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Policy Council Minutes -October 18, 2021

Submitted on: November 15, 2021

Members Present:  Tamika Rowe, Yaniqua Thomas, Krashanda Snead, Angela Brown, Cherrie Sims, Dorett Gunter, Brittany Lyle, Donnittia Robinson, Donna Mansell, Demetria Hall, Johniya Henderson-Kirksey, LaKeisha Johnson, Carl Powe

Members Absent: Janelly Ortiz, Megan Crocker, Crystal Gray, Brianna Williams, Brittany Money, Jasmin Aiken, Justin Grant, Jessica Godfrey, Melissa Gregory

Excused Absences:  Lisa Butler

POLICY COUNCIL ORIENTATION:

Orientation for new members was conducted via zoom by Patrice Hawthorne, Family Partnership Facilitator.  Ms. Hawthorne discussed and reviewed the new member’s orientation packet.  This packet was mailed/e-mailed to each Policy Council member to ensure enough time to review prior to the scheduled orientation (See Attachment). Members reviewed and discussed Policy Council Roles and Responsibilities, By-laws, Procedures for Hearing and Resolving Community Complaints, Roberts Rules of Order, Internal Dispute Resolution, Impasse Procedures and Reimbursement Policy. Policy Council members will approve or disapprove the above items at their regularly scheduled meeting following orientation. 

Ms. Hawthorne explained to the parents that 51% of the Policy Council is made up of parents of children currently enrolled in the Head Start program.  The remaining 49% is made up of community representatives. Krashanda Snead made a motion to accept the Community Representatives as presented. Johniya Kirksey seconded the motion. Motion carried.

The following community representatives were identified and elected by parents to serve on Policy Council:

Dorett Gunter              Absolute Total Care / Toast Masters
Donna Mansell            Pickens County Schools, Family Liaison
LaKeisha Johnson       A Chance at Change, Financial Literacy
Lisa Butler                  School District Five, McKinney Vento
Tamika Rowe              Former Parent, Greenville County, Community Rep.
Angela Brown             Educator, Greenville County Schools
Demetria Hall              Oconee County Family GED
Donnittia Robinson     Former Parent, Anderson County, Community Rep.

ELECTION OF OFFICERS & APPOINTMENT OF COMMITTEES:

Ms. Hawthorne discussed and reviewed the roles and responsibilities of the Policy Council officers (See Attachment - Bylaws). The floor was opened for nominations for Chairperson. LaKeisha Johnson made a motion to nominate Dorett Gunter for Chair.  There were no other nominations. After discussion, all were in favor, no opposes.  The floor was opened for nominations for Vice Chair. After discussion, Dorett Gunter made a moved to nominate LaKeisha Johnson as Vice-Chairperson. There were no other nominations. All were in favor, no opposes.  The floor was opened for nominations for Secretary.  LaKeisha Johnson made a motion to nominate Angela Brown as Secretary. There were no other nominations. All were in favor, no opposes. The floor was opened for the nominations for Assistant Secretary.  After discussion, Dorett Gunter nominated Johniya Kirksey as Assistant Secretary. All were in favor, no opposes.  

The 2021-202 Policy Council officers are as follows:

Dorett Gunter            Chairperson                                                                                                                                        LaKeisha Johnson     Vice Chairperson                                                                                                                                             Angela Brown           Secretary                                                                                                                              Johniya Kirksey        Assistant Secretary

Tamika Rowe was appointed by the Policy Council to serve as the liaison from the Policy Council to the Board.

Mini Trainings:  Financial Statements & Credit Card Expenditures by Tammy Gore, Assistant Director of Business & Finance and Personnel Committee & Reports by Tara Cannon, Director of Human Resources, Melissa Botsoe, Information Specialist II.

Tammy Gore, Assistant Director of Finance, provided training to the Policy Council on how to read and comprehend the budget and financial reports.  Ms. Gore distributed copies and explained how to read line items on the detailed Summary Expenditure, CACFP and the Credit Card Expenditure Reports (See Attachments). Ms. Gore explained that the summary expenditure report is generated from accounting software. She explained the current amount of money spent for September, the budget amount, amount expended, outstanding commitments, remaining budget and the percentages spent.  Ms. Gore reviewed and discussed the American Rescue Plan budget and the Consolidated Appropriations Act. Each month the Policy Council will receive the financial report and credit card statements. They will receive a copy of the detailed financial report quarterly. Ms. Gore asked if there were any questions on how to read the reports.  She informed the Policy Council that training would be provided on-going and as needed.

Tara Cannon, Director of HR, and Melissa Botsoe, Information Specialist II, provided training to the Policy Council on the importance of understanding personnel reports.  They explained confidentiality and standards of conduct.  Mrs. Botsoe explained that each month members of the personnel committee would review personnel reports prior to the Policy Council meeting.  The personnel report will be provided at each month’s meeting. Members of the Council were asked to volunteer to serve on the Personnel committee.  Policy Council representatives are needed to participate on interview teams when seeking and interviewing potential new employees.

The following Policy Council members volunteered to serve on the Personnel Committee: Tamika Rowe, Brittany Lyle, Angela Brown, Carl Powe, Donnittia Robinson and Cherrie Sims.

 

Immediately following orientation, the Policy Council meeting was called to order by Dorett Gunter, Chair.  A quorum was met.

 

Pamela Sims, President/CEO, introduced herself to the Policy Council.  She thanked members for their commitment and dedication in working with our SHARE board of Directors and key management staff to make the best decisions on behalf of our children and families.  Ms. Sims explained that Tara Cannon, Director of Human Resources, would be sharing information and policies regarding COVID19 vaccination mandates, SHARE Medical Accommodations Request, SHARE Religious Accommodations Requests, SHARE Retention Bonus, and SHARE Sign-on Bonus.   These policies have been reviewed and approved by our SHARE Board’s personnel committee. They will be presented to the Board for approval on Thursday of this month. Ms. Cannon will review and discuss each of these policies with the Policy Council and seek approval.  Ms. Sims reiterated that the mandated vaccine policy is from our funding source and we have no choice but to comply.  Ms. Sims thanked the Policy Council for their understanding concerning this matter. 

 

Approval of Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination Policy:

Mrs. Tara Cannon, HR Director, explained to the Policy Council that Sunbelt Human Advancement Resources, Inc. (SHARE), takes seriously its responsibility and duty to provide employees and visitors with an environment free of recognized and preventable/mitigable hazards, including COVID-19 and other viruses and infections.  The purpose of this policy is to help provide for a safe work environment during the COVID-19 pandemic and safeguard the health and safety of employees and visitors. This policy is intended to maximize vaccination rates against COVID‑19 among all SHARE personnel, especially those whose work requires their presence in settings involving direct interaction with others or business travel. To the greatest extent possible, the goal is to protect our employees and visitors, their families, and the broader community we serve from COVID-19 as we all do our part in the fight against the worldwide pandemic.

 

This policy is intended to comply with all federal, state, and local laws and is based upon guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Department of Health and Human Services, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and other public health and licensing authorities as applicable. However, this policy does not assume any legal duty not mandated by law (See Attachment).  After discussion, Tamika Rowe made a motion to approve the mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination policy.  Angela Brown seconded the motion.  Motion carried.

 

Approval of SHARE’s Religious Accommodation Request:

 

Mrs. Tara Cannon explained to the Policy Council that SHARE is committed to protecting its employees, families, volunteers, and the community from COVID-19 and, thus, requires all employees to follow certain safety precautions. A religious accommodation request can be submitted by any employee who is experiencing a conflict between a sincerely held religious belief, observance, or practice and a work rule or requirement related to COVID-19. A religious accommodation may be granted to accommodate sincerely held religious beliefs that prohibit an individual from complying with the policy. The individual requesting a religious exemption from the following requirement: COVID-19 Vaccination (See attachment). Mrs. Cannon explained that supporting statements is needed to assist us in evaluating religious accommodation requests (See attachment). After discussion, Angela Brown made a motion to approve the Religious Accommodation Request.  Johniya Kirksey seconded the motion. Motion carried.

SHARE Disability/Medical Request for Accommodation Form: COVID-19:

Mrs. Cannon explained that any employee requesting a medical accommodation as to the following company policy or procedure regarding COVID-19 may be asked by SHARE to provide additional information in support of employee’s accommodation request, including information from the employee’s healthcare provider. Under the ADA, when an individual qualifies for reasonable accommodation, the employer is free to choose among effective accommodations, and may choose one that is less expensive or easier to provide. Also, SHARE is not required to provide an accommodation if doing so would pose a direct threat to you or others in the workplace or would create an undue hardship for SHARE (See attachment). After discussion, LaKeisha Johnson made a motion to approve the Medical/Disability request for accommodation.  Tamika Rowe seconded.  Motion carried.

Approval of SHARE’s Employee Retention Policy:

Mrs. Cannon explained to the Policy Council that the purpose of this employee retention policy is to outline the requirements and responsibilities involved with both management of SHARE and the employee, the timing of payment, the factors in determining the amount of payment, and the implementation of the bonus retention policy. The sole objective is to recognize the importance of continuing the employer/employee relationship with direct services staff in our Head Start/ Early Head Start program. Employees eligible for bonuses are those who (1) currently fill the position of Center Manager, Site Manager, Teacher, Teacher Assistant, Family Advocate, or Cook at SHARE; and (2) Substitutes, consultants, temporary, part-time, and contract employees are not eligible to receive retention bonuses (See attachment).  After discussion, Tamika Rowe made a motion to approve the Retention policy.  LaKeisha Johnson seconded the motion.  Motion carried.

 Approval of Sign-on Bonus Policy:

Ms. Cannon explained that involved with both a sign-on bonus is a lump sum payment that may be use to attract new employees to accept specific job vacancies that are difficult to fill at SHARE. The purpose of this sign-on bonus policy is to outline the requirements and responsibilities management of SHARE, Inc. and the employee, the timing of payments of, the factors in determining the appropriate amount of, and the implementation of the sign-on bonus. The sign-on bonus is a non-recurring, non-accumulating sum of money paid to a newly-hired employees who accept hard to fill positions. The sole objective is to incentivize the employee receiving the bonus to accept employment at SHARE, Inc. The sign-on bonus is subject to state and federal payroll taxes.  Sign-on bonuses must be approved by the President/CEO and will be paid to eligible employees after six months of employment. Communication of the potential sign-on bonus not to exceed $1,500 to eligible employees will coincide with the discussion about the employee’s acceptance of employment at SHARE. The terms of this process will be communicated to the employee upon acceptance of employment (See attachment). After discussion, Tamika Rowe made a motion to approve the Sign-on Bonus policy.  Johniya Kirksey seconded the motion.  Motion carried.

Approval of Minutes:

The minutes from the September 13, 2021 meeting were reviewed by the Policy Council (See Attachment).  Donnitta Robinson made a motion to accept the minutes as presented. LaKeisha Johnson seconded the motion.  Motion carried.

 Approval of Parent Activity Funds:

Patrice Hawthorne, Family Partnership Facilitator, discussed with the Policy Council the importance of the Parent Activity Fund.  The Policy Council received a copy of the Parent Activity Guidelines. Ms. Hawthorne explained that these funds are set in the program budget to provide parents the opportunity and experience in planning, developing and implementing their own projects. The Policy Council agreed on a $5.00 per child parent activity allotment.  These funds will be spent according to the Parent Activity Fund Guidelines.  We will consider increasing the parent activity fund allotment next budget year due to increases in grocery/food items. After discussion, Tamika Rowe made a motion to approve the Parent Activity Fund allotment for $5.00 per child allotment this budget year. We will re-visit the need for an increase in our 2022-2023 budget year.  LaKeisha Johnson seconded the motion.  Motion carried.

Personnel Committee:

The Personnel Report was given by Tara Cannon, Director of HR and Melissa Botsoe, Information Specialist II.  All Perspective New Employees have been interviewed and being recommended for employment with our program. All applicants are subject to Background Investigation as mandated by the S.C. Department of Social Services. This includes State and Federal Background Investigation and the Child Registry Search to determine if any abuse or neglect has been made against a child and Pre-Employment Drug Screenings. Also, we will conduct reference checks on all perspective new employees. Appointments are conditional based upon the receipt of satisfactory references, state, and federal background investigation and approval from the Head Start Policy Council. Each full-time employee must serve a three-month introductory probationary period before obtaining regular appointment status. Substitutes are on an as needed basis.  After discussion, LaKeisha Johnson made a motion to approve the perspective new employees as presented.  Johniya Kirksey seconded.  Motion carried.

Program

Name

Position

Location

Education Credentials

Head Start

Quiante Blassingame

Lead Family Advocate

Anderson Administration Office

Bachelor’s Degree: Social Work. She has three years of experience working in case management at DSS, DJJ, and as a Guardian Ad Litem.

Head Start

Renarda Harris

Cook

Easley Bridge Road

Associate Degree: Criminal Justice. She has a year of experience working at a local restaurant. She is currently a SHARE Head Start parent.

Head Start

Angela Bell

Substitute Cook

Easley Bridge Road

Associate Degree: Human Services. She has several years of experience cooking for family and friends. She is a former Head Start parent.

Head Start

Haylenia Amaker

Substitute Cook

BHW

High School Diploma. She has five years of experience working as a cook in a child care center and public school.

Early Head Start

Lucretia Wilson

Substitute Teacher

Pleasant Valley

High School Diploma. She is currently enrolled at an online college majoring in Early Childhood Education. She is a SHARE Head Start parent.

Approval of By-Laws:

The Policy Council By-Laws were reviewed and discussed (See Attachment).  Patrice Hawthorne, Family Partnership Facilitator, explained that the Policy Council By-laws are the written rules by which an organization is governed. They set forth the structure of the board and the organization. They determine the rights of participants and they determine the procedures by which rights can be exercised. On October 7, 2021, the Executive Committee of the Policy Council met to review current bylaws. The following suggestions were provided for the 2022 -2023 budget year:  Due to inflation, consider increasing the parent activity fund allotment and parent reimbursement for cost associated with daycare/babysitting services. This is to better support parent participation when traveling to conferences and trainings. After discussion, LaKeisha Johnson a motion to accept the By-laws as presented.  Tamika Rowe seconded the motion.  Motion carried.

Approval of Procedures for Hearing & Resolving Community Complaints:

The Procedures for Hearing and Resolving Community Complaints were reviewed by the Policy Council.  After discussion, Tamika Rowe made a motion to accept the Procedures for Hearing and Resolving Community Complaints as presented. LaKeisha Johnson seconded the motion.  Motion carried.

Approval for Internal Dispute Resolutions/Impasse procedures:

The Internal Dispute Resolution was reviewed by the Policy Council.  The Policy Council was informed that the Internal Dispute Resolution is put in place as a written procedure for resolving internal disputes between the SHARE Board and the Head Start Policy Council.  After further discussion, LaKeisha Johnson made a motion to accept the Internal Dispute Resolution as presented. Angela Brown seconded the motion.  Motion carried.

Approval of Standards of Conduct:

The Standards of Conduct was presented to the Policy Council by Ms. Patrice Hawthorne.  She explained to the Policy Council that in accordance with the Head Start Performance Standards and the SHARE Policies and Procedures, all staff, consultants, and volunteers must abide by and have a signed copy of the Standards of Conduct on file.  After further discussion, Angela Brown made a motion to accept the Standards of Conduct. Tamika Rowe seconded the motion.  Motion carried.

Approval of Parent Codes of Conduct:

The Parent Codes of Conduct was presented to the Policy Council by Patrice Hawthorne.  She explained that courteous and respectful behavior between and among all program participants is essential for SHARE Head Start/Early Head Start to achieve the program’s mission and to provide a safe and positive environment for the children, families and staff. Employees, parents/guardians, volunteers, participants, and anyone else involved with the program are expected to follow the Code of Conduct. After discussion, LaKeisha Johnson made a motion to approve the Parent Codes of Conduct as presented.  Angela Brown seconded the motion.  Motion carried. 

Approval of Confidentiality Policy:

The Confidentiality Policy was presented to the Policy Council by Cynthia Sosebee, Community Partnership Facilitator.  She explained to the Policy Council that maintaining confidentiality is very important. She distributed and discussed with the Policy Council that each member should be serious and respectful of everyone’s privacy.  After discussion, time was given for the Policy Council to read and sign the confidentiality document. Angela Brown made a motion to accept the Confidentiality policy as presented. Tamika Rowe seconded the motion. Motion carried.

Budget Review:

Tammy Gore, Assistant Director of Finance, distributed copies of  the Summary Expenditure, CACFP and the Credit Card Expenditure Reports (See Attachments). She explained that each month the Policy Council will receive the financial report and credit card statements. They will receive a copy of the detailed financial report quarterly. Ms. Gore stated that the Head Start and Early Head Start Year to Date percentages in the budget is on target, the percentage for time expired and time spent is within normal range at this time in the fiscal year.  After discussion, LaKeisha Johnson accepted the financial reports as information. Angela Brown seconded the motion. Motion Carried.

Director’s Report:

The Director’s Report was given by Shannon Vaughn, Interim Director of Children & Family Development.  She welcomed the newly elected Policy Council members and informed them of the importance of attendance at monthly meetings. She discussed with the Policy Council that they will receive program reports from service area each month to review prior the scheduled meeting. Reports includes the monthly financial expenditure and credit card reports, CACFP, attendance and enrollment reports, personnel reports, program information summaries, to name a few.  She expressed to the Policy Council the importance of maintaining confidentially at all times. We value family's privacy and make every effort to ensure that information shared is kept confidential. The council will receive education reports that provides information parents on children’ progress from on-going assessments. We are required to share information several times a year.  We are currently in period one.  We will share with the Policy Council information from each period.  Child outcomes is mandated as written in the Head Start Act. We are progressing well.  We are currently using COR Advantage assessment tool which aligns with the High Scope curriculum. This assessment is online and allows parents to engage in children’s educational plans and provide input into child’s learning goals.  We are currently tracking COVID-19 cases for staff and children. We are now seeing the cases slow down to 2-3 cases a week. At the beginning of school, we were seeing 6-7 cases per week.  Cases has increased this school year in children. We will continue to follow CDC guidelines.  Repairs are being made in our facilities.  We are spending money on maintenance which is reflected in our budget.  ERSEA requires us to track child attendance and enrollment.  We must maintain 85% or greater each month.  This information is reported monthly to our regional office and to the Board and Policy Council. After discussion, Tamika Rowe made a motion to approve the Director’s report as presented.  LaKeisha Johnson seconded the motion.  Motion carried.

Approval of Program Information Report:

 Ms. Vaughn shared information from our Program Information Report (PIR).  Information was shared from Head Start and from Early Head Start.  We must report data separately for each program option.  After discussion, Tamika Rowe made a motion to approve the PIR reports as presented.  Demetria Hall seconded the motion.  Motion carried.

No further business, Tamika Rowe made a motion to adjourn the meeting. Angela Brown seconded the motion.  Motion carried.

Recorded by Angela Brown, Secretary

 Dorett Gunter, Chair