SOUTHERN WORCESTER COUNTY EDUCATIONAL COLLABORATIVE EMPLOYEE HANDBOOK 2019-2020 - Squarespace

 
SOUTHERN WORCESTER COUNTY EDUCATIONAL COLLABORATIVE EMPLOYEE HANDBOOK 2019-2020 - Squarespace
SOUTHERN WORCESTER COUNTY EDUCATIONAL
           COLLABORATIVE

              2019-2020

         EMPLOYEE HANDBOOK
SOUTHERN WORCESTER COUNTY EDUCATIONAL COLLABORATIVE EMPLOYEE HANDBOOK 2019-2020 - Squarespace
Southern Worcester County Educational Collaborative
                                                                                       Post Office Box 517
                                                                          Southbridge, Massachusetts 01550
                                                             Tel. (508) 764-8500 ~ Fax. (508) 764-2724
                                                                                  Visit us at: www.swcec.org
                                                                                       Administrative Offices:
                                                                                            185 Southbridge Rd.
                                                                                            Dudley, MA 01571

Dear Staff,
This handbook is designed to guide our practice and to ensure that we collaborate as a team to
provide our students the very best learning, therapeutic, and work experiences in the safest
environment possible. Please take the time to familiarize yourself with the contents as there have
been several minor changes made for the 2019-2020 school year.
I look forward to working with you and am proud to be a part of your team for it is going to be a
great year.
Sincerely,

Allen

Allen W. Himmelberger
Interim Executive Director

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Table of Contents
   OVERVIEW ..................................................................................................................................................... 6
   DEFINITION: CHAPTER 40, SECTION 4E...................................................................................................... 6
   THE COLLABORATIVE ..................................................................................................................................... 6
   MISSION......................................................................................................................................................... 7
   VISION............................................................................................................................................................ 7
   INTRINSIC VALUES ......................................................................................................................................... 7
   SWCEC Leadership Team ............................................................................................................................... 7
EMPLOYMENT POLICIES .................................................................................................................................... 8
   EMPLOYMENT ............................................................................................................................................... 8
   EMPLOYEE PERFORMANCE ........................................................................................................................... 8
   PERFORMANCE EVALUATION ........................................................................................................................ 8
   PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS AND EDUCATIONAL STAFF .............................................................................. 9
   FIRST AID, CPR, AND STUDENT RESTRAINT TRAINING .................................................................................. 9
   TRAINING AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT ........................................................................................... 9
   EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY ........................................................................................................... 9
   DISCRIMINATION AND HARASSMENT ........................................................................................................... 9
   BULLYING PREVENTION AND INTERVENTION ............................................................................................. 10
   AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT ........................................................................................................... 10
   CRIMINAL HISTORY CHECKS ........................................................................................................................ 10
   FINGERPRINT-BASED CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECKS ............................................................................ 10
   ALCOHOL, DRUGS, TOBACCO, WEAPONS ................................................................................................... 11
GENERAL .......................................................................................................................................................... 12
   CONFIDENTIALITY - STAFF ........................................................................................................................... 12
   CONFIDENTIALITY – STUDENTS ................................................................................................................... 12
   FACULTY/STUDENT BOUNDARIES ............................................................................................................... 12
   STAFF ETHICS/CONFLICT OF INTEREST ........................................................................................................ 13
   RECEIPT OF GIFTS (Policy VII-D) ................................................................................................................... 14
   SOLICITATIONS ............................................................................................................................................ 14
   PERSONAL ELECTRONIC DEVICES/ TELEPHONE........................................................................................... 14
   SOCIAL MEDIA ............................................................................................................................................. 14
   VIDEO SURVEILLANCE .................................................................................................................................. 15
   DRESS CODE AND APPEARANCE .................................................................................................................. 15
   PARKING ...................................................................................................................................................... 15
   WORKERS’ COMPENSATION AND SAFETY PROGRAM................................................................................. 16

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COMPENSATION, PAYROLL, ATTENDANCE AND LEAVE .................................................................................. 18
   2019-2020 SWCEC SCHOOL CALENDAR ...................................................................................................... 18
   PROGRAM START TIMES AND LOCATIONS .................................................................................................. 19
   NO SCHOOL ANNOUNCEMENT OR DELAY OF SCHOOL ............................................................................... 19
   PAYROLL SCHEDULE..................................................................................................................................... 20
   MILEAGE ALLOWANCE ................................................................................................................................ 20
   SCHOOL AND PERSONAL PROPERTY ........................................................................................................... 20
       IDENTIFICATION CARD ............................................................................................................................. 20
       ACCESS FOB ............................................................................................................................................. 20
   ATTENDANCE RECORD ................................................................................................................................ 21
   ABSENCE NOTIFICATION PROCEDURE......................................................................................................... 21
   EXCUSED AND UNEXCUSED ABSENCES ....................................................................................................... 21
LEAVE ............................................................................................................................................................... 22
   APPROVED LEAVE ........................................................................................................................................ 22
   LEAVE WITH PAY .......................................................................................................................................... 22
       SICK LEAVE ............................................................................................................................................... 22
       PERSONAL DAYS ...................................................................................................................................... 23
       BEREAVEMENT ........................................................................................................................................ 23
       JURY DUTY ............................................................................................................................................... 23
       HOLIDAYS................................................................................................................................................. 23
       RELIGIOUS HOLIDAYS .............................................................................................................................. 23
       VACATION ................................................................................................................................................ 23
   UNPAID LEAVE ............................................................................................................................................. 24
       FAMILY MEDICAL LEAVE ACT ................................................................................................................... 24
       PARENTAL LEAVE OF ABSCENCE .............................................................................................................. 25
       DOMESTIC VIOLENCE LEAVE.................................................................................................................... 26
       MILITARY LEAVE....................................................................................................................................... 26
       BOARD APPROVED UNPAID LEAVE OF ABSENCE .................................................................................... 27
EMPLOYEE BENEFITS ....................................................................................................................................... 28
   GROUP HEALTH INSURANCE ....................................................................................................................... 28
   PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT REIMBURSEMENT ..................................................................................... 28
   RETIREMENT ................................................................................................................................................ 28
       MASSACHUSETTS TEACHERS RETIREMENT SYSTEM ............................................................................... 28
       MASSACHUSETTS STATE RETIREMENT .................................................................................................... 28
       OBRA 457(b) PLAN ................................................................................................................................... 29

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403B ......................................................................................................................................................... 29
APPENDIX ........................................................................................................................................................ 30
   ACCEPTABLE USE POLICY- POLICY IX-F ........................................................................................................ 30
   HAZING POLICY – POLICY X-C ...................................................................................................................... 33
   BULLYING AND PREVENTION POLICY – POLICY X-D .................................................................................... 33
   DISCRIMINATION/HARRASSMENT POLICY – I-C .......................................................................................... 38
   RESTRAINT PREVENTION AND INTERVENTION X-I ...................................................................................... 41

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OVERVIEW
This Staff Handbook is meant as a guide to provide direction regarding daily practices or
procedures as a compliment to the collective bargaining agreement and Policies, set and approved
by the Board of Directors, that pertain to staff of the Southern Worcester County Educational
Collaborative (SWCEC). The policies, procedures and practices in this Handbook, however, may be
changed at any time by the Board of Directors or Executive Director and is not intended to establish
contractual rights. A hardcopy of the SWCEC Board approved policy manual can be located at the
Director of Special Services and in School Principal offices.
The Board of Directors reserves the right to add to, delete from, or modify this Handbook either on
an individual or organization-wide basis. Such additions, deletions or modifications will be
effective when approved or implemented by the Board. The Board and its Executive Director
retain the right to make decisions involving employment as needed in order to conduct its work in
a manner that is beneficial to the staff and the Collaborative. This Handbook supersedes and
replaces any and all prior oral or written manuals, policies, procedures, and practices of SWCEC.
This Handbook is not, and should not be construed as an express or implied contract and does not
modify any existing status of any SWCEC employee. It is not intended to create any due process
protections or requirements in excess of federal or state constitutional or statutory requirements,
nor does it guarantee any fixed terms and conditions of employment and/or benefits.

DEFINITION: CHAPTER 40, SECTION 4E
Any school committee, acting for and in behalf of its city, town or regional school district, may enter
into an agreement with one or more other such committees to conduct jointly, educational
programs and services which permit such committees to supplement or strengthen school
programs and services; provided that such agreement has been authorized by vote of such
committee and approved by the Commissioner of Education.

THE COLLABORATIVE
The Southern Worcester County Educational Collaborative mission is to provide programs and
services to meet the unique educational needs of all of its students.
The Southern Worcester County Educational Collaborative was established in 1975 as an
Educational SWCEC servicing regular and special education students and families. Southern
Worcester County Educational Collaborative services students ages 3-22 in small, structured
therapeutic and academic learning environments, paced to meet the needs of its students on an
individualized basis. The Southern Worcester County Educational Collaborative programs offer a
strong academic component designed to accommodate the learning needs of our students and to
encourage their motivation to achieve.

SWCEC provides programs and services which are of high quality, comprehensive in nature, fiscally
efficient, and student centered. Programs and services are developed and implemented according
to those needs which have been identified by member districts. Highly qualified and dedicated staff
believe in maximizing each student's potential for success. Program and services are conducted in
facilities conducive to student achievement.

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MISSION
The Southern Worcester County Educational Collaborative mission is to provide programs and
services to meet the unique educational needs of all its students.

VISION
SWCEC provides programs and services which are of high quality, comprehensive in nature,
fiscally efficient, and student centered. Programs and services are developed and implemented
according to those needs which have been identified by member districts. Highly qualified and
dedicated staff believe in maximizing each student's potential for success. Program and services
are conducted in facilities conducive to student achievement.

INTRINSIC VALUES
We believe:

   •   Education is the shared responsibility of students, school, home, and community.
   •   Investing in the education of our children benefits the community.
   •   All students are capable of life-long learning.
   •   A balanced education develops a student intellectually, socially, physically, emotionally,
       and creatively.
   •   All students are entitled to instructional excellence.
   •   Students learn best in a safe, healthy, and supportive environment.
   •   Students learn best when they are actively engaged in their own learning.
   •   Mutual respect, personal dignity, and social responsibility are essential.
   •   Education is the key to responsible global citizenship.

SWCEC Leadership Team
Executive Director                                                  Allen Himmelberger
Assistant to the Executive Director                                 Lena Travinski
Director of Special Services                                        Arnold Lundwall
Business Administrator                                              John Love
Technology Coordinator                                              Jhan LaTulippe
Grow Elementary Principal                                           Kristine Hersey
Grow Middle/High School Principal                                   Jeff Croteau
Assistant to Grow Elementary School                                 Heather Logsdon
Assistant to Grow Middle/High School                                Shelley Johnson
Human Resource & Outreach Coordinator                               Christine Fadden
Facility Maintenance Supervisor                                     Gary Burnell

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EMPLOYMENT POLICIES
EMPLOYMENT
Staff are expected to meet the standards of their position as set by the Massachusetts Department
of Elementary and Secondary Education or the SWCEC Board of Directors.

Members of the SWCEC Association, MTA/NEA are required to sign a letter of his/her
appointment of employment prior to June 30th each year.

SWCEC reserves the right to transfer personnel between programs on a permanent or temporary
basis to best meet the needs of its students or the member and participating school districts. Upon
offer of employment and as required by law, staff will obtain a CORI check and fingerprint
background check.

Staff are also required to follow all SWCEC policies and procedures including those listed in the
Handbook, those in other publications, as well as those that may be added or modified from time
to time. Failure to follow SWCEC policies and procedures or perform at a satisfactory level may
result in corrective action up to and including termination.

SWCEC reserves the right to determine the appropriate level of corrective action to be imposed,
depending upon the facts and circumstances. Human Resources may conduct an exit interview
with any employee who is involuntarily terminated from the SWCEC employment.

EMPLOYEE PERFORMANCE
SWCEC staff are expected to perform their duties and responsibilities satisfactorily and to meet the
performance expectations of the Collaborative. Principals and supervisors will communicate
expectations to staff and inform them if their work is unsatisfactory. In appropriate circumstances,
when an employee's job performance is unsatisfactory or fails to meet the expectations of the
Collaborative, a principal or supervisor should counsel the employee with an end toward
improving the employee’s performance, and the employee may be given a reasonable opportunity
to improve his/her work performance to meet the expected expectations. An employee’s inability to
perform his/her duties and responsibilities satisfactorily or his/her failure to improve upon
unsatisfactory performance may result in corrective action, up to and including termination.
SWCEC shall, in its sole discretion, determine what actions are appropriate to address an
employee’s inability to perform his/her duties and responsibilities satisfactorily.

PERFORMANCE EVALUATION
Educational Staff: Educational staff are subject to evaluation in accordance with the
Massachusetts Model System for Educator Evaluation pursuant to 603 CMR 35.00.
Administrative and other Staff: Administrative and other staff are subject to an evaluation of
their performance, at least annually. Evaluations should be viewed as constructive, as they are
designed to review progress on performance expectations, identify areas of strength and supports
needed for making improvements, and restate or update job-related expectations going forward.
Completed written performance evaluations must be signed by the relevant employee and principal
or supervisor who conducted the evaluation. Performance evaluations will be maintained as a part
of employee personnel records in the Central Administration office.

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PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS AND EDUCATIONAL STAFF
For educational staff, employment or continued employment is contingent upon furnishing and
maintaining all valid and appropriate registrations, licenses, and certifications qualifying them for
their positions, as required by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, applicable
law, or the SWCEC. It is the employee's responsibility to obtain and maintain such registrations,
licenses, and certifications.

FIRST AID, CPR, AND STUDENT RESTRAINT TRAINING
Certain SWCEC positions require, as an essential qualification and precondition to employment,
training and/or certification in first aid, CPR, and student restraint training. Staff will be
informed of what training or certifications are a precondition for their position. For such
positions, employment or continued employment will be contingent upon completing applicable
trainings and obtaining and furnishing applicable certifications. It is the employee’s
responsibility to complete such trainings and to obtain and maintain such certifications. The
SWCEC may offer training or courses by which staff can meet these requirements.

With respect to student restraints, the Collaborative maintains a Restraint Prevention and
Intervention Policy pursuant to 603 CMR 46.00 (the “Restraint Policy”). The Restraint Policy
(X-I) is attached to this Handbook in the Appendix. It is the responsibility of all program staff
to read the Restraint Policy, as revised and updated from time to time, to completely and
thoroughly become familiar with its provisions, and to ensure that they attend and participate
in all required restraint training.

TRAINING AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Training is an ongoing part of employment. All staff are expected to participate in training
activities from time to time, and are encouraged to avail themselves of professional development
opportunities.

EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY
Southern Worcester County Educational Collaborative is an Equal Opportunity Employer. SWCEC
does not discriminate in its programs, activities, facilities, employment, or educational
opportunities on the basis of age, disability, race, color, religion, national origin, gender, gender
identity, ancestry, sexual orientation, the results of genetic testing, active military service,
pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions, or any other class of individuals protected from
discrimination under state or federal law.

Unlawful discrimination of staff occurring in the workplace or in other settings in which staff may
find themselves in connection with their employment will not be tolerated by the Board of
Directors. Further, any retaliation against an individual who has formally or informally
complained about discrimination or has cooperated with an investigation of a discrimination
complaint is prohibited.

DISCRIMINATION AND HARASSMENT
SWCEC strictly enforces a prohibition against harassment and discrimination, sexual or otherwise,
of any of its students or employees by anyone, including any fellow student, teacher, supervisor,
co-worker, vendor, or other third party, as such conduct is contrary to the mission of SWCEC and
its commitment to equal opportunity in education and employment. Because the Collaborative
takes allegations of discrimination and harassment seriously, we will respond promptly to
complaints of inappropriate conduct, and where it is determined that such conduct has occurred,
we will act promptly to eliminate the conduct and impose such corrective action as is necessary,

                                                  9
including disciplinary action where appropriate. Claims of retaliation will be investigated pursuant
to Policy I-C, included in Appendix of handbook.

BULLYING PREVENTION AND INTERVENTION
SWCEC maintains and implements a Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan pursuant to
Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 71 Section 37O. SWCEC’s Bullying Prevention and
Intervention Plan is attached to the Appendix of handbook. The Bullying Prevention and
Intervention Plan sets forth certain duties of SWCEC staff pertaining to bullying prevention and
intervention. It is the responsibility of all staff to read the plan, as revised and updated from time
to time, completely and thoroughly and to become familiar with its provisions, especially those
pertaining to the duties of SWCEC staff.

AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT
SWCEC complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") and applicable state law
pertaining to staff with disabilities. It is SWCEC’s policy to not discriminate against qualified
individuals with disabilities in job application, hiring, firing, advancement, compensation, job
training, and other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment.

CRIMINAL HISTORY CHECKS
Upon hire then every three years SWCEC wide, CORI checks will be conducted as authorized by the
DCJIS, state law, and regulation, and only after a CORI Acknowledgement Form has been
completed. The next full staff CORI check will be done in January 2020. See policy for on CORI
Screening (See policy VII-R).

All CORI obtained from the DCJIS is confidential, and access to the information must be limited to
those individuals who have a "need to know". This may include, but not be limited to, Executive
Director, staff submitting the CORI requests, and staff charged with processing job applications.

FINGERPRINT-BASED CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECKS
SWCEC requires a state and national fingerprint-based criminal background check for all current
and prospective staff, volunteers, consultants, school transportation providers, subcontractors
providing services to SWCEC students, all potential employers of students in internship or
cooperative education programs, and others who may have direct and unmonitored contact with
students.

All criminal history checks, including access to CORI and fingerprint-based criminal background
information shall be conducted solely for the purpose of meeting the SWCEC’s obligations under
Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 71, Section 38R and for other lawful purposes, and in
conformity with all applicable laws and regulations. Individuals will be notified that a criminal
history check will be conducted.
Access to CORI and the results of fingerprint-based criminal background checks within the
Collaborative will be limited to those individuals who are authorized to have such access and have a
“need to know.” Criminal history information may be shared with each member district with which
an individual works or to which the individual provides services. Criminal history information is
not subject to public records law, and will be kept confidentially in the Central Administration
Office, separate from personnel files.
The Collaborative, subject to applicable law and regulations, shall have sole discretion in making
determinations concerning the suitability of subjects of criminal history checks. Any individual

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who refuses to submit to a criminal history check will not be hired, permitted to continue
employment, or permitted to provide services to SWCEC. Refusal to submit to a criminal history
check by a current employee will be cause for immediate termination.

ALCOHOL, DRUGS, TOBACCO, WEAPONS
The possession, sale, or use of alcohol, illegal drugs or controlled substances, tobacco, and weapons
is prohibited on school property or at any school sponsored event. This policy applies to students,
staff, and any other people who use the SWCEC facilities. Violation of this policy by staff will
subject the employee to immediate disciplinary action, up to and including termination from
employment.

It is the responsibility of all staff members to inform the administration immediately if they
suspect or have any knowledge of the use or presence of alcohol, drugs, tobacco, or weapons at
SWCEC or at any SWCEC sponsored event.

                    THIS AREA WAS LEFT INTENTIONAL BLANK.

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GENERAL
CONFIDENTIALITY - STAFF
Information about SWCEC employees is required for the daily administration of the
Collaborative and/or its programs, for implementing salary and other personnel policies, for
budget and financial planning; for responding to appropriate inquiries about employees; and
for meeting the Board of Directors' education reporting requirements. To meet these needs,
the Executive Director will implement a comprehensive and efficient system of personnel
records maintenance and control under the following guidelines:
   1. A personnel folder for each present and former employee will be accurately maintained in
      the central administrative office. In addition to the application for employment and
      references, the folders will contain records and information relative to compensation,
      payroll deductions, evaluations, and any other pertinent information.
   2. The Executive Director and/or his/her designee will be the official custodian for personnel
      files and will have overall responsibility for maintaining and preserving the confidentiality
      of the files within the provisions of the law.
   3. Personnel records are considered confidential under the law and will not be open to public
      inspection. Access to personnel files will be limited to persons authorized by the Executive
      Director or his/her designee to use the files for the reasons cited above.
   4. Each employee will have the right, upon written request, to review the contents of his/her
      own personnel file.
   5. Employees may make written objections to any information contained in the file. Any
      written objection must be signed by the employee and will become part of the employee's
      personnel file. Further, no negative comment will be placed in a staff member's file unless it
      is signed by the person making the comment and the staff member is informed of the
      comment and afforded the opportunity to include his/her written response in the file.
   6. Lists of school system employees' names and home addresses will be released only to
      governmental agencies as required for official reports or by the laws.
All SWCEC email is a public record subject to a Freedom of Information request, and any
information sent by e-mail regarding a student becomes a part of their permanent record.

CONFIDENTIALITY – STUDENTS
The confidentiality of student information is extremely important and protected by state and
federal law. Violations of student confidentiality will not be tolerated and may lead to disciplinary
action up to and including termination. Casual conversations in corridors, staff rooms and other
public places must be avoided. All personal information about students, school incidents, grades,
tests scores, etc. is confidential. This information must not be discussed openly in class, with other
students, in open audiences (i.e. office, Staff Room), in public or by e-mail. Any SWCEC employee
in violation of this policy is subject to corrective action up to and including termination.

FACULTY/STUDENT BOUNDARIES
It is the expectation of SWCEC that faculty conduct themselves with the utmost decorum at all
times. SWCEC staff working with students have greater responsibility in today’s society. In order
to maintain the respect and confidence of one’s colleagues, of students, of parents and of members
of the SWCEC community, staff members should strive for the highest possible degree of ethical
conduct at all times. You are expected to model professional behavior, values and responsibilities,

                                                  12
both in and out of school. Any discussion with or about students that is at their expense, sarcastic
or derogatory is unacceptable. Additionally, initiating or participating in a relationship that
extends beyond an appropriate faculty/student relationship is strictly prohibited. The SWCEC
expects all staff members to observe appropriate boundaries when interacting with students, such
as, but not limited to:
   1. All staff members are encouraged to form positive, professional relationships with students
      that are appropriate to their school roles.
   2. Staff should treat all students fairly and avoid situations that appear to show favoritism for
      an individual or selected group of students. As such, staff should not purchase or take
      anything from a student that gives the appearance of favoritism.
   3. All student, both current and former, communication should be conducted face-to-face, or
      through SWCEC e-mail accounts, SWCEC-sponsored on-line learning management systems
      or SWCEC web pages. It is inappropriate to communicate with either current or former
      students via personal e-mail or cell phone, text messages, IM, blogs, or social networking
      accounts or sites.
   4. Within school, staff members should avoid meeting with individual students in locations
      that are not ordinarily and routinely accessible by other students and staff.
   5. Staff should not transport individual students in their personal vehicles.
   6. Staff are expected to use caution with self-disclosure about their personal life.
It is everyone’s job to address or report behavior that we reasonably believe does not adhere to
these guidelines.

STAFF ETHICS/CONFLICT OF INTEREST
The Board of Directors expects members of its professional staff to be familiar with the code of
ethics that applies to their profession and to adhere to it in their relationships with students,
parents, coworkers, and officials of the school system.

No employee of SWCEC will engage in or have a financial interest in, directly or indirectly, any
activity that conflicts or raises a reasonable question of conflict with his/her duties and
responsibilities in the school system. Nor will any staff member engage in any type of private
business during school time or on school property.

Staff will not engage in work of any type where information concerning customer, client, or
employer originates from any information available to them through school sources.

Moreover, as there should be no conflict of interest in the supervision and evaluation of staff, at no
time may any administrator responsible for the supervision and/or evaluation of an employee be
directly related to him/her.

Every 2 years, all current staff, including Board of Directors members, must complete the State
Ethics Commission's online training. New staff must complete this training within 30 days of
beginning employment. All staff will be complete the online training again between December 1,
2020 – March 31, 2021. Upon completing the program, staff should print out the completion
certificate and keep a copy for themselves. Staff will be required to provide a copy of the
completion certificate to the Executive Director’s office.

In order to avoid the appearance of any possible conflict, it is the policy of the Board of Directors
that when an immediate family member, as defined in the Conflict of Interest statute, of a Board
member or district administrator is to be hired into or promoted within SWCEC, the Executive
                                                  13
Director shall file public notice with the Board least two weeks prior to executing the hiring in
accordance with the law.

RECEIPT OF GIFTS (Policy VII-D)
Staff are prohibited from accepting any gifts or favors of monetary value ($50 or more) from
students, users of SWCEC services family members, staff, suppliers of services of the SWCEC, or
from anyone whose interests may be served by the employee's performance or non-performance of
his/her duties.

SOLICITATIONS
In spirit, the Board of Directors supports the many worthwhile charitable drives that take place in
the community and is gratified when school staff give them their support. However, the
solicitation of funds from staff members through the use of school personnel and school time is
prohibited by the conflict of interest law. Therefore, no solicitations of funds for charitable
purposes should be made among staff members. Staff members of course remain free to support
charitable causes of their own selection.

PERSONAL ELECTRONIC DEVICES/ TELEPHONE
There are a limited number of phone lines at SWCEC. A few are in private spaces. Keep personal
calls to a minimum, especially at the end of the school day as all lines need to be free for incoming
calls. When calling parents about a student, use a phone located in a private space. These calls must
be recorded with the secretary in the office. Staff who need a phone for personal calls should follow
the specific building procedure.
Staff are encouraged to safeguard their personal electronic devices. Cell phones, iPods, personal
computers and tablets should be turned off and out of sight except during your duty free lunch
break.

SOCIAL MEDIA
The Executive Director and the School Principals will annually remind staff members and orient
new staff members concerning the importance of maintaining proper decorum in the on-line, digital
world as well as in person. Staff must conduct themselves in ways that do not distract from or
disrupt the educational process. The orientation and reminders will give special emphasis to:

1. Improper fraternization with students using social media or other electronic means.
   a. Staff may not friend or follow current students on social media.
   b. All electronic contacts with students should be through the SWCEC computer and
      telephone system, except emergency situations.
   c. Team, class, or student organization pages, accounts, or groups will be created only in
      conjunction with faculty advisors. All groups must include the appropriate administrator as
      a member. Access to the page will remain with faculty advisors.
   d. Staff will not give out their private cell phone or home phone numbers without prior
      approval of the SWCEC Administration.
2. Inappropriate contact via phone or electronic devise is prohibited.
3. Inappropriateness of posting items with sexual content.
4. Inappropriateness of posting items exhibiting or advocating use of drugs and alcohol.
5. Monitoring and penalties for improper use of SWCEC computers and technology.
6. The possibility of penalties, including dismissal from employment, for failure to exercise good
   judgment in on-line conduct.

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The Executive Director or his/her designees will periodically conduct internet searches to see if
staff have posted inappropriate materials on-line. When inappropriate use of computers and
websites is discovered, the School Principals/Director and Executive Director will promptly bring
that inappropriate use to the attention of the staff member and may consider and apply
disciplinary action up to and including termination.

VIDEO SURVEILLANCE
SWCEC supports the use of video cameras for the purpose of enhancing school safety and security.
Video surveillance will be used to promote a safe and secure teaching and learning environment for
students and staff, to protect school property and to deter and prevent criminal activity.
Signage will be posted to notify students, parents, staff and the general public of SWCEC’s use of
security cameras. Students, parents, and staff will receive additional notification at the beginning
of each school year regarding the use of video surveillance cameras. Such notification may include
staff and student handbooks.
The video surveillance will only be installed in public areas. These areas include, but are not
limited to, grounds, exterior entrances or exits to school buildings and large gathering areas such
as corridors, cafeteria, lobby and main entries. Cameras will not be used where there is a
reasonable expectation of privacy, including but not limited to restrooms, changing rooms, private
offices, nurses’ offices or locker rooms.
There will be no monitoring of live recordings, except in the case of a suspected emergency or
safety concern. Reviewing the recordings will occur only when a suspected incident is committed
inside or outside the building (e.g. vandalism, graffiti, etc.). Viewing the data is to be performed by
authorized personnel that have been expressly designated by the Executive Director or designee.
No sound is to be monitored or recorded in connection with the video surveillance system.
Documentation shall be maintained of all episodes of access to or use of recorded materials.
Any video recordings used for security purposes in school buildings or on school grounds are the
sole property of SWCEC. Release of such videos will be made only as permissible pursuant to
applicable laws and with the permission of the Executive Director or his/her designee.

DRESS CODE AND APPEARANCE
Personal appearance is an individual matter. No one, however, has the privilege of disregarding
the norms of reasonable dress. Staff appearance is important. It not only establishes credibility
with students, other staff and parents/guardians, it reflects on the professionalism of our
organization. It is important that someone visiting our schools and programs can readily identify
who the faculty members are. Staff members are expected to dress in neat, professional attire;
often referred to as ‘Business casual’. Trendy clothing may not be ‘classroom appropriate’.
Overalls, sport clothing (i.e. sweats, bicycle or running shorts, yoga pants etc.) or extremely casual
clothing (i.e. tee shirts, tank or tube-tops, shorts, etc.) or open toe shoes (for individuals working
directly with students) are not acceptable work place clothing.
Staff members are encouraged to participate in school spirit activities as long as the above criteria
continue to be met. Specialists should dress appropriate for safe conduct of classroom activities.

PARKING
All Southbridge/Dudley staff will be assigned a parking spot at their primary school location.
Intermittent staff will be have designated parking spots at each location.

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Vehicle make, model, color and license plate number need to be filled out on the staff information
form.

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION AND SAFETY PROGRAM
The provisions of the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Act cover all SWCEC personnel and
premiums are paid by SWCEC. It is the intent of SWCEC and its workers compensation insurance
carrier to establish and maintain a safety program conforming to the best practices in the industry.
To be successful, SWCEC programs must embody the proper attitudes towards injury and illness
prevention on the part of management and staff. It also requires cooperation in all safety matters,
not only between management and staff, but also between each employee and his/her fellow staff.
Only through such a cooperative effort can a safety program in the best interest of all be
established and preserved. Staff are expected to comply with all safety and health requirements
whether established by management or by federal, state or local law. Staff should report to
principals or supervisors any unsafe working conditions or defective equipment in order to
maintain a safe working environment.

Any staff member who is injured on the job must notify his/her supervisor immediately. The
supervisor along with injured staff member will complete an accident report within 24 hours.
Medical care required for the injury must be coordinated with Workman’s Compensation and
handled through the Central Office. Failure to report an injury, file a report, or consult with the
Central Office before seeking treatment may render the employee ineligible for Workman's
Compensation coverage for the injury.
    FAILURE TO REPORT AN INJURY WITHIN 24 HOURS MAY JEOPARDIZE AN
                   EMPLOYEE'S RIGHT TO FILE A CLAIM.
Workers' Compensation Claim Procedure
If an employee is injured or becomes ill, supervisory personnel must follow the following
procedure:
   1. Ensure that the employee is comfortable.
   2. Seek proper medical attention and examination/diagnosis, if necessary, at the closest
      medical facility.
   3. Call the administration office and report the incident and complete necessary forms
      completed for insurance purposes.
        THE INCIDENT MUST BE REPORTED TO THE OFFICE IMMEDIATELY.
       FORMS MUST BE COMPLETED WITHIN 24 HOURS OF THE INCIDENT.
   4. Complete the Staff Incident Report and Medical Authorization Form, sign and deliver the
      form to the Human Resources Department within 24 hours of the incident.
   5. A representative from Central Administration will contact the employee to review
      documentation and next steps.
   6. In all cases, the safety and comfort of the injured person is the first priority.
In addition the injured employee is responsible for the following:
•Staff, who as a result of an accident seek continued medical attention, must notify the
administration office of the name and address of the physician/hospital providing treatment.
•Staff, who as a result of an accident, will be absent from work, must follow the SWCEC absence
notification procedures, and must indicate that their absence is due to a workers' compensation
injury.

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Staff who are absent from work because of work-related injuries, which results in them being
eligible to receive worker compensation will not be deducted sick leave up to 5 days per incident.
The Executive Director may be request medical verification of the injury received.
If an employee is out for 21+ days, workers’ compensation will provide a check covering the first
five (5) days of the employee’s absence. Upon receiving workers compensation payment
for the first 5 days, the staff member will reimburse the collaborative for the received
amount workers compensation.

                    THIS AREA WAS LEFT INTENTIONAL BLANK.

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COMPENSATION, PAYROLL, ATTENDANCE AND LEAVE

2019-2020 SWCEC SCHOOL CALENDAR
The School calendar is approved by The Board of Directors in the spring of each year. The
Collaborative follows a traditional school calendar consisting of 180 student days and 183
professional staff days. The calendar also includes four half day in­ service days. The Board of
Directors reserves the right to revise and modify this Calendar as deemed necessary in the best
interest of the SWCEC.

 August                                         February
 8/28/19 ~ All Staff Orientation Day            2/17/20-2/21/20 ~ No School: President’s
 8/29/19 ~ 1st Day of School for Students       Day/ Winter Break

 September                                      April
 9/2/19 ~ No School: Labor Day                  4/9/20 ~ 3rd Quarter Grades Close
                                                4/10/20 ~ No School: Good Friday
 October                                        4/20/20-4/24/20 ~ Spring Break
 10/10/19 ~ ½ Day Students/Professional
           Development                          May
 10/11/19 ~ No School: Professional             5/25/20 ~ No School: Memorial Day
 Development
 10/14/19 ~ No School: Columbus Day             June
                                                6/15/20 ~ 4th Quarter Grades Close
 November                                       6/15/20~ Last Day of School (Tentative)
 11/1/19 ~ 1st Quarter Grades Close
 11/8/19 ~ Report Cards Sent Home
 11/11/19 ~ No School: Veteran’s Day            *Graduation Date to be set in early Spring
 (observed)                                     2020
 11/27/19 ~ ½ Day Students
 11/28/19-11/29/19 ~ Thanksgiving Break

 December
 12/23/19-12/31/19 ~ No School Holiday
 Break

 January
 1/1/20 ~ No School: New Year’s Day
 1/14/20 ~ ½ Day Students/Professional
 Development
 1/15/20 ~ ½ Day Students/Professional
 Development
 1/17/20 ~ No School/Professional
 Development
 1/20/20 ~ No School: MLK Day
 1/24/20 ~ 2nd Quarter Grades Close

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PROGRAM START TIMES AND LOCATIONS
Grow Elementary School                                                            8:00 am – 1:45 pm
121 Ashland Ave Southbridge, MA 01550
Kristine Hersey, Principal

Grow Middle/High School                                                           8:15 am – 2:00 pm
185 Southbridge Rd Dudley, MA 01571
Jeff Croteau, Principal

Career Development Program                                                        8:15 am – 2:00 pm
185 Southbridge Rd Dudley, MA 01571
Jeff Croteau, Principal

Specialized Developmental – Autism Program                                        8:00 am – 2:00 pm
185 Southbridge Rd Dudley, MA 01571
Arnold Lundwall, Director

Specialized Developmental – Medically Fragile (primary)                           8:00 am – 2:00 pm
185 Southbridge Rd Dudley, MA 01571
Arnold Lundwall, Director

Specialized Developmental – Medically Fragile (secondary)                         8:00 am – 2:00 pm
185 Southbridge Rd Dudley, MA 01571
Arnold Lundwall, Director

NO SCHOOL ANNOUNCEMENT OR DELAY OF SCHOOL
Whenever it is necessary to cancel or delay school because of inclement weather or other
unexpected emergencies, “no-school announcements” will be reported on television Channel 7
(NBC), Channel 5 (ABC) and Channel 4 (CBS) and radio WSRS 96.1 FM, WTAG 580 AM.
Typically, an announcement is made by 6:00 a.m. on the day of the cancellation or delayed
opening.
The NO school announcements are posted on Twitter @SWCEC_MA and SWCEC.org.
The Southern Worcester County Educational SWCEC utilizes an automated phone system in the
event of a delay or cancellation due to weather, and in an emergency situation at any one of the
SWCEC programs. This system will allow us to update parents and faculty quickly with pertinent
information.
Staff are asked to update their contact information. It is the responsibility of the staff member to
inform Central Administration office of any changes.

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PAYROLL SCHEDULE
SWCEC will distribute payroll on a bi-weekly basis. Paydays are usually every other Thursday. If
the normal payday falls on a SWCEC recognized holiday, payroll will be distributed one work day
prior to the aforementioned schedule.
The SWCEC strongly encourages staff to participate in an automatic direct deposit payroll service
(EFT). Direct deposit eliminates the need to physically deposit checks at the bank. Direct deposits
are not subject to check clearing restrictions that banks may impose; funds are immediately
available.
To enroll in the direct deposit program an employee must obtain a direct deposit form by visiting
SWCEC.org/Employment/forms. Complete and return the form along with a voided check. It will
take 2 pay cycles for direct deposit to begin.
Highlighted dates are for salary staff signify those who opted for 26 payrolls.

Staff should notify the Central Administration office by Tuesday of vacation week if they would like
to pick up their check on that Thursday. Otherwise, checks during vacation week will be mailed on
Wednesday.

Checks are distributed to program sites for Thursday distribution with the exception of itinerant
staff, which will be mailed.

 8/29/19                        12/5/19                        3/12/20                       6/18/20
 9/12/19                        12/19/19                       3/26/20                       7/2/20
 9/26/19                        1/2/20*                        4/9/20                        7/16/20
 10/10/19                       1/16/20                        4/23/20                       7/30/20
 10/24/19                       1/30/20*                       5/7/20*                       8/15/20
 11/7/19                        2/13/20                        5/21/20
 11/21/19                       2/27/20*                       6/4/20

* Dates for hourly staff signify Christmas, February and April vacation with some unpaid days.

MILEAGE ALLOWANCE
Staff who are assigned more than one school, or travel for any business in one school day will
receive the IRS approved rate for inter-school driving. Mileage should be submitted on the SWCEC
employee mileage log (located on website) and signed by the staff member and the
Principal/Director. Reimbursement for travel expense will be made within be made 30 calendar
days from submission.

SCHOOL AND PERSONAL PROPERTY
IDENTIFICATION CARD
At the start of the school year, all staff will receive a Southern Worcester County Educational
SWCEC identification badge which should be worn at all times while on campus.

ACCESS FOB
Each employee will receive a FOB that will give them access to the buildings. Intermittent
employees will be distributed a FOB on an individual case by case basis.

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ATTENDANCE RECORD
Using the ADP portal, all staff are required to login at the start of their day and logout at the end.
Time must be kept accurately and reflect all hours worked, absences, late arrivals, and early
departures. Any employee who fails to report or inaccurately reports any hours worked will be
subject to correction action, up to an including termination.
It is a violation of the SWCEC policy for any employee to falsify their time or alter another
employee’s time.
ADP Computer Directions for first time users.
                 1)    Go to https://portal.adp.com
                 2)    Click on the First Time Users Register Here
                 3)    Type in the Registration Pass Code: Soworccty-1234
                 4)    A step by step guide will assist in obtaining an @Soworccty user id and
                       password

Off campus staff who require telephone access will be given instructions and training from Central
Administration office.

ABSENCE NOTIFICATION PROCEDURE
Staff who are sick, tardy or otherwise need to take an unscheduled absence must contact their
principal or direct supervisor to provide notice of the employee’s absence or tardiness. Such notice
must provide the reason for the employee’s absence or tardiness. Absent unforeseeable
circumstances, such as an emergency or sudden illness, staff are required to notify their principal
or direct supervisor by 6AM. Where the need for an absence or tardiness is t foreseeable, staff
must provide notice to their principal or supervisor as soon as practicable. Timely notice is
important to arrange for a substitute where appropriate.
No individuals other than specific principal or supervisor can accept notice regarding absence or
tardiness, and the Collaborative will not acknowledge notice placed with any other party, staff or
department. Staff are responsible for contacting the SWCEC personally, except where the employee
is unable to do so or a specific leave policy allows notification by someone other than the employee.
Calls generally will not be accepted from spouses or family members, except for an emergency.
If absence, due to illness is necessary, please contact your Principal/Director by 6:00
AM accordingly:
Grow Elementary School:                                       Kristine Hersey         508-612-7206
Grow Middle/High School & Career Development:                 Jeff Croteau            401-954-5578
Developmental and Itinerant:                                  Arnold Lundwall         508-797-2253
Nursing:                                                      Amanda Silva            860-786-2750

EXCUSED AND UNEXCUSED ABSENCES
An excused absence is an absence taken for approved leave in accordance with the paid or unpaid
leave policies set forth in this Handbook. All other absences, while they may be explainable, shall
be considered unexcused.

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Excessive unexcused absences or tardiness will subject the employee to corrective action up to and
including termination. Poor attendance is also considered a conduct and performance issue and
the type of corrective action may depend on any previous corrective action for conduct and/or
performance.
Any no call/no show is considered grounds for immediate corrective action, except in the case of an
emergency or as otherwise provided by the paid and unpaid leave policies set forth in this
Handbook. The Director will determine, in their sole discretion, what circumstances constitute an
emergency. Any absence of three consecutive working days, without proper notice provided to the
Collaborative, will be considered abandonment of employment and, therefore, a voluntary
resignation.

LEAVE
APPROVED LEAVE
SWCEC provides paid and unpaid leave in accordance with approved policies. Staff should refer to
the Employee Benefit Summary. Depending on the type of leave and the applicable leave policy (or
policies), staff must request and/or provide notice of such leave in accordance with the policies set
forth below. Also, depending on the type of leave the applicable policy (or policies), the staff
member may be required to provide medical or other applicable documentation certifying the need
for such leave in accordance with the applicable policy (or policies). Failure to provide notice or
submit such documentation may result in loss of pay or corrective action, up to and including
termination.

All requests for paid or unpaid leave are subject to approval by the Executive Director in
accordance with federal and state law.

LEAVE WITH PAY
SICK LEAVE
Eligible full-time school year staff will receive 1.5 days awarded for each month of the 10 month (15
days). Year round staff will receive 1.5 days awarded for each month. Sick days are awarded on the
first of the month. One day’s sick leave is equal to 1/5 of the number of hours per week in their
normal schedule.

Part-time staff will accrue and be able to use sick days on a prorated basis calculated by their
regularly scheduled work hours as compared to the full-time work hours for their position. For
example, an employee who works .5 FTE will accrue .75 days per month for 10 months. For part-
time staff, missing all of your scheduled work hours or shift on a given day for sick leave shall
constitute one (1) sick day, regardless of how many actual hours of work are missed on that work
day.
Staff may use paid sick leave to care for their own physical or mental illness, injury or medical
condition, routine medical appointment. An employee will be allowed to use a maximum of six
earned sick days per year to care for a member of their immediate family.
Staff must provide notice of their absence for a sick day in accordance with the SWCEC absence
notification procedure. Where the need for a sick day is foreseeable, for example for a scheduled
medical appointment, staff should provide as much advance notice as possible. The Executive
Director reserves the right to require an employee to provide appropriate medical documentation
for any absence.

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