The Club has opened applications for its Fall After-School Program, for applications and information CLICK HERE.
There are a number of changes and challenges for this academic year and to keep all our Club families and ‘want-to-be Club families’ in the loop here are the whys and wherefores behind the changes.
Why are places so limited?
Due to the ongoing pandemic, (and recent spike locally), we continue to practice social distancing with the separation of grades and reduced staff to member ratio. In the event of a positive COVID case, this enables us to isolate a small group rather than the whole Club. At our Bijou site we will need to follow school rules on room capacities and at the end of the school year only 60 children at a time were using the MPR, 50% less than our usual numbers in that space.
Furthermore, like everyone, we are in need of staff. We have three open Program Leader positions and are actively recruiting but struggling to find suitable candidates. If you know someone with a passion for working with children and positively impacting their education and lives, please send them our way! The more staff we have, the more members we can serve.
Why is the year split into three semesters?
As the recent resurgence in positive COVID cases have shown, we are not yet out of the pandemic and the Club recognizes that further disruption to schooling may occur. Enrolling our members for shorter periods enables us to be more flexible in our service and to respond to community needs. We have also found that occasionally members are signed up for but do not attend Club. A shorter membership period will enable us to ensure that those who need us most are taking places in the program. It also enables families to have more flexibility; maybe you need Club in the fall and winter but when sports season comes around in the spring you don’t – this way you are not paying for something you don’t need.
Why are vacation days separate this year?
During the vacations we only operate our main site and therefore, our numbers will be reduced. Therefore we will be having a separate enrollment prior to each school break. Everyone is welcome to apply but priority will be given to members with us for the after-school program, essential workers and members who exhibit our AWESOME values.
Why have after-school fees increased since 2019?
A lot has changed since our last ‘normal’ school year but of one thing we are sure – our staff are heroes who need to be paid a living wage to enable them to stay in Tahoe and at the Club. While schools were shut our team was at Club every day and the majority of them were earning minimum wage. Such talent and loyalty deserves recognition and the Club has pledged to increase wages. While we plan to increase fundraising and grant requests to help with those costs, we also need the help of our families. The increase in fees still equates to under $1 an hour and generous scholarships are available for those who need them.
Why are you prioritizing Bijou, Tahoe Valley and STMS students?
One third of the Club’s funding comes from a State grant and that grant requires a certain number of members from certain schools. Attendance requirements were waived last year and that enabled us to take members from any school. But, that waiver was recently revoked and therefore, to receive our funding we need to meet those requirements again. If we don’t, we will lose that funding which would be detrimental for the Club and result in a huge increase in costs for all members.
Why are you offering a TK program?
The Club did not offer any TK places last year, prioritizing the K-12 population without pre-school options. However, we heard from many existing parents that they needed a younger TK sibling to be part of our program, and we have some talented staff with the skills and experience necessary to take on that age group. So once again we are trying to meet the needs of our community and will be offering a TK afternoon program.
What if I don’t get a place in the program?
We anticipate 3 applicants for every place and until we can hire more staff or stop social distancing measures we are unlikely to be able to take on additional members. However, unsuccessful applicants will be invited to join our waitlist and to apply again for the winter program. Members who get a place but do not use it, will not be given a place in the next semester. Other members may leave the program, and in such circumstances we will reach out to the waitlist.
Appleseeds Academy can take children up to 12 in their afterschool program and is another option for families.
Why only Bijou students at the Bijou site?
To reduce the impact of a positive COVID case and to provide some reassurance for the Bijou school, only Bijou students will be able to attend our Bijou program this year. If you have siblings at different schools, both may attend our main-site program.