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Upper Tier Handbook View

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 16 hours a year). A monitor opt-out option is available for additional fees.  

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.

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. Types of Membership-

Participating members commit to volunteering in a variety of capacities based on each family’s class enrollment. Classes and Flex periods in the building count towards this requirement. Two (2) volunteer units for each one semester class and four (4) volunteer units for each full year class with a family maximum of 16. Members may choose any combination of duties equal to their family’s volunteer requirement. These will be available on a sign-up genius on a first-come-first-serve basis for monitoring, pizza lunch responsibilities, set up duties before co-op begins, and tear down and clean up at the close of the day.

Nonparticipating Memberships (an "opt out" option) may be available for 7th - 12th grade students. This will be available on a first-come-first-serve basis until the 25 family maximum is reached. Each registering nonparticipating member will have two weeks to make the first payment. If payment is not made in that time, their students will be removed from the classes and moved to the bottom of the waiting list for nonparticipating memberships. 

All families registering for Cornerstone Participating Membership will pay a family fee of $125 ONCE, for either UT or LT, but not to both. This consists of a $50 Commitment Fee and a $25 CHALC fee and a $50 Member Fee used for the rental fees paid to the host church, the purchase of necessary equipment and supplies, additional rental fees of facilities for special events, copies, printing, administrative fees, supplemental liability insurance, and any other expenses incurred for the benefit of the group. Additional fees may be required for certain classes, special supplies, or field trips.

This fee is nonrefundable and expected within two weeks of registration.

All families applying to be Cornerstone Nonparticipating Members will pay a family fee based on total class enrollment (not including Flex Periods) for the family.

  • One Class - $205
  • Two Classes - $275
  • Three Classes or More - $325

Members may not transfer from a Participating Membership to a Non-Participating Membership after the co-op year has started.

New Members and Maximum Enrollment
Cornerstone Upper Tier reserves the right to limit the size of the co-op based upon available facilities, individual class size requirements, and volunteer commitment needs for an academic year. Nonparticipating Memberships will be limited to 25 families until the Cornerstone Upper Tier has established the enough volunteer commitment to sustain the upcoming year, at which time the leadership may increase the number of Nonparticipating Memberships. When the enrollment limit has been reached, a waiting list will be established. Families on the waiting list will be notified when an opening is available.

2022-2023 Payment policy

Initial payment is expected within two weeks of registration and includes:

  • Your Family Fee (Participating/Nonparticipating)
  • All Supply Fees
  • A 15% Tuition Deposit

These fees are nonrefundable,but Supply Fees and Tuition Deposits that have been paid will be credited towards other class registration charges in your Homeschool Life account according to the Grace Period as indicated below up until May 31st. .

Remaining payments may be divided over the following four payment dates:

  • July 15
  • September 1
  • November 1
  • January 1

Please postdate your checks accordingly for those specific dates.

ALL CHECKS SHOULD BE HANDED IN AT THE TIME OF REGISTRATION with the understanding that the money is committed according to the rules of the refund policy.

Full payment is welcome. Members may print receipts from homeschool life anytime after payment is posted. Accounting details are always available on our website for your convenience. Invoices and payments are always updated on the homeschool life website. Please check your account and pay for any classes you add after your initial registration.

Hand in payment (cash or check made payable to Cornerstone) or mail to:

Cornerstone, c/o Catherine Sharp, 406 Conestoga Blvd, Lancaster, PA 17602.

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 adult who will be monitoring and/or teaching must complete the child abuse clearances every 5 years. Details and forms are available on your Profile page 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– 

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.  

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 and are responsible for knowing its contents.

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, an 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 7:45 am - 2:45 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 (the back of GBC) 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 in 7th grade and up are not permitted to use the playground equiptment.

Students are asked not to engage in horseplay or risky behavior like 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 MUST 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.

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.

Classroom Behavior

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:  (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.

General Rules

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. (fellowship hall or gym) Chewing gum is not permitted on campus. 

Dress Code: Students must wear modest clothing reflecting Christ and showing respect toward other students and teachers.

  • 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
  • No short shorts or skirts (4 inches above the knee or fingertip length is a good rule of thumb)
  • No strapless or spaghetti strap tops. 
  • 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.

There is no tolerance for hurtful teasing, bullying, fighting, or threatening members of the Cornerstone community.  

Students may not use inappropriate or disrespectful lanuage.  

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/gym 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.)
  • 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.
  • Damaging the building - $20 and up for materials plus helping to fix the damage
  • Failure to report damage resulting from horseplay etc.. $10

*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.


Graduation Policies

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 currently taking classes at Cornerstone if they wish to participate in Cornerstone graduation.)

Inclement Weather

In the event of a weather emergency, an email will be sent by 7am if the schedule is modified.  We typically follow the Hempfield School District regarding delays and closings, however with the advancement of online learning Hempfield may go to online classes while Cornerstone will choose to delay. In the event of a delay the following schedule is typically used:

1st period (normally 8:00 - 8:55) ---> 10:00 - 10:25

2nd period (normally 9:00 - 9:55) --->10:30 - 10:55

3rd period (normally 10:00 - 10:55) ---> 11:00 - 11:25

4th period (normally 11:00 – 11:55)---> 11:30-11:55

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 not rescheduled. A second closing will be made up on the make-up day in April or May. After that we will either use the spring break or have teachers contact students with their weekly work. With some online options now available we may not always need to reschedule an in-person make-up day. Leadership will keep the members informed of any make-up days scheduled. 

Upper Tier Leadership Team Disclosure Information

Cornerstone Upper Tier has a Leadership Team composed of Director, Assistant Director, Treasurer, Teacher Coordinator, New Member Coordinator, Building Coordinator and Fundraising and Activity Coordinator. These positions may change from year to year depending on the skills of the membership being lead to serve.

Upper Tier Leadership currently receives a total of ten free classes to be divided between them as compensation.

Leadership will 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 7:30 am – 3:00 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.

Upper Tier Leadership, Upper Tier Teachers and Lower Tier Directors are by nature Participating Members but are exempt from the volunteer requirements and the flex period payment expected from the general membership.

Upper Tier CHALC representatives are credited the Family Fee of $125 but are expected to be participating members of our Cornerstone community.

General Information

Contacting us:

Our email is:  [email protected]

On Thursdays:  we are on campus from 7:30 -3:00 and may be reached at

717-468-5304 (Anne Flinchbaugh Richey)

Please do not call the church office.



Upper Tier : Director-Anne Flinchbaugh Richey, Assistant Director-Susan Geoghan, Treasurer-Cathy Sharp, Teacher Coordinator-Meredith Shore, New Member Coordinator/Student Liason-Karla Beachy, Building Coordinator-Priscilla O'Byrne, 

Directors of Lower Tier: RoseAnn Kuhns and Lauri Shumaker