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 to the co-op calendar.
  • Our volunteers will work behind the scenes from the 8th through the 10th finalizing the calendar and preparing the enrollment form.
  • Participants enroll in classes from the 11th through the 17th.
  • Volunteers will sort students into classes from the 18th through the 20th.
  • All fees need to be paid between the 21st and 27th.
  • Fee disbursements will be sent to teachers by the last day of the month.
  • Teachers 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 1/2 to 2 hours in length to offset drive times, and should accommodate a minimum of 6 students (with more encouraged). 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. In the instance when a participant’s class can only accommodate a portion of the basic minimum students due to space or activity constraints, multiple sessions of the class should be offered to reach the minimum.

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 “Other calendars,” click on the tab that says “Add.” In the space to add a friend’s 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).

4. Class submission takes place from the 1st through the 7th of the planning month. There are two things you need to do to submit your class(es): 1) add your class(es) onto the CIRCLE Google Calendar and 2) submit your class via the Class Submission Form. Following are additional details.

Add your class to the CIRCLE Google Calendar:

  • Go to your own Google Calendar.
  • Make certain that your time zone is set to GMT -06:00 Central.
  • Create your event. Please do not select a time that will conflict with another co-op class (the earlier you get this done, the more options you’ll have to pick the time/date that works best for you). We prefer to limit it to just one class per day, but we can do one class in the morning and one in the afternoon if we have a multitude of classes. Please make sure there is enough time to travel from one event to the other (with a break for lunch/nap/etc.) if somebody wanted to attend two classes in a day. If you have a class, such as a field trip, which can only be scheduled on a specific day, feel free to contact someone else who has a class scheduled on that day to see if they can accommodate a conflict free class schedule. To do this, open the class to view it and click on email organizer to e-mail the person.
  • Include the following information in your event:
    1. Who: your name, phone number (cell if possible), and email address. This allows individuals (and coordinators) to contact you for further information or to let you know if they are unable to attend due to illness or other unavoidable cause.
    2. What: your class title and a description of the class. This is important so that co-op participants can decide, based on the information provided, whether they are interested in signing up for the class. Describe the activities you will be doing and any pertinent information, any rain dates, etc.
    3. Note if there is an age range for the class
    4. Be certain to include any applicable minimums/maximums. Some classes may require a minimum number of students to receive the discounted rate. Other classes may have limited space. You are not required to have minimums or maximums, but if any exist, they should be stated as part of your event. If your class does have a maximum, please categorize that as 1) students (i.e. 8 students max), implying that parents/siblings of students are welcome to tag along without needing to be counted, 2) attendees (i.e. 25 max, all attendees) meaning you need a headcount of everyone coming, or 3) students and attendees (i.e. 5 students max, 15 attendees max), meaning that there is limited space for both students and accompanying parents and siblings.
    5. When: the dates & time.
    6. Where: Location of event. Please include an exact address in the location field, including the city (properly spelled out), state, and zip code to enable the map feature function.
    7. Cost: Make certain that you clearly state the fees for the class. If there are different fees for age groups, please state that. For instance, a field trip may have a different fee for adults as opposed to the fee for children. Please state the ages requiring payment. Some performances may require that everyone pay regardless of age while some field trips may only charge for children ages 4 and up. This is pertinent information for those signing up for classes. Please note that you may only charge for actual fees for the class: you are not allowed to make money off of the co-op.
  • If you have a series class (multiple sessions intended for the same group of attendees), then the class should be set up as a repeating class. Google Calendar accommodates a wide range of repeating events. There is a drop down box under Repeats to set this up. E-mail the coordinators with any questions.
  • Leave the privacy level set to “default” – the calendar is private, please do not set your event to private as well.
  • In the calendar entry for each of your classes, click the link on the right hand side that says “add guests,” then type in kc.circle@gmail.com to invite CIRCLE. We will receive an email and your event will be added to the main co-op calendar. All CIRCLE participants will then be able view it. After you invite CIRCLE as a guest, then you will see your event twice (in two different colors). One color is your personal calendar, and one is the co-op calendar. (The co-op calendar event will have a question mark next to it until the invitation is officially accepted by a coordinator).

5. You can edit your class submissions throughout the first week, but all entries must be final by the 7th. If you do edit an entry, be sure you are editing your OWN calendar, not the identical CIRCLE entry.

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

6. A link will be provided each session for the Class Submission Form. Fill out the form once for each class which 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. We use the information in this form to create an enrollment form and to calculate student fees.

7. You are welcome to add class submissions for future sessions at any time. If you have a great class idea and want to save a date (and have a record of the idea so you don’t forget), simply put it on the co-op calendar. Just remember to submit your class offering to the Class Submission Form before the appropriate session!

Student Enrollment

1. Student enrollment takes place from the 11th through the 17th of the planning month. All participating families will receive an e-mail with a link to the enrollment form. All classes should be visible on your Google calendar. Please see the class descriptions on the Google calendar when registering for classes.

2. 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). After you decide on which classes you would like to take, click on the link to the enrollment form. 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.
    2. For events (such as plays) where everyone attending pays a fee, we generally ask for the names of all “family members” attending.
    3. “Attendees” are people who will physically be present but will not be participating (and who do not need to pay), such as parents or siblings who are not participating in the class.
  • Below the list of classes there is a box to indicate your top three class choices. We use this information in the event that a class goes over the maximum number of students. You WILL be enrolled in every class you check unless it goes over the max, in which case we’ll use the top choices to decide the class list.
  • 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 allergies, special circumstances, etc.).

3. Teachers of classes that did not reach the minimum number of students will be contacted to decide whether to:

  • cancel the class;
  • hold the class with fewer students; or
  • open the class to families outside of those participating this quarter. We will generally help you advertise this on the CIRCLE and LEARN email lists and Facebook pages. Enrolled students will be given notice in the event we open a class up.

You will be contacted if this is the case and asked what you would like to do. If we do not hear back from you, the class will be cancelled by default. If you invite families who are not CIRCLE participants, please let our co-op participants know in advance.

Please note that because all of our families have to both offer a class and pay LEARN dues (or non-member dues) to participate each quarter, we also need any families who join open classes to pay to participate. They are welcome to join as LEARN members and pay the annual fee ($30/family), or they can participate as non-members and pay the $10/quarter fee. If you open your class, we’ll work with you to gather the necessary fees.

4. Teachers of classes that have surpassed the stated maximum number of students will be contacted to decide whether to :

  • accommodate the number of students who enrolled over max in the original class;
  • provide a second class for overflow (you can always open the second class to families outside of those participating this quarter if necessary); or
  • keep the class at the stated maximum with a wait list (if a student finds out later that they have a conflict, you can contact the first student on the wait list to take their spot)

You are under no obligation to do anything other than what is stated in your class description. If you choose to open an overflow class to others, we will work with you to handle any sign-ups and fees from non-participating families. If you do not reply, your class will be filled to the maximum and a wait list will be generated and given to 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 July 1 or summer quarter, whichever comes first; or $15 pro-rated if you join us for the first time in the spring quarter. 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 no later than the 27th. Please email kc.circle @gmail.com to arrange payment drop-off.

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.

All teachers are responsible for “inviting” their students to classes. Simply add in the students’ email addresses on the Google calendar, just as you invited kc.circle @ gmail.com previously.

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.

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. Refunds for non-attendance are at the teacher’s sole discretion. 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. 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.

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 is responsible for refunding all fees for a canceled class. Please alert the CIRCLE coordinators of the cancellation, we will send you the full fee amount. Send the full amount via Paypal (marked “friends and family”) to kclearn @gmail.com, and the 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, the teacher is required to refund fees for any student who cannot attend the new date. 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 ____,” or “the location has been changed to _____,” 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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