Teacher Handbook

Are you interested in teaching a class for HSOBX? This page gives an overview of what is expected of teachers and what teachers should expect from our co-op. Feel free to contact us with any additional questions or clarifications! Printable version available here.

 

Basic Qualifications:

All of our teachers have college degrees or expertise in the field they wish to teach. The majority of our parent-teachers have been involved in HSOBX for at least one full semester prior to teaching a class. We also accept class proposals from ‘outside’ instructors who do not have children attending co-op.

Academic Year:

The academic year at HSOBX comprises two 15 week semesters. The fall semester begins the first Tuesday after Labor Day, taking a week off for Thanksgiving holiday. The spring semester begins the first Tuesday in February, taking the 9th week off for Spring Break.​ All important dates can be found on the calendar page.

Co-op Hours:

HSOBX meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9:30-2:30. We have four class hours per day: two class hours before lunch, a lunch hour from 11:30-12:30, and two class hours after lunch. Class ‘hours’ are 55 minutes long, ending at 25 minutes after the hour. Instructors are asked to set up their classrooms with tables and chairs before the first hour (with student help) and to leave their classrooms clean and swept every hour. Instructors are asked to put away tables and chairs (with student help) as needed at the end of the last class hour. Classes for all age groups are offered on Tuesdays; Thursday classes are for students ages 9 and above.

Class Proposals:

Proposals for future classes are taken for the upcoming semester beginning in the 8th week of the current semester (typically late October and late March). Proposals are submitted via a web-form (link below) and due the 10th week of the semester. Initial notifications of their accepted classes are sent to teachers in week 12, and a final schedule is publicly released in week 14.

Information required in the class proposal includes the following: a title, the age range for which the class will be offered, class fee (for a one-time payment and for three installments), whether the class is a one-day or a two-day class (generally for the 12+ classes only), whether it is a one-semester or two-semester class, and a brief description of the course content including information about prerequisites, supplies or textbooks required, and what the homework commitment will be. Examples can be found in our current class descriptions. Minimum class size is 4.

First-time teachers must also submit a short teacher biography with the class proposal as well as email a photo of themselves to the registrar (registrar@hsobx.org) for the Teacher Bio page. A bio should be written in the third person, and should be a few sentences that describe your education and experience as well as some personal details. See our teacher bios for examples.

The submission of a class proposal constitutes an acceptance of all policies outlined in this handbook.

Class fee guidelines:

In an effort to keep tuitions affordable and consistent, we provide the following guidelines:

  • No tuition should cost more than $10/hour without Board approval..
  • $120 is our standard tuition for a one-day class.
  • Classes that are low-prep and require inexpensive or few supplies, and have no associated grading, should be $80/semester.

Age Groups and Class Sizes:

HSOBX offers classes for six age groups: 4-6 years old, 6-8 years old, 8-10 years old, 10-12 years old, 12-14 years old, and high school aged (14+). If you wish to teach more than one age group, please specify in your class proposal whether you will be teaching one session that can accommodate students of a wider age range, or if you would prefer to offer multiple sections and target each to a different age group.

HSOBX believes that small classes are important to ensure the quality of our offerings. Classes for ages 4-8 have a maximum enrollment of 8 students, with the exception of Play and Learn, which has a teacher and an assistant and a maximum enrollment of 12. Classes for ages 8-10, 10-12, and 12-14 have a maximum enrollment of 10 students. High school classes have a maximum enrollment of 12 students. Some group performance-type classes like theater and choir have multiple teachers and maximum enrollments of 20.  In rare cases, the board may approve a smaller class size requested by a teacher in a proposal, but no exceptions are given for larger class sizes. If a class is fully enrolled, the registrar may keep a list of interested students in case a spot opens.

Scheduling of Classes and Teaching Limits:

Potential teachers may submit as many class proposals as they like, and may include scheduling requests and limitations as part of the proposal. The Board is responsible for deciding which classes to offer, and is responsible for creating the class schedule and room assignments. The Board cannot schedule all proposed classes or honor all scheduling requests. The Board will contact teachers with class acceptances and proposed teaching times; instructors may then accept or decline the offer.  In the majority of cases, new teachers are limited to one (or sometimes two) classes. Veteran teachers are subject to the following limits: A teacher may teach up to four individual classes, not more than 6 class hours total (in the case of two-day classes or classes with multiple sections), and not more than 3 hours per day.

Board Contact Person:

Each teacher will be assigned a Board contact person. This Board member will stay in contact with the teacher regarding class scheduling, registration, and any issues that arise during the semester. If a teacher has questions or concerns, this Board member should be the first point of contact.

Enrollment in Classes:

Class enrollments are (with provisos listed below) done on a first-come first-serve basis, and class rosters are compiled by the HSoBX registrar. Rosters will be published on the HSOBX Facebook group page 1-2 weeks after registration opens. (Only currently enrolled families are allowed membership on this page.) Instructors may not add students to their own rosters, and only students who are on a roster are permitted in the classroom.  

Eligibility for early or priority enrollment is defined as follows:

  • Board members may pre-enroll their children.
  • Instructors may pre-enroll their own children in their own classes and n any age-appropriate class for the hours they are teaching.
  • Continuing students have priority in multi-semester classes.
  • Continuing families have a two-week window to enroll in classes before returning families.
  • Returning families (families who have previously attended HSOBX but have taken one or more semesters off) have a week to enroll before new families may enroll.

Students who are younger than the minimum age listed for a class may not enroll unless the student has written permission of both the instructor and a Board member, and that enrollment is subject to a 24 hour hold at the beginning of the enrollment period  Students who are older than the maximum age listed for a class may enroll for that class, but are subjected to a 24 hour hold at the beginning of the enrollment period. Instructors who wish to approve a younger student in their class must notify the registrar via email to registrar@hsobx.org before the student can be put on the roster.

Early Enrollment and Nursery Care:

Teachers’ children have priority registration during the hours they are teaching. Teachers must use the class proposal form to list the children they will want to pre-enroll. Regular tuition fees apply, and HSOBX cannot guarantee that a class of interest to or appropriate for your child will be offered. Children of instructors are not required to be in a class during the time that their parent teaches, but all children are required to have age-appropriate supervision at all times (please see Family Handbook). Teachers may request nursery care for their children aged 5 and under during the hours they are teaching, but only if this request is noted as part of the class proposal.

Fees and Payments:

Instructors are to provide both a one time payment option and a 3 installment payment option. Instructors must keep track of their own accounts. Payments are made directly from families to the instructors; checks should be left in the instructor’s folder, and cash payments should be made directly in person and recorded in the receipt book we keep in the ‘box’ on the front table. Some teachers accept Paypal payments. Should there be any issue with the collection of payment from a parent, teachers should speak to the parent directly before notifying the administration. If collection of monies from a parent becomes impossible, HSOBX cannot cover lost expenses or act as a collection agency for instructors. However, a family may not register for classes if their tuitions from the previous semester have not been paid, and may lose the option for installment payments if their payments were significantly late the previous semester, so it is important to let your Board contact know of any payment issues you have with your students.

Add/Drop:  

Open enrollment ends immediately before the second class meeting each term.  Once open enrollment has ended, students must have instructor and Board permission to add a class. Payment to teachers is expected on the first day of class.  Teachers are under no obligation to refund tuition for students who drop a class after the second meeting, and students are still responsible for payment installations in such a case. In special circumstances, instructors do sometimes waive subsequent installments or refund (prorated) tuition when a student drops a class once the semester has begun. This is entirely at the instructor’s discretion.

Pro Bono Contributions:

To support the efforts of our Board of Directors and the other unpaid administrative positions (nursery managers, closing coordinator), we ask all instructors with seven students enrolled in a class to make a Pro Bono Contribution.  This contribution takes the form of a pro bono spot in the class for a board member’s child, an administrator’s child, or scholarship child  who is already enrolled in the class.

​The “Seventh Student” Contribution:

To ensure that all teachers contribute equally to the running of HSOBX, we ask all instructors with at least seven students enrolled, where no child is receiving a pro bono spot, to make a “Seventh Student Contribution.”  This 7thSC takes the form of a monetary contribution of an amount equal to one student’s tuition to a special fund. Proceeds collected in this fund will be used primarily for scholarships, but may also be used to cover classes for administrative staff (nursery managers, closing coordinator), or be used to cover co-op operating costs if needed.  Once registration has closed and rosters are set in the second week of classes, 7thSC payments may be made to HSOBX via PayPal (payhsobx@hsobx.org) or by check.

Absences and Substitutes:

HSOBX allows for one weather related closure per semester. Teachers are allowed one personal/sick day per semester. Teachers are not to cancel classes without consulting a Board member. Every teacher must have a lesson plan on hand at co-op for someone to fill in on short notice. In the event of family, personal, medical, or other planned absence (long or short term), teachers may arrange for a substitute instructor of their choosing. Teachers are to identify a willing substitute at the beginning of each semester. All substitutes are to be cleared with the HSoBX Board. Multiple cancelled classes (or classes without an approved substitute) may result in the teacher being asked to provide (prorated) tuition refunds to families.

Classroom Management:

Only children enrolled in a class should be present in the classroom. The Board must approve all classroom guests and classroom assistants. Classes are to be held in the room assigned or outside on church property if the teacher wishes, but may not leave church grounds without Board notification and consent. If a student is providing a significant distraction in the classroom, whether for behavior or illness, or the teacher needs any other support during the class hour, a board member is available during each hour to assist.  It is the teacher’s discretion as to whether a child needs to return to his/her parent for the remainder of class, so that instructional time may continue. No corporal punishment is permitted.

Insurance Requirements:

HSOBX’s liability insurance policy requires us to check the full names of all adult participants against the Virginia State Police Sexual Offender Database records.

Board Responsibilities and Authority:

The Board of Directors of HSOBX consists of five homeschooling parents and/or instructors at HSOBX who share a commitment to providing the best educational opportunities we can for the families in this community. We also have a responsibility to the Eastminster Presbyterian Church to serve as caretakers of the property during co-op hours, and to ‘give back’ to our generous hosts as much as we can. On occasion, a question will arise not covered by the policies outline in the Family Handbook or the Teacher Handbook. In this case, the Board reserves the right to improvise policy, and asks that all involved parties abide by that decision.

 

We are not accepting class proposals at this time.  Check back in October if you have class proposals you would like to submit.