Lower School Handbook
Panther Club is the Extended Day Program of Mounds Park Academy. We share a common goal in providing a safe, enjoyable, nurturing and educational environment for all children who enter. Please read this handbook and become familiar with our policies and procedures.
By working together, we can provide the very best care for children before and after school.
Panther Club Contact Information
- Extended Day/Summer Program Director: Russ Purdy
Direct phone line: 651-748-5571
- AM Panther Club teacher: Cindy Bruns
- PM Panther Club teacher: Hollee Towner
- Location: Family Commons for check-in, former Library space for Panther Club.
AM Panther Club
Age of Students we serve: Kindergarten through 4th grade
Lower School Staff/Child Ratio is 1:15.
Hours of Operation: 7-8 AM
Cost: $5 per day ($5.50 in the 2022-23 school year)
Children do not have to be preregistered to attend AM Panther Club.
Children who arrive at school between 7 and 7:50 AM are required to join AM Panther Club, which is located in room 150. There is no charge for children who arrive after 7:50 AM. Panther Club is a safe and relaxing way to start the school day. Caring staff supervise while children study, read, or engage in free play or crafts. Students are dismissed to their classes at 8 AM.
PM Panther Club
Age of Students we serve: Kindergarten through 4th Grade
Lower School Program capacity: Up to 70 children. Staff/Child ratio is 1:15.
Hours of Operation: 3-6 PM
Cost: $13 per day ($14 in the 2022-23 school year)
Panther Club is a safe and nurturing after school program in which children are allowed choices in play areas, arts and crafts, large muscle activity, as well as quiet study time and homework assistance if needed. Panther Club often facilitates special cooking projects or science experiments as well as special interest clubs and groups. Panther Club offers one fresh and healthy snack at 3 PM, provided by Sage Dining.
Sign-up for After School Panther Club
After school Panther Club requires registration to maintain ratio needs. After school Panther Club registration available here. This helps us make sure all kids arrive at their intended destination and that all children are safe after school.
After School LS Panther Club schedule
3-3:10 PM Arrival to Cafeteria
3:10-3:15 PM Check-In and Snack
3:30-4 PM Large Muscle/Outside Play
4-4:30 PM HOURS (Homework or Uninterrupted Reading and Study)
4:30-6 PM Choice time/programming activity
Afternoon Panther Club offers one snack at 3 PM. We serve only 100% juice, milk or water. Sage Dining provides our fresh and healthy snacks. If you have certain dietary requests please contact Panther Club so we can make accommodations. If you wish to send a snack from home, that is fine also.
We go outdoors many times a week, weather permitting. All children who are well enough to be at Panther Club are expected to participate in outdoor activities. We will follow school guidelines for indoor recess in the event of cold weather. In hot weather, we will follow hot weather safety precautions by limiting time outside and offering water breaks.
Panther Club Staff
All Panther Club staff members must complete a background check before working in the program. Staffers are trained in First Aid and CPR, as well as other program related areas.
Lower School Panther Club Required Sign-In/Out Procedure
You must sign your child out every afternoon. There are no exceptions to this rule. Failure to comply with this rule may result in termination of services. Any authorized person who is picking up a child from Panther Club must have available proper photo identification and may be checked by Panther Club staff. An authorized person is any person 16 years or older, listed on the Emergency Card, or a person granted permission in writing with parent/guardian signature and date present. Emails from parent/guardian are permitted. Verbal permission will not be accepted. In emergency situations, an exception may be made if Panther Club staff are able to call back to a previously provided number on the emergency forms to verify the call came from a parent/guardian.
Panther Club parents will have access through the south entrance from 4:30-6 PM by a limited use fob (a small deposit will be required) which can be picked up in the north reception area (business office). The buzzer system will have both a visual feed and a voice feed. A receptionist at the north entrance between 4:30 and 6 PM will monitor access to the south entrance.
After School Electronic Device Policy
Leave electronics, cell phones, and valuables at home or in locker. Children can be reached directly through Panther Club phone 651-748-5571. Using devices to watch television shows or music videos, etc. is strictly prohibited.
Lower School Full Day Panther Club
Age of Students we serve: Kindergarten through 4th grade
Program capacity: Up to 30 children. Ratio is 1:15.
Hours of Operation: 7 AM-6 PM
Cost: $60 per day
*Enrollment minimum is five students (must be registered at least two weeks prior to day of service)
On many non-school days, Panther Club is open from 7 AM until 6 PM. We offer supervision from qualified staff, healthy snacks, fun activities, arts and crafts, and fun themed activities for children in kindergarten-4th grades.
Registration forms are sent home with your child at least one month before the scheduled full release day. You must register your child by the deadline listed. There is a $10 late registration fee for each late registration accepted—but please note that late registrations may not be accepted due to limited space.
Full day care service will be canceled if minimum enrollment (five students) is not reached two weeks prior to the day of service. Please read each registration form for additional information and policies. You may submit school release day registration forms to your child’s teacher, Lower School office or to Panther Club staff. You will be billed at the end of the month for service. Please do not send payment with registration.
Our release day schedule varies depending on theme and activities, field trips, and projects, however, we do try to maintain a consistent schedule.
Full Day Panther Club schedule
7-9 AM Arrival/Choice Time
9-9:30 AM Large Muscle/Outside Play
9:30-10 AM Morning Meeting
10-11:30 AM Theme related activities
11:30 AM-1:30 PM Lunch and Recess/ Large Muscle/Outside Play (Students must bring lunch from home
1:30-2:15 PM DEAR time (Drop Everything and Read) -- children can also rest during this time.
2:15-3 PM Theme related activities
3-3:30 PM Snack
3:30-4 PM Large Muscle/Outside Play
4-6 PM Free Choice
*This schedule will vary on field trip or special event days.
Grievance Procedures for Parents for DHS Licensed Programs
According to Minnesota Statues 245A.04 a license holder must have a program grievance procedure that permits persons served by the program and their authorized representative to bring a grievance to the highest level of authority in the program.
At the core of our community is a spirit of mutual respect. We seek to respect the integrity and worth of every individual, respecting and valuing individual viewpoints, and, therefore, this policy is not intended to restrict the flow of ideas.
Mounds Park Academy expects that:
- All members of the school community feel physically, intellectually, and psychologically safe when at school or at school functions.
- All members of the MPA community are expected to be respectful at all times to each other, to visitors, and to school property. This expectation applies to all communications that members of the community have with each other, including electronic communication.
- In order to maintain a safe, positive, supportive community, all members of the MPA community have a responsibility to communicate instances of disrespect/harassment to the appropriate person(s), e.g., faculty, division directors, assistant directors, or other staff members.
- Issues of disrespect/harassment involving students will be dealt with by the appropriate division director. Consequences will depend on the age of the student(s) involved, the severity of the occurrence, and the number of related offenses. The consequences may include, but are not limited to, one or more of the following: A parent conference; counseling; loss of privileges; restitution; and suspension or expulsion, if warranted.
- Issues of disrespect/harassment involving adults will be dealt with by the Head of School and/or Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees.
Grievance Concerning Program or Procedure
- If there is a grievance over the program or procedure, direct contact with the teacher or LS Director should be made. The complaint should be made either verbally or in writing.
- If the individual making the complaint feels that it is being ignored or if the matter is of a serious nature, the complaint should be made to the LS Director. Depending on the nature of the complaint, the LS Director will either handle it personally or refer it to the Head of School. It is the responsibility of the LS Director to see to it that the grievance is handled properly and expeditiously.
Grievance over a Teacher of Staff Member
- If there is a situation where a parent/guardian has a personal grievance, the first expectation is that there is direct communication.
- If it is not appropriate to approach the teacher/staff member and/or if there is an unsatisfactory resolution following communication, the parent/guardian may approach the LS Director. Due to the personal nature of such a grievance, the LS Director will have a conversation with the staff member to gain understanding and act as a liaison to reach a mutually agreed upon outcome.
- If the problem remains, the teacher and/or LS Director will provide in writing how the problem will be resolved.
- If the complaint is about the LS Director and cannot be resolved internally, the Head of School will be notified.
Grievance Over Facilities or Equipment
For complaints about the facilities or equipment, please communicate with either the teacher or the LS Director who will see to it that it is repaired immediately.
Modified from HCCC 5/96 B.S. Revised 1/03, 3/08, 1/10
Behavior Guidance Policy
A key goal in our Mounds Park Academy PreK program is to provide a classroom environment where each child is valued and where warm, nurturing relationships are evident. Our behavioral guidance plan is tailored to the developmental needs of our students, and we hold the physical and emotional safety and security of our children and staff as our highest priority. Rules in the early childhood classroom should be simple and functional. Most revolve around being safe and keeping the classroom productive and conducive to learning. Walk on your feet, use an inside voice, hurt no one on the inside and outside are simple. We believe that
- Children learn from the adults around them, and it is our responsibility to present them with positive models of acceptable behavior.
- Each child is an individual and responds uniquely to guidance and discipline.
- Most behavior issues in the classroom can be solved by proactive room arrangements and routines.
- An important step is to redirect the child away from the activity with an invitation to try it again later.
- We teach our children through conversation and problem-solving how to use acceptable alternatives to problem behavior in order to reduce conflict.
- We provide immediate and directly related consequences for a child’s unacceptable behavior. Natural consequences often provide a learning experience for children.
- The goal is to help children self-regulate their behavior versus relying on external control from adults.
When a child’s unacceptable behavior becomes persistent,
- We will observe and record the child’s behavior as well as the teacher’s response in each situation,
- After the observation period, parents will be contacted to develop a plan to address the documented behavior. Other professionals may be consulted when appropriate.
A child will only be separated from the group if
- Less intrusive methods of guiding the child’s behavior have been tried and were ineffective,
- The child’s behavior threatens the well-being of the child or another child
If a child needs to be separated from the group, the following procedures will be followed:
- The child will remain in the classroom where s/he can continuously be seen and heard by a teacher.
- The child will return to the group contingent on the child’s stopping or bringing under control the behavior that precipitated the separation. The return to the group will occur as soon as the behavior that precipitated the separation abates or stops.
- There will be a conversation with the child about the problem behavior and successful alternatives after self-control is regained. A plan will be made with the child about what to do differently the next time.
- The separation will be logged including the child’s name, teacher’s name, time and date of incident, separation begin and end time, how the child’s behavior continued to threaten the well being of the child or other child in care, and information about how the teacher guided the behavior in a more positive direction.
- If a child is separated from the group three or more times in one day, the child’s parent will be notified and the parent notification will be indicated on the daily log.
- If a child is separated five or more times in one week or eight times or more in two weeks, it will be considered persistent unacceptable behavior. At Mounds Park Academy, we will not take the following actions with your child: rough handling, shoving, hair-pulling, ear-pulling, shaking, slapping, kicking, biting, pinching, hitting, or spanking. Nor will we use our words to name-call, ostracize, shame, make derogatory remarks about a child or his/her family or use language that threatens, humiliates, or frightens a child. We will not punish a child for lapses in toileting, use any mechanical restraint such as tying, or withhold food, light, warmth, clothing, or medical care as a punishment for unacceptable behavior. We will only use physical restraint other than to physically hold a child where containment is necessary to protect a child or others from harm.
Health and Safety
All children are required to complete a health care summary within 30 days of enrollment and an immunization record at the time of enrollment. A nurse from the North St. Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale School District #622, is on duty every school day to provide first aid and handle student health needs that occur during the school day. A health aide is present five days each week to do routine screenings, such as vision and hearing, to keep records and provide some first aid. The school nurse provides first aid and handles student health needs that occur during the school day. The Health Service Office hours are 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Monday-Friday on school days. North St. Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale School District #622 also provides health services and maintains the health records.
Remember, children with infectious disease can spread the disease when they are in contact with others in the family or in the community.
Some general questions asked of the nurse are:
Q. When is my child too sick to go to or be at school?
A. A child with any of the following conditions or behaviors is a sick child and must be excluded from school. If your child becomes sick while at school, s/he must be isolated from other children, supervised at all times, and you will be called immediately. Based on Minnesota Statute 9503.0080, we must exclude a child:
- With a reportable illness or condition as specified in part 4605.7040 that the Commissioner of Health determines to be contagious and a physician determines has not had sufficient treatment to reduce the health risk to others;
- With chicken pox until the child is no longer infectious or until the lesions are crusted over;
- Who has vomited two or more times since admission that day;
- Who has had three or more abnormally loose stools since admissions that day;
- Who has contagious conjunctivitis or pus draining from the eye;
- Who has a bacterial infection such as streptococcal pharyngitis or impetigo and has not completed 24 hours of antimicrobial therapy;
- Who has unexplained lethargy;
- Who has lice, ringworm,, or scabies that is untreated and contagious to others;
- Who has a 100 degree Fahrenheit axillary or higher temperature of undiagnosed origin before fever reducing medication is given;
- Who has an undiagnosed rash or a rash attributable to a contagious illness or condition;
- Who has significant respiratory distress;
- Who is not able to participate in child care program activities with reasonable comfort; and
- Who requires more care than the program staff can provide without compromising the health and safety of other children in care.
Q. How should I communicate with the school if my child is ill?
A. If your child is ill, please call the school daily before 8 AM to report the illness.
Q. When is my child well enough to return to school?
A. Our policy is that the child must be symptom free for a 24-hour period. Also, they must feel physically well enough to resume all normal, daily activities including outdoor recess. We wish to avoid constant re-infections and high absentee counts in our classrooms, so please refrain from sending your child back to school too soon. If “in doubt” – keep them home that extra day. Your child can return to school following an illness:
- If your child has had a fever of 100 degrees or more, s/he should stay home for 24 hours after the temperature returns to normal and remains normal without fever-reducing medication.
- If your child has vomited or had diarrhea, s/he should stay home until 24 hours after the last episode.
- If your child has had any rash that may be disease-related or the cause is unknown, check with your family physician before sending the student to school.
- If your child is positive for strep throat, s/he must be treated for at least 24 hours prior to return.
Q. What happens when a student doesn’t feel well in school?
A. The Mounds Park Academy policy for students who do not feel well is that they may rest in the Health Office for 30 minutes. If they are not well enough to return to class after that time, the nurse will call the parent or guardian to pick the student up as soon as possible. When filling out your Emergency Information Card, please make certain your emergency contact is someone willing and able to pick up your child from school in the event you are unable to do so.
Q. When my child returns to school after an illness, should he/she stay inside during recess time?
A. A child should return to school when he/she is well. If the child is dressed appropriately, recess time (about 25 minutes) outside should be fine for the child.
We require parents to notify us within 24 hours when their child has a contagious reportable disease (See Minnesota Rule 4605.7040.) or lice, scabies, impetigo, ringworm, or chicken pox. We will in turn give notice to parents of exposed children the same day we are notified., and our school nurse gives families a relevant fact sheet from the Infectious Diseases in Childcare Settings and Schools manual. Children should be excluded from the school setting until symptoms improve; or a healthcare provider has determined that the child can return; or children can participate in routine activities without more staff supervision than usual.
Accidents, Injuries, and Emergencies
Student or parent MUST submit a Health/Emergency Form before the first day of school. In the case of an accident or emergency, our procedure is to attempt to contact the parent(s) at home or at work. The paramedics or local police may be called for assistance. Your child may be taken to the nearest hospital for emergency service if no other arrangements have been made. A staff will accompany the child to the hospital and stay until the parent/guardian arrives if ambulance transportation is required. If a parent/guardian is unavailable, we will continue to call the child’s emergency contacts until an authorized person is reached.
Whenever possible, parents and guardians should make arrangements to administer medications at home. Children are not allowed to have medication in their possession. When a student needs to take medications at school, the following policy will be followed to provide safe administration of any prescription or nonprescription medication during the school day.
Prior to the administration of medication, parents or guardians must send:
- Written parental permission authorizing school personnel (nurse or health aide) to administer medication.
- Written order from a physician/authorized prescriber indicating the necessity of any medication, includes both prescription and over-thecounter (OTC) medication.
- The original labeled container of medication. Please send any OTC medication in a new, unopened, original container. If you wish to have OTC medication administered for the duration of the 2009–10 school year, your physician also must write an “as needed” order. For prescription medication, please ask the pharmacist to provide a duplicate LABELED container, one for home and one for school.
Additional Medications Requirements:
- Authorizations need to be renewed annually or whenever the medication changes.
- Medication to be administered in school should be kept in the health office. Students will need to go to the health office for administration of the medication. The school nurse will attempt to find a student if he/she forgets to come into the health office for their medication, but it is not possible for the nurse to do this on a regular basis.
- Controlled substances such as Ritalin, Dexedrine, Cylert, Adderall, Concerta, etc. must be counted as each supply arrives. We no longer receive these medications in partial supply that is brought to us in any packaging other than the original labeled container. Parents are now being asked to deliver only a one-month supply at a time in the original prescription container. Also, parents should pick up medication from the school at the end of the school year or when their child is no longer taking that particular medication.
If your child will need or be taking medications during the current school year, a medication authorization form must be completed and signed by both the parent and physician and returned to the Health Services Office by the first day of school. Check the Mounds Park Academy website to access the form, or pick one up in the Health Services Office.
Note: This applies to both over-the-counter medications such as Tylenol or Advil and/or prescription medications.
The State of Minnesota requires new students and all international students to show documentation of immunizations before school begins. This may be from either a previous school or doctor. Entering Pre-Kindergarten
- Four doses of DTP/Td/DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough))
- Three doses of polio vaccine
- Three doses of Hepatitis B (HBV)
- One dose MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella)
- One dose of Hib – Haemophilus influenzae type B
- One dose of Varicella (Chickenpox) or documentation of having the disease
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA)
FERPA or the Buckley Amendment protects the privacy of students and their parents by restricting access to school records in which individual student information is kept. Only “school officials with legitimate education interest” can directly access a student’s records. The school must define “legitimate education interest” and specify the criteria for deciding who has this interest. FERPA provides parents with access to their child’s school records, including health records, and stipulates that these records may not be released outside the school without specific parental consent except in a few circumstances.
FERPA requires our school to inform parents in writing every year of the school’s policies and administrative procedures regarding student records. Parents also should receive information on the additional protections afforded student health information, the types of school-based or schoollinked health services available to students, and the names and phone numbers of the school’s health professionals. In addition the parental notice should explain in clear, easily understood language the rights of parents and students, the limits of confidentiality, and relevant concepts such as “informed consent.” The U.S. Department of Education (USDoEd) has produced a model notice of parent’s rights under FERPA and a model school district records policy, outlining these protections. See http://www.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/index.html.
Maltreatment of Minors Mandated Reporting Policy for DHS Licensed Programs
Who Should Report Child Abuse and Neglect
- Any person may voluntarily report abuse or neglect.
- If you work with children in a licensed facility, you are legally required or mandated to report and cannot shift the responsibility of reporting to your supervisor or to anyone else at your licensed facility. If you know or have reason to believe a child is being or has been neglected or physically or sexually abused within the preceding three years you must immediately (within 24 hours) make a report to an outside agency.
Where to Report
- If you know or suspect that a child is in immediate danger, call 911.
- All reports concerning suspected abuse or neglect of children occurring in a licensed facility should be made to the Department of Human Services, Licensing Division’s Maltreatment Intake line at (651) 431-6600.
- Reports regarding incidents of suspected abuse or neglect of children occurring within a family or in the community should be made to the local county social services agency at 651-266-4500 or local law enforcement at 651-249-2600.
- If your report does not involve possible abuse or neglect, but does involve possible violations of Minnesota Statutes or Rules that govern the facility, you should call the Department of Human Services, Licensing Division at (651) 431-6500.
What to Report
- Definitions of maltreatment are contained in the Reporting of Maltreatment of Minors Act (Minnesota Statutes, section 626.556) and should be attached to this policy.
- A report to any of the above agencies should contain enough information to identify the child involved, any persons responsible for the abuse or neglect (if known), and the nature and extent of the maltreatment and/or possible licensing violations. For reports concerning suspected abuse or neglect occurring within a licensed facility, the report should include any actions taken by the facility in response to the incident.
- An oral report of suspected abuse or neglect made to one of the above agencies by a mandated reporter must be followed by a written report to the same agency within 72 hours, exclusive of weekends and holidays.
Failure to Report
A mandated reporter who knows or has reason to believe a child is or has been neglected or physically or sexually abused and fails to report is guilty of a misdemeanor. In addition, a mandated reporter who fails to report maltreatment that is found to be serious or recurring maltreatment may be disqualified from employment in positions allowing direct contact with persons receiving services from programs licensed by the Department of Human Services and by the Minnesota Department of Health, and unlicensed Personal Care Provider Organizations.
An employer of any mandated reporter shall not retaliate against the mandated reporter for reports made in good faith or against a child with respect to whom the report is made. The Reporting of Maltreatment of Minors Act contains specific provisions regarding civil actions that can be initiated by mandated reporters who believe that retaliation has occurred. Internal Review When the facility has reason to know that an internal or external report of alleged or suspected maltreatment has been made, the facility must complete an internal review and take corrective action, if necessary, to protect the health and safety of children in care. The internal review must include an evaluation of whether:
- (i) related policies and procedures were followed;
- (ii) the policies and procedures were adequate;
- (iii) there is a need for additional staff training;
- (iv) the reported event is similar to past events with the children or the services involved; and
- (v) there is a need for corrective action by the license holder to protect the health and safety of children in care.
Primary and Secondary Person or Position to Ensure Internal Reviews are Completed
The internal review will be completed by our Lower School Director. If this individual is involved in the alleged or suspected maltreatment, Our Head of School will be responsible for completing the internal review.
Documentation of the Internal Review
The facility must document completion of the internal review and provide documentation of the review to the commissioner upon the commissioner's request.
Corrective Action Plan
Based on the results of the internal review, the license holder must develop, document, and implement a corrective action plan designed to correct current lapses and prevent future lapses in performance by individuals or the license holder, if any.
The license holder must provide training to all staff related to the mandated reporting responsibilities as specified in the Reporting of Maltreatment of Minors Act (Minnesota Statutes, section 626.556). The license holder must document the provision of this training in individual personnel records, monitor implementation by staff, and ensure that the policy is readily accessible to staff, as specified under Minnesota Statutes, section 245A.04, subdivision 14.
From MN Department of Human Services, Division of Licensing, December 2011.
Please do not hesitate to contact a staff for further information. We are proud to serve our Lower School families!