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Implementation & Administration

The School Charter Plan:

8. IMPLEMENTATION AND ADMINISTRATION

8.1. Student Recruitment Plan 
8.2. Admissions Policy
8.3. Human Resource Information
8.4. Child Accounting
8.5. Transportation
8.6. Food Service
8.7. Timetable
8.8. Safety
8.9. Documentation

 

References: SVRCS Financial Management Plan (Attachment E) SVRCS Physical Needs Plan (Attachment F)

References: SVRCS Policy Manual (Partial) (Attachment C) SVRCS Contracts, Agreements and Operational Documents (Attachment G)

 

8.1. Student Recruitment Plan

The Community Relations Committee, in conjunction with Penn State University, conducted a household survey in February, 1997 to gather information from the community. The survey was developed by Penn State and mailed to all 955 households in the Sugar Valley area. The intent of the survey was to provide a statistical analysis of factors critical to the implementation of a charter school. Information requested by the survey included:

· Number of adults and students in household;
· Grade levels of students;
· Length of residency in Sugar Valley;
· Distance of residence from the existing school;
· Level of understanding about charter schools;
· Priorities for school-related programs;
· Primary motivations for supporting a charter school; and
· Primary concerns about a charter school.

Utilizing information obtained by the survey, along with other feedback provided to the Core Team by community members, a second survey was developed and conducted. The second survey was initially mailed to 218 households in Sugar Valley which were known to have school-age children (grades K-12). It was found that two households had duplicate entries on the mailing list, leaving 216 potential respondents. The survey contained an invitation for parents to attend meetings about the charter school; a fact sheet about charter schools; and a postage-paid postcard for response whether or not their children would attend the SVRCS.

Surveys were mailed on April 22, 1997 and follow-up telephone calls were made between April 26 and May 5. Household responses (as of 5/20/97) were as follows:

Response Returned Card Verbal Total
Will send children to SVRCS 145 11 156 72.2 %
Will not send children to SVRCS 13 11 24 11.1 %
Undecided 2 7 9 4.2 %
Total Responses 160 29 189 87.5 %
No Response N/A N/A 27 12.5 %
Survey Total 216 100.0 %

Their are a total of 278 school age children in the 156 households that responded they would be sending their children to the SVRCS. Parents were asked to provide information about the grade levels of those children for the 1997-1998 school year, resulting in the following initial projections:

Grade
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
Students
17
24
28
21
23
21
28
26
18
12
15
21
24


It is anticipated that conversion of the existing elementary school to charter status will add approximately 30 students whose parents did not respond to the survey but would opt to keep their children in school in Sugar Valley. Additionally, members of the planning group have been contacted by parents of children who reside within the school district but not in Sugar Valley about the potential for enrollment at the SVRCS.

8.2. Admissions Policy

The Sugar Valley Rural Charter School will be a taxpayer funded school serving students residing in Keystone Central School District. The school will operate in a K-12 configuration. It will be open to all eligible students on a space available basis and will not discriminate in its admissions policies or practices on the basis of intellectual or athletic ability; measures of achievement or aptitude; or status as a handicapped person.

Criteria for prospective students include acceptance of the home/school contract and a willingness to abide by the School's Code of Conduct. Beyond that, by submitting an application form, parents/guardians indicate their philosophical support of the academic and community oriented goals of the Sugar Valley Rural Charter School.

8.3. Human Resource Information

Teaching and support staff positions will be established by the Board of Trustees in order to provide programs of education and other supporting services consistent with the needs and resources of the community. Recommendations for continuing, new, or additional staff will include a job description clearly descriptive of the duties for which the positions were created and performance standards to be used in the evaluation of the employee. Titles of professional positions must conform with an appropriate certificate when Pennsylvania certification is required. All staff shall have on record a report of criminal history pursuant to Section III of the Public School Code and an official clearance statement regarding child injury or abuse from the Department of Public Welfare as required by 23 PA C.S. Chapter 63, subchapter C.2. Appropriate clearances will be obtained for all Board members, volunteers and members of the School Community commensurate with their level of involvement with students.

An intensive professional development workshop will be conducted for all teaching staff prior to the opening of the SVRCS. Session topics will include school philosophy and culture; curriculum; student assessments and portfolios; lesson planning; classroom management; Code of Conduct; discipline practices; parent/community outreach; and the school's technology system. Recreational and social activities will provide opportunities for the staff to become better acquainted and to promote the establishment of a tightly-knit team devoted to the success of the SVRCS.

It is proposed that the teacher/student ratio for elementary classes will be 20 and 15 for secondary classes. Adding special area teachers such as Vo-tech and special education, it is expected that for the first year of operations with an enrollment of 350 K-12 students, the total number of teachers will be 21. Six support services personnel (cafeteria, maintenance, teacher assistants, secretary, etc.) will be added for a full complement of staff at the SVRCS of approximately 27.

Professional growth guidelines for the teachers and other staff at the SVRCS are described in the school's Policy Manual. These guidelines follow the requirements of the School Code and the policies of the Keystone Central School District. These policies govern salaries, contracts, hiring, dismissal and benefits.

Present employees of KCSD who work at the SVRCS will be "grandfathered", in that they will retain tenure and all other salary-related benefits and compensation accrued while employed by the district, as articulated in charter school legislation. All staff at the SVRCS will be contracted for their services through professional and support services agreements. Similar professional services agreements will be used for legal and financial management (e.g., audit) services and special partnerships with educational institutions such as Penn State University. Support services agreements will be with individuals and businesses providing services such as custodial, cafeteria, secretarial, maintenance and teaching assistant.

In recruiting instructional staff (certified and non-certified), the SVRCS will seek individuals who have:

· Conviction to support the SVRCS mission;
· A strong undergraduate education or experience commensurate with position;
· A passion to teach;
· Consistently exceptional professional evaluations;
· Outstanding references from peers, previous employers, educational institutes, etc.; and
· An entrepreneurial approach and desire to innovate in close collaboration with the entire SVRCS community.

A typical professional educational services agreement for an individual may include job description, duties, performance standards and evaluation criteria, time of performance and compensation. The agreement can be "tailored" to each position, as appropriate. A professional educational services agreement for a firm or university may include a detailed scope of activity with specifications, reporting requirements, timetables, compensation and completion requirements. Agreements for support services such as custodial, cafeteria, maintenance, etc. would be similar.

The terms of employment for teaching and support staff of the Sugar Valley Rural Charter School will be determined by negotiations within the parameters relevant to Pennsylvania statutes. SVRCS faculty and staff will be required to enter into individual term employment agreements which explicitly state that all requirements of the PA Charter Law are made part of the agreement. Teaching staff may be obligated to provide services during the SVRCS academic year, community in-service events, or during the entire year depending upon their role in the school. The agreement will affirm that any materials created by staff members for use by SVRCS, or produced using the staff or resources of the school, are works-for-hire and all intellectual property rights are vested in the school.

A majority vote of the SVRCS Board of Trustees shall be required to terminate the employment of any SVRCS faculty or staff member. Any dismissal will also be subject to applicable Charter Law provisions.

At least 75% of the teachers and professional support staff at SVRCS will hold appropriate Pennsylvania certification. The school may request the Commissioner of Education to expedite the certification of persons qualified to teach by education and experience through alternative routes. Beyond the guarantee of professional preparation offered by certification, Sugar Valley Rural Charter School will seek professional staff who are in agreement with and committed to the mission, goals and educational approach of the school.

It will be the responsibility of the faculty of Sugar Valley Rural Charter School to appropriately present the school curriculum and support the goals and objectives of the school. The teachers will be expected to meet the curriculum goals; to provide a challenging yet supportive learning environment in the classroom; and to be sensitive to the individual learning needs and styles of the children. It will be the teachers' responsibility to communicate with parents about any relevant classroom matter.

The classroom teacher will be responsible for maintaining in the classroom a pleasant and disciplined climate that is conducive to learning and stimulates students' curiosity and enthusiasm for learning. The teacher will be expected to exhibit the highest level of professional and social behavior.

Specific staff responsibilities include, but are not limited to, those listed below.

The responsibilities of the SVRCS teachers are to:

1. Support and enhance the mission and goals of Sugar Valley Rural Charter School;
2. Appropriately present the SVRCS curriculum;
3. Ensure mastery of relevant knowledge, content and skills for all students through consistent teaching practices and individual tutoring when appropriate;
4. Provide appropriate enrichment materials and individual tutoring when needed;
5. Create a challenging yet supportive school atmosphere that encourages continuous success and growth for all students;
6. Maintain an atmosphere conducive to learning;
7. Communicate in a timely fashion with parents and administration any relevant classroom matters regarding students' performance;
8. Provide collegial support to other SVRCS staff members;
9. Participate in staff development programs; and
10. Serve on ad hoc advisory committees to the SVRCS Board of Trustees.

The responsibilities of the SVRCS teacher assistants, student teachers and interns are to:

1. Support and enhance the mission and goals of Sugar Valley Rural Charter School;
2. Assist classroom teachers and the administration;
3. Support an atmosphere conducive to learning; and
4. Monitor students during their time in school.

The responsibilities of the SVRCS administration are to:

1. Support and enhance the mission and goals of Sugar Valley Rural Charter School;
2. Create a challenging yet supportive school atmosphere that encourages continuous success and growth for all students;
3. Participate in evaluating students' progress and in assessing needs for special programs;
4. Promote and support continuous professional development;
5. Serve as both a model and a mentor to the teachers and other staff;
6. Provide recommendations to the Board of Trustees on hiring or promoting teachers and other staff;
7. Provide administrative services;
8. Supervise the school budgets;
9. Evaluate the adherence of the SVRCS program to its charter;
10. Serve as an ex officio member of the Board of Trustees; and
11. Communicate in a timely fashion with parents and teachers about any relevant matters regarding students' performance.

The responsibilities of the SVRCS support staff are to:

1. Support and enhance the mission and goals of Sugar Valley Rural Charter School; and
2. Provide services to the SVRCS as outlined in their respective support services agreements.

An integrative staffing plan which effectively utilizes administrative professionals, teaching professionals and related service providers and community members has been developed as follows:

BOARD OF TRUSTEES
Teachers (2)Parents (2)Community Members (2)Alumnus (1)
|
(ADMINISTRATION)
Elementary Head Teacher Administrator/Teacher Secondary Head Teacher
| | |
Elementary Teachers Community Volunteers Secondary Teachers
| PSU Intern Coordinator |
PSU Interns Special Education PSU Interns
Support ServicesAssistantsCafeteriaCustodiansMaintenanceSecretarial
Vo Tech/Adult Ed.

8.4. Code of Conduct

Sugar Valley Rural Charter School intends to provide an orderly environment conducive to learning and based on principles of student and parent involvement and participation, personal responsibility, respect for others and good citizenship. Ongoing disruptive behavior on the part of one student is an infringement on the rights of other students. Therefore, the Sugar Valley Rural Charter School will adopt the following Code of Conduct:

1. We will respect individuals, families and cultures by acknowledging the rights and opinions of others.

2. We will celebrate one's own heritage and roots.

3. We will develop personal, social and civic responsibilities.

4. We will strive for the highest character, integrity and honesty.

5. We will do our best to help each other achieve our goals and dreams.

6. We will instill the merits of collaboration, cooperation and teamwork.

7. We will uphold the highest expectations and standards.

8. We will provide the models for truth, justice and freedom.

9. We will maintain a high level of excellence in what we do.

10. We will encourage the qualities of civility, kindness and support in community oriented activities.

The SVRCS Code of Conduct provides the foundation for governing student behavior. The school's Policy Manual and, more importantly, the SVRCS Home/School contract also provide policy concerning expectations for student behavior; specific processes for disciplinary actions; attendance requirements; the banning of weapons and other destructive materials; penalties for drug and alcohol abuse; and student expulsion and suspension procedures. The Home/School contract delineates the individual responsibilities of the team members that are most directly involved in the student's education:

The student will:

1. Come to school prepared to learn;
2. Arrive on time with all books, materials and supplies;
3. Show respect for him or herself by respecting others;
4. Participate in community service activities;
5. Complete all assigned homework;
6. Ask for additional help when it is needed;
7. Participate in class activities; and
8. Read a selection of their choice for at least 30 minutes each day

The Parent(s)/Guardian(s) will:

1. Encourage their child to stay in school;
2. Volunteer at least twenty (20) hours of service each year to the school (e.g. school programs, field trips, school dinners, classroom instruction, maintenance and cleaning of the school);
3. Be an enthusiastic participant in their child's learning;
4. Spend at least 20 minutes daily with the student reviewing homework and discussing readings and current events;
5. Attend periodic parent/student/teacher conferences;
6. Work with teachers to ensure consistency with home/school rules and policies and to enhance students' continuous success and growth;
7. Participate in Sugar Valley Rural Charter School social functions;
8. Support teachers in their efforts to educate students;
9. Ensure their child arrives on time, fed, properly clothed and prepared to learn;
10. Discuss with teachers any problems a student may be having at home that might affect school performance;
11. Notify the school if their child will be absent and provide required documentation;
12. Discuss relevant issues of concern with the school faculty or the Board of Trustees;
13. Return all necessary forms and documents to the school completed and on time;
14. Assist in correcting any behavior/discipline problems identified by the school;
15. Visit the school/classroom as frequently as possible, especially if the teacher communicates the need for a meeting;
16. Ensure their child respects school materials and property;
17. Make restitution for any damages to school materials and property caused by the child;
18. Ensure their child does not bring destructive materials to school;
19. Ensure their child does not bring weapons or any object that could be used as a weapon to school; and
20. Ensure their child remains drug and alcohol free.

The Teachers/School Community will:

1. Recognize that parents are the primary educators of their children;
2. Provide a curriculum that is relevant, emphasizes critical thinking skills, utilizes technology and prepares students for the social interactions they will meet in future employment;
3. Support parents in their efforts to raise their child to be responsible, productive and competent;
4. Recognize that each student has individual needs;
5. Inform parents of available school and community resources;
6. Make every reasonable effort to accommodate parents for conferences and meetings;
7. Publicly recognize student and parent accomplishments; and
8. Constructively document problem behaviors in order to report accurately to parents.

Sugar Valley Rural Charter School will stress respect for others and for the rights of others, among them the right to a school and classroom environment which facilitates learning. Students who, by their disruptive behavior, consistently deprive others of this right will be subject to disciplinary action, including suspension or expulsion from the school.

The SVRCS Board of Trustees will have the right to suspend or expel a student pursuant to the following criteria and upon the recommendation of the administration in consultation with the student's teachers: 1) physical assault upon another student, member of the staff, or board member; 2) carrying a weapon; 3) possession or consumption of alcohol; a controlled dangerous substance; or drug paraphernalia on school premises, or being under the influence of such substances on school premises; 4) conduct constituting a danger to the physical well-being of other students; 5) continued and willful disobedience or open defiance of any authority figure employed by the school; 6) expropriation of another student's or a staff member's personal property, whether by theft, through force, or by intimidation; 7) habitual use of profanity or obscenities; and 8) willfully causing damage to school property. No student will be suspended or expelled unless the conduct for which he/she is to be disciplined is related to school activities and/or attendance and occurred on school property, including school buses. Disciplinary actions will have no bearing on the student's academic standing, except in cases of academic dishonesty.

These general guidelines for suspension and expulsion will be reviewed and modified, as appropriate, by the SVRCS Board of Trustees together with the school administration.

8.5. Transportation

The primary means of transporting students to and from the SVRCS will be via busses contracted by the local school district. SVRCS personnel will work closely with the school district to ensure that necessary modifications to existing bus routes, if any, will be made in a manner that considers both student safety and efficiency.

In the event that an extended-day or extended-year program is implemented at SVRCS, attempts will be made to maximize the use of district-provided transportation. Additional transportation needs will be satisfied by contracting for services with the district or with one or more of the bussing contractors in the local area.

Transportation for sporting events, field trips, etc. will be performed in a manner that ensures student safety and may include contracting of services, as-needed rentals and car pooling.

Students living outside the local district who attend the SVRCS will be provided transportation pursuant to applicable statutes and regulations.

8.6. Food Service

The primary facility under consideration to house SVRCS has a fully appointed kitchen and an operational cafeteria. The food preparation and service areas will accommodate the number of students who will attend SVRCS. It is anticipated that SVRCS would participate in the school lunch/breakfast programs presently offered by the KCSD under the auspices of the Child Nutrition Programs (CNP) funded by the United States Department of Agriculture.

Participation in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs requires menu planning reviewed by an appropriately certified and licensed dietitian to ensure all necessary diet components and appropriate portions are provided to students in order to remain eligible for funding. It is the intention of SVRCS to pursue applications or grant proposals needed and comply with all necessary guideline and procedures, to become a participant in Child Nutrition Programs or other school food programs.

In accordance with Pennsylvania School Code 24 PS 13-1337, the Department of Education may give technical advice and assistance to any board of school directors in connection with establishment and operation of any school food program and may assist in training personnel engaged in the operation of such programs. SVRCS will also pursue this option to ensure efficient food service operations which comply with required standards and regulations.

8.7. Timetable

Initial School Design and Planning 10/96 - 1/97
Develop Formal Plan and Charter Application 1/97 - 5/97
Recruit Students and Staff 4/97 - 8/97
Complete School Design 5/97
Refine Plan 5/97 - 6/97
Facility Inspections 6/97 - 8/97
Procure Educational Materials 6/97 - 8/97
Install Furnishings and Equipment 7/97 - 8/97
Appoint Faculty and Administration 7/97 - 8/97
Parent/Student Orientation 8/97
Pre-Service Staff Training 8/97
Begin Classes 9/97

8.8. Safety

Safety of students, employees, school visitors and school property is paramount and will be the primary factor in all relevant decisions regarding implementation and operation of the SVRCS. It is the intention of the founders that the "safety plan" for the SVRCS will exceed requirements dictated by local, state and federal laws and regulations.

The services of a competent architect/engineer will be contracted for pre-inspection of any facilities being considered for use by the SVRCS. The architect will be expected to document not only items that are non-compliant with existing regulations but also items that "may" pose a hazard if not corrected. Facilities that can not be brought into compliance in a realistic manner will be removed from consideration for use. All safety-related issues will be resolved prior to use of any facility.

Local municipalities (Loganton, Logan Township and Greene Township) will be contacted to determine requirements for and schedule preliminary inspections for SVRCS facilities within their jurisdiction and to arrange inspection schedules that meet or exceed local requirements. County building inspectors will be contacted, where appropriate.

The Sugar Valley Volunteer Fire Company will be contacted to determine requirements for and schedule preliminary inspections for all SVRCS facilities and to arrange inspection schedules that meet or exceed applicable laws and regulations. The county fire marshal will be contacted, if appropriate.

Prior to the use of any explosive or flammable compounds or liquids in connection with courses taught at the SVRCS, municipal licensing authorities will be contacted and applicable procedures, laws and regulations will be adhered to.

8.9. Documentation

The founders of the SVRCS will provide documents relevant to its facility (certificate of occupancy; fire inspection certificate; health inspection certificate; proof of compliance with local, state and federal health and safety regulations; lease; and miscellaneous contracts) as soon as practical after the school's charter is granted.

The founders of the SVRCS will provide hiring contracts, certifications and other documents relevant to qualifications and employment of teachers, administrators and other staff as soon as practical after the school's charter is granted and hiring is in progress.

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