For Parents

Parents need to have an understanding of the philosophy and objectives of our Academy.  You will also need to know the details regarding your interactions with staff during those moments you are at the Academy daily during pickup and dropoff times.  

Our family life center, better known as the Empowerment Station Academy (ESA), serves as a focal point that promotes independence, reduces risk factors, and increases the quality of life for all served.

Empowered for Life, Inc. fosters the belief that individuals have the potential to reach maximum levels of success in EVERY area of life. At the heart of Empowered for Life, Inc. are the POWER Values:

  • People have the right to be treated with respect regardless of race, age, gender, or socioeconomic background.
  • Opportunities allow people to develop, rebuild, and reclaim their own success.
  • Where we start out in life should not determine where we end up.
  • Excellence in stewardship is essential in maintaining public trust.
  • Recognition promotes favorable outcomes that facilitate continuous growth.

We believe that individuals should be allowed to grow at their own pace and to learn in ways that help them become confident in themselves as learners.  Our goal is to provide all of the children with a clean, safe, comfortable, and nurturing environment.  Respect toward self, others and the environment will be emphasized. It is our objective to create an environment and program where the child’s natural desire to learn is stimulated through mentorship programs, career development workshops, tutoring, nutrition education, and other resources for children, youth, and adults.

The designated pick-up and drop-off area is on the front of the facility and is clearly marked. There is a ten-minute time limit on these spaces.  Please use them only for dropping off and picking up your child. Children will be escorted in through the front of the building and signed in or out by an authorized individual. Please note: children are NOT allowed to sign themselves or other children in or out. After the center has made every effort to contact a parent/guardian, the child will be transported to the Starkville Police Department for further supervision.

In an effort to better serve you and your child, we request that you please make a courtesy call informing the staff that you will be late. We understand occasional tardiness but encourage everyone to be considerate of time. We would appreciate it if your child could be on time for activities.

There will be many times and ways you can get involved in your child's school experience. You are welcomed and encouraged to participate in any or all of these. Some examples of ways to be involved include:

  • Chaperoning on field trips
  • Lending objects for units of study
  • Coming and talking about your job, when asked
  • Helping your child at home with the concepts we are studying here (see monthly newsletter)
  • Volunteering to help with projects or games

Please speak to the front desk about becoming involved and he/she will set up a schedule for you.

Communication between home and school is extremely important in order to ensure the success of your child. Please feel free to discuss any concerns you have with your child's teacher or the Center Director. It may not be possible for you to have a long conversation with your child's teacher at drop-off or pick-up times as the teachers are responsible for supervising all of the children in their care. If you have a special concern, a meeting or phone conference may be arranged. ESA provides many opportunities for parents to receive information on the progress of their child as well as the activities and events at our Center. The following details the types of communication that parents will receive:

  • Parent Conferences: Parent/Teacher Conferences will be scheduled two times per year, or more often by request. This conference will summarize each child's progress in our program. Conferences will be scheduled in November and May. Parents are welcome to schedule a conference at any time.
  • Information Board: Information about upcoming activities and events will be posted on the information board in the lobby. Classroom schedules and special classroom events will be posted on the information board in each classroom. Please check the boards regularly to keep informed about our upcoming events.

ESA is equipped with a first aid kit. There are at least 2 staff members that are CPR/First Aid Certified. The Lead Staff member will notify parents if there is evidence of serious injury or illness. A written record will be kept of all injuries and accidents requiring first aid. A copy of the accident report will be sent home to the parent/guardian with the child, and a copy will be kept on file.

In case of emergency, illness, or injury to a child, the parent or guardian will be notified immediately. If the parents/guardian cannot be reached immediately, the emergency numbers on the registration form will be called.

In the event of an emergency warranting medical attention or considered life-threatening, the Site Director will call 911 or take other necessary emergency procedures. Parents/guardians and/or emergency contacts will be contacted as well.

If your child must take prescription medication of any kind, you must notify the Site Director and complete a Medical Authorization Form. Over the counter medication will not be dispensed without a doctor’s written authorization. All medication should be given to the Site Director to ensure proper usage. Children are not permitted to have medication in their possession to take on their own. Medication will never be given to a child by a staff member without the proper written authorization. No medication will be dispensed unless it is in its original container. All medications will be dispensed in accordance with Child Care & Licensing policies and procedures.


Allergies are a serious concern. Please inform us upon enrollment of any allergies your child has, so we can list them in the class file and be sure they are correctly flagged in the emergency log. We suggest that you teach your child about his/her allergy and encourage them to verbalize what they can not eat or play with. We strive for a peanut-free program.

Health or sick policy

If a child becomes sick at school, they will be isolated until the parent arrives to prevent other children from getting sick. Children with the following illnesses must be excluded from our center. The following are examples:

ImpetigoHead Lice
ScabiesPersistent cough
Upper respiratory complicationsHepatitis A
Chicken PoxStrep throat
RoseolaExcess Congestion
Vaccine-Preventable DiseasesFever over 100 degrees

Most of these illnesses cease to be a reason for exclusion 24 hours after treatment has begun or symptoms have disappeared. If a child has a temperature of 101 or above, they must be picked up and fever-free for a full twenty-four hours before returning to the center. Check with your doctor or the director for more information. Sometimes it is difficult to determine when a child should stay home. Below is a list of symptoms that can serve as guidelines:

Lethargy, extreme sleepiness, ear pain, vomiting, a rash with or without fever, fever over 101 degrees axillary (under the arm), persistent crying for an unknown reason, large amounts of yellow-green nasal discharge, or difficulty breathing or wheezing.

If your child has or has been exposed to communicable illnesses such as, but not limited to hepatitis, measles, mumps, meningitis, diphtheria, rubella, salmonella, tuberculosis, giardia, or shigella, outside the center, please inform the director. If a child comes to the center and has been exposed, the director must inform parents, staff, and the health department. Each child’s confidentiality will be maintained.

Most of these illnesses cease to be a reason for exclusion 24 hours after treatment has begun or symptoms have disappeared. Check with your doctor or the director for more information.

The professional child care staff of ESA are trained in behavior techniques that include positive reinforcement, redirection, conflict resolution and rewards. A child with a consistent behavioral problem who is not responding to his or her teacher or who exhibits extreme or dangerous behavior will be sent to the Site Director, who will notify the child’s parents and/or guardians with a Behavior Report. In extreme cases of behavior such as running away, fighting, extreme disruption, stealing, threats of violence, or destruction of school property, the parent and/or guardian will be called to pick up their child immediately and the child may be immediately suspended or dismissed from the program.

If the problem persists, a parent/guardian conference will be scheduled at which the areas of concern will be discussed and the steps which will be taken to help improve your child’s behavior. If the situation does not improve, the child may be suspended. Four Behavior Reports will result in dismissal from our program. A refund will be issued for any unused weeks of the payment period.


While we recognize that biting among young children does occur, steps must be taken to try and prevent such situations. If your child bites another child, we will fill out an incident report and notify you at pick up or with a phone call. When biting continues to be an issue, a parent/teacher conference will be scheduled, and we will try to resolve the problem. Parents will be asked to pick up their child if he/she bites three or more times in one day.

Our cook will prepare a breakfast and lunch that will be colorful, nutritious, and appropriate portions for young children. A separate menu may be prepared for our infants. Children may have extra servings. Selections of milk, fruit, crackers, etc will be served for snacks. Weekly menus are posted in advance and parents may refer to these at any time. Children in attendance at mealtime will be served that meal.

Mealtimes are follows (required by MSDH):

Breakfast 6:45 am - 8:00 (serving ends at promptly 8:00 am)

Lunch 11:00 - 12:00 am

Snack 2:15 pm - 2:45 pm

***We do accommodate for most food allergies or cultural preferences. Any requests for food adjustments need to be presented by parents to the center in writing. Specific allergies must be documented and signed by a doctor.

Roles & Responsibilities of the Parents

Parents and guardians are responsible for:

  • Picking up their child(ren) by the close of the program.
  • Conforming to the payment schedule of the program
  • Notifying the center if:
    • Any information on the registration form changes (Telephone Numbers, Addresses, Pick up information)
    • Their child attended school, but will not be attending the after school program on any given day or period of time
    • There is a change in the daily departure routine or the person picking up
    • Their child is being withdrawn from the center (30 day notice is required)
    • Their child’s participation in the program is limited due to health or other impairments
    • Their child is on any medication which must be dispensed while their child is at the after school/summer program, or if their child has any allergies

A child may be exited from the program if a parent does not meet the above responsibilities on a consistent basis.

Tax statements indicating the payments made to ESA will be prepared upon request. They may be requested from the front desk. Please allow two weeks for processing, especially during tax season. Please note that it is the responsibility of each parent and/or guardian to retain their receipts.

ESA program closes promptly each evening at 6:00 p.m. All parents and/or guardians are expected to pick up their children on time. If you are unable to do so, it is your responsibility to notify the front desk that you will be late or are sending an alternate to pick up your child.

If the alternate is not on your permitted to remove list, the Site Director may ask you for your social security number or password. In addition, please advise the individual picking up to bring photo identification with them. After the site closes, a staff member will attempt to contact the parent, guardian or emergency contact person by telephone. If a child remains at the program an hour after closing time and neither parents, guardians nor emergency contacts can be reached and there has been no communication from the parents or guardians, the local police department will be contacted and the child released into the custody of the appropriate law enforcement official.

A $15.00 late fee will be charged for each child for each 15 minutes or portion thereof after closing, if the parent/guardian is late picking up their child. This fee is due upon picking up your child or the next day.

Three Late Pick-Ups may result in your child being dismissed from the program.

Empowerment Station Academy does not carry liability insurance on children; however, it does carry insurance on the center itself.

As part of ESA, field trips will be planned occasionally. Prior to each trip, information will be sent home detailing the date, time, cost, location, chaperones, etc. The permission slip must be signed and returned to the teacher in order for the child to attend. We welcome parents to join us for trips. If you do not wish for your child to participate in the field trip, notify his/her teacher so that other arrangements can be made for the day.

The ESA programs will be closed on the following holidays: Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, and the day after Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year’s Day, Memorial Day and July 4th. Selected programs will be open for school holidays, winter and spring breaks. Parents/guardians will receive information regarding field trips or special holiday schedules in advance. Sign up for these activities will take place at the front desk. There is an additional charge for field trips. Space may be limited and registration is on a first come, first served basis.

Reading is an exercise in empathy; an exercise in walking in someone else’s shoes for a while.”
—Malorie Blackman

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