Compass Family Handbook 2022-23
Welcome to Compass classes and thank you for making Compass part of your family’s homeschooling! Families are expected to review and accept this handbook as part of acknowledging the policies during online registration. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to stop by the Front Desk and speak to the Compass Director or program assistants. As an alternative, inquiries can always be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, and the director can be reached at 703-539-5075.
Compass Homeschool Classes (“Compass”) offers an innovative selection of core, enrichment, and elective classes for homeschooled students! Classes are taught in small groups by professional instructors who are subject matter experts and teaching artists. Classes are designed to incorporate hands-on, experiential instruction with many opportunities for student involvement and interaction.
Last minute, same day, walk-in, and late registrations are accepted. Students may register for additional classes on the first day of the quarter if space is available. Registration may be completed online or in person at the Front Desk. Tuition for last minute registration must be paid by cash, check, or credit card.
University Model/A La Carte
In order to offer the greatest flexibility possible to homeschool families, Compass classes are offered a la carte, similar to a university model. Students can take one class, multiple classes, non-consecutive classes, classes during alternating quarters, etc. Families are not obligated to take a full schedule or full year of classes (except for some year-long high school courses). A few classes may have prerequisites. Use care when registering for classes to ensure that you have signed up for the right session(s), confirmed the day(s) of the week, met the prerequisites, and that classes do not overlap during the same hour.
Age/Grade Level Definitions
Compass understands and celebrates that one benefit of homeschooling is the flexibility to blend and customize instruction based on a student’s needs. We understand that the definition of a student’s grade may be blurred and may encompass work across a range of conventional grade levels. Grade levels referenced in the course descriptions are based on the corresponding age-assigned grade if a student was enrolled in traditional school without grade-skipping or delayed entry. Some students may be able to perform the academic work at an advanced grade level, and Compass grade level designations represent a 2-3-year range to account for this.
When placing a student in a class, his/her emotional and social maturity, ability to conduct himself/herself in the classroom, and physical development, such as fine motor skills, must also be considered. Students may not register for a Compass class more than one year beyond or below (+/-1) the listed grade level without permission from the Director. As an example: A mature, academically advanced 4th grade student may register for a class labeled 5th-7th grade (1 year beyond) without permission of the Director. Alternatively, a 4th grade student working slightly below grade level could register for a class labeled for 2nd-3rd grade (1 year below) without permission of the Director. The exception to this policy is any class whose lower grade limit is kindergarten (K). Students enrolled must be age 5 by the start of the class. Four-year-olds cannot be enrolled in kindergarten classes.
It is recommended that parents register their child with the name that the student wishes to be called in class. If a student requests a nickname or alternate name that does not match registration records or is a common, known derivative, such as “Jack” for Jackson or “Liz” for Elizabeth, then Compass administrators will contact the parents to confirm which name should be used at Compass.
Compass Classes are not designed to serve students with special emotional, social, psychological, or learning needs, although some accommodations may be possible. Compass instructors and staff are not trained in special education and are unable to interpret or implement the provisions of IEPs. Most IEP accommodations established for other school settings cannot be implemented at Compass, and classroom aides/educational assistants are neither provided or permitted to attend classes alongside students. If you have a child with special needs and you think he or she can keep up with the pace of the work, the teacher’s expectations, and behavioral standards, please contact the Director to discuss your child’s needs before registering.
Compass Classes are most often attended by homeschooled students because of the hours the classes are offered. Students who are enrolled in a virtual school, public school, private school, dual/hybrid school or other educational programs are welcome to enroll in Compass Classes as long as they understand the Compass calendar and class schedule. Proof of homeschool status is not requested for class registration; however, documentation is required for some extracurricular activities, contests, and awards programs.
Minimum/Maximum Class Size
Minimum class sizes are set based on instructor’s contracted rates and cannot be lowered without impacting the cost to all registrants. Maximum class size is set by the instructor’s preference and/or physical capacity/occupancy of the classroom. In the event that maximum enrollment is met, a wait list will be maintained for other interested students.
The tuition fees are comprised of contracted instructor rates, prorated facility rental costs, and program overhead expenses. Tuition and supply fees are non-negotiable.
Classes that have material, lab, or supply fees are identified in the online class description. Material, lab, and supply fees are typically payable to the instructor, the instructor’s company, or Compass (see class description for payee). Most Compass instructors can accept cash in a labeled envelope, a check, and/or electronic payment such as Venmo, PayPal, or ApplePay. Compass keeps a master list of fees and payees at the Front Desk.
Payment methods accepted for course tuition include credit card or online payment through PayPal. PayPal serves as the credit card processor, and online payments can be made regardless of whether or not the user has a PayPal account by checking out as a guest. A user with an established PayPal account can also select “Bill Me Later”, PayPal’s no-interest, deferred payment program. Families wishing to pay by cash, personal check, cashier’s check, electronically issued bank check, or ApplePay must contact Compass administrators to complete their registration.
A fee is added to each class at check-out to defray the cost of transaction fees and accounting efforts. It is $6.00 for a quarter-long class, $12.00 for a semester-long class, and $24.00 for a year-long class.
Early registration discounts and other promotions may be offered. Additional discounts are not offered for multiple classes or siblings. In order to receive the early registration discount, payment must be made within seven (7) days. The early registration discounts will not be honored after the discount period has ended.
Non-Payment of Tuition and Fees
Payments must be made at the time of registration. Registration is a timed process, and if payment is not completed within the specified time period, the student’s space(s) will not be held in the class(es), and they will be re-opened to general registration. Students who have unpaid tuition or student fees will not be permitted to attend class unless prior arrangements have been made or until payment has been received in full (including any additional fees, see below).
A $35.00 fee will be assessed for any check returned by the bank for insufficient funds (“Bounced Check Fee”). Unpaid fees to Compass for tuition or other student fees will be subject to a late penalty of five percent (5%) per month on any outstanding balance owed, or the maximum amount permitted by law, whichever is less (“Late Fees”). Compass is entitled to receive all costs, including outstanding balance, Bounced Check Fee, Late Fees, collection expenses, and reasonable attorney’s fees accrued in the collection of any sum due from the customer. Compass reserves the right to use any and all means of collection available under applicable law to collect any amount past due. Compass and its customers consent to the exclusive jurisdiction of any state or federal court in the County of Fairfax, Virginia, regarding any disputes arising out of customer’s registration for classes.
Some classes will have homework or other assignments or activities that the student must prepare before the next class. While grades* will not be given, assignments may be reviewed or incorporated into subsequent classes. In order for the student to keep up with the course material, obtain the greatest benefit from the class, and to be respectful of the instructor’s and other students’ time, all homework should be completed. A conference may be requested with the parent, instructor, and program director if a student routinely or repeatedly fails to complete assignments or is uncooperative or non-participative for in-class work. (See High School Program section for detailed discussion of high school grades.)
Wait Listed Class FAQs
Please note that as classes become full, a wait list is created. Please add your child’s name to the wait list if you are interested in the course, as openings sometimes become available. You will not be asked to pay anything in order to be on the wait list. Closed classes with a wait list are displayed alphabetically on the registration page after open classes.
What does the “Join Wait List” button mean?
The “Join Wait List” button indicates that a class is full and has reached its maximum enrollment. Additional students cannot enroll in the class unless a registered student withdraws from the class.
How many people are on the Wait List?
The “Join Wait List” button does not indicate how many students, if any, are waiting for an opening in the class. In some cases, joining the wait list may put your child first on the list to be contacted if a space becomes available. In most cases there are 2-5 students on the wait list, but popular courses may have 8-10. If you would like to know how many students are on a wait list, please contact the director.
What are my child’s chances of getting in a wait listed class?
It is difficult to know what the chances are of being able to place a student from the wait list in a class. The administrator can make a judgment based on the number of students on the waitlist and class history. If you have an alternate or back-up class choice for your child, you are encouraged to register for that class, and you will have an opportunity to switch out of it if the waitlisted class becomes available. Signing up for another class does not change your position on the waitlist.
How soon will I know if my child gets in his/her wait listed class?
Depending on how early you placed your child’s name on the wait list and how many students are ahead of him/her, it could be weeks or months before you hear anything about the wait list. Many registration changes, such as a job relocation or a last-minute decision to enroll in traditional school, occur just weeks or days before the start of a new quarter. Therefore, a wait listed family might not be contacted until a short time before classes are scheduled to begin.
When there are multiple students on the wait list, how do you pick who is offered an open spot?
When you add your child’s name to the wait list, he/she is added to the database with a date and time. When a space becomes available in a class, it is offered to students on the wait list by e-mail in the order in which they were added to the wait list.
Do I have to pay for a wait listed class?
No, you do not have to pay any fees for a wait listed class unless a space opens, and you decide to enroll your child in the class.
I put my child’s name on the wait list during the early registration discount period. Will I still get the savings if a space becomes available at the last minute?
Yes, if you added your child’s name to the wait list when the early discount was in effect, you will pay the discounted amount if a space becomes available.
If I register my child for another class and a space becomes available in his/her first-choice, wait listed class, will I have to pay the class change/withdrawal fee?
No, if a space becomes available in a wait listed class, and your child is enrolled in an alternate or second choice class in the same hour, you will not be asked the pay the $35.00 class change/withdrawal fee. However, you will be asked to pay any difference in the cost of the class. Conversely, if the wait listed class costs less than the registered class, you will receive a refund for the difference.
Is there anything I can do to bump my child ahead on the wait list?
No, there is nothing that can be done to “bump” a student to the front of the wait list line. The best approach is for a family to select and register for an alternate, back-up class choice.
Meeting with Teachers
Parents may occasionally wish to check-in with their child’s teacher to discuss behavior, placement, classwork, etc. Parents should e-mail their child’s teacher to set up a phone call or check-in at a non-class time. Parents are asked to not initiate these types of discussions with a teacher before, between, or after classes, as teachers have only 5 minutes for class transitions. Unscheduled conversations with parents can delay their class preparations. Annual parent-teacher conferences are not scheduled at Compass.
Teachers Completing Evaluations
Parents should not ask Compass teachers to fill out forms, questionnaires, evaluations, or assessments that may given by the family’s own by counselors, therapists, educational consultants, advisors, etc. Compass instructors spend only 1-2 hours with a child each week and often cannot provide meaningful feedback on such assessments. Furthermore, it is outside of instructors’ contract with Compass to complete such assessments/evaluations. See the High School section for a discussion about recommendation letters.
Refunds/Withdrawal from a Class
Any request for withdrawal or change of classes must be made in writing by e-mail or fax. Requests received through phone calls, text messages, Facebook Messenger, and other means will not be accepted. Families whose needs or schedule changes after they have registered have the options of (1) a Class Exchange, (2) keeping Compass Credit, or, in some cases, (3) a Refund based on the following provisions:
If a student must withdraw from a class, he/she can select an alternate class the same quarter. As long as the alternate class has an available space, and the student meets any prerequisites for the class, fees paid for the original class can be applied to a new class selection, private instruction, tutoring, or other scheduled fee-based activity.
There are no administrative fees or penalties for a Class Exchange. Families will be billed for any difference in tuition (change from a less expensive class to a more expensive class.) If there is an overage (change from a more expensive class to a less expensive class), the additional funds will be kept on file as a Compass Credit to be used for future classes. (See terms of Compass Credit below). It is preferred that Class Exchanges are completed before the start of classes. Class exchanges cannot be made after the first week of class for quarter-long classes; second week of class for semester-long classes, or fourth week of class for year-long classes. Class Exchanges can be “transferred” to a member of the student’s immediate family.
If a student withdraws two or more weeks before the start of classes, and he/she does not want to select an alternate class in the current quarter, the family can choose to retain a Compass Credit. The credit will be for the value of the dropped class(es), less a $35.00 administrative/bookkeeping fee for each class. If the withdrawal is made within two weeks (14 calendar days or fewer) from the start of the classes, no Compass Credit can be offered.
When a family is ready to use its Compass Credit, they must go through a Compass administrator to complete the transaction rather than using online registration. Compass Credits can be used for any member of the immediate family but may not be transferred to another family. Compass Credit can be applied to a Compass class, workshop, private instruction, tutoring, or activity fee such as those for clubs, extracurricular activities, special events, or other, scheduled fee-based Compass activity. Compass Credit cannot be used for class material or supply fees, merchandise, snacks or items sold by others (such as books, curriculum, or marketplace items.) Compass Credits cannot be “cashed-in” for a monetary or credit card refund or retroactively be applied to a completed purchase/registration as a refund. Compass Credits must be used by May 31 of the current school term, otherwise funds will be forfeited.
In some cases, a family might qualify for a refund. If the student must withdraw from a course before the start of the first class, and the class is full with other students on the waitlist, and the waitlisted student agrees to enroll in the class when notified, the family can be refunded what they paid less a $35.00 administrative fee per class. If the space cannot be filled, the family can opt for a Compass Credit or Class Exchange.
If the withdrawal is made after the start of class, no portion of the tuition will be refunded. Refunds will not be given for change of mind, change of schedule, change in personal circumstances, or inappropriate placement in a class. Refunds, if due based on the above criteria, will be processed within 45 days of the start of the quarter.
If a class is cancelled due to an instructor conflict or failure to meet the minimum enrollment, the affected students may select an alternate class option or request a full refund for the fee paid for that class.
Compass’s staffed hours are 9:30 am- 4:30 pm Monday through Friday. These hours are subject to change each quarter as the schedule of classes varies.
In the event of a planned or anticipated absence, please e-mail the student’s instructor(s) directly or e-mail email@example.com in lieu of calling by phone. There is no need to call to report an absence. Refunds are not given for absences and missed classes, and make-up classes will not be offered except in the case of an instructor’s absence.
In the event of inclement weather, Compass will make an announcement by 7:00 am about whether or not to close or cancel a portion of the day’s classes. Compass does not strictly follow the lead of Fairfax County public schools (FCPS). A closure or delay of FCPS does not automatically mean that Compass will close or delay for inclement weather. Instead, the Compass director and staff will evaluate weather and road data and make an independent determination. This decision will be posted on the “News and Announcements” section of the website home page, on the Compass Facebook page, and by e-mail to all enrolled students and instructors. See the program calendar for scheduled weather make-up days scheduled in quarters 2, 3, and 4.
Students, siblings, or parents/guardians should not come to Compass classes, activities, or events if they have had any signs of contagious or communicable illness such as a vomiting, diarrhea, fever, persistent cough, sore throat, or runny nose within the last 48 hours. A student who becomes ill in class will be asked to leave class, signed out, and leave for the day. If a student has symptoms of or had a likely exposure to a communicable disease, physician and CDC guidelines should be followed for treatment, quarantine, and return to activity. Please note that Compass’s cooking classes have a more stringent hygiene protocol than other classes.
The use of face masks to protect against airborne illness is one personal choice in an array of available therapeutic and preventative options for disease. Students, parents, siblings, teachers, or guests at Compass are welcome to wear face masks, but one person’s choice to wear a mask shall not compel those around him/her to wear a mask. In response to the COVID-19 cases of 2020-2022, Compass adopted numerous environmental and cleaning practices, such as the use of HEPA air filters and an upgraded HVAC system, which will continue as best practices.
In the event of a force majeure, such as a natural disaster (“acts of God”); war; terrorism or threats of terrorism; civil unrest; supply chain or labor disruptions; fire; disease; medical epidemics or outbreaks; limitations or curtailment on public gatherings; closures of facilities; lack of certain materials, services, or goods due to shutdowns; and any other events, including emergencies or non-emergencies, and unforeseeable circumstances, when it would be inadvisable, commercially impractical, illegal, or impossible to hold classes, Compass and Compass Instructors will not be held liable for non-performance or cancellation of classes and programs.
Families must register with a parent’s current, active e-mail address. E-mail will be the primary mode of communication to advise families about classes, registration, assignments, cancelations, schedule, and program opportunities. E-mail addresses will be given only to the class instructors for course related communication. Please register with an e-mail address that will be checked on a regular basis. Teachers of high school classes may request parents’ permission to e-mail students directly.
Make sure Compass has your current e-mail address and that the Compass e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org, is on your “safe” contacts list.
Compass Family Profile
The Compass website has Family Profiles, which are secure, web-based logins in which key information is stored to facilitate your family’s registrations and record-keeping. All data for family contact (address, phone number), children (name, age, grade), and emergency contact information are entered and maintained in the Family Profile. Once your profile is complete, you will not need to enter address, phone number, etc. again if your information remains unchanged. Families need to periodically confirm that cell phone numbers, emergency contact information, and children’s grade levels are up-to-date. Credit card numbers are not kept in the Family Profile.
The Compass Family Profile displays the current classes your child is registered for and will give you the option to print your schedule at home prior to the start of classes. Paper copies of individual students’ schedules are not printed and distributed at Compass. Parent Proxy Forms and Teen Forms are also located and submitted online through the Family Profile. These forms must be submitted each year. The former year’s forms are not retained by Compass. Families can check or change their proxies during the year through the Family Profile.
Cell Phone Numbers
If you are going to leave campus while your child (age 8 or older) is in class, please check to make sure that your current cell phone number is correct in your Family Profile. This is the number Compass would call in the event of an emergency.
Wi-Fi on Campus
Parents and students are welcome to use the Compass Wi-Fi network. See facility signs or ask at the Front Desk for the current password.
In the Compass lobby, look for important announcements and upcoming events on the digital screen. Many opportunities are posted here before they become available online, giving enrolled families a first look.
To receive general e-mail announcements from Compass, such as details about registration, featured classes, and special programs on the homepage of the Compass website, please subscribe to “Updates” on the Compass homepage.
Candid photographs and/or videos may be taken by Compass, Compass instructors, vendors, or educational partners in classes, events, meetings, or in the Commons. As part of all online registrations, parents accept and acknowledge the mandatory photography waiver which states, “I understand that pictures or videos of my child(ren) may be taken and used for promotional purposes by Compass or educational partners of Compass. Any such image(s) will not contain names or any identifying information.”
Electronics in Class
Compass does not allow students to use electronics such as phones, tablets, wireless ear buds, or hand-held video games during class unless the Instructor has specifically allowed use of such device for classroom work.
Students may not use electronics for entertainment, game-playing, or texting during class; however, they may use such devices before, between, or after class. Headphones must be used on all electronics devices so no one nearby can hear the music, video, game, etc. All content accessed via electronic device must be rated “E” for everyone and free of graphic or violent content, offensive language or lyrics, etc. During class, electronics should be stored out-of-sight, such as in a backpack or purse. If an Instructor finds a student using electronics in class: (1) First occurrence in a quarter: Instructor will verbally remind student of the policy. (2) Second occurrence in a quarter: Instructor will take the device away from the student until the end of the class period. (3) At the third offense in a quarter, Instructor will take the device and turn it in to Compass Administrators. The student’s parent will have to retrieve the device from the Front Desk.
Students are expected to conduct themselves with appropriate behavior at all times: while in class, before, between, and after classes, at special events, club meetings, etc. Parents, siblings, and guests are expected to conduct themselves with behavior appropriate to an educational setting. Appropriate behavior is expected in the classrooms, Commons, restrooms, outdoors, and while arriving/leaving.
Compass shares Van Buren office park with other business entities, and we must ensure that the conduct of Compass students, siblings, parents, and staff does not interfere with the adjacent businesses, their clients/customers, office park maintenance or management, landlord, or others who use the premises. The following clarifications to “appropriate conduct” are to ensure student health and safety and to maintain and protect the facility.
Compass has zero tolerance towards bullying of any type or any physical aggression by students, parents, siblings, teachers, or staff. Anyone who is disruptive or engages in bullying will be asked to leave the class or the program. A student asked to leave a class or the program due to inappropriate behavior will not receive a refund for his/her remaining classes.
Children’s indoor behavior should not negatively impact students in classrooms, safety in the buildings, or adversely affect others’ experience and comfort in the building. All children under age 13 must have an adult with them when they are not in class (not counting the 5-minute break between classes). Adults are expected to supervise the children and be aware of where they are and what they are doing at all times. Supervising adults are expected to be proactive in stopping inappropriate or potentially dangerous behavior such running or shouting in the building.
- Children may not run indoors.
- Children may not stand on or climb on furniture.
- Children may not play, scream, splash in the restrooms.
- Children should wait calmly in the Commons until the next class begins. Gathering right outside the classroom or blocking the classroom door is disruptive to the students still in class.
Children’s outdoor behavior should not negatively impact Compass operations, students, instructors or staff; adjacent businesses, their clients/customers, or vendors; office park maintenance or management; the landlord; and others who use the premises. Outdoor conduct should also not impact safety in the parking lot or the beauty and maintenance of the office park grounds.
- All children under age 13 must have an adult with them when they exit the building. Adults are expected to supervise the children and be watchful of where children are and what they are doing outside the building and in the parking lot. Supervising adults are expected to be proactive in stopping inappropriate or potentially dangerous behavior.
- Children may walk on established sidewalks around the office park property as long as they are accompanied by an adult.
- Teenagers, despite having a Teen Form on file, and regardless of age, may not wander around the office park or go between/behind buildings without an adult.
- Children or teens may sit, eat, or work quietly on one of the office park picnic tables as long as they are accompanied by an adult.
- Families may pause to stand and talk on the sidewalks or grass immediately in front of Compass as long as entrance and egress to the building are maintained. Folding chairs and picnic blankets cannot be set up in front of the office park, but may be used in the grassy area behind Suite 510-C, subject to the rules of that area. (See below)
- Families who wish to socialize, play, or picnic before, between or after class should consider going to a nearby park or playground such as the Haley M. Smith Park, 0.8 mile from Compass. See the Area Directory for a more comprehensive list of amenities in the area.
- Suite 520-D: Children may not run along the sidewalk or play ball, tag, or engage in any other physical play in front of, alongside, between, or behind any of the office buildings so as to not disturb Compass classes or any other workers or their customers, clients, visitors, suppliers, etc., in other words, people “working” in the adjacent business suites.
- Suite 510-C: Children may not run along the sidewalk or play ball, tag, or engage in any other physical play in front of or alongside the building. The rear of Suite 510-C has a small, shady, grassy yard with two tables that are available to Compass families and students subject to the following rules.
- The boundary of the play area will be marked with “No Play Beyond.” Children should not go beyond these markers.
- Children must be supervised at all times.
- Children’s actions/behavior and voices cannot disturb the workers in the adjacent buildings. Children may not scream and shout.
- The privilege to use the area behind Suite 510-C may be further limited or revoked if the rules are nor followed.
- Children may not play in the parking lot or play or run between parked vehicles.
- Children may not hit, kick, or tap the glass storefront windows or glass entrance doors of the Compass suite or any adjacent suite.
- Children may not pick flowers, berries, or plants because they are part of the landscaping and belong to the office park.
- Children may not play in the bushes, climb trees, or dig in mulch, grass, or rock on this property.
Students are expected to speak to each other, parents, and instructors in a courteous, respectful manner at all times. Cursing/swearing (i.e. using obscenities, profanity, racial/sexual slurs) with the intent to insult or intimidate someone or using derogatory or threatening language will not be tolerated and will be treated as a conduct violation.
Students are expected to come to classes and events dressed appropriately for a mixed-age, family-oriented, educational setting. Specific expectations include:
- Shorts, skirts, and dresses must be no shorter than a student’s fingertips as measured by his/her arms held at sides with relaxed shoulders.
- Shirts/tops must be full length and may not be cropped to show bare abdomens. Low-cut shirts or tops with narrow “spaghetti” straps are not permitted.
- Clothing should cover all lingerie and undergarments.
If clothing has to be “adjusted” (i.e. pulled up, pulled down) to cover properly, it is not a good choice to be worn at Compass.
Public Displays of Affection (PDA)
Students and adults shall refrain from inappropriate Public Displays of Affection (PDA) while on campus. Compass is a family environment with participants and family members of a wide range of ages and backgrounds, and all behavior must be rated “E” for everyone. Being overly affectionate in an educational setting can be distracting, possibly offensive to others, and is generally in poor taste. The expression of feelings towards one another is a personal concern between the two individuals and thus should not be shared with others in the general vicinity. PDA includes any physical contact that may make others in close proximity uncomfortable or serves as a distraction for themselves as well as onlookers. Some specific examples of PDA include, but are not limited to, any peer-to-peer kissing on the lips, cuddling, fondling, inappropriate touching, rubbing/massaging, caressing/stroking/petting, and excessive hugging.
The Van Buren campus permits outdoor smoking in designated areas. However smoking cigarettes, cigars, e-cigarettes, or vaporizers/vaping by students, parents, teachers, or visitors cannot take place within 100 feet of the Compass front door in any direction. Adults who wish to smoke should go to the rear of the 520 building and find a designated extinguisher stand. Compass also forbids the possession, use, or supply of illegal drugs/controlled substances or consumption of alcohol on the premises.
Consequences for violating campus rules are below:
- First offense: Compass staff will walk child to find his/her parent.
- Second offense: The child will be to sit by the front desk until his/her parent comes.
- Third offense: The child will be asked to leave for the day.
- Fourth offense: The child will be asked to leave the Compass program for the remainder of the term.
For an act or behavior that Compass deems to be an overt or egregious violation of a conduct or behavior policy, and of a serious nature, Compass, at its sole discretion, reserves the right to escalate a violation to the equivalent of a third or fourth offense (i.e. suspension or dismissal) without notice.
Drop Off & Supervision Policies
For insurance and safety reasons, Compass must have an accurate list of students in the building at all times. This is accomplished by signing in/out through the Compass Family Account.
- Under Age 8: Child must be walked into the building by an adult* and signed in through the Family Account on a mobile device or on a Compass-provided tablet.
- Ages 8-12: Child must be signed in by an adult*. This can be through the Family Account on a mobile device while in the parking lot where child walks in by himself/herself, or the adult can walk into the building and sign in on a Compass-provided tablet.
- Ages 13+: Teen may sign himself/herself through the Family Account on a mobile device or on a Compass-provided tablet if the parents have granted this permission on the Teen Form. Otherwise, teens may sign in by age 8-12 guidelines.
- Off-Site Students: If the student’s first class of the day is off-site, such as Nature Quest, Swimming or Ballet, the Adult* can sign the child in through the Family Account.
Leaving Students at Compass
Some students may be dropped off for Compass classes without an adult remaining on the premises subject to the sign in/out and pick-up policies and several additional stipulations. Students (age 8+) who are dropped off must be mature enough to excuse himself/herself from class, go to the restroom, and return to the classroom without disrupting class. Students who are dropped off must also be mature enough to transition from one classroom to the next without assistance. Compass does not provide aides or monitors to assist children using the restroom or changing classes. Finally, students who are dropped off must be able to self-advocate and be willing/able to approach and communicate with a teacher or Compass administrator if they are unwell, need something, etc.
- Under Age 8: An adult* must remain on the premises at all times in case a need arises with the younger student.
- Ages 8-12: After signing in, the adult* may leave campus as long as the student is in class and a current, active cell phone number is on file. If the student has a break between classes, arrives early, or plans to stay after classes to eat lunch, study, etc., an adult* must be present to supervise the student during this non-class “down time.”
- Ages 13+: Students ages 13+ may be dropped off, walk in, sign themselves in, wait, study, eat, or socialize between classes, sign themselves out, and walk to parking lot to be picked up if (a) the family is comfortable with that arrangement, (b) the student is capable and understands and accepts all rules, and (c) a Teen Form has been submitted online.
For insurance and safety reasons, Compass must have not only an accurate list of students in the building at all times but also a record of when they left. This is accomplished by signing in/out through the Compass Family Account.
- Under Age 13: Students under age 13 must be signed out by an adult* each day and walked out of the building. Students may not leave the building and go the parking lot without an adult*. The student should be signed out through the Family Account on a mobile device or on a Compass-provided tablet.
- Ages 13+: Teens may sign themselves out through the Family Account on a mobile device or on a Compass-provided tablet if the parents have granted this permission on the Teen Form. Otherwise, teens must be signed out by age 8-12 guidelines.
Students under age 13 must be supervised by an adult* who is nearby, can see/monitor them when they are not in class, and can ensure that they are following all Compass rules. The supervision policy applies to waiting siblings in addition to students who are enrolled in Compass classes. Compass does not provide aides or monitors.
Who are these Adults*?
The adults* who are taking responsibility (signing in, dropping off, supervising, signing out, picking up, and/or providing transportation) for children can, of course, be parents, or designated adult family members, designated friends, nannies, neighbors, or other “Parent Proxies.” When any non-parent adult is designated to take responsibility, a Parent Proxy Form should be submitted.
A Parent Proxy is a trusted adult selected by a student’s own parent to supervise his/her child in the parents’ absence. Parent Proxies must be willing to take responsibility for sign-in/sign-out, transportation, and/or on-site supervision of someone else’s child. Most often these are pairs or small groups of homeschool parents who take turns remaining on campus to supervise several children while allowing the other parent(s) leave campus. Parents are solely responsible for selecting, coordinating with, and obtaining acceptance from a Parent Proxy. Parent Proxy forms are electronic and available online through the Compass Family Account. Parent Proxy forms must be submitted prior to leaving your child in the care of another adult. A parent should submit a different form for each adult that may be left responsible for his/her children.
Older Students Responsible for Younger Siblings
Teen students age 13 and up can serve as the “adult” for younger siblings to walk into the building, sign in, supervise in before, between, or after classes in the Common area, sign out, and walk out to the parking lot to be picked up if the teen meets all of the expectations for supervision and requirements of the Teen Form. If a teen is taking responsibility for a younger sibling, the family must submit the online Teen Form. Students age 8-12 cannot be the “responsible adult” for younger siblings.
On Campus with No Classes
Compass’s primary mission is to provide high quality classes, community events, and educational opportunities to homeschooled students. Another benefit of the Compass program is being part of a supportive, inclusive community of homeschoolers who come together and connect on our campus. Families can enjoy social time in the Commons before, after, and between classes. Because of the limited shared facilities, we can only accommodate registered students, their families, and their siblings on campus on days when they have scheduled classes.
Compass is unable to serve families who want to drop in and socialize on a day they do not have classes. Compass families who wish to meet up with non-Compass friends must do so off campus. Unless the non-Compass family is coming to meet with Compass staff for a tour and consideration of enrolling in the program, Compass cannot serve as a meet-up for get-togethers of unregistered families.
Under no circumstances can the premises be used as a drop-off daycare or hangout for kids and teens who do not have classes. Even if a teen has a drop off form on file, he/she should not be dropped off and left to hang out all day if he/she does not have scheduled classes. Teens should have a plan for the time before, between, and after classes at Compass such as studying, participating in online classes, meeting and collaborating with classmates, eating lunch, and socializing. Regardless of having adult supervision or a teen drop off form, students may not arrive earlier or be picked up later than Compass operating hours.
Students must be picked up promptly at the end of their classes. Parents are expected to be in the building and prepared to sign their children out at or before the class end time. In other words, parents should be early in anticipation of the end of class. Tardiness at pickup cannot be accommodated because Compass does not have any staff to provide childcare or supervision after classes. Any parent arriving more than 15 minutes late to pick a student up at the end of the last scheduled class of the day will be billed $15 for the first occurrence, and $25 each for the second and subsequent occasions. See the Parking section for details on physical Pick-Up and Parking.
Flow of Traffic
In order to maintain the flow of traffic, maintain the highest level of safety, and reduce impacts on other drivers in the Van Buren Office Park, Compass families must adhere to the following parking procedures which may differ from posted driving directions.
Compass drivers should enter the Van Buren office complex through the northern most entrance and should exit to the south of the property via Exchange Place. This creates a “loop” while still allowing left and right turns for families coming and going. Drivers should be mindful of the speed bumps.
The two parking spaces immediately in front of the Compass 520-D entrance will be blocked with bollards during Compass hours.
Parents of students ages 8+ may pull up alongside these blocked-off spaces, momentarily place their car in ‘park’, and allow their child(ren) to exit the vehicle and walk into the 520-D suite or down the sidewalk to the 510-C space, provided the parent has signed their child in through the Family Profile check-in app. The blocked-off spaces are the only permitted drop-off. Drop-off is not permitted in front of the 510-C space because traffic turning in from Herndon Parkway would be impeded.
If a parent has not completed the online check-in, is uncomfortable with allowing a child to walk into the buildings unaccompanied, or needs to talk to Compass staff, he/she should park in an available parking space facing Herndon Parkway and walk in.
Parents are asked to park in any available parking space facing Herndon Parkway when they are bringing a child to class and waiting on campus, need to talk to Compass staff or an instructor, or are picking up a child for the day (when they need to walk in to meet the child under age 13.) Compass staff and instructors may park in any parking space. Parking spaces marked ‘Reserved’ are for other companies, and should not be used by Compass parents, instructors, staff, or visitors.
Parents who are picking students up after class or after an activity must pull into an available parking space facing Herndon Parkway, not facing the buildings. Parents may not wait in the driving/drop-off lane to wait for teens to come out.
- Under Age 13: Parents of children under age 13 must park and walk into the building to sign their child out. (See Sign-Out).
- Age 13+: Parents of teens age 13+ may park, remain in their vehicle, and text their teen to come out if this privilege was marked ‘yes’ on the Teen Form, otherwise parents of teens must also walk in to sign the student out.
Vehicles must have official, state-issued handicap tags or stickers to be able to park in accessible parking spaces.
A bicycle rack is available behind the 520 building for anyone riding a bike to Compass.
Compass is accessible by D.C. Metro rail’s new Silver Line. The Herndon stop is 3/8 of a mile from the Compass front door.
Parents & Siblings on Campus
Parents/Guests in Classrooms
Because of space constraints in the classrooms, parents, aides, tutors and/or siblings cannot be accommodated in classrooms. In order to prevent disruptions to classes and keep exit ways clear, parents and siblings may not congregate in front of classroom doors while waiting for a student.
Parent/Sibling Waiting Areas
Parents and siblings may wait in the Commons areas or lobbies. Siblings who are waiting for children who are in classes must follow indoor behavior guidelines. Siblings may not run through Commons, bang on doors, walls, or interior glass, or distract students in classrooms. They are not permitted to stand or climb on furniture or rearrange furniture.
The Commons are shared spaces for parents and siblings who are waiting for children in class, teens who have breaks between classes, teens who must log into online courses, or students who are eating snacks or lunch between classes. Food and drinks are allowed in the Commons. These spaces are appropriate for parents and children for seated play (games, crafts, drawing, etc.), collaborative instruction, school-type work, and computer work (with headphones). Regular conversation is permitted. Screaming, shouting, running, and physical play are not allowed in this room because of the proximity of classrooms. The study carrels in the Commons are reserved for students who have online classes between their in-person classes. A microwave is provided, and complimentary coffee and tea are offered for parents.
Toddler/Preschooler Play Area
Children ages 1- 4 may play in the Construction Corner play area. Maximum occupancy is approximately 6 children at one time, and parents must be present and observing at all times. Children who use the play area must use appropriate indoor voices because of the proximity to classrooms. Children are not permitted to bang the walls, doors, interior glass, or furnishings with toys. Children may not climb on top of the playhouse. All toys must remain in the play area and cannot be dragged out and left around the Commons area spaces.
Parents whose toddlers/preschoolers use the Construction Corner are asked to put away building toys at the end of each child’s playtime and at the end of the day. If an accident happens in the play area that requires cleaning supplies, please let the front desk know.
Soiled diapers may be changed only on the changing table in the women’s restroom (520-D) or unisex restroom with changing table (510-C) and not on any tables or chairs in the Commons, classrooms, or the restroom vanity. Parents are asked to place soiled diapers only in the restroom trash cans and not in any trash cans in the Commons areas or classrooms. Parents who use the changing table are expected to thoroughly wipe down the changing surface with a clean wipe.
Selling/Services at Compass
Compass rent and insurance cover only Compass-led classes and activities. Compass parents, students, and siblings are not permitted to hold money-making activities or perform paid services, such as paid babysitting or tutoring services, while on the Compass campus. Because of space constraints and the inability to accommodate everyone, parents with catalog-type businesses (Avon, Tupperware, etc.) and anyone selling homemade wares are asked not to exhibit and sell items at Compass except for designated sales of used curriculum and the annual spring marketplace. A parent or student who offers tutoring services or lessons may provide an 8-1/2″ X 11″ flier for Compass to keep in its referral notebook. This restriction does not extend to individual, one-on-one transactions, such as one parent selling a used textbook to another parent.
A family’s participation and attendance at Compass introduces them to many wonderful and well-qualified teachers and personnel. While at Compass, you agree not to recruit or solicit any employee or teacher of Compass for yourself, for your children, or for any enterprise you are associated with. Additionally, Compass requests that you do not encourage any employee or teacher at Compass to terminate or breach their employment relationship with Compass. Any such action would create irreparable harm to Compass and the classes it offers to the greater homeschool community. If any such action occurs, Compass will seek such remedies available to it under the law and enforce its contractual obligations with its teachers and personnel; and may request your children’s removal from the program.
Teens at Compass
Families of teens must submit a “Teen Form” at the beginning of each year (or after the student’s 13th birthday) which allows the student to be dropped off and remain unaccompanied on campus. A family is expected to review this Handbook in its entirety with the teen prior to signing the Teen Form. Without this authorization on file, drop off and supervision policies for students ages 8-12 should be followed for teens.
Attend Classes When on Campus
Despite having a Teen Form on file, and regardless of age, teens are expected to attend classes if they are on campus and have a scheduled class. Being dropped off and allowed to self-supervise is not authorization to skip classes and “hang out.”
Teens who have earned a driver’s license and drive themselves to Compass are expected to follow all of the parking and driving rules of Compass, the office park, and state and local jurisdictions. Parents are asked to note on the Teen Form if their child will be driving to Compass independently.
Teens Riding with Friends
Teens who are permitted by their parents to ride with a teen friend driver are required to Sign Out before leaving Compass. Once a student has left the building, Compass has no way of knowing where the teen went or with whom. A teen who has permission to sign himself/herself out and leave with a driving friend is deemed to have left Compass for the day and is no longer the responsibility of Compass. If the student returns later in the day, he/she should sign in again. A parent must specifically designate on the Teen Form that their child may ride in a car with a teen driver friend. Teens who drive other teens must do so under the Virginia driving laws about ages and numbers of juvenile passengers in the car.
Teens Taking Uber, Lyft, Taxi, or Metro
Teens who are permitted by their parents to take Uber, Lyft, a taxi, the Metro or other, alternative modes of transportation, are required to Sign Out before leaving Compass. Once a student has left the building, Compass has no way of knowing where the teen went or with whom. A teen who has permission to sign himself/herself out and leave via alternative transportation is deemed to have left Compass for the day and is no longer the responsibility of Compass. If the student returns later in the day, he/she should sign in again. A parent must specifically designate on the Teen Form that their child can use Uber, Lyft, Metro, or similar.
Teens Walking Home or to Amenities
Teens who are permitted by their parents to walk home or walk to area amenities such as parks, restaurants, or cafes, are required to Sign Out before leaving Compass. Once a student has left the building, Compass has no way of knowing where the teen went or with whom. A teen who has permission to sign himself/herself out and walk somewhere is deemed to have left Compass for the day and is no longer the responsibility of Compass. If the student returns later in the day, he/she should sign in again. A parent must specifically designate on the Teen Form that their child can leave via walking.
Teens should have a plan for the time before, between, and after classes at Compass such as studying, participating in online classes, meeting and collaborating with classmates, eating lunch, and socializing. Teens should not remain at Compass empty-handed or with nothing to do.
Hangout Without Classes
Under no circumstances can Compass be used as a drop-off hangout for teens who do not have scheduled classes or extracurricular activities. Even if a teen has a Teen Form on file, he/she should not be dropped off and left to hang out all day if he/she does not have scheduled classes.
Teens who have online classes in the middle of the day may use the Commons area tables and chairs, or study carrels at Compass to access their online class. In some cases, students who have online Compass classes may be permitted to use an empty classroom to access their online class. Students must use headphones or earbuds for online classes and must use regular conversational voices when participating in online discussions.
High School Program
Compass believes it is the homeschool family’s responsibility to plan a course of study, craft the student’s transcript, and award grades. It is the parent’s responsibility to determine how each Compass class fits into his/her child’s overall portfolio. A Compass class that one family identifies as a core requirement may be considered an elective element by another family, or simply an enrichment activity by another. It is the parent’s responsibility to determine how a Compass class will be “packaged” with other opportunities such as small group classes, online courses, independent study, dual enrollment, work-study, individual or group projects, internships, travel, reading lists, volunteer work, etc., to complete a high school credit.
The assignment of final grades for purposes of a parent-tracked and parent-produced homeschool transcript is always the responsibility of the homeschool parent. Letter grades will not be awarded in Compass classes. Some instructors of high school level classes may elect to provide quantitative feedback such as a scale of completeness (i.e. 9 out of 10 points on a lab), percentage correct (i.e. 90% on a quiz), or portion of overall class work completed (i.e. 920 out of 1000 possible class points). Other instructors of high school classes may opt to provide qualitative feedback on a student’s performance, understanding of the subject, class participation, portfolio progress, areas for improvement, etc. Feedback from Compass instructors, whether quantitative or qualitative, can be taken into consideration by the homeschool parent when assigning a final grade. Neither grades nor quantitative feedback will be provided for elementary and middle school classes.
Academic Honesty ensures that the learning environment at Compass is fair for all students. Expectations of Academic Honestly will specifically apply to semester-long and year-long classes, particularly in high school level classes where instructors may give graded homework, quizzes, or tests and/or where the instructor provides quantitative feedback on the student’s performances. However, academic honesty as a value is encouraged at all levels and ages. Academic Misconduct occurs when a student has not acted in an academically honest manner such as: committing plagiarism (representation of another’s words or works without proper acknowledgement/citations); copying another student’s work, collusion (aiding academic misconduct of another student); cheating (giving or receiving unauthorized aid on an assignment or examination); lying (communicating untruths or misrepresentations or falsifying information); stealing (intentionally taking the real or academic property of another, without permission); or any other behavior that gives an unfair advantage to a student or that affects the results of another student.
If a student is suspected of engaging in academic misconduct, a meeting shall be held with the Instructor, the Compass Director, and the student to determine the next course of action. Individual instructors may include provisions or penalties for misconduct in their individual course syllabi or policies such as awarding zero points or assessing a failing grade.
Award of Credit Hours
It is the parent’s responsibility to track the number of hours or effort spent on a topic of study and award the corresponding credit for high school. Compass makes no representation about the hours spent in class as compared to typical credit hour unit. Alternately, the homeschool parent may take the approach of awarding high school credit for work accomplished in a subject. In this approach, the homeschool parent determines the amount of work expected and how much each Compass class contributes to that goal. See the Compass video, “Help for Homeschooling High School- Awarding Credit” on this topic.
Some Compass classes have an option to be taken at an Honors level. In these classes, students are expected to think more critically, perform more investigations, dig more deeply, and evaluate course themes at a higher level than a typical on-grade-level class.
Some Compass classes are indicated to be offered at an AP, or Advanced Placement, level. Compass is a recognized school program with the College Board, the governing organization for AP. Only “official”, approved AP courses can carry the AP designation. AP courses must be registered, reviewed, and approved by the AP division of the College Board which means that the instructor’s qualifications, syllabus, selected textbooks, and supporting materials have been audited and accepted. AP classes are generally considered to be at an introductory college level.
AP courses prepare students to take the corresponding AP exam each May, but students are not required to take the exams. Compass will not administer AP exams. Instead, homeschool families must register for AP exams through a nearby public school. Many colleges award credit or allow students to place out of introductory classes if they receive satisfactory scores on AP exams. Consistent with the practices in many public and private schools, some homeschool parents elect to award additional quality points for Honors and AP classes when calculating their child’s homeschool GPA. For more information, see: https://ap.collegeboard.org/
Since Compass does not provide a complete high school program, student transcripts are not maintained by Compass. Parents are encouraged to keep their own portfolio such as a record of the class description, instructor name and qualifications, weekly instructor e-mails, schedule/hours, class syllabus, table of contents from any textbooks, papers written, projects produced, and any other relevant work for purposes of developing their child’s own portfolio and transcript. Class descriptions from current and prior Compass classes are available through the Family Profile login for purposes of developing student records.
Some Compass instructors are willing to write recommendation letters for students whom they have gotten to know well in class. Focused, personalized recommendation letters for scholarships, awards, selective programs, and college admissions are time consuming for instructors to write. Therefore, instructors who agree to write these letters will do so only for students who are currently enrolled in instructor’s class, or previously enrolled in the immediate past term. Instructors may set limits on the number of recommendation letters they write per term or set deadlines for how much notice they need. It is at the sole discretion of the instructor if he/she is willing to write a recommendation letter. Teens needing recommendations letters are encouraged to watch the appropriate section Compass “Help for Homeschooling High School” video on high school documentation (starting at 9 min, 21 sec) for best practices prior to asking an instructor:
Compass instructors are unable to write reference letters for:
- Students who have not attended classes for more than a semester
- Students who are not applying to a specific program or college and instead want something “for their file”
- Students who have asked at the last minute or on short/insufficient notice
- Students who are applying to school programs (such as applying to a private school)
Compass high school classes are not designed to mimic courses offered at a typical public high school. A Compass high school class with a similar name as a typical public high school class may cover a different scope and sequence in a different number of classroom hours.
Some Compass high school classes require prerequisite knowledge or minimum skills. Other classes also have expectations about a student’s anticipated workload outside of class, projects, homework, etc. Please read class descriptions carefully for this information. In order to get the full value out of the course, students should complete the assignments made by the instructors.
Year Long Courses/Payment
For year-long high school classes, parents may opt to pay the tuition in two installments. The first half would be due at the time of early registration, and the second half of the tuition would be due by August 31. There is a $25.00 administrative fee added for the two-part payment. Registration and first half payment are an implied contractual agreement to pay for the balance of the class. Failure to pay the second half of the tuition by the due date will result in complete forfeiture of the first half paid.
High School Instructors
Compass makes no representation that its courses are accredited or that instructors hold any teaching licenses or professional certifications, although some do. Parents are responsible for reviewing the online profiles of each instructor to evaluate his/her qualifications to provide instruction and meet the individual student’s educational needs.
Younger Students in High School Classes
For classes noted as 9th-12th grade or for high school students, accelerated 8th grade students may register for the class subject to the Age/Grade placement guidelines in this handbook. 8th grade students must be 13 by September 30 of the school year and must be socially and emotionally mature enough to participate in high school level discussions and complete high school-level readings and workload.
Adults in High School Classes
Several high school electives, such as painting or mosaics, permit adults to enroll alongside teens. Adult registrations are intended to be for a homeschool student’s own parent, grandparent, or young adult sibling to take the enrichment or elective class along with the enrolled, homeschooled teen. These classes are not open to adults from the community who are not connected to a Compass family.
- Parents may want to send lunch or snacks with their children.
- Compass has snacks such as granola bars, candy, cookies, crackers, juice pouches, and bottles of water for sale near the Front Desk.
- There are many restaurants and cafes with a short distance of Compass. A book of menus is kept at the Front Desk.
- Adults and teens may order food to be delivered to Compass as long as they watch for, sign for, and receive the delivery at the front door. Compass staff cannot accept and hold food deliveries for parents or teens.
- Complimentary tea and coffee are available only for parents and teachers at the Front Desk.
- Students, parents, and siblings may only eat and drink in the Commons. Food and drinks may not be consumed in classrooms.
- Water in lidded or refillable bottles may be consumed in classrooms.
- Compass is a nut-free facility. Compass families are asked to refrain from bringing any peanut or tree nut- containing foods for lunch or snacks at Compass.
Pets on Campus
Pets cannot be accommodated at Compass. Some parents, students, siblings, or teachers may have allergies to pets or have a fear of them. Compass is unable to clean up after pets. Some pets may interfere with the work of certified service dogs at Compass, which are allowed by law. If your pet has come along on a “ride” to pick up a student at Compass, please do not leave the pet unattended in the vehicle without water and air conditioning. Temperatures in closed vehicles can quickly soar to 20-30 degrees higher than the outdoor temperature, and pets can die in minutes. If you need to walk your pet for exercise or a bathroom break, please see the Local Area Directory section of this handbook for nearby parks.
Recycling is required in the Van Buren office park. Blue receptables are provided in the classrooms and the Commons for this purpose. Recycling is co-mingled, and office paper, printed matter (newspapers, magazines), cardboard, and plastics may be placed in the recycling containers. Please note that glass and plastic bags may not be recycled. No food residue of any kind can remain on recycled materials. For example, oily or greasy food containers or pizza boxes must be discarded in trash rather than recycling.
Compass Homeschool Enrichment Program is an inclusive, secular program with no religious affiliation.
Sale/Free Homeschool Items
Due to space and storage limitations, “for free” and “for sale” homeschool materials cannot be sold/placed in the Commons. Families are encouraged to save these materials for the annual spring Used Homeschool Curriculum Sale.
Lost and Found
A Lost and Found bin is located near the Front Desk. Please check here for missing items. Stray items that are not claimed will be donated at the end of the quarter. Compass is not responsible for lost or stolen items.
For safety reasons, “wheelie shoes”, roller skates, roller blades, scooters, and skateboards cannot be used at Compass.
Rentals/After Hours Use of Compass Facilities
Compass has full-time use of its new Herndon facility. Rentals and after-hours (evenings, weekend, summer) use of individual rooms or the full space may be possible for tutoring, group meetings, camps, and workshops that are educational in nature and that are not in direct competition with Compass’s offerings. Contact the Compass Director for more information about after hours use and rental rates.