Presentation on theme: "LOCAL COORDINATOR TRAINING A GUIDE TO COMPLIANT PLACEMENTS FROM START TO FINISH WITH STS FOUNDATION Revised 4/5/2013."— Presentation transcript:
LOCAL COORDINATOR TRAINING A GUIDE TO COMPLIANT PLACEMENTS FROM START TO FINISH WITH STS FOUNDATION Revised 4/5/2013
WELCOME STS Foundation (STSF) welcomes you as a Local Coordinator! Whether you are a new or returning LC completing your annual training, this guide is full of useful tools and information for making compliant placements, holding orientations, and monitoring your STSF students. Your time here at STSF promises to be memorable and rewarding as you work towards opening up the world for high school exchange students and making their year a great success! We look forward to working with you. LETS GET STARTED!
STSF PROGRAM DESCRIPTION STSF has been placing foreign exchange students since STSF sponsors an international exchange program for high school students granted by the Department of State. STSF is based in Scottsdale, Arizona and has regional offices across the U.S. STSF welcomes exchange students from approximately 25 countries on 6 continents. Only students who show academic interest and achievement: good character, curiosity, adaptability, and a command of the English language are chosen.
MANUALS Host Families, Local Coordinators, and Students all receive STSF manuals to help guide them through their exchange year. All manuals are dated, and the most up to date versions can be found on our website: Host Families Receive a manual in the mail once placement is complete. Students Receive a manual from their sending organization before they arrive and our STSF manual from their LC upon arrival. Local Coordinators Receive a manual with their LC contract upon hire.
FIRST THINGS FIRST: TRAINING You must be trained no more than 30 days after your hire. Training includes: STSF Foundation Training administered by your Regional Coordinator (RC). Department of State (DOS) “TrainCaster” Training and Certification Test You must pass the test to work with our students. Before you pass the test you can still represent STSF in the community and contact families and schools. Refer to your local coordinator handbook and DOS regulations to study up! STSF Training, DOS Training and background check must be completed annually. A reminder will be sent to you from STSF and DOS.
BACKGROUND CHECK All STSF LCs must submit an annual background check. Your background check must be submitted and approved before you can start working directly with students and their files. The process is quick and easy! Go to Click “Submit Background Check” in the lower right corner of the webpage. You will be prompted for a password, which is “background.” Click “I Agree.” Fill in all of your information into the fields. Click “Next” when you are done. Your personal information will come up for your review. Click "Complete." A confirmation page will appear confirming your information was successfully received.
STSF PLACEMENT POLICY ALL student placements must be made in accordance with DOS and Council on Standards for International Educational Travel (CSIET) guidelines. Please refer to these guidelines in the back of your Local Coordinator Manual. The STSF website also has the most up to date regulations. STSF does not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, or marital status. Host families of all shapes and sizes are acceptable. However, a single man with no children may not host a female exchange student.
STSF PLACEMENT POLICY CONT… Any decision regarding the replacement of a student must be approved by the STS National Office and Regional Coordinator.
TIPS FOR COMPLIANT PLACEMENTS Never place a student over 120 miles away from you. Do not place a student with his or her relatives, regardless of how distant the relationship is. Do not act as both an LC and a host family for the same student. The host family’s home must be clean and sanitary. The student’s bedroom contains a separate bed for the student that is not convertible or inflatable. The student can share a bedroom with one individual of the same sex. This individual must be at least 13 years old. The student must have adequate storage space for clothes and personal belongings. The student must have reasonable access to bathroom facilities, study space, and unimpeded access to the outside of the house in the event of an emergency. Students should have reasonable access to their natural parents by telephone and . Do not place students based on athletic ability. Do not place two students from the same country or two students who speak the same native language in the same host family. The CSIET and DOS regulations in your LC manual provide important guidelines on making compliant placements. Here are some biggies:
FINDING SCHOOLS You should find a school willing to accept a foreign exchange student before you start recruiting host families within the school district. Make an appointment with the person in charge (guidance counselors or principals) of foreign exchange students at the school. Start working with your local schools early! Exchange student spots tend to fill up very quickly. Introduce yourself as a STSF LC assigned to their school area. STSF will provide you with informational materials on request to give to the schools. You LC manual has further tips on keeping your school happy as well as a model school policy on international exchange students.
FINDING HOST FAMILIES There are many ways to spread the word about STSF 1. Word of Mouth Talk to your relatives, neighbors, friends, teachers, doctors, church groups/members, and others that you come into contact with often. Talk to people in your community, like religious leaders, Boy Scout and Girl Scout leaders. Make presentations at a PTA meeting, clubs, business groups, and local high schools. Set up an informational booth at a fair or festival.
FINDING HOST FAMILIES CONT… 2. Marketing (National Office must approve) Fliers Press Releases Newsletters or Bulletins Internet Paid Ads 3. Referrals From Past Host Families Please note that when marketing STS Foundation you may not appeal to public pity or guilt or imply in any way that student will be denied participation if a host family is not found. You may not use student photos or personal information in ads. You can only refer to students in a general way. Example: Lars is a 16 year old boy from a small town in Sweden who enjoys cooking.
COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT HOSTING 1. What are host family responsibilities? HFs are expected to provide the same loving environment for exchange students as they would for their own children. They should treat them like a member of their family. Register their students for school, provide three meals a day, a separate bed, and a quiet place to study. During the school week, host families are expected to provide students with a sack lunch Not required to provide students with lunch money if students want to buy their lunch at school instead.
COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT HOSTING CONT… 2. What about spending money? The student’s natural parents agree to send adequate spending money. $250-$300/month is recommended This money is to provide for social activities, trips, clothes, school expenses, doctor’s appointments, prescriptions and telephone calls to their home countries. Ideally, students will already have a bank account when they come over that they can access with an ATM card. *HF can assist the student in setting up a savings account.
COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT HOSTING CONT… 3. What happens if the student is ill or has an accident? Before their arrival, students are provided with their own medical insurance (included in the package is an ID insurance card and claim forms). The insurance company needs to be immediately notified of before any medical/healthcare activity. Host Families receive their student’s insurance information and “permission to provide care” form in the student’s application. HFs should bring this with them to the doctor. STSF National Office will provide assistance with filing claims whenever needed. Host parents should never pay for their student’s medical expenses.
COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT HOSTING CONT… 4. Are we supposed to show them America? Host families are not obligated to take their students on trips or pay for their students if they do go on a trip. Trips are organized and are available through an STSF approved travel organization. Please keep in mind that this is an academic program with opportunities for students to travel who meet academic standards. Students must get approval from STSF before joining a trip through an approved organization. If a student is not in good standing with STSF they are not granted travel permission.
COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT HOSTING CONT… 5. Are host families paid to host? No, all of our host families are volunteers per DOS regulations. Host Families who itemize their taxes may qualify for a $50 per month tax deduction. Be sure they check with their tax preparer. 6. What is the length of stay? Most of our students arrive at the beginning of the academic year for a 10 month academic stay. They must return to their home country 7 to 10 days after the last day of school. This is considered the end of program date as defined by DOS. There are a few students who only come for a semester (Fall/Spring). The rewards to hosting are numerous and the relationships that evolve throughout the year as host parents will last a lifetime!
WHAT IS REQUIRED FOR A COMPLETE PLACEMENT? A placement will not be considered complete until the following 5 documents are collected and sent in one packet to the RC. All of these documents can be downloaded from the STS Foundation website. Please do not send this paperwork to the RC piecemeal. Sending the paperwork all together helps to keep things from getting lost! Make sure to keep a copy of all paperwork for your records and future reference.
5 DOCUMENTS 4 Vetting Documents 1. Host Family Application The host family application can be filled out and submitted from the STS Foundation website. It is your responsibility to make sure the application is complete. This includes the host family letter and 9 photos required by the DOS. 2. Background Check Everyone 18 years or older in the host family must submit a background check through the STS Foundation website. This includes children who will turn 18 during the student’s exchange year and college students who keep the host family’s address as their permanent address.
5 DOCUMENTS CONT… 3. Host Family References Complete 4 host family references 4. Host Family Evaluation Everyone who resides in the home must be present. Must be completed before an HF can be shown a student. Once you’ve completed the above 4 documents, then and only then can you show a host family a student file. 5. School Acceptance Form Must be signed by school acknowledging they will accept the student.
ODDBALL PLACEMENTS Additional paperwork may be necessary for “oddball” placements. Some examples of these are listed below. Be sure to inform the RC if any of these situations are applicable when you send your RC your complete placement packet. 1. Double Placement Two STSF exchange students are placed in the same home. Two exchange students from the same country or who speak the same native language cannot be placed in the same home. 2. Single Parent Placement When host mother or father is single with no children. A man with no children cannot host a female exchange student. 3. Welcome Family A welcome family agrees to temporarily host a student while a permanent family is found. They often become permanent.
PLACEMENT PROCESS Once you have a complete placement packet with the required documents, be sure to make a copy for your records and future reference. 1. Forward the packet on to your RC via or fax. is always the preferred method for sending any kind of paperwork. Please use the following subject template: Student Last Name, First Name (Country)/ Semester and Year 2. Your RC will look over the placement packet and will let you know if anything is missing. Then, your RC will send it to the STSF National Office. 3. STSF will enter the placement information into its databases if the packet is verified as complete and the placement is approved. You will be notified once the placement is approved.
NEXT STEP: PRE-ARRIVAL ORIENTATION After the placement is complete, you will conduct a Pre- Arrival Orientation for the host family. This must be done before the student arrives. You can find the Pre-Arrival Orientation Form on the STS Foundation website.
NEXT STEP: PRE-ARRIVAL ORIENTATION After the placement is complete, you will conduct a Pre- Arrival Orientation for the host family. This must be done before the student arrives. You can find the Pre-Arrival Orientation Form on the STS Foundation website. This form must be completed after the 4 vetting documents for the host family have been completed. The Pre-Arrival Orientation cannot be completed on the same day as the Host Family Evaluation per DOS regulations.
A PRE-ARRIVAL ORIENTATION INCLUDES: Information on STSF’s philosophy, rules, and regulations that govern our foreign exchange program. A copy of the DOS letter of appreciation to host families. Provision of DOS Exchange Visitor Program regulations. Advice for host families of strategies for cross-cultural interaction and dealing with cultural differences. Advisement to host families of their responsibility to inform STSF of any and all material changes in the status of the host family or student. This includes, but is not limited to: Changes in address Changes in financial situation Changes in employment Criminal arrests Someone new moves in
TYPICAL LOCAL COORIDNATOR PLACEMENT PROCESS 1. Find a school willing to accept a foreign exchange student. 2. Find a potential host family in the school district. 3. Vet the host family with the Host Family Application, References, Background Check, and Host Family Evaluation. 4. Obtain a signed School Acceptance Form from the school that the student will be attending. 5. Send the completed placement packet to your RC. 6. Conduct a Pre-Arrival Orientation for the host family. Begin this process as early as possible
STUDENT ARRIVAL Arrival Day Greet the student when they arrive. This is another way of showing the host family and student that you are there for support. If you cannot greet the student at the airport, visit or call shortly after the student’s arrival. We recommend that the LC accompanies the HF when they pick up their student. Encourage your host family to bring a sign or balloons to the airport. This can be a great way for the student to spot the family in a crowded terminal as well as market the program!
ORIENTATION An Orientation is a time to make sure the host family and student understand the program rules and what is expected of each other. An Orientation should be held as soon as possible after a student is settled in the home, but no later than 1 month after arrival. Some of our RCs organize and hold Orientations and have LCs assist. We encourage having an orientation event if you have more than one student. This is a good opportunity for the students to meet one another at the beginning of their exchange year. Contact your RC before arranging an Orientation in your area. They may want you to talk about some updated STSF concerns that are pertinent to your student or host family. Please forward all Orientation Forms to the STSF National Office
ORIENTATION TOPICS: STSF RULES AND REGULATIONS Please refer to your LC Manual for a complete list of STSF Rules and Regulations. Review all the STSF Program Rules one by one. These rules can also be found in the Host Family and Student’s Manual Please stress that STSF takes these rules seriously and that breaking these rules can lead to an early return. Most students sent home were in violation of minimum grades, driving, breaking curfew, isolating themselves from host family and/or excessive contact with home, smoking, or alcohol/drug use, and not informing their host family of where they are.
ORIENTATION TOPICS: HOST FAMILY RULES It is important to go over host family rules at an orientation so that a student will know exactly what is expected. Curfew, internet use, phone use, friends, chores, meals, etc… This is very important for the success of the student’s integration into the family. A student should follow host family rules at all times and respect the wishes of his or her host parents. The student is now a member of the family and is expected to follow the same rules as others living in the home. An orientation should be held again if a student is replaced into a new host family.
ORIENTATION TOPICS: HOST FAMILY OBLIGATIONS AND RELATIONSHIPS Host families are responsible for daily meals at home, a bed for the student, a private place to study, reasonable transportation, and a caring, supportive environment. Encourage the family to have the student become a member of the family. Students should participate in host family activities. Confirm to the student that their host family is doing this out of an honest interest in their culture and the experience that comes with the exchange program. They are volunteers, and have not been paid to host.
ORIENTATION TOPICS: FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITIES Students and their natural parents are responsible for all personal expenses. Examples: personal hygiene items, school-related expenses, school lunches, long distance calls, clothing, postage, entertainment, optional trips and medical expenses not covered by insurance. Students traveling with their host families should expect to pay their own way. A host family who invites or plans a family trip with the student should be very clear how much the trip will cost the student. Host families are not required to take their students on trips, they are optional.
ORIENTATION TOPICS: MEDICAL INSURANCE Every STSF student has medical insurance. Students and their natural parents are responsible for paying for medical services. Students/host families should call the number on student’s insurance card before going to the doctor. HFs should bring the “permission to provide care” form in the student’s application to the doctor. Do not let a hospital persuade the host family to assume the financial responsibility. Vaccinations and routine doctor visits are not covered by insurance. Student should expect to pay for these out of pocket.
ORIENTATION TOPICS: EMERGENCIES Your first responsibility is to ensure the safety of your students. Do whatever is necessary to ensure this, be it medical attention or even police protection. Once student’s safety is secured, call the STSF National Office at to report the emergency. If a student must be admitted to the hospital—please notify the National Office immediately as well as the medical insurance company. Report the emergency in writing to your RC. Contact your RC directly and also In any serious emergency situation, facts and details must be thoroughly documented by those involved in the situation for the incident report generated by the National Office.
ORIENTATION TOPICS: SCHOOL Emphasize to the student that this is an academic program and that regular school attendance is required to maintain their visa status. Students are to maintain a ‘C’ or above in every class. Students should not expect the following: To graduate, take driver’s education, participate in sports or any school sponsored activity, receive a university scholarship, be put in a specific grade level, or receive a High School Diploma. Each student must accept and follow his/her school requirements regarding course work. Students are required to take English, U.S. History or a Civics class, and anything else the school requires.
ORIENTATION TOPICS: ACTIVITIES Discuss the opportunities that schools, churches and communities have available. Encourage involvement. Getting involved is a great way to combat homesickness and culture shock. Discuss local volunteer opportunities. Discuss opportunities to learn about different cultures and religions.
ORIENTATION TOPICS: TRAVEL POLICY No student is permitted to travel outside the local area either by themselves or with other teenagers. Overnight traveling is allowed only with an approved group such as a school or church sponsored group, or the with host family. Any adult supervising the student who is not a member of the host family must submit a background check. A STSF Travel Release Form must be completed and approved by the National Office 2 weeks in advance before any travel can take place. Students may NOT travel unaccompanied. The student’s school must approve trips involving absence from school in advance.
ORIENTATION TOPICS: TRAVEL POLICY CONT… Along with a STSF Travel Release Form… TRAVEL ACROSS U.S. BORDERS – Students must get their DS-2019 form mailed in and signed by the Alternate Responsible Officer at the STSF National Office prior to travel across any U.S. borders. Students should provide a pre-paid return envelope of their chosen courier to allow for tracking of this valuable document. Students need to send in their documents in a timely manner to ensure they are returned prior to departure. Students will not be allowed to return to U.S. without their signed DS-2019 form.
ORIENTATION TOPICS: HELP Reinforce that you are the FIRST contact person if there is a problem for students and host families. Abuse If for any reason a member your student’s host family, school staff, or student’s friend is making the student feel violated in a physical or sexual manner, or if you feel this conduct is abuse or could lead to abuse, PLEASE INFORM US IMMEDIATELY at Remove the student from any perceived dangerous situation immediately. Call police, CPS, or other emergency officials if needed. Do not hesitate to call STSF at the moment the student informs you that they are uncomfortable. In such cases, a formal DOS incident report template must be submitted within 24 hours. The national office assists in this process but relies on the LC to provide details.
ORIENTATION TOPICS: ADJUSTMENT CYCLE Every student reacts differently to homesickness. Cycle 1: Arrival Cycle 2: Settling Cycle 3: Questioning Cycle 4: Feeling Comfortable Cycle 5: Departing Please refer to your LC manual for a more in depth description of these cycles.
ORIENTATION TOPICS: SOCIAL NETWORKING GUIDELINES Students will be held responsible for everything posted and linked to their profile on social media and networking sites. Students must refrain from posting any content or images that indicate a violation of local, state, or federal laws, and STSF rules. Students must refrain from posting any content or images that are perceived as obscene, defamatory, threatening, harassing, and hateful or hurtful to the reputation of another person. Students must refrain from any online activity that could compromise their safety or the safety and privacy of their host family. Any of the above actions may result in disciplinary procedures such as warning or probation, and may lead to dismissal from the STSF program.
HOLDING AN ORIENTATION WHEN A STUDENT CHANGES PLACEMENTS Does an orientation have to be completed if a student changes placements? YES!! An orientation is important for both the student and the host family. Even if a student or HF has already gone through an orientation at the beginning, this serves as a refresher and a good opportunity to go over the new host family’s rules. Furthermore, a new host family will need to be briefed on these orientation topics as well. When a student changes placements, please be sure to complete another orientation within 30 days of the student’s arrival to his/her new host family.
MONTHLY EVALUATIONS Monthly Evaluations must be submitted online by the last day of each month, beginning from the month the student arrives through May, to be paid. If a student arrives in the U.S. after the middle of the month (15 th ), a monthly evaluation will not be due until the end of the following month. The first monthly contact between the LC and the exchange student must be in person. All other contacts may take place in person, on the phone, or via electronic mail and must be properly documented. The LC must visit the student and host family in person at least once during the fall semester and once during the spring semester. Tip: When submitting your monthly evaluation online, please be sure to write your student’s name correctly and their home country.
FOLLOW UP HOST FAMILY HOME VISITS LC’s are responsible for setting up a follow up home visit by a 3 rd party interviewer. No family members or anyone involved with the placement can be the interviewer. For permanent families, a follow up visit must be completed within 60 days of the student’s arrival. For welcome families, a follow up visit must be completed every 30 days that the student remains in home. A $50 payment is given to interviewer per follow up visit. The Interviewer must submit a background check if the student will be in the home at the time of the visit. They are not required to interact with the student, but are encouraged to interact with the family to see how things are going. If a student moves to a new family, another follow up visit for that host family must be completed.
WARNING, PROBATION, AND DISMISSAL LETTERS The STSF National Office must approve all warning and probation letters. Templates are given to LCs as needed. If a student begins exhibiting unacceptable behavior based on STSF rules and regulations, a warning letter is administered. If a student does not improve upon his or her behavior after a warning, the student is put on probation. On rare occasions, a student’s behavior may lead to dismissal. The Executive Director will determine student dismissals based upon the review of Incident Reports, Probation Letters, and the ongoing student behavior. It is very important to document all of your student interactions and to turn in all of your monthly evaluations on time to help with this process.
CHANGE OF PLACEMENT STATUS If a student changes placements, addresses, schools, or local coordinators, a Change of Placement Status Form must be filled out and sent to the STSF National Office. The RC and STSF National Office must be informed of any changes of placements likely to occur and must approve of the new placement before the student is moved. Just like any placement, you will have to complete the necessary placement paperwork before the student can be moved. If the move must be made immediately due to an emergency, it is STSF’s best practice that the student stay with the LC until a new family is found. STSF does not pay for replacements.
END OF PROGRAM Near the end of your student’s school year, conduct an End of Program Orientation to discuss the exchange year. An End-of-Program Orientation Form can be found on the STSF website. End-of-Program Release to Natural Parents Form This form can also be found on the STSF website Students wishing to stay in America and vacation with their family must have their natural parents pick them up within 10 days of their last day of school. The last day of school is defined as the end of program date. The natural parents must submit an End-of-Program Release to Natural Parents Form to show that they are taking over responsibility of their child. Only natural parents can pick their child up at the end of the year within the 10 day grace period.
RESPONSIBILITIES OF A LOCAL COORDINATOR LC responsibilities include, but are not limited to: Complete training before you assume your duties as an LC. Present and promote STSF’s program in your community and always in a positive manner. Contact local high schools to determine the feasibility of student placements. Obtain signed School Acceptance forms for the students you place. Recruit potential host families. Conduct a home visit and interview. Obtain and verify 4 host family references.
RESPONSIBILITIES OF A LOCAL COORDINATOR CONT… Complete and forward all placement paperwork to your RC. (Keep a copy for yourself!) Complete monthly evaluations for each of your students. (Remember, these are tied to payments!) Complete a pre-arrival orientation for your host family before the student arrives. Complete an orientation with the student and host family shortly after the student’s arrival in the home. Set up a follow up home visit to be completed no later than 60 days after a student’s arrival into a permanent family and every 30 days after a student’s arrival into a welcome family.
SUMMARY OF STSF FORMS Host Family Application Host Family Evaluation Host Family References School Acceptance Form Pre-arrival Orientation Form Orientation Form Double Placement Agreements Single Placement Agreements Background Check Release Forms Secondary Review of Single Adult Host Parent Form Change of Placement Form Follow Up Host Family Home Visit Form High Risk Activity Release Form Travel Release Form Driver’s Education Agreement and Release Early Withdrawal Form Monthly Evaluation Form More Than 5 Placements School Agreement Warning Letter Probation Letter Dismissal Letter End-of-Program Orientation Form End-of-Program Release Form This is a list of important STSF forms as of February Many of these forms are downloadable from the STSF website.
PAYMENTS Please be aware that your local coordinator payments are tied to the completing and submitting paperwork in a timely manner. We know you work hard! Please do not forget to turn in your required paperwork so that you can get compensated for all the work you have done.
TYPICAL LC PAYMENT TIMELINE Placement Payment Orientation PaymentMid-Year PaymentFinal Payment Host Family Evaluation Background Checks Host Family References Host Family Evaluation School Acceptance Form Pre-Arrival OrientationOrientation September Monthly Evaluation October Monthly Evaluation November Monthly Evaluation December Monthly Evaluation January Monthly Evaluation March Monthly Evaluation April Monthly Evaluation May Monthly Evaluation $700 For a Year Student $200 Typically paid in August (or approx. two weeks after the placement is approved) $100 Typically paid in September $200 Typically paid in January $200 Typically paid in June
TYPICAL LC PAYMENT TIMELINE $350 For a Semester Student Placement Payment Orientation PaymentFinal Payment Host Family Evaluation Background Checks Host Family References Host Family Evaluation School Acceptance Form Pre- Arrival OrientationOrientation September Monthly Evaluation October Monthly Evaluation November Monthly Evaluation December Monthly Evaluation January Monthly Evaluation $100 Typically paid in August(or approx. two weeks after the placement is approved) $100 Typically paid in September $150 Typically paid in January
STSF CHAIN OF COMMUNICATION Contact Regional Coordinator and STSF National Office for Emergencies SchoolsHost FamiliesStudents Local Coordinator Regional Coordinator STS Foundation National Office Anyone can contact the STSF National Office or their Regional Coordinator at any time if they need additional support. STSF encourages the chain of communication shown by the solid bolded arrows as the most efficient way to get questions answered and problems solved.
Congratulations on completing your general local coordinator training! Please refer to your local coordinator handbook for a complete guide of the placement and monitoring process, as well as DOS and CSIET rules and regulations. Remember to always check the website for updates!