Flex Academies President Joshua Chernikoff sent questions to onsite coordinator Danielle Lyman to get her thoughts on her role. Lyman describes the many hats she wears communicating with parents, ensuring safety, and helping with organization. Our partnership with schools is hugely successful in part because we have responsible onsite coordinators like Lyman managing the programs every day.
Flex Academies: Hello, Danielle, and welcome. Let’s start by having you talk about your role as an onsite coordinator.
Danielle Lyman: As the onsite coordinator at Roger Sherman School [in Fairfield, Connecticut], I am able to see how students have the opportunity to learn and excel outside of the traditional classroom. I see myself as the communicator between Flex Academies and Roger Sherman School.
Flex: What is a “day in the life” like for an onsite coordinator for Flex?
DL: At 3:40 in the afternoon, when classes begin, the onsite coordinator stops in each classroom to make sure the instructors have arrived on time and to take attendance. If the instructor is not on time, the onsite coordinator stays with the students until he or she arrives. If a student is not present, the onsite coordinator goes to the student’s classroom teacher to find out where the child is. If the onsite coordinator is unable to get a hold of the classroom teacher, she goes to the main office to ask the secretary for an attendance list.
Once all students are accounted for, the onsite coordinator visits each classroom several times throughout the class period to takes notes on what the students are doing in class. The onsite also makes sure all students are participating in an appropriate way. If there is a student that is being disruptive, the onsite coordinator will speak with them and help them get back in the class on a positive note.
At the end of the class period, the onsite coordinator waits for the students to be escorted by the instructor to the lobby for dismissal. The onsite coordinator has the sign-out sheets ready for parents or caregivers to ‘initial out’ the child, to account for all students being picked up. If there are students who are not signed out, the onsite coordinator will call the person who is designated to pick them up to ensure the student arrived home safely.
Flex: How does the OSC help keep the kids safe?
DL: The onsite coordinator keeps kids safe at the beginning of the afternoon by making sure all students arrive at their designated activity. After the onsite coordinator has accounted for all students, she visits the classrooms periodically to observe activities, monitor behavior and be available if there are any medical needs.
The onsite coordinator carries a first aid kit in case of a medical emergency. The onsite coordinator also keeps her phone on her to keep in contact with instructors and the Director of Program Operations in case of an emergency.
The onsite coordinator keeps students safe at the end of the class period by letting parents and caregivers into the building to sign their child out. If a child is not picked up by 4:50, the onsite coordinator will stay with the child until the child is safely picked up.
Flex: How does the OSC help the management of the afterschool enrichment?
DL: The onsite coordinator helps manage afterschool enrichment by making sure the classes are focused on instruction and the instructors are hands-on with the students and the activity. The onsite coordinator also helps the management of the afterschool enrichment by keeping in regular contact with the Flex Director of Program Operations, Flex Connecticut Regional Director, Flex Customer Service Manager and PTA Afterschool Program Liaison.
Flex: Tell me about the rewards you get seeing these kids enjoy these new topics.
DL: As a science fan, I have been excited to see Crazy ChemWorks and Freaky Physics fill up quickly. I also enjoy watching the students discover something new and share it with their friends the next day. Another reward is seeing the students learn something new and be proud of what they have created.
Flex: Talk about your role in giving parents “peace of mind.”
DL: I believe parents are happy to see a familiar face when they are picking up their children and they are put at ease knowing their children will be safe at school until pickup time.
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