LEARN/KC-CIRCLE

Providing secular homeschooling support

Guidelines

KC-CIRCLE 3

A Brief Summary of Our Learning Co-op

Welcome to CIRCLE (Kansas City Children Involved in a Respectful Cooperative Learning Environment). This co-op is open to all families, regardless of educational choices, who seek a respectful cooperative learning environment and community. All ages are welcome, from infants through adults. We are part of the LEARN Home Education Network.

Rather than a one day, one location co-op, CIRCLE allows each teacher to pick the topic, time, date and location of each class s/he is offering. Teachers may offer one-day activities, or they may choose to teach recurring/multi-part classes (i.e. weekly throughout the quarter, three times total, etc.). The majority of our classes tend to be in in Kansas City its surrounding communities. If you are not in the KC Metro area, you are still welcome to participate. Our members will drive longer distances for classes they are interested in. Alternatively, you can look into reserving free space at area libraries, or you can host at another member’s home. See our “previous classes” page for more details and ideas.

After submitting at least one class (you are welcome to submit as many as you like), you and your family may register for as many classes as you desire. Sessions are offered in quarters; our quarters are December – February (winter), March – May (spring), June – August (summer), and September – November (fall).

We start preparing for each quarter one month prior to the next quarter (i.e., we plan the summer quarter in May, while finishing up with the spring classes). Prior to the planning month, participants are welcome to chat about the classes they plan to offer (we will e-mail an official class reminder prior to class submission).

Here is a schedule of how we plan for each quarter:

  • During the first week of the planning month (the 1st through 7th), participants submit their classes via a webform. An automatic service takes the class info and populates our shared Google calendar.
  • Our volunteers will work behind the scenes from the 8th through the 13th to check all submissions and create a class brochure and the enrollment form.
  • Participants enroll in classes from the 14th through the 17th.
  • Volunteers will sort students into classes and calculate fees from the 18th through the 20th.
  • Participants pay fees via Paypal or cash/check between the 21st and 27th.
  • Fee disbursements will be sent to teachers by the last day of the month.
  • Volunteers will invite students via the calendar on the last day of the month.

Below are more technical details and guidelines regarding class submission, enrollment, fees, class attendance and rescheduling. And be sure to take a look at some of our previous classes for inspiration. If you have any further questions, please e-mail the coordinators at kc.circle {at} gmail.com.

Class Submission

1. Each family must offer at least one class. Classes may be geared towards families, adults, teens, or children (any age). Keep in mind that the majority of our registrants will probably be younger children, at least during the school year. Meet-up style field trips and park days do not count towards the co-op requirements. Guided tours, group discount tickets, large parties with organized activities (like a holiday party) and field trips connected to classes DO count, as well as organized classes pertaining to a particular subject.

For participation in CIRCLE, typical class lengths, when possible, should be at least 1 to 2 hours in length to offset drive times. It is understood that the length of a class may be longer, and that in special circumstances (such as with paid performances or field trips) class lengths may be dictated by the event. Teachers may set their own minimum student numbers for participation, but we ask that the maximum number of participants is no less than 5 students. In the instance when a participant’s class may accommodate less than 5 students due to space or activity constraints, multiple sessions of the class should be offered so that at least 5 students can participate.

2. The first technical step to participate is to sign up for a Google account if you do not already have one, as we use the Google Calendar for class submissions. You can tie your Google Calendar account to your primary email address. Please note that it is important you only use your primary email address for all aspects of CIRCLE (i.e., don’t use one address to submit your class and a different one to enroll).

3. Once you are signed in to Google Calendar, look on the left hand side of the screen. In the box marked “add calendar,” type kc.circle@gmail.com. That will send a message to CIRCLE so that we may give you access to the co-op calendar. You will receive an email once you have access, and you will then be able to see the co-op calendar (you only need to do this the first quarter you participate, or the first quarter you participate if it’s been a long time as we do sporadically cull non-participants).

4. Class submission takes place from the 1st through the 7th of the planning month. There are two steps to submit your class(es): 1) check the CIRCLE Google Calendar on your desired class date to make sure your class will not conflict with one already submitted, and 2) submit your class via the Class Submission webform. Following are additional details.

Check conflicts on the Google Calendar:

  • Go to your own Google Calendar, make sure that the KC-CIRCLE calendar is checked in the left-hand column.
  • Make certain that your time zone is set to GMT -06:00 Central.
  • Choose a date for your class. Just before you submit your webform, please check to make sure that your date/time will not conflict with a class already on the calendar. (We try to limit classes to one in the morning, one in the afternoon, one in the evening, so families may attend more than one class/day if desired.)

Submit your class(es) via the Class Submission webform:

A link will be provided each session for the Class Submission Form. Fill out the form once for each class you are submitting. Questions on the form should be self-explanatory and will include things such as your name, contact information, the class name, associated class fees, class minimums and maximums, and anything else which is pertinent. The information in this form will self-populate to the calendar, we will also use the information to calculate student fees.

Note: you will enroll your own students/family in your class, please include your family when calculating the class minimum and maximum numbers.

Class Brochures

Volunteers create a class brochure with info about all of the classes for the quarter. We will “tag” you on each of your classes so that you can double check all info is correct on both the brochure and the calendar entry. If you see any necessary changes, edit the brochure (it will show up as “suggested edits”) and/or leave us a note where you are tagged. Otherwise, check the box that says “mark as done” and we’ll know that your classes are good to go.

Student Enrollment

1. Volunteers create the enrollment form. Once we have all of the edits to the class brochure/calendar finished, another volunteer will create the enrollment form. We’ll send that out early via email so that you can choose which classes you’d like to enroll in. All classes should be visible on your Google calendar. Please be sure to calculate your anticipated family fees for the classes you’d like to enroll in.

Before enrolling, check each of the classes you are interested in one more time. Is the age range appropriate for your student? Will you be able to pay the fee? Are you sure you can commit to the class? By enrolling, you are committing to paying for and participating in the class(es).

2. Student enrollment takes place from the 14th through the 17th of the planning month. Enrollment is “first come, first served,” so the earlier you enroll, the more likely it is you’ll get into your desired classes. When you’re ready to enroll, click the link we email you. You only need to fill out one form per family.

  • Fill out all contact information.
  • Check the box next to the title of each class you would like to register for.
  • In the box underneath each class name, type in the names of everyone attending each class as a student and/or an attendee (the text box underneath the class title will tell you exactly what information we need).
    1. “Students” are people who are enrolling in the class and will be participating in the class. If there is a class fee, these are the people you will need to pay for. This allows the teacher to buy sufficient supplies or tickets for the event. In some cases we’ll also ask for the names of family members who will be physically present at the event, but not participating in the class.
    2. “For events (such as plays) where everyone attending pays a fee, we generally ask for the names of all “family members” attending.
  • At the bottom of the form is a box that says “Additional Information.” Please use this space to share any other information that will be helpful to the CIRCLE teachers or coordinators (including severe allergies, special circumstances, etc.).

3. CIRCLE coordinators will automatically cancel any class that did not reach the minimum number of students. If you do not care how many students enroll in your class, please make your minimum “zero.” If your class is cancelled, we’ll send you the names and contact info of anyone who was interested in your class. You are free to organize your class on your own outside of CIRCLE – please feel free to offer it on the LEARN Facebook page and/or email list! You’ll be responsible for accepting fees, emailing students, etc.

4. When classes go over maximum and the teacher has offered a second class, CIRCLE coordinators will contact parents to see who will switch to the new date. Please check your email regularly after enrollment ends in case we are trying to contact you.

Fees

1. You may only charge the actual cost of the class, which may include supply fees or fees for field trips or performances. Teachers may not make a profit.

2. Fees must be paid between the 21st and the 27th of the planning month (immediately before classes start).

In addition to any class fees, all CIRCLE members pay LEARN dues. LEARN dues are $30/year beginning September 1 or fall, whichever comes first; $20 pro-rated if you join us for the first time in the spring quarter (or March 1); $15 pro-rated if you join us for the first time in summer quarter (or June 1). As a LEARN member, your family will enjoy benefits beyond participation in CIRCLE (see the benefits page for more info). If your family does not want to join LEARN, you can pay a $10 non-member fee for each quarter you participate in CIRCLE. We will add your member dues (or non-member fee) onto your fee calculations.

If a student has not paid by the fee deadline, the student will be dropped from any classes with a fee. If s/he still wishes to attend a class with a fee, s/he must then contact the teacher and make outside arrangements for payment.

  • We do not want any family to sit out of the co-op because they will have trouble paying fees. If you have extenuating circumstances, please email CIRCLE coordinators well ahead of the payment deadline; we may be able to make alternative arrangements.

3. The CIRCLE coordinators will be in charge of collecting and distributing fees each session. We will send out a list of fees owed by each family no later than the 21st. For transparency’s sake, fee amounts will be emailed to all participants. Please double-check your fees in order to make certain that they have been added properly. While we try hard to not have any mistakes, they sometimes do happen. If you have any issues regarding payments, you should contact the CIRCLE coordinators at kc.circle @gmail.com.

4. In order to streamline the administrative duties, all fees should be sent via Paypal to kclearn @gmail.com. Paypal is a free service. Make certain to mark any payments as “friends and family” so that no one is charged fees. Any payments which are charged fees will be refunded, and you will need to resend them. Also, please note that you should mention your name when you send Paypal, as not all Paypal accounts have names associated with them; we may not recognize your paypal e-mail account without your name. Teacher fees will be sent via Paypal after fees have been collected.

Families without Paypal accounts may pay by cash or check no later than the 27th. Please email kc.circle @gmail.com to arrange payment drop-off.

Note on payments to outside venues: CIRCLE teachers are always responsible for setting up any outside classes/tours/plays/etc. Normally, CIRCLE teachers will also be responsible for paying the venues any class fees after enrollment/fee payment weeks have ended. We will send teachers all fees via Paypal, and teachers must then contact the venues to pay directly.

There are two circumstances in which a LEARN Board member will be responsible for paying class fees to outside venues:

(1) if the total class fee exceeds $300; and
(2) if the total class fee exceeds $100 and the CIRCLE teacher has participated in less than three quarters of CIRCLE.

Class Lists and Google Calendar Invitations

After enrollment is complete and fees have been collected, all families will receive a master class list and a list with participant contact information.

CIRCLE volunteers will “invite” students to the classes.

Students: As you receive invitations to the classes you have signed up for, please click “yes” that you accept the invitation and will attend. By enrolling in the classes, you have already made a commitment to attend. Accepting the invitations is a courtesy to the respective teachers.

The only reasons that you would not receive an invitation for a class are because (a) the class exceeded the maximum and could not give you a spot or (b) the class did not reach the minimum number and the class was cancelled.

All families are responsible for make sure that they received invitations to all classes they enrolled in. If for some reason you cannot find the invitation e-mails, you can click on the individual calendar entries and accept your class invitations.

Class Attendance and Illness Policy

1. Families are responsible for notifying the teacher in advance if they will be unable to attend a class in which they are enrolled.

  • If you must cancel and it is within 48 hours before class time, you should call the teacher (do not email).
  • If you know you must cancel more than 48 hours before the class, an email to the teacher is fine. If you have not received confirmation that they have received your notice, please call them to inform of your impending absence.
  • Do NOT simply change your RSVP on the Google Calendar entry. This is never an acceptable form of notice.

2. Teachers work very hard to prepare the classes. Absences, even with advance notice to the teacher, should be rare. It is unacceptable to not contact the teacher when you are going to miss a class unless there is a true emergency preventing you from doing so. Because CIRCLE is a co-op between friends, it is that much more important to be respectful of each other. In addition, some classes have waiting lists. Notifying the teacher in advance of an absence allows another child to participate in the activity.

If you know far enough in advance that you can offer your spot to another family, we ask that you contact the teacher to see if there were any member families wait listed. If not, we ask that you offer the spot first to participating CIRCLE families, then to all (paid) LEARN members. If no paid member can take your spot, please feel free to offer it to any other homeschooler. You are welcome to ask for the person who takes your spot to cover your class fees.

3. Teachers are asked to report any no call/no show situations to CIRCLE coordinators. Families with continuous no calls/no shows will be asked to sit out the next session of the co-op.

4. If you cannot attend a class, you are not automatically entitled to a refund. We understand that some things, such as illness or emergencies, are unavoidable. However, please understand that teachers may have already paid for supplies or pre-paid for tickets. Additionally, teachers often pre-pay outside venues in advance based on enrollment, so refunds will not be provided. Teachers are welcome to return fees if they have not yet purchased materials or if tickets have not yet been purchased and the change in numbers will not affect minimums for the ticket price. There is no obligation to do this.

  • Refunds for classes that our members teach are at the teacher’s discretion – you may ask the teacher.
  • You may try to sell or give away your spot. Please offer spots to CIRCLE families first, then paid LEARN members, then non-members via our FB page & email list.

5. If you are running late for a class, please try to call the teacher in advance. If the class has already started and the teacher is unable to answer the phone, please leave voicemail. We are all parents and understand that running late is sometimes unavoidable. Let’s try, however, to make it our collective goal to arrive at each co-op class on time (or early!).

6. Regardless of latecomers, teachers are to start class NO MORE THAN 10 minutes after the scheduled time. Feel free to build a little “late time” into your class schedule (let the kids play a game for the first 15 minutes while the adults visit and people trickle in), especially if you are hosting an organized field trip (i.e., start the class 10 minutes prior to the actual start of the field trip).

7. If you are having problems remembering classes, here are two things that might help:

  • You can set up an email &/or pop-up reminder through Google Calendar. Go into the class entry, look at the Reminders option on the left hand side, and add as many reminders as you want by clicking “add a reminder” and using the drop down box.
  • You can print your calendar by week or month view to hang up as a reminder. From your main calendar view (be sure you are viewing whatever you want to print – weekly or monthly), click the “Print” icon that is on the top toolbar next to the day, week, and month views. From there you can either print to paper or save as a PDF.

8. Illness Policy: In order to protect all of our families, please follow these simple guidelines in regards to illness:

  • Individuals must be fever-free with temperature below 99.6 (without Tylenol or similar medication) for 24 hours before returning to CIRCLE.
  • Individuals must also be free of the following symptoms for 24 hours before they can be in a class again: Diarrhea or vomiting, severe sore throat, continuous coughing or blowing nose, undiagnosed rash or skin lesions, and red, itching eyes with discharge.
  • Communicable disease: If a communicable disease is diagnosed (strep throat, chicken pox, pink eye, lice, scabies, impetigo, etc.), please notify the other parents as soon as possible. Follow physician’s/health guidelines for return to CIRCLE.

Rescheduling and Class Changes

1. If a teacher has an unavoidable conflict and has to cancel a class, the general rule is to cancel it completely rather than rescheduling for the same quarter. The teacher is free to reschedule the class for the next quarter instead.

  • The teacher is responsible for emailing every participant. This is easy to do by going into the event on the Google calendar and selecting e-mail participants. S/he should ask the participants to reply acknowledging the cancellation. The teacher is then required to call anyone who does not reply to the email. We do not want a student showing up to find out a class has been canceled.
  • The teacher must refund all fees for a canceled class or for a class that has a location change after enrollment. Please alert the CIRCLE coordinators of the cancellation, then send the full amount via Paypal (marked “friends and family”) to kclearn @gmail.com, and CIRCLE coordinators will refund each family.
  • If you have purchased supplies for your class, you may ask the students if they will accept supplies and instructions instead of fees.
  • If you do decide to reschedule rather than canceling, the easiest way to do it is to select a date yourself. In the event of a reschedule or a change in location, the teacher is required to refund fees for any student who cannot attend the new date/location. Again, the teacher is required to notify all students that the class date/time has changed by e-mail, and by phone if the participants do not respond.

2. If you have a class that is weather dependent, consider scheduling a rain date (be sure to put the rain date in the class description). If you have a rain date posted in the class description and have to cancel the original date due to weather, you may, but are not required to, refund fees for any student who is unable to attend the rain date. CIRCLE and LEARN follow the Kansas City School District inclement weather cancellation policy.

3. Please do not make any changes to your class after the Class Submission week. If you MUST make changes, you are required to email your students with the changes. You can use the email function in your class entry on the calendar; be sure to let them know “class description edited to add ____,” etc.

Photo Release Policy

By signing up for the LEARN Resources List, joining as a LEARN member, and/or participating in LEARN/CIRCLE activities, you acknowledge that your name and email address are viewable by other members. LEARN may take photographs/videos/interviews of students and families at organizational functions for use in yearbooks, newsletters, websites, social media, etc. Contact and other relevant information may be shared with instructors or coordinators for the activities in which you participate, and photographs/names may be included in group emails/publications/social media. LEARN does not share/sell contact information with third parties outside of what is stated here.


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