A Handbook for The Cooperative Nursery School at The Unitarian Society of Germantown 6503 Lincoln Drive, Philadelphia, PA 19119 215 844-5770 1 Children at the Cooperative Nursery School create and engage in a rich developmentally appropriate and child centered environment. Our school seeks to establish an involved community of families who work together to provide the best early learning experience for each child. Through play and work children develop a mastery and ownership of their learning by participating actively and collaborating within this community. Children are supported and nurtured as their curiosity and interactions lead to discovery, problem solving skills, and independence. Though communication, tolerance, respect, and love children learn that they are valued members of the community and that they can and do affect their world. Abbreviated Diversity Statement At The Cooperative Nursery School, we place a high priority on teaching our children not only tolerance of but also a genuine appreciation for individual differences, be they racial, ethnic, gender, socioeconomic, cultural, religious, developmental, or alternative family configurations. Further, we believe that school is an ideal environment in which to expose children to the richness of our wonderfully diverse corner of the world. The Cooperative Nursery School strives to create a welcoming, racially diverse community, for the enrichment of all families and children. We can achieve this goal by increasing the enrollment of children of color, by actively recruiting minority applicants for staff positions, and by providing opportunities for families and staff for continuing education and open dialogue about issues relating to race and other forms of diversity. The Diversity Committee is a permanent & open committee. (The full diversity statement is available at the school in the parent resource area) Introduction The Cooperative Nursery School is a non-profit, parent owned and operated preschool. It strives to maintain a racially, culturally, and economically integrated student population. Educationally, the school functions under the direction of two teachers, one whom holds the position of Director. Cooperative is the operative word in the name of our Nursery School. The school is not a place where we simply leave our children while we go about our business. Parents are responsible for every aspect of the operation of the school. We make up most of the board of directors, which hires the teachers, sets tuition, and makes the policy of the school. We do the cleaning and maintenance, the purchasing of supplies, the publicity, the fund raising, the recruitment and registration of students. We collect tuition and pay the bills. We work side by side with the teachers every day, participating in circle time, facilitating projects, and being present while children play indoors or out. We clean the toilets and prepare the snacks. When we choose this school we not only take responsibility for our children's preschool education, we participate in it. When the Cooperative Nursery School was begun in 1967, the benefits of being cooperative were pointed out as threefold: for the parent, for the child, and for the community. Parents would learn and put into practice ways of enjoying their preschool child. Children would have regular association with adults other than their parents and a new sense of comradeship with them focused outside the home. In this way, children would be introduced to a school environment with their parents. Together the family would begin the child’s educational experience. Cooperative parents would have a strong sense of responsibility and group cooperation, which would carry over into every aspect of community life. The nursery school was conceived as a meeting place where all segments of the community can work together and get to know each other better. Though there have been many changes in the nursery school-and in our society-during the past 40 years, these benefits hold still true. As cooperating parents, we are each expected and obligated to do our fair share. This responsibility is part of choosing The Cooperative Nursery School. Every family is expected to coop on a monthly basis, to act as support and assistants to the teachers. The typical family coops twice a month. In addition to cooping during school hours, each family must choose a job. There are many jobs available, from board positions to mulch spreaders to weekend cleaners. All families are required to participate in a set up in the fall and a clean up in the spring, as well as fundraising events throughout the year. . 2 This handbook will guide you through the particulars of The Cooperative Nursery School. It will outline the organization of the school and the curriculum. It will tell you miscellaneous things to remember, such as what your child should wear, when you should keep her or him home, and how we handle bad weather. It will explain tuition payment, the expectations for cooping, the procedure for dealing with problems and describe the coop jobs. This is a very special school. It is hard work. It involves real commitment. It offers the rewards of both, for our children and for ourselves as parents and members of this unique community. School Organization The Board of Directors oversees the operation of the Nursery School. Elections are held in two stages. In the spring the Board Chairperson, the Parent Chairperson, the Secretary, the Banking Treasurer and the Tuition Treasurer are elected. One parent representative from new families is elected to join the board if the fall. Along with the two teachers and a representative from the Unitarian Society, they make up the Board. An election for any slots not yet filled on the Board is also held in the fall. The Board meets once every month at 7:00 p.m. (these dates to be announced) usually in someone's home. All parents are welcome and encouraged to attend board meetings. There are also non-elected parent jobs, which are not board positions. These are: Admissions, Enrichment, Maintenance/Property Manager, Purchasing, Scheduling, Public Relations, and Fund Raising. Parents volunteer, singly or in pairs, for these jobs in the spring or fall. The jobs themselves run for the course of the school year. Holders of these jobs report to the board. Emergent Curriculum & the Cooperative Experience of Learning At the Cooperative Nursery School, children, teachers and parents work, play and learn together. Together they celebrate the “Aha!” moments of discovery and learning. There are no right or wrong answers, no fear of failure. Children become creative decision makers. Through their work and play, they are learning to learn. The teachers structure and plan the day so that each child can progress at her or his own rate. An emergent curriculum “emerges” from the curiosity sparked in a child’s mind. Activities and experiences at the nursery school are child-directed or child-initiated because an ownership of learning leads to meaningful connections and a life-long love for learning. Parents and adults support and sustain children’s learning. For example, children are encouraged and supported by teachers and other adults to take their time to fully explore an idea, a hypothesis, or artful moment. Teachers and other adults take the time to observe a learning moment and then thoughtfully collaborate with a child or group of children to sustain and expand their curiosity. The nursery school environment is enlivened by a variety of experiences for children to engage fully their bodies, minds, hearts and voices. Children examine, communicate, explore and make creative connections through the many “languages” of music, movement, paint, clay, drawing, projects, experiments, dance, literature, block building, sand, water, nature, cooking, puzzles, games, and dramatic play. Children begin their discovery of verbal and written language through meaningful explorations of authentic literature and the world around them. The social and cooperative context of learning is integral to all experiences at the nursery school including story time, circle time, music circle, art, snack time, group play and problem solving. Teachers and adults welcome the dynamic interaction of children with each other and their world. It is through conversation and collaboration that understanding expands and meaningful connections are made. Teachers and other adults model and support the inclusion of all children in play, work and learning experiences. Children, teachers and parents cooperate to take care of each other and their school. Children feel a sense of ownership and responsibility in helping friends, caring for pets, preparing and serving snack, watering plants and cleaning their school. Additionally, through modeling and hands-on experiences, children develop an understanding for their important role as a member of a committed, cooperative community of friends. . 3 Daily Schedule This is the schedule for a typical day: 8:15-8:45 Early drop-off 8:30 Coopers arrive (Lunch cooper arrives at 9:15) 8:45 Normal drop-off begins 8:45-9:15 Free play 9:15 Circle time 9:30 Special Projects, indoor/outdoor activities/ free play 10:15 Clean up, story, snack 11:00 Circle time 11:20 Outdoor play 12:00 Morning session ends 12:15 Lunch begins 1:00 Lunch Bunch pick-up 3:00 Afternoon session ends 3:30 Late pick-up It is important that every child arrive at school ON TIME, as the ``business'' of the day begins promptly at 9:15 a.m. with the first circle. Late arrivals are disruptive and convey the message that being on time for school is not important. Program Particulars School Hours: The Nursery School is open from 8:15-3:30, five days a week. Main Program Three year-olds attend a minimum of three mornings per week. For four year-olds, it is four mornings. For five yearolds, it is all five mornings. All children are enrolled for a particular schedule, but this schedule may be amended, and additional time at school may be added as long as there is space in the desired period. Also, a child may be “dropped in”(see below) on a given day, again provided that there is room. Program Alternatives and Fees Afternoons: Although enrollment in the nursery school requires a schedule that includes particular mornings, all children may also apply for the afternoon program, which has a limited number of spaces. The afternoon provides children with opportunities to deepen their relationships and experiences at the nursery school. Typical activities include nature hikes, special learning activities, experiments, and art projects. Each afternoon, the children clean their school and engage with a chapter book read to them at rest time. Before pick up, there is a snack and additional outside play time. For children who are regularly enrolled in the afternoon program, each child is assigned a “special day,” where s/he may choose an activity for the entire group. Lunch: Children can stay for lunch from 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm. A $8 fee is charged on a per-use basis. Early drop off: Children may be dropped off between 8:15 am and 8:45 am for an additional $5 fee. Late pick-up: Children may stay at school until 3:30 pm. There is a $5 charge and children need to be signed up in advance. Please note that the school will close at 3:30 pm and that children need to be picked up by that time. Drop ins: With prior approval from the Director, parents may bring their child for a morning, afternoon, or both, on which the child is not normally enrolled. The fee is $18.00 each for morning or afternoon. Sign up clipboard is in the large room, under the clock. . 4 Program with Stapley Retirement Home The children who stay for the afternoon on Tuesdays get together with residents at Stapley twice a month. Our visits are eagerly anticipated by both young and old. The partnership helps enlarge the world of the children in a safe, continuous and fun way, as well as introduce the concept of community service and intergenerational friendship. Special Days Each child will have an assigned Show and Tell day once per month. Children may bring a special object and put it in the designated show and tell spot for their circle. At circle time, each child has the opportunity to tell about her/his object (or an event) and answer questions about it. Please check the monthly newsletter to determine your child’s Show and Tell day. Each circle has a Library day, where children may check out books to borrow from the school library for the next week. Books must be returned in order to check out another. A cooping parent or a teacher will record the title and the date in the library notebook. Please help your child be responsible for caring for and returning books. Children, supervised by cooping parents, prepare their own snack at least once per week. Often, we bake delicacies as pretzels, or bread, or make spring rolls or fruit smoothies. Birthdays are always special. Parents may sign up to coop on their child's birthday, or the day on which the child will celebrate her/his birthday. Usually parents bring a special snack, such as cupcakes, by marking the date on the kitchen calendar so that coopers will plan that day's snack accordingly. Please check the list of special diets and allergies in the kitchen, and bring something all the children can enjoy. Conversely, Birthday Party invitations and thank yous should not be delivered using the cubbies, unless all of the children in the school are being included. Our school is fortunate to be able to incorporate music into our children’s experience at many points during the day. Additionally, each circle participates in a special Music Circle. Behavior Issues As a community, we provide support for children as they acquire management skills when conflicts arise. As adults, we model mutual respect and positive communications skills. Children learn to negotiate difficult social situations, resolve conflicts and control aggression as they develop self-esteem and self-discipline. The Nursery School provides a safe environment for all children. Behavior that threatens this safety either physically or verbally is not acceptable and must stop. Children learn that choices they make have consequences, we help children articulate what they are feeling and what their needs are. Punishment and shame rarely teach good decision-making skills. If you are unsure about how to handle a situation watch and listen the children will let you know if they need help. If you are unsure or uncomfortable, ask a teacher. Immunizations The school strongly recommends that all children receive vaccines according to the schedule recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and Centers for Disease Control. Even though the school strongly recommends that all children receives these vaccines, however, they are not required. Just as in the Philadelphia public and private schools, a formal record of religious or philosophical deferment may submitted in the place of vaccination records. The school requires that children have on record either evidence of receipt of three doses each of diphtheria, tetanus, and polio vaccines and one dose of measles, mumps, rubella vaccine or a formal record of religious or philosophical deferment of such vaccines. Attendance and Absence The program works best when everybody arrives on time and is picked up on time. Please call the school if your child is going to be absent. The following are guidelines for when to keep a child home: . 5 • • • • • • Fever: Stay home and return to school when the temperature has been less than 100 (F) for 24 hours. Vomiting: Stay home until 24 hours have passed without vomiting. Rashes: Stay home until a rash has gone away, or has been identified or treated by medical personnel and has been determined to be non-contagious. Many rashes are associated with viral infections and can be contagious. Some, such as chicken pox, can cause problems for children or family members with special health problems. Colds: Children should stay home if they are coughing and sneezing a lot and/or have noses running with anything other than clear stuff, and/or are uncomfortable. Conjunctivitis: After a 24 hour regimen of antibiotics or a health professional's okay, the child may return to school. Lice: Periodically, lice seem to run through most nursery schools and ours is no exception. When a child is discovered to have lice, all the children will be checked. Children with lice may return to school as soon as they are treated. Pick-ups Parents must let teachers know who is authorized to pick up their child at the end of the school day. If a parent has arranged with anyone else to pick up their child, they must fill out a release form (filed in the binder below the telephone) and inform the teachers of the plan. Parents will be charged $15 if they are more than 10 minutes late to pick up their children. If an unanticipated problem arises and you know you will be late, please call the school and let the teachers know - but you will still be responsible for the late fee. Clothing Children spend part of every day outside and often participate in messy projects. Dress them accordingly. Keep a complete change of season appropriate clothes in a bag on your child's hook. Include extra mittens or gloves in the cold weather. Be sure to replace clothes as soon as they are used, and make sure that all extra clothing is clearly labeled with the child's name. It is very important to remember to send rain or snow gear when the weather is threatening. School Closings We are closed if the Philadelphia Public Schools are closed. Even if the Nursery School is open, we expect parents to exercise their own judgment based on weather conditions where they live as to whether their children should come to school. If something unexpected happens, or if school opening will differ from the public schools, we will use a phone chain. Bulletin Board Information regarding teaching philosophy and school curriculum is located on the rack by the front door. Often, more pressing information and sign-up sheets will be affixed to the doorjamb or to front door itself. Be sure to check it regularly. Also, notices of general interest may be posted on the large bulletin board in the back of the downstairs classroom. Teacher Conferences Conferences will be scheduled for the fall and spring. A sign-up sheet will be posted, but the teachers will work with you to find a reasonable alternative if your schedule conflicts with the available times. Please do not confer with the teachers during their teaching day! However, the teachers are available for brief questions at 11:45 and at 2:45. . 6 Tuition Tuition is billed at the beginning of every month for the current month and all extra sessions your child may have attended in the previous month, including the fees for “drop in” afternoons, lunch bunch, etc. You will find your bill in your child's cubby, and payment is due in full by the 15th of the month. You may pay either by mail or by leaving your check in the cubby labeled tuition. Make the check payable to The Cooperative Nursery School. Tuition payments received after the 20th will be charged a $10.00 late fee for each week that tuition is late, to a maximum of $40. If four weeks pass without full payment of the required amount or without arrangements being made to rectify the problem, your child will be required to stay home until the tuition has been paid. You will be permitted two more weeks after your child’s attendance has been suspended to make arrangements for payment. After that point, my child will be asked to leave the school and legal action will be taken to collect the required tuition. Please note that the school is willing to work with anybody experiencing financial problems. If you have a problem paying the tuition, it is vital to communicate with the tuition treasurer, who will help work with you to keep your child in school. Your circumstances will be kept confidential. Cooping Requirements 1. Attend a coop workshop: One of our state licensing requirements is that all coopers-who function as teachers' assistants receive some training in the job. This requirement is accomplished through a workshop scheduled early in the fall. It is organized and run by the Parent Chairperson, and attendance is mandatory. 2. Coop in the classroom: (Detailed description and explanation of coop duties are provided at the workshop) Coopers must arrive at 8:30 am (9:15 for Lunch Coopers, who stay until 1:00) and are expected to stay until all children are dismissed from the morning session and all work is done. Coopers set up for the day's activities, prepare and serve the snack, supervise projects, monitor play indoors and out, help the teachers as they are needed, and clean the lavatories and kitchen. Before the workshop, new coopers are paired with experienced coopers to help them through their first few cooping days. Lists of the day's duties are posted on the small bulletin board in the kitchen. Ask questions. Do not be embarrassed. You will get the hang of it very quickly. 3. Participate in Set Up and Clean Up Days: The weekend before school starts is Set Up . A weekend in April is designated Clean Up. All families must participate and will have an opportunity to choose a 4-hour block of time. In two parent families, both parents are urged to come. Children are welcome, including siblings. Even when they slow down the work, children contribute to the atmosphere. Bring rakes, pruners, wheelbarrows, work gloves, rubber gloves, buckets, rags, and sponges. The entire building and its contents must be cleaned. Overgrown grounds must be cleared. Wood chips must be spread. Anything broken must be fixed. Let the Maintenance/Property Manager (see list of Board members and job holders) know if you have repairing or building skills of any kind. If no one from your family is able to participate, notify the Maintenance/Property Manager immediately and arrange to do an equivalent job. There is always plenty to be done. 4. Participate in Fundraising: We hold at least three fundraising events each year. The parent whose job is fundraising usually coordinates these events with the teachers and Director. However, every family is required to participate in and attend at least two out of those three events. Of course, we hope that all families will contribute as much effort as they can for all of our fundraising events. 5. Participate in Weekend Cleaning, the Board of Directors, or a Parent Job: In addition to classroom cooping, and Set Up and Clean Up Days, each family must either participate in weekend cleaning, serve on the Board, or hold a parent job. . 7 Weekend Classroom Cleaning: The school is cleaned every other weekend during the school year. Cleaning families are those families in which a parent does not hold a parent job or serve on the Board. The obligation is straightforward and the time is set: about four hours per cleaning weekend. Each cleaning family will be scheduled for three weekends, except for those families with two children at the school, who will be scheduled for four weekends. Two families are assigned for each weekend, each with a separate set of tasks. On your assigned weekend, the keys and your instructions will be put into your child's cubby. You can work anytime between the close of school Friday and Sunday night except Sunday morning when the Unitarian Society Sunday School uses the building. Swapping weekends with other families is fine, as long as the work is completed. Serving on the Board of Directors: This is an open-ended obligation. Board members are expected to attend bi-monthly Board Meetings, which usually last for about two hours. In addition, Board officers may work many hours more, overseeing the operation of the school. Board Officers: Board officers are elected in the spring of each year. • The Board Chairperson schedules and conducts monthly board meeting and oversees all board operations. • The Parent Chairperson coordinates all parent meetings and workshops, works with parent representatives in assisting jobholders and addressing concerns of school families. • The Banking Treasurer oversees school finances, supervises the bookkeeper, manages school funds, makes financial forecasts and reports the school's financial status to the board. • The Tuition Treasurer collects and records tuition payments. • The Secretary takes minutes at all meetings. • The Parent Reps (2 for each circle) represent families and bring any issues or concerns to the board, represent the Board to the families in their circles, chair two circle meetings (one in the fall, one in the spring), assist the parent chair as necessary or requested, assist in organizing the fall potluck, and assist the fundraising coordinator by managing one element of one fund raising event during the school year. Parent jobs: Parents volunteer for these positions. If no one steps forward, then the Parent Chairperson may ask individuals if they will take these positions. The time commitment varies from one job to the next. Each parent who takes a job brings to it his or her own style. Sometimes two people share one job. • Maintenance/Property Manager coordinates Set Up and Clean Up Days, wood chip acquisition and spreading, general repairs and improvements. • Admissions Coordinator talks to parents of prospective students, making clear what our being a cooperative means, distributes and receives applications, coordinates with new enrollment. • Scheduler asks other parents when they can and cannot coop, makes and distributes the cooping schedule. This is done three times a year, for October-December, January-March, and April-June. Also schedules weekend cleanings. • Enrichment Coordinator enhances the curriculum by arranging and scheduling special activities and visitors. This parent meets regularly with the teachers in order to coordinate enrichment with the teachers' plans. He or she also handles book club orders. (Orders made through our school earn free books for our library.) • Fund raising Coordinator (often shared by two people) plans and directs fund raising events through the school year to help keep our tuition low. Examples of past fund raisers are the winter concert series and pizza and hoagie sales. New ideas and energy are forever being sought. • Purchaser buys snacks, cleaning and art supplies and anything else the teachers and Maintenance/Property Manager request. How often and where the purchaser shops is decided by the purchaser. The important thing is to be aware of our inventory of supplies-and never to run out. There is a list of basic supplies to use for guidelines. • Miscellaneous Jobs: Sometimes families take on particular projects, such as wood chip spreading or taking care of Nursery School animals. The size of these undertakings determines whether it excuses a family from weekend cleanings. That determination is made by the Maintenance/Property Manager and the Board. . 8 General Information/FAQ Scheduling: There are usually at least four coopers on any given morning, but the number of coopers may vary depending upon enrollment. Schedules are made three times a year by the parent who holds the job of “Scheduler”. The scheduler gives each family a form on which to indicate days on which they can and cannot coop. Once the schedule is distributed, the scheduler does not make changes. If a family cannot coop as scheduled, it must switch with another family. Cooping Options: Standard cooping means cooping twice a month, usually every other week. Standard tuition is based on regular cooping. Heavy cooping requires cooping three times a month for a tuition reduction. Light cooping requires cooping once a month and involves increased tuition. See tuition chart for amounts. In addition, for families with two children attending the school, light cooping requires cooping twice a month, standard requires cooping three times a month, and heavy requires cooping four times a month. Sibling Helpers: Younger or older sisters and brothers may join their cooping parents as long as they do not interfere with cooping, and as long as they are not sick. If a sibling requires constant undivided attention, such that you will be unable to fully participate in cooping, you may want to make other arrangements for her or him. Channels of Communication • Tuition problems: As soon as you foresee a problem that will affect your tuition payment, contact the Tuition Treasurer (See list of Board members and jobholders) • Concerns about your children: If you have a concern that is specific to your child, arrange to speak to the teachers. If you have a more general concern about an aspect of the school, contact the Parent Chairperson or the Representative for your child’s circle. The children are our highest concern. Please communicate! • From individuals to the board: If you have a concern, which cannot be handled one on one, contact a member of the Board, who will in turn carry your concern to the Board for consideration. Remember all parents are always welcome at the board meetings. • From the board to individuals: When a problem concerning an individual is brought to the attention of the Board, the Parent Chair contacts the person involved to hear her or his side of the story. The Parent Chair continues to be the contact person, unless a resolution is not quickly found, in which case the Parent Chairperson may ask the Board Chairperson to take over. Penalties: Failure to communicate about any problem concerning nonpayment of tuition or non-fulfillment of coop and cleaning obligations may result in expulsion from the school. Late Tuition/Nonpayment of Tuition: A late fee of $10 is charged for each week that tuition is late (up to $40). If four weeks have passed without full payment of the required amount or without arrangements being made to rectify the problem, the child will be required to stay home until the tuition has been paid. If, after two more weeks, no payment or arrangements have been made the child will be formally asked to leave the school and legal action will be taken to collect the required tuition. Lateness and Failure to Show for Cooping: Any person who arrives after 8:45 am and has not called is considered a no show. If your child is not feeling well the night before you are scheduled to coop, go ahead and get a substitute. It is always best to be over prepared. When a cooper does not show up, a substitute parent will be called and paid $50, which will be added to the late/no show family's bill. That family will also be expected to make up the missed cooping. If the cooping is not made up and the fine not paid within 30 days the family will be asked to leave the school. If you have an emergency that prevents you from cooping, call as soon as possible. You will not be penalized for things beyond your control, but you are expected to take control over as much as you can! . 9 Failure to Complete Cleaning and Maintenance Obligations: If it looks like you cannot complete an obligation when it is scheduled, or a special project that you agreed to do, trade with someone else. If you cannot find another family to switch with, call the maintenance/property manager to make arrangements. Communication is key. Families who do miss an obligation will be fined $50 and have 30 days in which to complete the missed obligation. If it is not completed within 30 days and the fine is not paid, the family will be asked to leave the school. Arriving late to pick up children: An afternoon drop in fee ($18) will be charged for any parent who arrives more than 10 minutes late to pick up his or her child. Dealing with Problems: Because we depend on each other to keep the school running smoothly, we take it very seriously when parents do not fulfill their coop obligations. Most of us lead busy lives. Some of us are able to give more time than others to a cooperative venture, but everyone is obligated to the considerable minimum participation outlined in the previous section. Communication is the best solution to all problems, especially when problems are communicated before they have a chance to grow. This section will outline the channels of communication for problem resolution and penalties for failure to fulfill coop obligations, and will reiterate what it means to be a cooperative. Being Cooperative Penalties? In a coop? What's the world coming to?! Life moves fast. We are all busy. There are many demands on our time. We are tired. Sometimes we are overwhelmed. Sometimes something has to give.... and over the past few years, it seems that one of the first things to give, at least for some people, is cooping. However, anything less than the full participation of every single family affects the way our school operates. In a coop, we pay less money, but give more of ourselves than in an ordinary school. Penalties came into being to put a tangible consequence on not honoring the agreements we make by becoming a part of The Cooperative Nursery School. Every family needs to understand its cooping obligations, and to fulfill them. The rewards are tangible too. We see our children flourish. We find ourselves becoming a cooperative community. . 10 Sexual Misconduct Prevention Policy Introduction: The Cooperative Nursery School, hereafter referred to as CNS, is committed to maintaining an environment supportive and nurturing of children and free of all forms of sexual abuse and misconduct. CNS will not tolerate sexual abuse or misconduct by its employees, families, visitors, service providers, or any other individuals under CNS's care and supervision. Applicability This policy applies to all applicants, employees, families, visitors, service providers, and individuals under CNS's care and supervision. Prohibited Conduct CNS specifically prohibits any behavior that might reasonably be construed as sexually abusive, exploitative, or otherwise sexually inappropriate. All staff, parents, observers, and visitors are required to conduct themselves in a manner that could not reasonably be construed as sexually inappropriate. Complaint Procedure All employees of the CNS are mandated reporters under the Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Law. Employees and Cooping parents should report any incident or suspected incident, regardless of its perceived seriousness, to their immediate supervisor, the Director of the CNS, and the President of the Board of Directors. The School Director (s) and the board President will promptly investigate all reported incidents. Any employee, applicant, or cooper who exercises her/his right to report an incident involving sexual misconduct will not be subject to retaliation. Investigation and Documentation All reported incidents will be promptly investigated. Any suspicion of abuse or misconduct must be reported immediately to the Director of the CNS and the President ofthe Board of Directors. Reports involving staff will be documented in the employee’s and the child’s files. The Director of the CNS and/or a representative of the Board of Directors will confer with the accused party. If it is determined that abuse or other misconduct is a possibility, this information will be reported to the appropriate local family services agency and the family or families of any involved children. Procedures outlined by the local family services agency will be followed. Consequences of Sexual Misconduct This is a "zero tolerance" policy. CNS considers sexual misconduct of any type to be a serious disciplinary offense: any violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment and expulsion from the cooperative. As required by law, an oral report will be made immediately to the local child protective services agency or statewide childline, followed within 48 hours by the filing of a written report. Confidentiality All inquiries, complaints, and investigations will be treated confidentially. Required Clearances and Training All staff are required to obtain a Criminal History Check and Child Abuse Clearance from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. All staff and parents will be trained in the prevention and reporting of child abuse. .