Code of Conduct

Ogden Weber Learning Society
Code of Conduct

Section 1: Membership

OWLS is a resource for families who choose to educate their children at home. Membership in OWLS will be considered for homeschooling families with school-aged children. By design, OWLS is a co-op that functions with participation from both caregiver and child. OWLS is not a drop-and-go co-op or a resource for a preschool-only program. Because of our unique structure that focuses on the family as a whole, we ask that you not bring friends or neighbors to co-op. 

OWLS strives to provide quality educational and social opportunities to the Ogden/Weber and surrounding homeschool communities. We understand that OWLS may not be the best fit for every family and reserve the right to revoke membership in OWLS at any time for Code of Conduct violations and/or disharmonious behavior.

Section 2: Statement of Inclusivity

OWLS is an inclusive community and is neutral on matters of politics, religion, lifestyle, and educational philosophy. All homeschooling families are welcome. Be respectful of each family’s path. Proselytizing, debating (aside from classroom-specific discussions), or ridiculing of life choices, styles, religion, gender, race, etc. is not acceptable and will not be tolerated.

Section 3: Weather and other cancellations

Weather conditions vary widely over our membership area. We will follow the Ogden School District’s guidelines for cancellation. In the event we need to cancel co-op for the day, OWLS will make every effort to notify all members by 8:30 a.m. Members are responsible for checking our Facebook page and/or GroupMe text group for updates. If conditions are hazardous where you are, please notify a member of the Board and use your own discretion when deciding whether to attend.



Section 4: Illness

Please keep contagious germs at home! If there is any contagious illness in the home that keeps 1 or more family members from attending, we ask that the whole family stays at home that week or until the quarantine period that is recommended by the CDC is over. In the event of an outbreak of contagious illness in our co-op, OWLS will share contact info with the local health department. The following symptoms/conditions should not be shared with the co-op:

  • Diarrhea, vomiting, or nausea (within the last 24 hours).
  • Eye drainage/pinkeye. 
  • Virus or infection (known to be contagious)
  • Contagious rash.
  • Head lice.
  • Fever over 100 F(within the last 24 hours).

Section 5: Adult absences

Whether due to weather conditions, illness in the family, or other events, sometimes an adult will have to miss co-op. We understand, and IT IS VITAL THAT YOU LET US KNOW AS SOON AS YOU CAN if you will be absent. This must be done by a phone call, text, or by Messenger. Notification by a Facebook post is not acceptable. All adult members of the co-op are necessary for OWLS to function; if you are gone, whether you are a teacher or volunteer, we will need to rearrange plans and replace you for that day.

Please contact:

  • The co-op Director
  • Anyone you work closely with at the co-op (e.g., if you are a teacher, get in touch with your co-teacher, permanent helper, and/or classroom volunteer(s); if you are a volunteer for a class, let the teacher know and remove yourself from the volunteer sign up.)

We will work hard to rearrange things so the co-op can carry on smoothly for the day.

Special note for teachers: If you are a teacher of one or more classes, please make sure you have turned in an “emergency” lesson plan in case you have to be gone with little or no warning. If you know ahead of time (for instance, the night before) that you will be gone, please prepare a “substitute” plan that a substitute teacher or other volunteer can deliver. Our goal is to never have a class of students with nothing to do! Please do everything you can to secure a substitute teacher by contacting your co-teacher, your permanent helper, class volunteer for the day, parents of the students in your class, and as a last resort- a post on the Facebook group to find someone to cover during your absence.

Section 6: Fees and Refunds

An annual membership fee is set in advance for each school year. This money helps cover insurance, background checks, cost for our venue, cleaning supplies, etc. Fees must be paid on the designated date before fall registration. Failure to pay your fee may result in a late fee and your OWLS membership being terminated.

Refunds will not be issued for the annual fee. No refunds will be offered for missed classes due to student illness or other similar reasons. We will consider, with our venue, whether we can make up any days missed because of weather, pandemic illness, etc.

Section 7: Teacher Responsibilities

You must be a member of OWLS for at least 1 term to be eligible to propose or co-teach a class.
You must be at least 18 years of age.
You must pass a background check.
You must follow all guidelines for proposing a class.
You must have a good attendance record to propose a class. 
You must be direct in your proposal about what you will offer in each class in terms of worldview, teaching/learning styles, homework requirements (if any), and supply fees (if any).
The OWLS Board may occasionally approve volunteers from the community to teach classes and volunteer in other ways. These volunteers must pass a background check and are exempt from the waiting period of 1 term.  

Once your class has been accepted:

Be willing to follow all rules and guidelines set by OWLS and/or Trinity Presbyterian Church (e.g., no food in classrooms, obtaining Food Handler’s permits for food classes, respecting the property of Trinity, etc.).
Maintain a safe learning environment. If there is an imminent danger, immediately remove or stop the danger to protect the rest of the group and any individual.
Be on time and prepared for each class.
Be willing to communicate with parents regarding their students’ progress and behavior in your class.
Allow for clean-up time at the end of each day’s class.
Provide an emergency, no-notice substitute plan for each class.
If you have notice you will be gone, prepare a more detailed and specific substitute plan and make sure it reaches either a designated substitute or member of the Board.

All of the above can be summarized by saying: Plan ahead for your students. We want each class to be educational and useful.

Section 8: Acceptable Behavior

OWLS is, above all else, inclusive. We include, respect, and value the needs of all people.

We expect all members of our community:

  • To be courteous
  • To be respectful of themselves, other members, teachers, volunteers, and visitors
  • To refrain from any personal displays of affection 
  • To consider the safety—emotional and physical—of others, and to have no physical contact with intent to harm
  • To take care of their own property and respect others’ property
  • To show good will by responding to requests and directions from teachers/volunteers promptly and willingly
  • To refrain from using cell phones while participating, teaching, or volunteering in learning activities
  • To be tolerant and respectful of the differences of others
  • To use polite and professional language within the learning community
  • To use calm, clear, and honest communication to resolve problems
  • To follow any and all rules set by our venue
  • To refrain from using alcohol, tobacco products, illegal drugs and weapons

Every child is expected to behave and follow directions and requests from teachers and volunteers. If unable to do so, the child will be removed from the classroom and taken directly to the parent. The next step would be for the parent to stay with the child at all times. If this is not possible, the child will not be allowed to participate in co-op.

Section 9: Dress Code

While OWLS respects self-expression, we also appreciate discretion. In that delicate balance, if you ask yourself, “Is someone likely to be offended by this?” and the answer is “Yes,” it is best to choose other clothing. In general:

  • Dress appropriately for all expected activities (including hot and/or inclement weather);
  • Undergarments should stay covered by other clothing;
  • Choose clothes that do not depict drugs, alcohol, profanity, violence or sex, or discrimination towards any faith, race, lifestyle, or political view.
  • OWLS co-op encourages and supports breastfeeding mothers to nurse in whatever way works best for each of them, regardless of the above suggestions.

Section 10: Safety

  1. Every child must have an adult caregiver on the premises for any class or other event. The adult need not always be physically with the child, but must be available on-site in case of any concerns or needs. If children are not in classes, they may not be left unsupervised. Children that are 12 and older, may be approved by a board member to attend co-op under the supervision of another OWLS member depending on the circumstances and the assurance that there is no illness in their home. An exception may be granted for those attending the OWLS High School Track and are over the age of 14. 
  2. All caregivers, volunteers, teachers, and other adults participating in the co-op will be subjected to a basic background check performed by persons selected by the Board. Items of concern revealed by the background check could prevent an individual from participating in any capacity with OWLS.
  3. A minimum of two “room adults” (i.e., a teacher and a volunteer assistant) are required to be present as the responsible parties when in the company of a child or children under the age of 12 without their caregiver(s). Whenever this is not possible (e.g., with adult absences, layout of the building, etc.), the doors to any enclosed room must remain open and easily viewable by a passersby. Caregivers always have the discretion to keep their children with them if too few adults are present to provide two “room adults,” as well.
  4. Diaper changes and toilet assistance for a child may only be provided by the child’s caregiver. 
  5. In general, adults other than a child’s caregiver will not administer medications. If your child has a medical condition that may require emergency administration of medicine (e.g., EpiPen, inhaler, insulin) and the child is in the nursery; OR cannot administer the medicine on their own; OR would need the medicine given before you could be summoned to help, please fill out a “medical release form” and give it to a member of the Board.
  6. Under Utah law, every adult is a mandatory reporter of suspected child abuse. We remind our co-op volunteers to be responsible and aware. 

Signs of child abuse may include:

  • Unexplained Injuries: Visible signs of physical abuse may include unexplained burns or bruises in the shape of objects. You may also hear unconvincing explanations of a child’s injuries.
  • Changes in Behavior: Abuse can lead to many changes in a child’s behavior. Abused children often appear scared, anxious, depressed, withdrawn and more aggressive.
  • Returning to Earlier Behaviors: Abused children may display behaviors shown at earlier ages, such as thumb-sucking, bed-wetting, fear of the dark or strangers. For some children, even the loss of acquired language or memory problems may be an issue.
  • Fear of Going Home: Abused children may express apprehension or anxiety about leaving school or about going places with the person who is abusing them.
  • Changes in Eating: The stress, fear and anxiety caused by abuse can lead to changes in a child’s eating behaviors, which may result in weight gain or loss.
  • Changes in Sleeping: Abused children may have frequent nightmares or have difficulty falling asleep, and as a result may appear tired or fatigued.
  • Changes on School Performance and Attendance: Abused children may have difficulty concentrating in school or have excessive absences, sometimes due to adults trying to hide the child’s injuries from authorities.
  • Lack of personal Care or Hygiene: Abused and neglected children may appear uncared for. They may present as consistently dirty and have severe body odor, or they may lack sufficient clothing for the weather.
  • Risk Taking Behavior: Young people who are being abused may engage in high-risk activities such as using drugs or alcohol or carrying a weapon.
  • Inappropriate Sexual Behaviors: Children who have been sexually abused may exhibit overly sexualized behavior or use explicit sexual language.(from One With Courage Utah, http://onewithcourageutah.org/leaders-of-youth-activities/)

What to do if you suspect abuse: If a child is in IMMEDIATE danger, call 911. If you suspect abuse but do not think the child is in immediate danger, use the Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline: 1-855-323-DCFS (3237). You can choose to make an anonymous report. After reporting to the authorities, please confidentially notify the co-op Director so that the Board can take any needed action to keep everyone safe.

Section 11: Conflict Resolution

  1. All human endeavors can suffer conflict, and conflict often offers an opportunity for growth. OWLS strives for peaceful resolution to any and all conflicts, in ways that provide respect and support for the co-op and all its members. Should anyone experience disagreement/grievance within the co-op he/she must adhere to the following steps for resolving the conflict. During this process it is absolutely necessary that complete confidentiality be upheld. Refusal to keep matters confidential may lead to removal from membership in OWLS.

    • First Step: Discuss the problem with the person with whom you have a disagreement. Children should ask for the assistance of an adult if needed. If both parties cannot reach agreement in a way that lets them move forward in the co-op move to the next step.
    • Second Step: Parties involved need to meet with a member of the Board for mediation.
    • Third Step: If the issue cannot be resolved, it must be presented to a quorum of the Board. The final decision will be at the discretion of the Board.

Section 12: Confidentiality

  1. Every individual has the right to complete confidentiality.

    1. Grievances: We request that no grievance between adults EVER be handled in front of students. We also request that everyone involved keep the matter confidential. There should be no outside involvement without the knowledge of all parties involved. This includes talking to other parents/teachers, posting on social media, emails and other public forums. In addition, please use discretion in disciplining children in your care.
    2. Academics: Disclosing children’s abilities, performance, struggles, or special needs should be up to the children and their caregivers, not their teachers. While a healthy classroom environment requires communication between teachers and caregivers, those communications should be kept confidential as much as possible.

Section 13: Fundraising

All fundraising efforts must be approved in advance by the OWLS Board. Special committees and/or individuals may be appointed to oversee fundraising events or projects.

Section 14: Financial Assistance

From time to time, members of OWLS may find themselves in difficult financial circumstances, and the OWLS community may wish to assist.

 

  1. Financial assistance can be used for annual dues. Individual class fees, if any, should not be funded in this manner, but a caregiver is encouraged to discuss special financial situations with each teacher as needed.

  2. The Board must approve all applications for financial aid. Requests for assistance should be submitted using the financial aid scholarship application.

Section 15: Volunteers

All adult caregivers must assist at the co-op. We need nursery attendants, preschool teachers and assistants, school-age teachers and assistants, clean-up crew, door people, and more. OWLS is truly a co-operative organization, and needs the help of all of us. It is the expectation that caregivers will help in some way for 4 out of the 5 blocks (2 out of 3, etc.) that they are there. Our preference is for adults to choose their own positions, but if an adult appears not to be volunteering to help in some way, a Board member may request the adult to fill a position. Refusal to assist the co-op in some manner is grounds for termination of your OWLS membership (but we’d rather just have your help!).

Non-caregiver volunteers: From time to time, OWLS may be fortunate enough to attract teachers, past students, or other volunteers from the community. If these volunteers are not caregivers for students participating at OWLS, they must still undergo background checks. Non-caregiver volunteers do not pay annual dues or class fees.



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