Months and hours of operation
TALC generally runs from September through mid-December in the Fall and from February through mid-May in the Spring. Hours are Firday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. We take fall, winter, spring, and holiday breaks according to the Chatham School District calendar. We meet in northern Columbia County, at a location that we rent, that includes classrooms, and an outdoor area.
Opening Day & Display Day
Each season begins with an Opening Day, which includes introduction of new members, brief announcements, and activities for the children. Display Day is the last day of each season, when students display the work they’ve done and give performances and presentations.
Check the bulletin board and schedule board at TALC for general information and announcements. These are located on a table as you enter the facility. There is also a folder box with cleaning and closing protocols, orientation information, resources, old yearbooks and schedules.
All members are signed onto the TALC e-mail list. You can send and receive messages regarding TALC days, events, etc. through your email at home.
Every family is required to clean up and “close” TALC two times during each season. Signup for each season takes place when registration is due. Preferred dates can be updated in your user account. Cleaning/closing begins at the end of the TALC day at 3 p.m., and usually takes no more than 30 minutes. Responsibilities include putting the trash out in the dumpster behind the building, sweeping, vacuuming, checking to be sure the kitchen and bathrooms are clean, cleaning up outdoor equipment, and locking the metal cabinet and building doors. Detailed instructions and a checklist are located in the cleaning supplies container in the small closet by the side door. If you need to change your cleaning/closing day or can’t make it due to illness or other unforeseen circumstances, it is your responsibility to find a replacement. If it’s not a last-minute change, you can usually find someone willing to switch with you or cover for you by posting a request to the TALC e-mail list. If it is too late to expect a timely response from the list, please contact the coordinator immediately.
We have multiple, one-hour class times. Although some classes run for an half hour or even two hours for greater flexibility.
Lunch period is between noon and 1p.m. Members may store bag lunches in the refrigerator and use the front counter and stove for preparing food. Please clean up your area of the table and floor after you eat. We have traditionally prepared a “stone soup” every other week, where everyone interested in soup brings an ingredient and helps to prepare the soup during the morning hours. Soup is vegan, corn free, potato free. There is also coffee available, and hot water for tea. All are expected to wash their own dishes and generally help with kitchen clean up duties.
Everyone will receive an email when registration is open. You may then renew your membership through your user account on the website. After payment (check or PayPal) is complete, you may access the registration page and enroll your child(ren) in classes. Please take note of the details including, time, weeks, and attendance expectations when enrolling. Ages listed are a guideline; check with instructors to determine if your child may attend if they are outside the stated range. In case of an overflow, class assignments are made by lottery. Please register by the deadline. If you fail to do so, your family will not be included in the lottery process.
Checks should be made out to TALC or to The Alternative Learning Center, and mailed after you renew your membership on the website. Address is given during the checkout process. The fee may change depending on the number of families registered and will be listed on your registration form. You may also pay through the website through PayPal. You need to complete a payment, or make alternative arrangements with the review board, before registering in classes.
Every family is required to make an educational offering to the cooperative every semester. New members begin making their offerings during their second semester at TALC. These most often takes the form of classes, but can also include a field trip or special event. Many families find that approximately six hours of donated time works well for them (not counting preparation time). Some families prefer to co-teach, or to bring in non-members (family or those with their own insurance) to donate their teaching expertise. Students are also welcome to offer a class. Schedules from past years are available in the “Old Schedules” file in the filebox or online for inspiration. Brainstorming for the next session also takes place at a meeting at the end of the session. Classes are submitted online through the website in between session.
If you will be spending a significant amount on supplies for your session, you may charge a fee to offset your expenses. Please list the fee on your class submission page. Fees are generally a few dollars per family, collected by the individual instructors. If you need supplies, check the supply cabinet first for what you need. TALC culture is such that families should expect to incur small expenses knowing that other families are doing the same and everyone benefits.
Decisions regarding TALC policies are made by the TALC Council, which consists of Council positions (Coordinator or co-coordinators, Registrar, Treasurer, Secretary, Social Media Manager, Supplies Coordinator, Membership Coordinator, Student Representative) and other Council members, the number of which varies each year. Any TALC member may become a member of Council; simply inform the coordinator(s) of your intention to serve on Council at the beginning of each semester. Council members’ responsibilities include attending Council meetings whenever possible. All TALC members are welcome to attend Council meetings; however, only Council members may vote. Decisions are made by consensus. Any member can make a proposal to be considered by Council. The agenda for each meeting is posted on the e-mail group prior to the meeting, and minutes of each meeting are posted online and archived on this website.
An Evaluation meeting is scheduled annually, and all members are encouraged to attend to discuss the functioning of the cooperative. Check the calendar online for the date.
TALC supplies are available for everyone’s use during classes. Art supplies include glue, scissors, white and construction paper, chalk, paint and paintbrushes, colored pencils, pencils, smocks, crayons, sponges, and some science equipment. Gym equipment includes balls, jump ropes, beanbags, hula hoops, sports flags and belts, bases, pinneys, and cones. TALC also owns Chemistry and Math Explorer kits.
TALC follows the Chatham School District regarding snow days. If Chatham is closed OR DELAYED, TALC is closed. Call 518-392-2400, ext. 2 for closing reports.
Cancelling or missing classes
If you must cancel a class you are teaching, please contact the family of every child in your class through your class management page. Likewise, if your child/children is unable to attend a class, please contact the instructor through the website.
TALC is not a drop-off center. If you are unable to accompany your child throughout the entire day at TALC, please appoint a guardian to do so. This can be another adult member of your family, a babysitter, or another TALC member. As TALC is a family-based cooperative in which members’ contributions and presence are vital, it is expected that parents attend on a regular basis. Should circumstances prevent parents from attending regularly and children are sent to TALC with a guardian, parents 1) must submit an explanation of their situation to the Review Board, 2) are strongly encouraged to take the time to attend Opening Day, Display Day, and/or evening community gatherings or camping trips, 3) may delegate cleaning duties to guardians if necessary, and 4) must fulfill the educational-offering requirement themselves at a time that works for them. Children under 13 must have adult supervision in all rooms and outdoor areas at TALC. Please make sure children clean up after themselves after using games or toys. Teenagers do not need direct supervision outside or in the church or gym as long as a parent or guardian is on-site. Teenagers may also be responsible for younger children as long as an adult (18 or older) guardian is on-site, and both the teen’s parent and the child’s parent agrees.
Supervision for children under 5
It is our policy that a parent or guardian supervise children under 5 AT ALL TIMES while at TALC. Please also remember to clean up after your young children when they have been using toys.