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August News

August 5, 2013
KWD: 540-951-3636 Fax: 540-951-1132 CRC: 540-552-3636 Fax: 540-552-3612 Summer Program is almost winding down and Fall Program is just around the corner. We hope that you and your family have enjoyed the warm summer days and some extra time outside. Our children have been very busy with hikes, picnics, water play and field trips. If your schedule is more flexible in the summer, we hope that you can find ways to be more involved here at Rainbow Riders. Join us for lunch, share a story or talent, or just come and play. Our families are always welcome!

Each year, we look closely at the budget to plan for raises, bonuses and other expenses for the center. With input from our family and staff questionnaires, we have made some important decisions. These require tuition increases in some classrooms. Please see the attached information about the tuition increases that will go into effect September 1. Later in August, “How to Pay September” flyers will be posted so you will know the tuition due if your child is making a transition to a new group. Please note that the policy for late fees has changed. Late fees will automatically be assessed to children’s accounts when payments are not received by the 4th or 19th of the month.

Annual Tuition Increases

Dates to Remember: August 16 ~ Rainbow Riders Closed for Staff Retreat September 2 ~ Rainbow Riders Closed—Labor Day September 4 ~ Fall Program Begins September 9 ~ Part Time Preschool Begins

Tuition increases in the upcoming school year allow for much deserved raises for our teachers and staff. Raises will be distributed in September based on evaluation results and length of time employed. While the raises may be small per person, with a total of 80 employees, we are budgeting that the raises will cost a total of about $37,000 over the next year. Teacher salaries are a high priority for us at Rainbow Riders. We maintain a tight budget and share information with families and staff at our annual State of the Center Meeting each Spring. Including our health/dental insurance, Retirement IRA plan, childcare discount and bonuses, well over 70% of our expenses are dedicated to our employee costs. Still the pay rate for teachers averages under $10 per hour. This is a national crisis and we remain vigilant advocates for early childhood programs on a local, state and national level.

Tuition Increases = Raises for Teachers

We are forming an advisory team to help co-construct our vision for Rainbow Riders. This team would meet quarterly to develop and implement a strategic plan or process for the next 3-5 years. Our hope is that this team will consist of 3 teachers and 3 families from each site along with the Administrative Team and Consulting Teachers. Please contact Kristi at rainbowkws@gmail.com if you are interested in joining this effort.

Advisory Team

~ Sunscreen ~
Please remember to put sunscreen on your child each day before they come to Rainbow Riders. Even on those overcast days, children can really be burned by the sun’s powerful rays. Thank you!

Exciting News…

With input from our teaching staff and family questionnaires this Spring, we started to plan for some upcoming additions to our program. New positions that will begin with the start of the new school year have been announced and we are currently receiving applications for these positions. These positions include: 1. Two "Consulting Teachers" at each site that will work in their classroom half-day and work side-by-side with teachers in the afternoon to provide direct mentoring and support. 2. "Resource Teachers" at each site that will share their expertise with other teachers through individual meetings, workshops and training sessions. 3. PTA liaison positions for staff members who will work directly with the PTAs to support their mission and goals throughout the year. 4. An art teacher! Crimson McCaslin started this summer with our school-age program designing robots. She will start working with the younger children during the school year at both sites. We will announce her schedule at the beginning of the school year. 5. Tutors for our school-age children! We are working with the Federal Work Study Program at Virginia Tech to place tutors with our school-age programs during the school year. We are excited to have on-site academic support for these children! 6. Language teacher for our preschoolers! We are also in discussions with the Federal Work Study Program to hire a language teacher for our preschool age children during the school year. We will announce this once it is confirmed. This will be a wonderful partnership with VT!

Important Reminders for Families….

Please remember to wash your hands and your child’s hands each time you enter the classrooms at Rainbow Riders. This is a proven method for reducing the spread of disease and also one of our policies. While Rainbow Riders has an open door policy for parents, it is very helpful if classrooms are not disrupted during rest time, 12:30—2:30 PM. When children are picked up or dropped off during this time it is not only difficult for your child, it can disrupt the rest time for the entire classroom. If you must drop off or pick up your child during rest time, please check in with your child’s teacher or the director to help plan for a smooth transition. Whenever your child will be late or will not attend Rainbow Riders, please remember to call the office by 10:00 AM to let us know. If your child is sick, we are required to inform other families that an illness has been confirmed in the classroom. A sign will be posted listing the date and diagnosis.

A “Peanut Free” Zone
As a Center with a very diverse community, Rainbow Riders strives to meet the needs of every family. This is particularly important when those needs involve the children’s safety. Several children and teachers at our Center have serious food allergies that are life threatening and require special attention. Each child with a serious allergy has an Individualized Health Care Plan that is implemented whenever they are in our care. In addition, Rainbow Riders is a “Peanut-Free Zone”. As a peanut-free school, we do not allow peanuts or peanut products at Rainbow Riders. This includes field trips and celebrations where children, parents or teachers bring their own lunch, snacks, or items to share. If eaten at home, please be sure to thoroughly wash hands and faces of all traces of peanuts or peanut butter before coming to Rainbow Riders. Children with severe allergies can have life threatening reactions even with slight exposures including touch and smell. Thank you for helping us keep Rainbow Riders safe for everyone in our care.
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Rainbow Riders’ Closed for Annual Staff Retreat
Rainbow Riders will be closed for our annual staff retreat on Friday, August 16. During this time, we will have time for teachers to work in their classrooms, engage in team-building and training activities.

Be silly. Be honest. Be kind. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Join us as we celebrate our teachers!
June 3 Margaret Nester, KWD White—11 yrs. 24 Kelsey Spencer, CRC Flipside—3 years July 16 Carla Rutledge, CRC Red—1 year 16 Carol Rutledge, CRC Yellow—1 year 16 Stefi Schafer, weekly sub—14 years 26 Meredith Edgell, KWD Violet—1 year 27 Sharon Stacy, KWD Admin—1 year Aug 2 Missy Roberts, KWD Violet—9 years 2 Bonnie Caldwell, KWD Red—20 years!! 10 Bailey Chandler, KWD Violet—1 year 10 Emily Webb, KWD Maroon—1 year 12 Tiffany Burton, CRC White—2 years 12 Julie Quesenberry, KWD White—2 years 12 Ashley Stover, KWD Floater—2 years 12 Mary Hendrickson, KWD Kitchen—4 yrs. 12 Rexella Holmes, KWD White—4 years 12 Lori Marsh, KWD Orange—4 years 12 Ben Rowan, CRC Music/Floater—4 years 12 Margie Vest, KWD Yellow—4 years 13 Jenny Matz, KWD Orange—4 years 14 Kristina Driskill, CRC Flipside—1 year 14 Shelly Sherman, CRC Jade/Flipside—1 yr. 14 Tammie Sarver, CRC Violet—1 year 16 Vicky Mullins, KWD White—2 years 17 Kristen Russell, CRC Purple—1 year 17 Kris Alderson, Finance Dir.—8 years 19 Andrea Fleming, KWD Blue—5 years 23 Claudine Grieshaber, Enroll. Dir.—13 yrs. 25 Tanya Hinckley, Finance/Jade—9 yrs. 31 Parisa Gholami, CRC Jade—3 years 31 Meagan Kelley, CRC Clubhouse—1 year
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Staff Anniversaries

Department of Labor Update
In March 2012 Rainbow Riders was made aware that in our program, our teachers do not qualify for the “teacher exemption” under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Previously, we documented time worked and staff used “comp” time whenever they needed it instead of being paid time and a half beyond the 40-hour work week. We had received legal advice that our teachers met the teacher exemption. However, this is not the case in Virginia. In our State, early learning programs are regulated by the Department of Social Services instead of the Department of Education and not all of our teachers maintain state certification. Immediately after learning about these regulations, we cooperated fully with the Department of Labor to provide the necessary documentation and to make this right by our employees. We have adopted new policies and procedures to ensure that we are fully compliant with these regulations. We wanted you to be aware that we have made the necessary changes and have settled all back wage payments. We value our teachers immensely and are committed to providing the highest and fairest compensation possible.
August 2013