FAQs



COVID Policies

Q:

Are classes being held in-person?

A:

We are not holding in-person classes during the first (Fall) semester of 2021-22. This decision was reached because our current resources are not sufficient to allow us to hold in-person classes safely, in light of the Delta variant.

SCC considered a variety of conditions when making this decision. We looked at the current policies of the Montgomery County Public Schools and the steps they have taken for students and teachers to safely return to in-person learning. We considered mechanisms for member quarantine, contact tracing, and vaccination requirements. We examined what could be done to mitigate the spread of the virus with face coverings, cleaning routines, and improved ventilation. In the end, we realized that the contagiousness of this variant, the number of unvaccinated children, and the limited funding and people at our disposal combined to create a situation where we did not feel it was safe to meet in person.

As conditions change, we will continue to keep abreast of the CDC and MCPS guidelines and policies, as well as the policies of our host, Church of the Ascension. Once it's established that we are able to provide a safe environment for our members, SCC will make every effort to return to in-person learning as quickly as possible.

Q:

How are virtual classes taught?

A:

When SCC is unable to meet in person, classes are held online via Zoom. Maintaining dynamic and effective teaching is one of SCC’s highest priorities. SCC provides training and technology support to teachers in order to meet this priority.

Membership

Q:

What is included in membership?

A:

By becoming a member of the co-op, you get:

  • A wide array of class choices for your child(ren)
  • A place to hang out, work and connect with other parents
  • A whole community of homeschoolers for yourself and your child(ren)
  • Access to our community service initiatives, clubs, field trips, and get-togethers

Q:

What are member responsibilities?

A:

Our adult members are the ones who make the co-op happen! They are involved by:

  • Teaching or co-­teaching at least one class per semester (see Classes section for details)
  • Signing up for a required number of co-op jobs each semester (see next question)
  • Serving on a committee or the Board of Directors
  • Suggesting topics for future classes

Q:

What is the requirement for co-op jobs?

A:

In order to make the co-op run, members need to pitch in to get everything done. We use an on-line sign-up to help everyone find jobs that fit their schedules and skills. Typically, each adult will need to sign up to help out about half a dozen times during a semester. Some common jobs include:

  • Morning Setup – arranging chairs and tables, putting out supplies, posting signs, etc.
  • Door Monitor – staffing the front door and monitoring the front hall
  • Closing Clean­up – emptying trash, wiping tables, storing chairs and tables, vacuuming, etc.

Q:

Do I have to be a member for my child to take classes and participate in SCC activities?

A:

Yes, classes and other co-op activities are available only to members.

Q:

Can I still be a member if my child is not taking any classes this semester?

A:

Yes, some of our members enjoy SCC so much that they continue participating in the life of the co-op even after their children have left SCC or graduated high school.

Q:

Can I bring my child’s younger siblings to the co-op?

A:

We love to see younger siblings (under age 5) at the co-op! Though we don’t offer classes for this age, we do encourage parents and guardians to meet and spend time together. There is a nearby park and lots of opportunities for play. This is a great opportunity for your younger children to make some of their first friends!

Q:

Can a teenager join on their own?

A:

Adult involvement is essential to the successful operation of the co-op. We rely on adult members to teach classes, serve on committees, and perform needed jobs during the course of the day. In certain circumstances, such as if the parent of an older teen is working during the day and cannot fulfill their jobs obligations, their teen child can complete this part of their responsibilities. This arrangement is called “Special Exception” and must be approved by the Board. Please contact [email protected] for more information on the Special Exception program.

Schedule

Q:

What are the dates for the 2021-22 school year?

A:

The school year goes from mid-September to mid-May, and  is divided into Fall and Spring semesters. There is a one-week Fall Break, a two-week Winter Break, and a two-week Spring Break.

Tues Sept 14 Fall Semester Begins
Nov 19 - 29 Fall Break
Thurs Dec 16 Fall Semester Ends
Dec 17 - Jan 3 Winter Break
Tues Jan 4 Spring Semester Begins
Apr 1 - 18 Spring Break
Thurs May 12 Spring Semester Ends
Tues May 17 Graduation

 

Q:

What days of the week do you meet?

A:

We meet on most Tuesdays and Thursdays during our semesters except for some holiday weeks. Parents may organize non-class activities on other days.

Q:

What is the daily schedule?

A:

We have the building between 9am and 4pm each Tuesday and Thursday.

Classes begin at 9:30am and last 65 minutes, with a 10 minute break between classes.

Lunch is 75 minutes long.

Classes end at 3:35pm.

9:00 - 9:30am Set up
9:30 - 10:35am 1st Period
10:45 - 11:50am 2nd Period
12:00 - 1:15pm Lunch
1:15 - 2:20pm 3rd Period
2:30- 3:35pm 4th Period
3:35 - 4:00pm Clean up

 

Q:

What is your inclement weather policy?

A:

If Montgomery County Public Schools are closed due to inclement weather, the co-op is closed. If the Montgomery County Public Schools are delayed, the co-op will open on time.

Supervision

Q:

Can I drop off my child?

A:

No. Parents or guardians are responsible for their child(ren) at all times. SCC is a community-focused learning environment and we believe that it's important for members to be present throughout the school day, but at a minimum whenever any of their children are in attendance.

NOTE: During virtual learning, this extends to having a parent or guardian available while the child is attending virtual classes, in the event that the teacher or co-teacher of the class needs to reach out regarding an immediate issue with that child.

Q:

Can I leave the co-op to go run an errand?

A:

Yes. Parents or guardians may use the sign-out system to designate a Proxy Parent (another co-op adult) to temporarily supervise their child if they need to leave the co-op for a short time. Also, we have Proxy Parent forms so that you can have this designation last through the school year.

Q:

Can I choose someone else to perform my co-op duties?

A:

Yes. Parents or guardians may designate another caregiver (i.e. grandparent, nanny) to serve as their child’s guardian at the co-op with prior approval. That person will then be the one to fulfill all of the member responsibilities Please email [email protected] if you will need to exercise this option.

Classes

Q:

What ages do you serve?

A:

We serve families with children from age 5 through the end of high school. No formal program is offered for children under 5, but parents are welcome to self-organize trips to the park or activities in common areas. At least ONE of your participating children must be age 5 or older.

Q:

Who teaches your classes?

A:

All of our classes are run by parent or guardian volunteers.

Q:

What kinds of classes do you offer?

A:

Take a look at our Class Schedule page to see what we are offering this semester. Some classes use a traditional academic format with textbooks, grades, and homework; others are just for fun, and still others fall somewhere in between. We aim for a wide variety of classes that enable us to share every co-op member's talents and interests. If you'd like to propose a class, let us know!

Q:

How do you decide what classes to offer?

A:

We ask that you submit at least one class idea to the Registrar each semester. This could be a class that you yourself would like to teach, or that you would be willing to assist someone else to teach, or simply something that you would like to see the co-op offer. When you join the co-op, you will be asked to indicate what types of classes you might be interested in helping to teach or facilitate.

Q:

Will I need to teach a class?

A:

Each family will need to either teach or co-teach (assist with a class). Class duties can run the gamut from teaching high-school level math or science to supervising outdoor playtime to simply sitting in on a class led by someone else and keeping an eye on things. Don’t worry! Our classes coordinator will work with you to find a good fit for your interests and abilities. Many of our new families start off with relatively light classroom duties. Others are seasoned teachers and are ready to jump right in. And no, you do not have to be an expert to teach!

Q:

What accommodations are available for students with special needs?

A:

As a parent-led, volunteer organization without access to special education staff, we are not equipped to serve students with certain emotional, social, psychological, or physical needs. However, accommodations will be made when possible. Please let us know before registering if your child has special needs to ensure that the co-op will be a good fit and that we will be able to help to make your child's experience a positive one.

Fees

Q:

What is the Membership Fee?

A:

Our Membership Fee is $100 per semester and is due at the time of registration for the semester. This fee goes to cover our rent, insurance and other overhead costs.

Q:

What are the Class Fees?

A:

Most Class Fees are $25 per semester and go to cover the costs of general equipment and materials for the teachers and classrooms. Double period classes (either two hours in one day, or twice a week) will have a $50 Class Fee per semester.

Q:

What are the Materials Fees?

A:

Some teachers who use dedicated curriculum and supplies in their classes ask for an additional materials fee on top of the general Class Fee. These go directly to the teacher and are used for extra or special materials not provided by the co-op. The amount of the Materials Fee for a class will be listed in the class description.

Q:

When are fees due?

A:

The Membership Fee for new members is due when you join the co-op and is required in order to be able to register for classes. For returning members, the Membership Fee is due just before the start of the semester. Class Fees and Materials Fees are not due until three weeks into the term, so that you can be sure you have chosen the classes that work best for your child.

Q:

How can I pay my fees?

A:

Membership and Class Fees can be paid via PayPal through our website. If you cannot pay using PayPal, please contact [email protected] to arrange payment by other means. A $35 fee will be assessed for any check returned by the bank for insufficient funds. Materials fees can be paid either at the same time as other fees, using PayPal, or are paid directly to the teacher. Each teacher decides how they will collect their materials fees.

Q:

What if a current financial hardship makes it difficult for my family to pay the fees?

A:

We are committed to making it possible for any interested family to join our community regardless of economic circumstances. We offer payment plans, as well as partial and full scholarships. To set up a payment plan, contact [email protected] If you need financial assistance to be able to participate, please reach out to us by clicking the Scholarship button on the website, or emailing [email protected]

Q:

What is your refund policy?

A:

Membership and Class Fees are refundable for the first 30 days after the beginning of the semester, or the student's date of enrollment, whichever is later. Full or partial refunds for Materials Fees are at the discretion of each teacher.

Community

Q:

What is your community like?

A:

We are a diverse, secular and welcoming community, comprised of members of many different racial and ethnic identities. Some of our members were born in other countries and speak more than one language. We have members from different faiths, and members with no religious affiliation. We have adults and students in our community who identify as LGBTQI+ and we are committed to making our co-op a safe space for everyone, regardless of identity or lifestyle. We value tolerance and celebrate the opportunity to learn from and about each other’s cultures.

Q:

How is the co-op run and organized?

A:

The co-op is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. You may obtain a copy of our by-laws by contacting our secretary, [email protected] We have a volunteer Board of Directors that includes a president, treasurer, secretary, and 2 to 8 other members who oversee specific areas such as registration, classes, facilities, etc. Other non-board members help out with tasks such as coordinating co-op jobs, managing our website, organizing events and so on. We hold monthly member meetings and regularly poll the community for input on current issues. The co-op runs best when everyone joins in and contributes!

Q:

What are the expectations for classroom behavior?

A:

Students are expected to remain in their classes until dismissed and follow their teachers’ guidelines. Classroom norms will vary according to the class, with some relatively quiet and structured and others very active and freeform. If a student is disruptive and does not respond to their teacher’s guidance, they will be returned to their parent or guardian. If the disruptive behavior is ongoing, the teacher will work with the parent to remedy the situation, and may enlist the assistance of the Board if needed.

Q:

What are the general expectations for behavior?

A:

Everyone, adults and students, are expected to behave respectfully toward each other. There is zero tolerance for bullying or harassment of any kind within our community. Our member agreement outlines the details of our policy regarding expected behavior. Members who repeatedly engage in bullying or harassment may be asked to leave the class or the co-op, without a refund of the associated fees.

Facilities

Q:

Where do you meet?

A:

We rent space in a charming historic building near downtown Silver Spring and close to East Silver Spring ES. We have access to about half a dozen classrooms, a large multi-purpose room, and a shady outside area. There is a park with a playground and open space a couple of blocks away. Downtown Silver Spring and Sligo Creek are within a few minutes’ walking distance.

Q:

Is parking available?

A:

Our building does not have a parking lot, but does have off-street parking available for those with mobility issues. This same parking area can be used temporarily, to load/unload heavy items you may be bringing to the co-op. Free on-street parking is available directly across from the building and in the surrounding neighborhood.

Q:

Can I get there by public transit?

A:

Yes! We are about a mile from the Silver Spring Metro station. The F4 Metrobus line and the 16,17, and 20 Ride-On bus lines stop near our building.There is a Capital Bikeshare station right near us, as well.

Q:

How accessible is your facility?

A:

The building where we meet is historical, but has had accessibility upgrades. There is an accessible door into the building, as well as an elevator. If you have mobility issues, please reach out to us and we can go over the details with you. We will do everything possible to make the facility accessible for you.

Q:

Are there facilities for food storage and preparation?

A:

Yes. The co-op owns two microwaves as well as coffee and tea making supplies. We are also permitted to use part of the building’s kitchen refrigerator, though all members must remove their items from it by the end of each day. Peanuts are not permitted at SCC for the safety of members with life-threatening allergies. Depending on the allergies of current members, you may be informed of other prohibited foods. We have a large eating area which is also the center of social activity throughout the day. Everyone is responsible for cleaning up after their children after lunch and at the end of the day.

Q:

Is the building safe for those with peanut or other food allergies?

A:

SCC does not permit peanuts during our meeting times. Other restrictions may be added depending upon current members’ needs. Our host does not restrict any food in their building so allergens may be present from other activities.

Q:

What are the expectations for treatment of the co-op facilities?

A:

We rely on our members to treat the space that we rent with care and respect to maintain a good relationship with our host. Members will be responsible for any property damage caused by their children.