Upper Tier Handbook
Cornerstone – Upper Tier Handbook
I Purpose Statement
Cornerstone is a Christian organization that seeks to provide quality education opportunities along with support for families that are homeschooling their students.
Cornerstone is divided into 3 tiers:
Lower tier: A coop type structure where parents provide gym, choir, and enrichment classes for grades K-6 with enrichment classes for grades 7-8. Lower tier meets 16 weeks a school year.
Middle Tier: Students in grades 7-8 may participate in enrichment classes provided by parents in the lower tier and/or classes taught by upper tier teachers.**
Upper Tier: A tuition based, teacher taught, 30 week academic program for middle and high school students (grades 7-12). Classes are designed to help parents meet or exceed Pennsylvania home school law requirements. Parents at this tier help by providing monitoring supervision (determined by the number of classes their students are taking - up to a maximum of 12 hours a year). A monitor opt-out option is available for a fee. Details are available on the website under Alternate Monitoring.
At all tiers Cornerstone provide opportunities for field trips, achievement testing, learning fairs and social interaction for parents and students.
**Note: Middle tier courses are offered by both the lower and upper tier providers and students must be enrolled in the tier(s) they desire to take classes in.
II Financial Statement
Cornerstone is established as a non-profit corporation under Pennsylvania law. We are also a 501c3 IRS designation that allows tax deductible donations and fundraising.
As a non-profit we are restricted from any political involvement and must meet established fiduciary standards.
The lower tier collects an annual fee to cover class expenses and pay membership dues to CHALC (Coalition of Homeschoolers Across Lancaster County). All teaching and monitoring is provided by the member parents.
The upper tier collects tuition to pay teachers and expenses during registration in April of each year. Upper tier participants also pay a family fee that covers rent, liability insurance, CHALC membership and general expenses.
Members of both tiers only pay the annual family fee once, usually when they register for lower tier in the spring.
III Membership Information – Upper Tier
Families who wish to take upper tier classes with Cornerstone register for classes in March. Rising seniors and staff have priority, then current rising juniors, the rest of the current families and lastly new members. Rolling membership, throughout the summer, is allowed as class openings permit. A late fee is charged after June 30th for any class changes and/or new registrations.
Payment is made at the time of registration. If more time is needed to pay tuition, a family may spread the payments out over the summer, provided that they hand in all the checks at registration time. Post-dated checks are accepted with no additional fees, and must be paid in full by the first week of March. Prior to the checks being deposited the family will be contacted. All families agree to honor the refund policy (on website).
A family is considered a member if they are registered for classes with all paperwork and financial obligations met. If a family has taken a leave of absence for a year or more they need to request membership from the director via the Cornerstone Upper Tier website prior to registering.
Each family needs to provide monitoring help – 1 class = 4 monitor spots, 2 classes = 8 monitor spots, 3 classes = 10 monitor spots, 4 classes or more = 12 monitor spots (maximum required). Sign-ups for monitoring occur at the time of registration. Failure to do your monitoring responsibilities may result in dismissal from Cornerstone at the discretion of the Cornerstone leadership, with no tuition refund. If you have to miss please find a sub and let the monitor supervisor know. A monitor opt-out option is available for a fee. Details are available on the website under Alternate Monitoring.
Each adult who will be monitoring and/or teaching must complete the child abuse clearances every 5 years. Details and forms are available at the Cornerstone website.
Our classes are designed to meet the needs of traditionally homeschooled students but we recognize the desire of cyber-school families to occasionally supplement their class work with a Cornerstone class. If class space is available permission may be granted on a case by case basis by the Director of Cornerstone – Upper Tier.
Likewise we recognize that some students may need some extra help. We ask that parents notify teachers ahead of time (preferably before registration) to discuss their student and make sure the class is a good match.
We reserve the right to dismiss any student who is disruptive or require that a parent stay in the classroom to maximize a good learning environment for that student and the rest of the class. In the event a student is dismissed no tuition or fees will be reimbursed.
Member information may not be used for any solicitation purposes and is considered private for Cornerstone use only.
IV Website and other Communication
Our website is: www.homeschool–life.com/pa/cornerstone
The website has a public realm that allows non-members to see possible classes, upcoming events and this handbook. To see the directory and register you must be a member first and log in using your id and password. The website administrator can assist you if you forget your password.
The website includes a classified section for selling/buying books and other home school related items. Parents report this to be very successful.
There is also a business section where you may advertise your small, family business.
The website includes a “forum” for communicating with other members. We ask that you stick to home school related or family support (ex: prayer request) topics only. Please stay away from any political or social issue topics as they can endanger our non-profit status.
Members will receive periodic emails from the website with upcoming events, classifieds and the like. You may opt out of these announcements by modifying your family profile on the directory.
During the school year, members receive a newsletter most Mondays. This includes important announcements, upcoming events and items of interest for the entire group. Members are not able to opt-out of receiving this newsletter.
Each student has a file folder that can be found in the lobby in a file box (alphabetical by last name). Occasionally notes or homework will be put in the student folders. Likewise, each teacher has a folder in the teacher file box. Students may occasionally be directed to place homework/correspondence in a teacher's folder.
New families are encouraged to attend the new member orientation a few days before classes begin. This is a great way to meet other parents and students. The orientation also includes a tour, a review of the rules and daily how-tos to make the school year start off more smoothly.
V Student Behavior
Parental Notification for Discipline or Academic Issues:
If a student is failing to meet class requirements or violates Cornerstone’s rules and does not respond appropriately to correction, a postcard or email will be sent to the parent. If the student continues to be uncooperative, a second notification will be sent to the parent. In the event that behavior remains unchanged, a third notification will be sent, indicating dismissal from the class and/or Cornerstone Home Schoolers.
In extreme cases, to be determined by Cornerstone Leadership, a student may be dismissed from Cornerstone Home Schoolers on the first infraction.
In these cases a refund will not be given.
The number one priority of Cornerstone is the safety of our students and the second is providing a good quality education. To that end we have several rules/guidelines that we ask that all students abide by and families support.
The directors are on the Grace Baptist campus from 8:15 am - 4:00 pm. Cornerstone students should only be on campus during these hours.
Students are to be in class, the talk room, study hall or outside in the designated area at all times while on campus. The exception is during lunch when they can be in the lunchroom and the gym (if a monitor is present). Students are not permitted to hang out in vehicles.
Students may not leave the campus for lunch or other car based errands unless they have written permission from their parents.
Students may not leave campus and wander the neighborhood at any time.
Students are asked not to engage in risky behavior like misusing playground equipment, doing flips off tables or playground equipment, sitting in the middle of the parking lot, climbing trees and the like.
$30 fine for a first time offense of using or possessing alcohol, drugs, and smoking of any sort - ie/cigarettes, e-cigs, juuls, etc. If there is probable cause or reasonable suspicion of a student possessing or using on campus the directors will confront the student and contact the parent. Second offense is cause for dismissal from Cornerstone Homeschoolers. No refunds.
Weapons are not allowed on campus.
Students will wear their nametags at all times while they are on campus. This is a safety request by Grace Baptist Church so they can easily identify “strangers” when we are there. Monitors should always wear a monitor badge for easy identification. Students are required to purchase a new name tag ($2) if they lose the one they were given at the beginning of the school term.
Students will avoid horseplay to keep the building and themselves safe.
Students should be careful on steps and while changing classes, especially while the lower tier students are present to avoid accidents. Students may not sit on the steps as this creates a safety issue and noise easily carries to the 2nd floor.
Parents monitor all public areas during the school day to ensure safety and proper behavior.
Extra caution is requested in the parking lots, the maximum speed should be 5 mph.
Cell phones will be off when students are in class.
Students will be on-time to all their classes. On the very rare occasion that a student is late they should enter the class quietly and not disrupt the class.
Cornerstone reserves the right to dismiss any student who disrupts a class or require that a parent stay in the classroom to maximize a good learning environment for that student and the rest of the class. In the event a student is dismissed no tuition or fees will be reimbursed.
Students are responsible for making up any missed work resulting from illness or vacation. If they know in advance they will be out they should notify their teacher to get the work before the absence.
Students are responsible for completing all assignments, as assigned. The number one reason for poor grades is incomplete, late or missed assignments. Parents should assist their students in completing work on time. Teachers will announce their late policy at the beginning of the year.
Students may not at any time copy or use other people’s material without giving them full credit. Students caught plagiarizing for the first time will flunk that assignment. The second time they will flunk the course and the 3rd time they will be expelled from Cornerstone. If you or your student is unfamiliar with the ins and outs of plagiarism this tutorial is a real help: http://library.acadiau.ca/tutorials/plagiarism/ (called "You Quote It, You Note It"). Our logic is that if you didn’t live or invent it then it is some one else’s work and proper credit is due. Teachers will explain how they want sources documented.
Grace Baptist Church is very gracious in allowing us the use of the facility for low rent. We request that all students do their best to keep the building neat and free from damage. Students should be careful not to track in mud or spill drinks. Food and beverages other than water are only permitted in the lunchroom. There is absolutely no eating or drinking permitted in the Talk Room. Chewing gum is not permitted on campus as it is very difficult to clean up.
Dress Code: Students must wear modest clothing reflecting Christ and showing respect toward other students and teachers.
- Shirts straps must be at least 3 inches across the shoulder
- All undergarments will be completely covered by the student's clothing
- Shirts and pants must meet when standing or sitting. No midriff-style shirts or saggy pants
- Clothing may not advertise cigarettes or alcohol or have other offensive statements
- Shorts or skirts should not be higher than 4 inches above the knee.
- Please wear leggings as tights, not pants.
- Any facial jewelry should be minimal and not distracting.
- Final decisions are left to the discretion of the leadership team. Failure to abide by the dress code may require the student to call a parent for replacement clothing before going to class or socializing.
Cornerstone has a No PDA (Public Display of Affection) of a romantic nature policy. Students are expected to cheerfully comply.
Students and parents are expected to have a spirit of cooperation.
Disregarding the Rules
The following fines are in place for students who disregard the rules.
- Eating or drinking outside of the fellowship hall without special permission - $5
- Failure to wear nametag $1.00. (A $2.00 replacement fee is charged the second time the student is not wearing name tag.)
- Failure to throw away trash or clean up a mess - $1.00
- Leaving campus without permission (in car)- $10
- Walking the neighborhood - $10
- $30 fine for a first time offense of using or possessing any illegal substance while at Cornerstone (ie- alcohol, drugs, and smoking of any sort - ie/cigarettes, e-cigs, juuls, ETC.). If there is probable cause or reasonable suspicion of a student possessing or using on campus the directors will confront the student and contact the parent. Second offense is cause for dismissal from Cornerstone Homeschoolers. No refunds.
- Engaging in risky behavior like climbing trees, speeding in parking lot, etc - one warning then $5.00
- Damaging the building - $20 and up for materials plus helping to fix the damage
- Failure to report damage resulting from horseplay etc.. $5
Please remind students that if they leave campus in a car for lunch or an errand, all students in the car must have permission or the driver and the student(s) without permission will pay the fine.
Cornerstone leadership reserves the right to dismiss a student if they continually disregard safety and other behavior rules. Students will not receive a refund.
Cornerstone graduation is organized and run by parents. If a student wishes to graduate with Cornerstone they must either be currently enrolled or have been a Cornerstone student sometime within the 4 years prior to their senior year. (The Family Fee must be paid by families of seniors not taking classes at Cornerstone if they wish to participate in Cornerstone graduation.)
In the event of a weather emergency, the website will be updated by 8am if we will be closed. We typically follow the Hempfield School District regarding delays and closings. If Hempfield has a 2 hour delay we will use the following schedule:
1st period (normally 8:40 - 9:40) ---> 10:00 - 10:35
2nd period (normally 9:45 - 10:45) --->10:40 - 11:15
3rd period (normally 10:50 - 11:50) ---> 11:20 - 11:55
All afternoon classes are scheduled as normal.
Please use your own discretion if roads are not acceptable to drive on in your area.
The first weather closing is made up on the make-up day in April or May. After that we will either use the spring break or just have teachers contact students with their weekly work.
Upper Tier Directors
Cornerstone Upper Tier will have 2 – 3 co-directors that will each serve for 3-4 years. It is preferable if the changing of directors occurs on staggered years.
Upper Tier co-directors receive a total of ten free classes to be divided between them as compensation.
Directors are to act in the best interest of Cornerstone Upper Tier members at large. They are present at co-op on a weekly basis (30 Thursdays from 8:15 am – 4:00 pm) and spend several additional hours working from home to ensure that a variety of classes are available with qualified teachers, proper communication occurs, finances are balanced, legal requirements are met, etc.
After bills have been paid and consideration for purchasing needed equipment has been made, the Upper Tier directors are to present the budget/finances to the Advisory Team (made of 3 Upper Tier parent members) for review. Advisory team may recommend an amount of financial gift for the directors. Maximum of $3000 to be split among all directors. $1500/two directors. $1000/3 directors. It will be very rare that the maximum amount is given. [NOTE: These figures were chosen because, at the time (2015), a teacher was paid $1500 for a full class (12 students), therefore, it was possible for a director to receive a gift equivalent to teaching one full class. As of 2018, teachers earn $2,160 for a class of 12 students.]
Advisory Team – a team of 3 parent members that meet with the directors monthly or as needed to discuss policy, discipline, or any area of concern in relation to Upper Tier.
If a member has a question or concern with a director, please go directly to the director to discuss the matter. If this is not possible, or the result is not satisfactory, the member should take the concern to the Advisory Team.
Our email is: cornerstone.UpperTier@gmail.com
On Thursdays: we are on campus from 8:30 -4:00 and should be called at
717.572.7761 (Tara Wright)
Please do not call the church office.
Co-Directors of Upper Tier : Tara Wright, Karen Greineder, Michelle Stoner
Directors of Lower Tier: Anne Richey and Shallon Rohrer
Yearbook: DeNise Malanchuk