Compass Family Handbook
The most up-to-date version of all Compass policies and FAQs can be downloaded in PDF format here: -link-
- AcademicAdding Classes
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.
A La Carte
In order to offer the greatest flexibility possible to homeschool families, Compass classes are offered a la carte. 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 (except for year-long high school classes). Some classes may have prerequisite sessions. 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 and ability to conduct himself/herself in the classroom 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 a kindergarten class.
Compass classes are not designed to serve students with special emotional, social, psychological, or physical needs, although some accommodations may be possible. 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.
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.
An instructor may have recommended materials, texts, or supplies for the classes. A list of these items will be posted with the course description or e-mailed to registered families within two weeks of the start of classes.
Class Material/Lab/Supply Fees
Classes that have material, lab, or supply fees will be identified in the online class description. Material, lab, and supply fees are typically payable in cash or by check to the instructor or the instructor’s company. Compass keeps a master list of fees and payees at the Front Desk.
Payment methods accepted for course tuition include cash, personal check, cashier’s check, electronically issued bank check, 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 an established PayPal account. A user with an established PayPal account can also “Bill Me Later”, PayPal’s no-interest, deferred payment program.
An administration fee is added to each class at check-out to defray the cost of transaction fees and accounting efforts. The administrative fee 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 registered siblings. In order to receive the early registration discount, payment must be made within the seven (7) days. The early registration discount will not be honored after the discount period has ended.
Non-Payment of Tuition and Fees
Payments must be made within seven (7) days of registration during any early and open registration period. If you complete registration within one week before the start of classes, payment must be made within three (3) days of your registration. If payments are not received within these time frames, the student’s space(s) will not be held in the class(es). 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 may 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.
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.
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. 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.
Refunds/Withdrawal from a Class
If a student must withdraw from a course before the start of the first class, and the class had been full, and the seat can be filled by another student, the tuition paid will be refunded minus a $35.00 administrative fee. If the seat cannot be filled from the waitlist or through open registration before the start of class, or the withdrawal is made after the start of class, no portion of the tuition will be refunded. Any request for withdrawal or change of classes must be made in writing by e-mail or fax. 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 tuition plus the administration fee paid for that class.
Students are expected to attend classes that they have registered for. Teenagers, despite having a Teen Form on file, and regardless of age, are expected to attend classes if they have been dropped off and are on campus. Being dropped off and allowed to self-supervise is not authorization to skip classes and “hang out.”
In the event of a planned or anticipated absence, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org in lieu of calling by phone. When received in advance, the absence will be noted and forwarded to the instructors. There is no need to call to report an absence. Refunds cannot be 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.
Parents are asked not to bring students to class if they have had a fever, vomiting, diarrhea, or any other symptoms of contagious or communicable illness within the last 24 hours.
- High School ProgramPhilosophy
Compass believes it is the homeschool parent’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 are unable to write reference letters for students who have not been enrolled for more than a quarter.
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 is 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, mosaics, or yoga, 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.
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, email@example.com is on your “safe” contacts list.
Compass Family Profile
The Compass website now 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 never need to enter this information at registration again! Families need to periodically confirm that cell phone numbers, emergency contact information, and children’s grades are correct and up-to-date.
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 no longer printed and distributed at Compass. In addition, Parent Proxy Forms and Teen Drop Off Forms are 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 on the sign-in sheets.
Wi-Fi on Campus
Parents and students are welcome to use the Guest network. No password is needed.
In the Compass lobby, look for important announcements and upcoming events on two digital screens. Many opportunities are posted here before they become available online, giving enrolled families a first look.
Follow Compass on Facebook for additional announcements including last-minute openings in classes and weekly photos.
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 will be taken in classes and around campus. 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, 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 or after class. 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.
- Parents & Siblings on CampusParents/Guests in Classrooms
Because of space constraints in the classrooms, parents, aides, tutors and/or siblings cannot be accommodated in individual classes. In order to prevent disruptions to classes and keep exit ways clear, parents and siblings may not congregate in the hallways while waiting for a student. Parents and siblings cannot wait on the steps outside of Room 5 because this is an emergency egress for the neighboring Montessori school.
Parent/Sibling Waiting Areas
Parents and siblings may wait in the common areas such as the Social Hall and Outdoors including the unfenced playground, grassy lawns, picnic tables, benches, and established paths in the woods (when accompanied by an adult). Parents and siblings may wait in the Quiet Study areas and Lobby, subject to activity, food, and noise limitations in various areas. Adults may wait in the parent-only lounges, and parents can take very young siblings to the Nursery.
The Social Hall is the main dining space in the Program Building. Food and drinks are allowed in this room. This space is also 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, or physical play are not allowed in this room because of the proximity of classrooms. Parents and siblings may not access items stored in church cabinets or the small church kitchen off the Social Hall.
1. Parent Lounges 9B and 10B (in the Program Building) On Wednesdays, these are adult-only lounges with upholstered chairs/sofas. These rooms are appropriate for quiet work, reading, and computer/phone work (with headphones). Food and drinks are not permitted in these rooms (water is allowed). Conversation must be maintained at a whisper level because of the shared wall with classrooms.
2. Parent Lounge 11 (in the Program Building) On Wednesday, this is an adult lounge, but children ages 8 and above may use the room with a parent for quiet, individual work such as reading, crafts, drawing, or computer work (with headphones). Food and drinks are allowed in this room. Regular conversation is permitted. Screaming, shouting, running, or physical play are not allowed in this room because of the proximity of classrooms.
Parents may take infants and toddlers under age 3 to the small church nursery in the Upper Building. Maximum occupancy is 6 infants/toddlers at one time, and parents must be present at all times in the Nursery. This room is appropriate for nursing and bottle feeding, but solid food and snacks are not permitted in the nursery. There is a toddler-sized toilet and tables for diaper changing. Parents are asked to place soiled diapers in the trash cans in the adjacent adult restrooms instead of in waste baskets in the nursery. Parents whose infants/toddlers use the nursery are asked to put away toys and clean up messes at the end of each child’s playtime and at the end of the day. If an accident happens in the nursery that requires cleaning supplies, please let the front desk know.
1. Program Building Quiet Study Area (in the atrium space outside of Rooms 9/10) This area seats 12-14 people and is suitable for quiet work, reading, and computer/phone work (with headphones). Food and drinks are not permitted in this area (water is allowed). Conversation must be maintained at a whisper level because of the shared walls with classrooms.
2. Upper Building Quiet Study Area (in the space between Atrium C classroom and Upper Building kitchen). This area seats 10- 12 people and is suitable for quiet work, reading, and computer/phone work (with headphones). Food and drinks are permitted in this area. Conversation must be maintained at a whisper level because of the shared walls with classrooms.
3. Friday Quiet Study (in Rooms 9B, 10B, and 11) On Fridays, Rooms 9B, 10B, and 11 serve as a quiet study room for teens, ages 13+, and adults only. These areas seat 6-8 and 12-14 people respectively, and is suitable for quiet work, reading, and computer/phone work (with headphones). Food and drinks are permitted in this area (water is allowed). Conversation must be maintained at a whisper level because of the adjacency to rooms used by other groups on Fridays.
This small room in the Upper Building can accommodate 3-4 adults for silent meditation or prayer. This room is not available for naps, conversations, computer work, or video games. Older children may use the room when accompanied by an adult. Food and drinks are not permitted in this room, and users are asked to keep their visits to 15 minutes to allow others to use the room.
Compass regularly has classes for children under age 5, so younger siblings have options when they come to Compass too. Look for the Little Hands Family Music class, Nature Quest outdoor exploration, Soccer Shots, and other classes for homeschooled preschoolers.
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. Compass instructors are unable to provide individual tutoring services on the premises before or after their scheduled classes. 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.
Students are expected to conduct themselves with appropriate behavior at all times; while in class, before, between, and after classes, on the playground, at special events, etc. Parents, siblings, and guests are expected to conduct themselves with behavior appropriate to an educational setting. Appropriate behavior is expected in all common areas (Social Hall, study areas, hallways, restrooms, playground, etc.) in addition to classrooms. Compass has zero tolerance towards bullying of any type or any physical aggression by students, parents, or siblings. 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.
Compass shares the UUCF facility with a Montessori school, church staff members, and other members of the community, and we must ensure that the conduct of Compass students, siblings, parents, and staff does not interfere with the 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.
Children’s behavior on the playground and church grounds should not impact people who work at the church, attend the Montessori preschool, are in Compass classes, or affect the serenity, beauty, and maintenance of the grounds at the church. Despite the safe and comfortable environment, the UUCF property is not a park, but is instead a place of worship and a place where people work!
1. Consistent with existing Compass policies, all children under age 13 must have a designated adult outdoors with them when on the playground or grounds. Adults are expected to supervise the children and be watchful of where children are and what they are doing at all times. Supervising adults are expected to be proactive in stopping inappropriate or potentially dangerous behavior such as running with sticks and climbing trees.
2. Children may walk on established paths on the church property as long as they are accompanied by an adult.
3. Children may not play behind the Program Building, around or behind the Administration Building, or around or behind the Sanctuary Building.
4. Children may not play in the woods because of ticks, poison ivy, yellow jacket nests, fallen trees, etc. In general, the tree line is the boundary of permitted play areas.
5. Children may not play in the traffic circle or parking lot.
6. Compass has a “no stick” policy. Children may not pick up or carry sticks around as these can too easily create hazards to other, nearby children and because sticks, branches, and logs dragged out of the woods create maintenance and mowing problems for the church staff.
7. Children may not pick flowers, berries, or plants because they belong to the church and are part of the landscaping.
8. Children may not kick playground mulch onto the sidewalk.
9. Children may not sit, stand, or try to walk on the handrails/guardrails near the playground and Program Building entrance because of the risk of falling and injury.
10. Children may not go to the stone patio area in the woods unless accompanied by an adult. No one is permitted to play on, around, behind, in front of, or sit on the rock walls that surround the stone patio. This is sacred ground where the remains of some deceased church members are buried. Anyone who passes through this area, or goes with a class to this area, must remain on the stone pavers and may only sit on the installed wooden benches.
11. Children may not go into the fenced Montessori playground or under the overhangs of the Montessori wing of the building. Children may not play in front of or around the entrance, walkway, or doors to the Montessori school or impede parents, students, or staff arriving or leaving the Montessori facility. Compass children should not interact with the preschool children at the Montessori school.
12. Children may not go into the wooden stick-built shelter constructed and maintained by the Nature Quest class. Only those enrolled in Nature Quest may use the structure during their scheduled Nature Quest class under the supervision of their naturalist instructor.
13. Teenagers, despite having a Teen Drop Off Form submitted online, and regardless of age, may not go into the woods, on wooded paths, or behind buildings without an adult. With a current Teen Drop Off Form submitted, teens are limited to playing, studying, or hanging out in the Permitted Play Areas as shown in the aerial diagram below.
Children’s indoor behavior should not impact students in classrooms, safety in the buildings, or adversely affect others’ experience and comfort in the buildings. Like outdoors, all children under age 13 must have a designated adult with them when they are not in class, including while in the Social Hall or study areas. Adults are expected to supervise the children, and be aware of where children 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 buildings.
1. Children may not run indoors.
2. Children must wait quietly outside of a classroom until the next class begins. Talking in the hallway outside a classroom is disruptive to the students still in class.
3. Parents and siblings may not sit or stand in the hallway outside of classrooms while their child is in class. Gathering in these areas interferes with exiting requirements dictated by the Fire Marshall.
4. Children may not yell and scream in the stair wells. Children may not misuse the stairs by jumping down half-flights, walking on the edge outside of railings, climbing or standing on railings, running, or engaging in other rough play on the stairs.
5. Children may not use the elevator unless accompanied by an adult.
The following areas are off limits to all Compass students, parents, and siblings at all times:
1. Administration building (except for unisex bathroom on lower level)
2. Montessori school wing and fenced Montessori playground
3. All church cabinets, bookcases, closets, and storage rooms
4. Church-owned books, games, and supplies
5. Church-owned office equipment, appliances, and electronics
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:
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. Clothing should cover all lingerie and undergarments.
4. 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 UUCF campus is a smoke-free facility. Neither students, parents, teachers, or visitors can smoke cigarettes, cigars, e-cigarettes, or vaporizers/vaping on the premises. 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:
1. First offense: Compass staff will walk child to find his/her parent.
2. Second offense: The child will be required to go inside (if outdoors) or sit aside (if indoors).
3. Third offense: The child will be asked to leave for the day.
4. 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 without notice.
- Drop Off & Supervision PolicySign In/Out
For insurance reasons and program records, an adult* must walk students under the age of 13 into the program building and initial a sign-in log indicating that the student is in attendance and that the emergency number on file is current. When picking up students at the end of classes, an adult* must park and walk into the building to sign out and indicate that the student is leaving for the day. Students should not be dropped off in the parking lot, traffic circle, or left to walk in unaccompanied, nor should students leave the premises without being signed-out by an adult*. For convenience, parents who are going to remain on site have the option to “pre-sign” students out by initialing the ‘Out’ column at the time of check-in.
Students attending class during the final period must be picked up promptly at the end of class. 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. Compass does not have any staff to provide child care or supervision after classes, nor does Compass have extended room rentals after classes. Any parent arriving more than 15 minutes late to pick a student up at the end of the last class will be billed a fine of $15 for the first occurrence, and $25 each for the second and subsequent occasions.
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 (age 8+) 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.
If your child is 7 or younger:
1. Student must be walked in and signed in by an adult* each day.
2. An adult* must remain on campus for the student at all times in case a need arises.
3. Student must be signed out by an adult* each day and walked to the car. Students may not leave the building and go the traffic circle or parking lot unaccompanied by an adult*.
If your child is 8-12 years old:
1. Student must be walked in and signed in by an adult* each day.
2. After signing in, the adult* may leave campus as long as the student is in class and a current cell phone number is on file.
3. If the student has a break between classes, arrives early, or plans to stay after classes to play/socialize, an adult* must be present to supervise the student during this non-class “down time.”
4. Student must be signed out by an adult* each day and walked to the car. Students may not leave the building and go the traffic circle or parking lot unaccompanied by an adult*.
If your child is 13 or older:
1. Students ages 13+ may be dropped off in the traffic circle, walk in, sign themselves in, wait, study, eat, or play between classes, sign themselves out, and walk to the traffic circle or 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 Drop Off Form has been submitted online.
2. The family must submit a “Teen Drop Off Form” at the beginning of the year (or after the student’s 13th birthday) which allows the student to be dropped off and remain unaccompanied on campus. This form is available online through the Compass Family Profile (a login account). Without this authorization on file, drop off and supervision policies for students ages 8-12 should be followed for teens.
Students ages 12 and younger must be supervised by an adult* who is nearby and can see them when they are on the playground, in the social hall, study areas, or on the church grounds. The adult* must make sure that student understands the Compass rules for indoors, outdoors, and permitted play areas. Compass does not provide aides or monitors. The supervision policy applies to waiting siblings in addition to students who are enrolled in Compass classes.
Who are these adults*?
The adults* who are dropping off, signing in, and supervising children can, of course, be parents, or designated adult family members, friends, nannies, neighbors, or they can be “Parent Proxies.”
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 should be submitted online 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 on playground, social hall or quiet study areas, sign out, and walk out to the traffic circle or 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 appreciate connecting on our campus. Families enjoy play time and social time 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 play 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 the hours that Compass rents the facilities and has staff onsite (9:00 am – 5:00 pm on Wednesdays and 9:00 am – 4:00 pm on Fridays). Outside of these hours, the space is not available to Compass, and Compass’s insurance coverage is not in effect.
1. Compass parents, instructors, and staff cannot park in the first row of parking spaces which are reserved for UUCF staff and visitors.+
2. Drivers should park only in designated parking spaces and may not park in the traffic circle.
3. Drivers are asked to follow the one-way directional arrows in the parking lot.
4. Vehicles must have official, state-issued handicap tags or stickers to be able to park in accessible parking spaces.
1. Parents may want to send lunch or snacks with their children. Include a drink since there is only a water fountain and no drink vending machines on campus.
2. Compass has snacks such as granola bars, candy, cookies, and crackers for sale at the Front Desk.
3. Complimentary tea and coffee is available only for parents and teachers at the Front Desk.
4. Students, parents, and siblings may eat and drink in the Social Hall, Outdoors, Lobby, Quiet Study areas, and Family Lounge 11.
5. Food and drinks may not be consumed in classrooms, hallways, Parent Lounge in Room 9B, Parent Lounge in Room 10B, the Meditation Room, or the Nursery. Students who are hungry in class should excuse themselves to eat in the Lobby, Social Hall, or Outdoors.
6. Water in lidded or refillable bottles may be consumed in all areas.
7. UUCF is a nut-free. 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 on Compass grounds or in buildings. Some parents, students, siblings, or church members 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 on campus, 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.
Compass Homeschool Enrichment Program is an inclusive, secular program with no religious affiliation. This program is not sponsored by the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fairfax, its Board of Directors, or staff.
Sale/Free Homeschool Items
Due to space and storage limitations, “for free” and “for sale” homeschool materials can not be sold/placed in the Social Hall, lounges, lobby, or tables around campus. Families are encouraged to save these materials for the annual spring Used Homeschool Curriculum Sale.
A single toilet, unisex restroom is located in the lower level of the Administration Building. This can be accessed from the stone patio near the side yard of the Program Building. This restroom is available for parents needing to assist children in the restroom, adults needing to assist disabled or elderly adults, or for individuals who are not comfortable with the male or female designated restrooms. This unisex restroom is not to be used as a shortcut or quick stop for children who are on the playground. The general Compass population is expected to use the Men’s and Women’s restrooms in the Program Building Lobby or the Sanctuary Building hallway, adjacent to the Music Room.
Coats can be hung on the coat bar located across from the Front Desk.
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.