencies.
Enrollment is limited to children currently enrolled in UCPS in grades kindergarten through five, ages 5—12. Enrollment is also limited to the available licensed spaces at each site and is restricted to regular users. Children must enroll on a full-time basis. A child is enrolled in the program when:
- The parents are notified that there is a space available at the requested program site.
- A completed application packet and proof of insurance coverage along with the registration fee is returned to the program coordinator.
- There is no outstanding balance from a previous enrollment.
All children--Kindergarten through Fifth Grade (ages 5--12)--attending the After School Program must be registered with the program coordinator. Care is not offered for either preschool or middle school students. The program is not designed to accommodate children on a "drop-in" or occasional basis. If all available spaces are filled at a site, a child may have to be placed on a waiting list until space is available. A child will not be permitted to attend the After School Program unless the completed application and proof of insurance has been returned to the program coordinator and the registration fee has been paid.
Field trips may be planned by the program coordinator to offer extra learning and enrichment opportunities and to support weekly themes. If a field trip is scheduled, all children in attendance must participate; additional staff are not scheduled to remain on site during a field trip. Parents will be notified in advance of any field trips so permission forms can be completed. Parents are responsible for any additional costs related to a field trip (admission charges, lunch, etc.). Activity Fund payments are non-refundable.
High Risk Activities, Participation in
The After School Program does not offer activities that are classified as high risk. Planned activities are carefully monitored and supervised. At least two people at each site are required to have playground safety training and CPR/First Aid. Participation in any activity that could be considered "high risk" (i.e. swimming, etc.) will require prior approval from UCPS Central Services.
The After School Program will observe the following holidays: Labor Day, Veteran's Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Day, Easter, Memorial Day, and July 4th (Summer Camp). For specific dates, please refer to the current school calendar.
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Opportunity is given for children to work on homework during after school time. However, it is not the responsibility of the After School Program to ensure that a child's homework is completed or correct.
Hours/Days of Operation
The school calendar will be followed in all instances. There will be no After School Programs on holidays, snow days, or days when school is dismissed due to inclement weather. In the event of a makeup day on a Saturday, after school care will not be provided. The program will begin on the first day of school and end on the last day of school. The hours of operation are from the closing of school (which varies at each elementary school) until 6:00 p.m. The program will operate from 7:00 a.m.—6:00 p.m. on most teacher workdays, intersession (year-round), and summer camps. On certain holidays, with advance notice to parents, programs may close one hour earlier.
If a child has symptoms of illness or signs of a communicable disease, he/she will be isolated from the other children while the parents are contacted and asked to pick up the child within an hour of notification. A parent's failure to pick up a sick child may result in a child's dismissal from the program and a report being submitted to the Department of Social Services. Any contagious illness may require a doctor’s note for re-admission. Staffs are expected to instruct children on State Regulations for washing hands as posted at each site in an effort to reduce contagious illness. A child who is absent from school during the school day or who has been picked up due to illness may not attend the After School Program that day.
The After School Program does not provide accident insurance. All students must be covered by a personal policy held by parents or by the optional school insurance offered through Union County Public Schools. An insurance waiver that is included on the application must be signed and returned to the program coordinator at the time of registration, along with a copy of the insurance card, before a child can attend the After School Program.
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Intersession (Year-Round Schools Only)
Intersessions are the intervals that occur between the nine-week sessions of year-round school. Full-day care will be provided during the intersession at sites with a minimum enrollment of twenty-five students when enrichment is not offered When the school offers enrichment week we will provide child care for after school hours only--not full-day care for that week.
Parents will be able to register students for one or all of the weeks of Intercession. Registration is required. If you register, but your child does not attend, you are financially responsible for the tuition unless you give advance notice by the date specified on the registration form to the program coordinator at the site your child was to attend.
In the event of a medical emergency that cannot be handled by the program coordinator, EMT personnel will be called. Physician and hospital preference will be taken directly from the application completed at time of enrollment. Then people will be contacted in the following order: Parent or Guardian or Emergency Contact Person; After School Central Services. It is imperative that each parent provide to the program coordinator current contact numbers, physician and hospital preferences, and place of employment. An Emergency Medical Care Plan Sheet is posted on the Parents’ News Board at each site.
Should it be necessary for your child to receive medication at the After School Program, the procedure is as follows:
- The parent must complete the Medication Administration Consent Form.
- Medicine must be brought in the original container.
- The child’s name must be on the container.
- The parent must provide clear and concise written directions for administration of medication to the program coordinator; directions should not be brought in by the child or given to any other ASP employee.
- The After School staff will not administer medication without written authorization.
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Newsletter/Parents' News Board
Each month a newsletter or event calendar is produced to keep families in each program informed about the events occurring in that program. Parents should check the Parents’ News Board for program updates, snack menus, activity information, weekly lesson plans and themes.
Parents are requested to attend an Orientation Meeting that is generally scheduled prior to or during the first week of school at each site and prior to Summer Camp. This Orientation Meeting covers After School policies and procedures and gives parents an opportunity to ask any questions. Parents may also request a copy of the After School Program Parent Handbook at that time. Not attending an orientation session does not alleviate a parent's responsibility to follow all established policies and procedures.
Each After School Program site encourages parent involvement. Parents may meet with staff to discuss their child’s needs and exchange information. Parents are encouraged to participate several ways:
- Attending orientation meetings and/or parent-staff conferences as needed or requested.
- Volunteering to help in the program—reading stories, sharing a craft or game, accompanying staff and children on field trips (must have appropriate volunteer approval through UCPS Human Resources).
- Participating in Career Week. Discuss your job duties or a career that interests you.
- Sharing enrichment ideas and outside resource leads.
- Donating outgrown games, craft items, etc.
- Participating in our Parent Appreciation programs.
- Volunteering to help with our special projects such as Secret Santa or seasonal holiday parties.
- Keeping all personal information current with the program such as home phone numbers and addressk parents' work and cell phone numbers, emergency contact phone numbers, etc.
Volunteers must complete the appropriate forms and must receive an approved criminal records check before volunteering.
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Parent/Guardian Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol
After School Program staff cannot release a child to a person who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The group leader will contact the program coordinator if this occasion arises. The program coordinator will notify emergency individuals listed on the application form to arrange a safe ride home for the child and parent. If the parent/guardian does not cooperate and insists on removing a child from the program, the after school staff will call proper authorities.
Parents, Relationship with
Parents are welcome in our program at any time. Staff will share brief information about a child’s day with family members on a regular basis, if this can be done without interrupting supervision of other children. Arrangements can be made for lengthier discussion at a mutually agreeable time for parents and staff. Staff members are to handle problems or issues with parents in a courteous, professional manner. Parents are encouraged to offer constructive suggestions and ideas.
UCPS ASP is not responsible for and discourages any private agreements between parents and staff members concerning rides home or after-hours child care arrangements.
Ratio and Group Size
Group size does not exceed 24 children. Staff/child ratio varies based on age group and SACERS rating:
1-4 Star Rating
5 year olds
6 year olds and older
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The program coordinator submits a withdrawal slip to the ASP bookkeeper when a family withdraws from the program. If a credit balance remains after all charges and fees are posted the bookkeeper will submit a refund request to UCPS Finance Department. Checks will be cut and mailed based on the Finance Department's check writing schedule, usually at the end of the month.
All children—Kindergarten through Fifth Grade (ages 5—12)—attending the After School Program must be registered with the program coordinator. Care is not offered for either preschool or middle-school students. The program is not designed to accommodate children on a “drop-in” or occasional basis. At some sites all available spaces are filled and a child may have to be placed on a waiting list until a space is available. All forms must be completed and returned to the program coordinator and registration fee must be paid before a child will be allowed to attend the After School Program.
Sign In/Out Procedure
Parents must sign out with the date and time for their child each day. On workdays and Summer Day Camps, parents are required to sign in their child in the morning and sign out in the afternoon. Children are not to be dropped off; a parent should accompany the child into the building.
A child will be released only to the person(s) (minimum 16 years of age) designated by the parent/guardian on the enrollment form. Once a child is signed out by a parent/guardian the After School Program is no longer responsible for that child. According to the State Daycare Consultant, children are not allowed to leave during after school hours from any area (classroom, playground, cafeteria, etc.) where a teacher directly supervises them unless an adult can physically walk that child to another area. After School teachers have more than one individual child in their care at any given time and must have someone else come and get the child. Since North Carolina Daycare Rules and Regulations govern After School Program care we must comply with all required rules and regulations. Therefore, parents must come into the gym or other designated area to sign out his/her child in the sign out book, and then walk to the area where the child is located, such as playground, art room, etc. Walkie-talkie communication for a child to be sent into the sign out area for pickup is no longer accepted by the State. A parent's failure to comply with this State rule will result in the child's dismissal from the program.
Failure to properly sign in or out could result in incorrect fees being charged, and repeated failure to properly sign in and out may result in dismissal.
If a child is to be released to someone not listed on the application, the program coordinator must be notified. Staff will require identification from any unfamiliar person who arrives to pick up a child. A program coordinator may call the parent to verify any written or verbal authorizations to release a child to someone else.
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A nutritious snack supplied by Child Nutrition is available each afternoon. A snack menu will be posted on the Parent Board at each site. If your child has a food allergy please advise the program coordinator of that fact in writing. If a food substitution is necessary, written documentation from a physician is required.
On days when full-day care is provided (TWD and breaks), morning and afternoon snacks will be provided; parents are responsible for sending a bag lunch and drink on those days.
During Summer Camp, morning and afternoon snacks will be provided by the program. Lunches will be provided on selected days during the week--parents will be provided a schedule and menu. Lunch will not be provided during the last week of Summer Camp due to the requirements of Child Nutrition.
If a child arrives after the scheduled snack or lunch times, the parent is responsible for providing snack/lunch for the child. Since the program is licensed by the Division of Child Development, if a parent elects to send lunch, each lunch must have the child’s name written on it and should contain two of the five components recommended by DCD (fruit, vegetable, meat or meat alternate, bread, milk).
There is a program coordinator at each location. The duties of the program coordinator include managing the site, enrolling new children, purchasing supplies, collecting fees, and preparing bookkeeping information for Central Office. There is a group leader assigned to each group of children. The duties of the group leader are planning, supervising, and interacting with the group.
Each employee must pass a criminal records check before employment. At least two staff members are certified in First Aid and CPR at each site. All staff members are required to get annual training in child care education classes, and must meet and maintain North Carolina state licensing requirements. Staff members will attend regularly scheduled staff meetings to review policies and procedures and to make lesson plans.
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Staff Meetings, Weekly and Monthly
Each site will conduct weekly and monthly site meetings. Meetings may include items such as policies and procedures, state regulations, school age issues, staff concerns, program improvement and recommendations. Staff will be given opportunity to share and offer input on program issues. Meeting agenda and sign-in sheet for those attending will be submitted to ASP Central Office for verification.
Summer Day Camp
Registration is held in late February/early March for Summer Day Camps held at various sites from June through August. Lunch will be provided on selected days; parents will be provided a schedule and menu. Two snacks will be provided each day. Lunch will not be provided during the last week of Summer Camp due to the requirements of Child Nutrition. Summer Camps will be closed one week before the beginning of school so that maintenance work can be done in the buildings prior to the new school year.
The program will operate on teacher workdays (TWD) between the first day of school and the last day of school when there is sufficient interest. (Exception: those TWDs during Winter Break.) A non-refundable TWD Fee of $10.00 per child will be charged to a parent's account to cover the additional seven hours of care and additional snack provided on a TWD. An effort will be made to place children at an alternate site if there is not sufficient interest at their regular site.
Registration is required to attend a TWD so adequate staffing can be arranged based on the number of children who plan to attend. If a child is not registered by the deadline, the parent will incur an additional Late Registration Fee of $10.00 per child.
Children must bring a bag lunch; morning and afternoon snacks will be provided.
Parents are asked to register by the enrollment deadline for a teacher workday to avoid the Late Registration Fee.
**NOTE: Care is not available on those teacher workdays prior to the first day of school or after the last day of school.
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All toxic materials will be secured from children as mandated by State Regulations. Staff will check all space used by the After School Program to ensure that no toxic materials are present; if found, the program coordinator will be informed. Maintenance of facilities is handled by school custodians, so school personnel will be notified for material removal.
In the event that children must be transported while in care of the After School Program, only certified drivers will operate approved school buses or activity buses. Children will follow all Union County School System bus safety rules. Approved staff-child ratio will be maintained. A first-aid kit and emergency information for each child will be available. Staff will have attendance sheets which will be checked at departure, during the trip, and when children board the bus for the return trip.
Tuition Prepayment, End of Year
End of year prepayment of tuition is requested so that the books for the regular school year may be closed out in order to open books for the Summer Camp. Please review the Parent Fee Schedule for the last month of school for the amount that is requested as prepayment.
Vacation Week--Summer Camp
A child enrolled in the After School Program for the entire school year (with tuition being charged from the first day of school through thte last day of school without a lapse) is entitled to one week's tuition credit if the same child enrolls in Summer Camp and starts on the first day of camp. The vacation must be taken in weekly increments (Monday through Friday), and the child must not be in attendance.
Requests for vacation credit should be made to the program coordinator two weeks prior to the vacation week to ensure that correct tuition is charged for the vacation week.
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Volunteering in After School
A parent who wishes to volunteer in the After School Program must receive an approved criminal records check prior to volunteering.
Each site is licensed by the state; thus enrollment is limited to licensing approval notice. A child will be placed on our waiting list for the current school year IF the parent resides in Union County AND the child attends UCPS or is a rising kindergartner. Enrollment in After School is contingent upon verification of enrollment in UCPS. Parents will be notified when a vacancy is available in the child's age group. To keep a child’s name on the waiting list, the parent will need to notify the Program Coordinator each school year to add the name if there is still interest.
The decision to close schools, calendar changes/make up or to delay opening will be made by UCPS personnel no later than 5:30 a.m. and will be communicated to local radio and television stations. If possible, the decision will be made the evening before the closing or delay. If no announcement is made on area radio or television stations, parents may assume that schools will operate on a normal schedule and the After School Program will operate on normal schedule. Parents may also check the ucPS website at www.ucps.k12.nc.us for up-to-date scheduling decisions.
Weather conditions sometimes worsen during the day after children have arrived at school. If early dismissal is necessary, local radio and television stations will make the announcements. If school is closed or dismissed early because of weather conditions, the After School Program will not operate that day. If the school calendar changes, rates or credits will be adjusted to reflect changes.
- If school is dismissed during the school day, the After School Program will not operate. (See exception, #4 below.) Your child’s classroom teacher must be provided with the name and phone number of the person to contact.
- If school is closed due to inclement weather, the After School Program will be closed. Fees will be prorated for any days missed due to inclement weather.
- If the weather becomes hazardous after 2:00 p.m., parents are encouraged to pick up children within one hour of notification.
- When school closes early due to extremely hot weather, after school care will be provided from the time school closes until 6:00 p.m., unless conditions are deemed unbearable. In that event, parents/guardians will be called to pick up children within one hour of notification.
Withdrawal from the Program
As a courtesy, the program coordinator should be notified ten school days in advance of the date a child is to be withdrawn. Failure to do so may result in additional tuition being charged. A child may withdraw and re-enroll only one time per school year (including Summer Camp) without incurring another registration fee. Re-enrollment cannot be within 14 days of withdrawal date. Breaks, intersessions, and the week that tuition is not charged in December does not count as part of the 14 days. A child who withdraws and returns is not eligible for vacation credit during Summer Camp.
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Year-End Tax Statements/Reimbursement Requests
As a courtesy to our parents, year-end tax statements will be produced by January 31 for all families with accounts in good standing. The statement will be in the name of the person who enrolls the child/ren. Statements for active families will be sent to the current site. Statements for inactive families will be available at the site that the child attended unless the family has a past due balance. If there is a past due balance on the account, the year-end tax statement may be picked up from ASP Central Services after payment of the past due balance. A year-end tax statement may be mailed if a parent provides a self-addressed, stamped envelope. Requests for duplicate tax statements will require a notice of two business days and a fee of $5.00.
Families needing childcare reimbursement statements should call the appropriate program coordinator; a one-week notice is required to fulfill these requests.
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