2. Parental Requirements

The success of the Saint John of San Francisco Orthodox Academy in educating children depends upon the involvement of parents/guardians in developing our Church and school community. It is our firm conviction that Orthodox education is a mixture of activities at school, Church and in the home, and can only be successful if parents are actively involved in every dimension of the educational process. For this reason, parents of students at St. John's agree to be active participants in the school's work and mission. This section of our School Handbook outlines the expectations of parents in terms of Church life, service work and ongoing parent education, and other dimensions of parental involvement at St. John's.

Church attendance and participation


Attendance at the Sunday Liturgy as well as major religious holy days is a basic expectation and requirement for all families of St. John's students. As an Orthodox school, the Academy expects and encourages parents to participate in and to help guide their children in spiritual life, to bring their children to the Divine Services, partake in the holy mysteries and learn about the faith side by side with their children. When students are unable to attend the Divine Services the parents must notify the school administration by letter. Excessive unexcused absence from Church services will affect the students' grade in Religion as well as other classes that may integrate Church participation, and will prevent the student from being registered for the new school year.

Time - Parent education and service hours


An Orthodox education does not involve children alone: it involves the whole family, growing together in knowledge, awareness, faith and piety. As part of this process, ongoing parental education is a key part of the work of St. John's: education in terms of developing skills for responding to childhood growth and maturation, dealing with social issues, effectively guiding children in internet usage, etc. Parents of St. John's students commit time each month to engaging in these types of educational opportunities provided by the school.


Parents also commit time to working with the school via the Parents Association, a parental assistance and fundraising auxiliary. This comes in the form of 'service hours', which each family commits to assisting in fundraisers, activities, and events in the life of the school.

How service hours and parent education are organized has changed slightly between the 2009-10 school year and the present:

From the 2010-11 school year onward

From the 2010-11 school year onward, all parents of St. John's students will be required to complete 50* service hours per year, of which 20 (equal to 2 hrs. per month) are to be parent education activities.

In practice, this means that the same amount of service activity time as in previous years (30 hrs. / 3 hrs. per month) will be expected, but we will more formally look after the ongoing parent education aspect of life in the school, which in the past has always been expected of families, but which has not always been fostered or followed up carefully.

Opportunities for working these hours will be presented at the beginning of the school year, at which point parents must sign up for the events at which they wish to work to contribute towards their hours. The majority of these hours must be worked during organized fundraisers, and all hours must be completed by the end of the school year in order for the student to receive his final report card and be registered as passing the year.

As part of this program, all parents will participate in the school's main fundraisers: the annual Mother's Day Brunch, as well as the Annual Lottery (if operated) and St. John's Dinner - either as part of their hours, or in addition to them if they are already fulfilled (we need 'all hands on deck' for these important events!).
 * These hours may be shared between parents. If a child has only one parent, the required service hours may be reduced to 40 (20 remaining dedicated to parental education activities.

While the school office manages the reporting of hours, etc., it is the Parents Association that takes the lead in organizing the assistance of parents/guardians with the set up, execution, and clean up of fundraisers, Sunday food sales, school sponsored activities, field trips, hot lunches, recess, etc. - all of which may count toward the service hours described above. The steering committee, which directs the Parents Association, reports to and is overseen by the Dean of Students. The Dean of Students is normally present at all committee meetings and has veto power over its decisions.

Please read the page Parents Association > Fundraising events: 'How-to' for additional details on the practical affairs and organization of participating in fundraising events!

Important Note: 
In order to ensure the effective running of the school's fundraisers and other activities, the signing-up of parents to work at such events (which normally happens toward the beginning the school year) is considered binding. If a parent finds that s/he is unable to work at an event for which s/he had previously signed up, it is the parent's responsibility to locate a replacement volunteer to work the agreed hours or fulfil whatever other commitments were involved in the activity. If such a replacement is not arranged by the parent or does not fulfil the commitments of the event, St. John's Academy will require the parent to pay for emergency replacement cover hire at the cost of $25.00 per hour that the parent had been signed up to work. Any such charges will be communicated to the parent through the school office in concert with Parents Association, and will be added directly to the next month's tuition obligation or otherwise charged immediately.

All parent service/education hours must be recorded and reported to the school office in order to be registered as counting toward the annual 50-hour requirement. Forms for reporting service hours are obtainable from the school office (or you can download them in PDF form from the 'Attachments' section at the bottom of this page), and are processed by the school's administrative assistant. Forms received and processed by the office will have their hours recorded on the Parent Service Hours Status Page, where parents can always find an up-to-date record of their progress. (Note: If your role in a certain event or activity is to purchase and provide supplies, please ensure you save your receipts in order to have these donations recorded. Contributions of supplies equate to 1 hour of parent service time per $25.00 of materials/supplies donated - but please take care to note that this is solely for supplies needed for the event and requested of you in advance by the organizer / lead person!)

Parent meetings


Throughout the year, the school administration will call school-wide meetings for parents. Certain of these meetings may be indicated as mandatory; but in general attendance should be considered a standard expectation, as they pertain to the life of the school and are the main venue for passing on important information and dialoging with families. Attendance at all such meetings will count towards the 20 hours of parent education activities, described above.

It may be necessary for either the school administration or individual teachers to request a conference with individual families to address academic or other matters. Attendance of such meetings is also mandatory. Ample notice will be given so that parents may make appropriate arrangements to attend.

Correspondence


Parents agree to correspond in a timely manner with the Academy, and to read and respond appropriately to all correspondence sent to them by the school regarding their child's enrollment. Parents agree that the main and official means of communication with parents will be via e-mail, and that the valid e-mail address provided to the Academy at application and registration will be the official manner by which the school communicates important matters to them.

Additionally, parents agree to read the Academy's web site regularly, taking it as the primary source of notifications for news and forthcoming events.

Tuition and fees payment


Prompt payment of tuition and fees is required of all families and is a basic condition of having one's child enrolled in a private school.

Full details on the practices and policies of St. John's Academy in regard to receiving payment of tuition and fees, establishment of installment options, late fees, etc., and your obligations with regards to all financial matters are spelled out in an important sub-section of this page: 2.1: Tuition & Fees Payment Policies. Please be sure you read that page thoroughly and carefully, as it contains details on your obligations for payment to the Academy.

Financial support - annual family donation


Financial support is one of the resources necessary to maintain a strong school. As part of the Academy's normal tuition, fees and donations schedule, each family is required to contribute $1,000.00 as a tax-deductible annual donation to the school. This may be paid in full at the beginning of the school year or may be paid in equal monthly installments of $100.00 over the ten-month school year.
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rthompson@stjohnsacademysf.org,
Apr 29, 2010, 9:00 AM
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