Good Shepherd Catholic Homeschool Community
Parent – Student
Good Shepherd Catholic Church
8710 Mount Vernon Hwy
Alexandria, Virginia 22309
Revised July 2015
Good Shepherd’s Skye Chase (GSSC) Cooperative started in an upper room in a small Alexandria home in September of 2004. With six children, one tutor and a desire to establish a quality community experience for the children in a loving environment.
This handbook is for Skye Chase students and their parents. It has been prepared to facilitate the accomplishment of our common goals. The policies and procedures explained in it regulate out community life at GSSC. We encourage parents and students to read and to discuss the handbook together in order to become familiar with its contents and the expectations at GSSC.
The Skye Chase Program is for those families who are home educating their children.
The program will act as a supplement to your homeschool and allow your child to learn within a group setting. It runs exclusive on “PARENT POWER.” There are a wide variety of classes offered by moms, dads, grandparents, and friends that selflessly sacrifice their time and efforts for the benefit of the children in our community.
The goals for this program are to provide a group environment for our children to learn about and explore God’s creation; to help parents raise academically and spiritually strong children; and to encourage families to grow in their love for each other and God.
STATEMENT OF FAITH
As stated in the Apostles’ Creed:
We believe in one God, the Father Almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
We believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, Our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell; the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.
We believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting.”
In communion with the Catholic Church and the Holy Father, we seek to raise our children in communion with this faith.
Participation in the co-op is a nine-month commitment, and depends upon the active participation of all members to ensure a positive experience for all families.
One parent from each family needs to remain on-site during the program.
Parents and children are expected to attend co-op meetings every Friday, except in cases of sickness, travel, or a family emergency. We ask all families to be careful not to schedule appointments or other activities during co-op mornings since an absent teacher or student can be disruptive to the program. If a family has a sick child – but there are other school-age children in the family that are well – parents may leave these children to attend their homeschool classes, while the parent remains at home with their sick child.
Familiesshould limit their absences tofive (5)weeks per school year.
New volunteers are required by the Arlington Diocese to take the 4-hour child safety class, VIRTUS training, in order to work with children. You can find out more information about this training at www.virtusonline.org. The training sessions are offered several times during the year and you can register online. This training must be completed before our first day of class in September.
First Semester: Mid-September through Mid-January (12 weeks)
Second Semester: Mid-January through Mid-May (12 weeks)
9:00 - 9:30am Mass
9:30 - 10:00am Assembly and Family Presentation
10:00 - 12:30pm Instruction (Three 50 Minutes Periods)
Our day will begin with Mass at 9:00, followed by a group assembly at 9:30. Then the children will be divided into age groups for instruction from 10am to 12:30pm. These classes will be divided into three 50 minute time periods. Class descriptions are available in a separate document. Parents help for two periods during the morning and have one period off in the Coffee Break Room and Moms’ Support Group. There is a maximum of 12 students per class. There is an optional lunch and recess time after the program from 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm. Clubs are from 1:30-3pm.
There is a $150 fee per student per year with a maximum family fee of $450. This fee covers art supplies, science supplies, math kits, classroom needs, special events such as holiday parties and art fair, and our annual yearbook. Directors of the cooperative will be given a credit for one student for their yearly service.
Program fees are due at the class sign-up day during the first week in August.
New families also pay a one-time fee for background check of $35 per adult volunteer.
As we start our day together at Mass each week, the children wear a uniform that consists of navy blue pants and a white shirt for boys. Navy pants, skirt, or jumper and a white collared shirt for the girls.
Upon return of a complete application, we will send a confirmation the application has been received. We will notify the parents if there is space available.
Age Requirements for the Student
Children participating in the Friday morning enrichment classes must be six years of age and enrolled in a first grade homeschool program. This reserves kindergarten, preschool, and nursery spaces for families who are home educating school-age children.
All families are welcome to join the cooperative. Parents and children are not required to be Catholic. In order to build a community of faith, we ask that all instructors review the Statement of Faith above and not offer any materials during the program that would contract with this statement. Also parents should have a willingness to have their child exposed to the teaching and practices of the Catholic Church in various ways throughout the program.
Class selection is made during the first week of August. If there is room in a class, it is possible to transfer to another class with instructor permission during the school year.
Students enrolled in the cooperative are expected to be present and on time.
The co-op runs on "Parent Power." So it isimportant for our families to be in attendance on Fridays. Due to liability concerns, students are not allowed to be dropped off at the program. If your child isat Good Shepherd, one parent or VIRTUS certified adult from your home needs to be with them. Ifthe parent needs to leave GSSC during the school day but plans to return,the children should be brought with the parent.Familiesshould limit their absences tofive (5)per school year.
Absences: If a student or family needs to be absent from GSSC, for any reason, the parents should contact the scheduler by note or phone as soon as possible. We will gladly cooperate with families taking their children from GSSC for vacations, field trips, or family celebrations. We recommend that prior to any planned absence, the parent should contact at Board Member and the teaching assistant.
-- Students and parents are encouraged to talk to their student's instructors to determine if there is any missed material.
--If you are a lead instructor, please work with your assistant to coveryour classes during your absence.
--Families with three absences will receive an email remainder from the scheduler. On the fourth absence, an appointmentwill be scheduledwith one of the Directors.
Tardiness: Students are expected to be in class on time. Each school day begins promptly at 9 a.m. Tardiness is a disruption to the class and to the student. Continued and chronic tardiness may result in withdrawal from the program. As a courtesy to the instructor and students, please have your students arriveon time. If your family's schedule has a conflict with our start time of 9am or dismissal at 3pm, please make an appointment to seeone of the Directorsfor further discussion.
Withdrawal: Parents are responsible for the full year’s program fees. In the event of early withdrawal, program fees will not be refunded.
The Safe Environment policy at the church mandates that all minors, regardless of age, must be accompanied by an adult at all times. One of the new changes is thatonly VIRTUS certified adults are able to work or substitute around the children. There must be one VIRTUS certified instructor per 10 children.You may want to consider getting another member from yourhouseholdVIRTUS certified so they can substitute for you.
Visitors are welcome at the cooperative. However, they shouldstay with the VIRTUSadult sponsoring them for the duration of their visit. If a grandparent or visitor would like to obverse a particular student or class duringtheir visit, pleasecontact the scheduler to see if the sponsoring adult can be substituted as an assistant in these class/es. We will try toaccommodate this request.
We understand that this is a maturing process and these guidelines provide a framework for which each parent, teacher, and student may assess his growth in these areas.
We want to resolve all problems using the biblical principle outlined in Matthew 18:15-17.
“Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother over. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, ‘that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.”
Disruptive children will be asked to leave the classroom and will be brought to their on-site parent for the remaining of the class period. They may rejoin the next period if the parent believes the child will no longer be disruptive. Parents and teachers should discuss discipline issues directly to help each child be successful in the class environment.
LUNCH & RECESS
Skye Chase Cooperative ends at 12:30pm.
Students may stay and eat lunch together between 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. Please have the student bring their lunches from home with all utilities for the children to eat their lunch. There is no microwave or refrigerator available during the program. There will also be an opportunity for recess outside after lunch.
COMMUNICATION WITH BOARD AND TEACHERS
The Board of GSSC welcomes constructive communication from parents at any time. The following guidelines will help to direct communication in the most productive way. In seeking to solve a problem or misunderstanding originating in class, students and parents should work first with teachers, then the Directors, if needed.
CANCELLATIONS DUE TO INCLEMENT WEATHER
Skye Chase Cooperative will follow the Fairfax County Public School Announcements for cancellations due to weather. When FCPS closes for the day or has a 2-hour delay, we will not meet.