A. Confidentiality of all Records:
All records are considered confidential. Information on children and families are stored in locked file cabinets and only persons with clearance are allowed access to these records.
B. Absences of Children:
In the event a child is not participating on a regular basis, and the program has made effort to improve attendance and has not been successful, that slot will be filled with a child on the waiting list. The effort made by Head Start will include but is not limited to:
- Unannounced absences of children, within in one hour of the start of the school day, a staff member will contact parent of child within the school day.
- When a problem arises in contacting the parent, the teacher will contact the family educator and utilize these services to access information about the situation.
- If the child is sick, the parent is asked to share information and this is documented.
- If there are extenuating circumstances, the family educator will determine if there is anything Head Start can assist the family with to get the child back into school.
- If the absences are not caused by a legitimate reason, the benefits of regular attendance will be discussed with the family, (with sensitive consideration given to the family situation).
- Documentation of the reason for absences will be made, and the problem and methods of resolutions tried and failed.
- If success is not achieved and the parent does not make a serious effort to send the child back to Head Start on a regular basis, Head Start will replace the child with one on the waiting list. The decision of the parent not to send the child on a regular basis will be seen as the parent choosing for the child not to attend.
C. Medication Policy:
If the child has an illness that requires medication to be given at school, Head Start abides by the policies of the Ascension Parish School Board. The doctor ordering the medication must fill out the appropriate information on a medication release form and this along with the parent’s consent must be presented to the program. The nurse will explain this procedure to the parent.
D. Special Diets of Children:
If the child needs a special diet, a note stating this must be submitted so that accommodations based on the doctor’s recommendation can be made.
It is not permissible for a child to bring his/her own food into the center.
If symptoms of contagious or infectious diseases are observed, the parent will be called to come and pick up their child. The child will need to be excluded from Head Start until the illness or symptoms are gone.
The parent needs to inform classroom staff of any individual concerns they have in regards to their child. Head Start will strive to accommodate all children, but if it is found that they cannot best serve the needs of the child, then alternative placement will discussed with the parent.
In accordance with the requirements of the LA Department of Social Services, Child Care Licensing, Head Start Program Performance Standards, and the Ascension Parish Head Start Program adheres to the following discipline policy.
Objectives of our discipline policy include:
- To help children learn to be in control of their own behavior
- To help children develop a feeling of responsibility for their own behavior
- To help children to show care and concern toward others
Effective Methods of Discipline Advocated at Head Start:
- Set simple basic rules for behavior in the classrooms and outside the classroom.
- Arrange classrooms in such a way as to eliminate undesired behavior.
Plan a realistic schedule appropriate to the age of the child.
- Support positive behavior, using PBIS strategies and techniques.
When inappropriate behavior arises:
- Redirection with the child will be used.
- Ignoring behavior if there is no threat of potential danger
- Communicate expectations and limits
If a child is out of control:
- Teacher will offer a quiet area inside the room until the child feels in control and then he/she can return to the group.
- If the child is in danger of hurting himself or others, then the teacher must remove the child from the group until the child is in control of himself.
- Parents will be encouraged to follow similar techniques of discipline and will have training during the year on discipline.
- No child shall be subject to physical punishment, verbal abuse or threats.
- Cruel, severe, unusual or unnecessary punishment shall not be inflicted upon children by children themselves.
- No child or group of children shall be allowed to discipline another child.
- When a child is removed from the group for disciplinary reasons, he shall not be out of the sight of a staff person.
- No child shall be deprived of meals or any part of meals for disciplinary reasons.
- Reports of mistreatment of children coming to the attention of the Bureau of Licensing and or office of Community Services, Division of Children, Youth and Family Services will be investigated by the above-mentioned agency.
- Any suspected abuse and or neglect of a child in a Day Care Center must be reported in accordance with LA. 14:403. Local number to call: (225) 644-4603.
F. Grievance Procedures:
Our program recognizes that harmonious relations with its parents can be maintained and improved through effective communications. The interests of all parties can best be served by sincere efforts of all concerned to promote understanding and cooperation. Therefore, the following grievance procedure has been adopted by the Policy Council.
A “grievance” is a claim or dispute concerning the interpretation, application, or claimed violation of the program. Other matters for which other means of resolution are provided or foreclosed by status or administrative procedures shall not be considered grievances. A grievance does not include matters involving educational policy.
Procedure: All grievances shall be handled in accordance with the following procedure:
(Step1) Any parent with a grievance shall promptly present to the teacher or Director the grievance in writing. Such notice shall be presented not later than five (5) working days after the day/days on which the alleged grievance occurred. A reply will be made in writing to the parent within five working days following the date of time prescribed. If this is satisfactory to the parent, the process is finished.
(Step2) In the event the parent wishes to appeal the decision of Step1, the appeal must be presented in writing to the next administrative officer of higher rank. This would be the Policy Council Chairperson. Such an appeal shall contain a statement of the grievance and specific references of violations.
(Step3) In the event that there cannot be a solution found at this level, then the issue will be scheduled to come before the Policy Council at the next scheduled meeting. Unless the grievance shall be appealed, it shall be deemed to have been settled.
G. Smoke Free Policy:
As per the program instruction #ACYF-PI-HS-95_04 (Establishing a Smoke Free Environment in Head Start Program), all Head Start Grantees are required to create a smoke-free environment and to eliminate exposure to tobacco smoke by children, staff, and parents in the Head Start Program.
Smoke Free Environment:
Due to the acknowledged hazards, both to adult nonsmokers and especially to young children, arising from exposure to environmental tobacco smoke, it shall be the policy of Ascension Parish Head Start to prohibit smoking in all classrooms, staff offices, restrooms, parent rooms, playgrounds, and vehicles.
Your Child and the Bus
The Ascension Parish Head Start Program will make every effort to provide transportation to all children who are accepted into the program. The variables, that will be considered in determining bus transportation include:
- Number of bus drivers available at a particular site
- Time from the site
- Mileage from site
If the child is found eligible for the program, but Head Start cannot provide transportation, then arrangements can be made for the parent to provide transportation.
An adult must wait with the child in the morning. The bus will not stop for a child if the parent is not outside with the child.
In the afternoon, no child will be allowed off the bus until an adult listed on the third party release form is at the bus stop. If no adult comes to meet the bus, the child will be returned to school and it will be the responsibility of the parent to come and get the child. Head Start staff is not allowed to bring children back home, if the parent fails to meet the bus.
In the morning, if the child seems to have a communicable disease, then the bus rider will not allow the child on the bus.
Parents need to remember that bus routes are fixed according to the location confirmed during in-take. Busses will not be rerouted after the beginning of the year. Children living within close distances will be asked to meet at one location to expedite the route.
If a child needs to be dropped off at a different location, a note must be sent to school in the morning. Please do not call the office to make changes. The secretary will inform the parent whether or not this change can be approved. If during the day your plans change, come to the center and pick up your child. All transportation change requests must be made in writing.
Early dismissal days occur once or twice a month. These are listed on the monthly calendars sent home to parents. Reminder notices are also sent home prior to the early dismissal days.