First and foremost, we are an independent non-profit organization that has served the Dublin community for more than 35 years. Our organization has no operational governance or fiscal ties to Dublin City Schools. Other than use of the school building, we are two separate entities. As with other organizations like Girl Scouts, Dublin Youth Athletics, and Girls on the Run, we use the school space to serve our mission of providing low-cost and high-quality programs to support our community’s working parents.
Secondly, we operate under the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. Its mission is to regulate childcare programs and ensure they are safe. The school district, which is under the Department of Education, has the mission to educate all students. An example of how differently these two departments regulate their organizations is the fact that our licensing agents often do not allow use of some of the playground equipment that is used during the school day. This is because the equipment is deemed unsafe by ODJFS regulation standards. If a parent ever has questions about these differences, why we might not be able to use certain school facilities, etc., we encourage him or her to speak with a Latchkey staff member.
Third, the school district is funded by local taxes, federal money, grants, etc. Latchkey is solely paid for by parent tuition fees.
Fourth, our program operates with a student-to-teacher ratio of twelve-to-one and on the premise that students will often be participating in group activities. To keep our students safe, we must be confident that each student can follow our rules, routines, and group directions, especially during an emergency situation.
Dublin Latchkey is available to kindergarten students from 7:05 a.m. until 9:00 a.m. before the morning Kindergarten session OR from 3:35 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. after the afternoon kindergarten session. Dublin Latchkey is not available to kindergartners during the regular school day.
All of the Dublin Latchkey Programs take place in the commons area of each Dublin City Schools elementary buildings. However, we operate entirely independent of DCS. Dublin Latchkey is available in the morning before school from 7:05 a.m until 9:00 a.m. and in the afternoon, after school from 3:35 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.
We offer the Middle School Reach program for middle school students in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade. The Middle School Reach program takes place in the five Dublin middle schools. The program is available in the morning from 7:00 a.m. until 8:10 a.m. and in the afternoon from 3:10 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.
Registration for the following school year takes place in February of the current school year. Current families have priority to enroll their children and any siblings in the program for the following school year. (There is a window for current families to secure their enrollment.) After current families enroll, we will, based on the availability, offer spots to any families still on the waitlist. New families will have the opportunity to enroll in our programs, based on availability beginning in May of the current school year. On specific dates we will open enrollment for each of the elementary and middle school buildings. Please visit our website in January of the current school year for open enrollment dates.
All new families are required to submit an enrollment request through our sign-up page at dlsinfo.org/signup. You will be asked to provide basic information, as well as mark whether or not you prefer to be placed on a waitlist if there is no availability at the building for which you are requesting enrollment. Once submitted, if your request is denied/waitlisted, you will receive an email with a code to log in to the parent portal to create a Dublin Latchkey account and submit the enrollment application. After your application is submitted, we will review it for completeness and accuracy. An email with payment details will be sent with a payment deadline to secure the spot on the waitlist. We make changes each month at all of our buildings. This is how we can move families from the waiting list in to the programs. If we are not able to get your child(ren) into the program for the current school year, your waitlist spot(s) will carry over to the next year. You will continue to move up the queue as space becomes available. The waiting list fee is $35 per family. The fee is transferable but not refundable.
School Site Staff
One-third of Dublin Latchkey teachers have degrees in childhood education or are licensed K-12 teachers. Nearly 70 percent of our staff members have at least two years of college or have a four year college degree.
All of our teachers have experience and education specific training in developmental education. All staff members receive state certified courses in child abuse, first aid and communicable disease. The site directors and assistant teachers annually attend a minimum of eight hours of educational professional development in content areas of child development, special needs, nutrition composition, discipline management, curriculum planning, music, art, administration and parent/family engagement. At least three (3) teachers at every school site are CPR certified. Every site director attends a six-hour workshop provided by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services on current state day care licensing laws. All teachers hired must complete a Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation (BCII) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) background check. The BCII check must be required to be updated every five years.
Dublin Latchkey recognizes that our programs success is dependent on support from our staff and dedication from our Program Directors. All of our directors have decades of experience in the education field and organization. They have been selected based on their curriculum vitae, dedication to quality, Dublin community involvement and area of teaching credentials. We have education specialists in elementary and middle school curriculum, special education, reading intervention, the arts, health and physical education.
Our programs are designed for group care of a 1:12 teacher-to-student ratio and our space does present challenges for some students. Any students who needs more individual help, please contact your school building’s director to discuss an evaluation of his or her needs. Determination of entry will be based on a reasonable judgment on the plausibility of whether your child will jeopardize his or her safety or others’ safety or during a trial in our “Preview” program. Running from the program or refusing to go to the program, violence toward other students or the teachers, inability to follow group instructions (of any kind) or independent toileting or any other circumstance deemed unsafe by Dublin Latchkey will be the determining factors for your child’s enrollment. The determination may be assessed after at least one of the following occurs: discussion with the parent or guardian, contact with the student’s teaching staff at Dublin City Schools, a trial period (determined by Dublin Latchkey Inc.) and/or other qualified professionals. Once a student has been admitted into the program, his or her continued enrollment is not guaranteed. Any student can be dismissed, if their actions or the parents’ actions put others’ safety in jeopardy.
Dublin Latchkey will require court documents in the event custody arrangements exist for your child(ren). If there are no restrictions with divorced or separated parents dropping off or picking up children, court documents will not be necessary. Please be certain to disclose any information to the Latchkey staff that may be important in regards to the safety of your child(ren). Dublin Latchkey prioritizes safety of all the children enrolled in our programs.
First, most of our programs are located in the commons areas, which has four or five direct exits to the outside. This situation may present a risk when a student runs or wanders out an exit. Second, our program provides students with a lot of freedom to move around and socialize with all students enrolled in our program (kg. through 5th grade). Third, when the commons are occupied with 80-95 students at the same time, the area can be loud and visually over-stimulating. Lastly, we have a student-to-teacher ratio of twelve-to-one.
The following may result in the dismissal of students from the program:
- Running or wandering out of the program boundaries
- Physical violence to themselves or others
- Repeated refusal to follow the rules and requests of teachers
- Bullying (harming others emotionally)
- Destruction of property
- Loss of bowel function or inability to contain bodily fluids
- Parents that bully, show aggression, threaten staff or children, use vulgar language, or show belligerent behavior
Each situation is unique and depends solely on the circumstances of the incident(s). If the Director feels a child may be better suited for the program in time, we may offer the option of a one-year leave of absence, with a possible return. The student’s reentry may be contingent on a written statement that the student’s behavior does not presents a danger to the student or others. We will accept any document from Dublin City Schools or outside professional(s) working with the student.
We are currently piloting a new optional program called “Preview” that will help parents answer that question. This program will enable any child to try the program without any cost to the parent. Depending on the circumstances and if space is available, Dublin Latchkey, Inc. will select the time frame for the trial. Upon completion of the trial, Dublin Latchkey administration will meet with the parent to discuss any concerns of either party. If the child demonstrates program readiness and there are no concerns from the parents, the child may be entered into the program and consequently start paying tuition.
If the child is not ready for our program (for example, by demonstrating any behavior listed as potentially dismissible), we can set a date for another trial in the future. The Preview program is a risk-free way for parents and children to explore our programs without losing their current childcare or any financial investment.
If you are interested in trying our new Preview pilot program, please call our office before you enroll your child. For students with unique needs or circumstances, we ask for two weeks to arrange accommodations that are designed to help the student succeed as much as possible, and any additional time allows us to engage in conversations with parents to tailor such accommodations for their child.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which covers Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) is enforced by the Ohio Department of Education. Section 504 plans are governed by federal law and enforced by the U.S. Department of Education. IEPs and 504s are wonderful documents that help teachers, parents, and support staff guide the individual educational path of a child with special needs. Nearly all non-profit organizations, like Latchkey, must comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Perhaps the most well-known section of the law addresses accessibility to physical space. Courts have examined the accessibility of children with special needs in a daycare setting. For an excellent review of those changes please read this article. If your child has an Individualized Education Plan, behavioral plan, or Section 504 Plan, please talk to the Dublin Latchkey administration office for more information on signing the Dublin City Schools contact waiver. This optional waiver allows DCS and Latchkey staff members to better coordinate their efforts and serve your child. Better communication can only further benefit your child’s growth.
First and foremost, please talk with your Site Director about your concerns. Often times, our licensing requires us to comply with a state regulation (ie. the amount of paperwork with registration). We have to answer and accommodate many people, and this can be difficult to have one solution that fits everyone’s needs. If needed, the Director of your child’s school building may be contacted for further assistance.
If you do not find a resolution, you may file a complaint with the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family services (http://www.jfs.ohio.gov/). They are the governing agent for all of Ohio’s childcare programs. You may contact them by phone by calling the OFC Help Desk at 1-866-886-3537 option 4 for child care. Please make sure you have the address of your child’s school building ready prior to placing the call.
One program cannot fit the needs of 100% of the families in the Dublin community. In the event Dublin Latchkey is not the right program, there are many other childcare resources that may be perfect for your family. For legal issues, we cannot endorse or recommend any other childcare services; however, the following are some avenues to pursue.
Childcare Centers: Each elementary school has 3-10 different childcare centers (Primrose, Tutor Time, etc.) that drop and pick up students at the school site. Most have transportation for the kindergarteners during the middle of the day. Each school building secretary has a list of which companies service their building.
Neighborhood in Home Childcare: There are many home programs but they are a little harder to find. However, a quick post on social media may turn up some leads.
Care.com or Sittercity.com: These sites are perfect for those who need part-time or have irregular schedules.
Other Parents or Relatives: This option is great for short periods of times or part-time care.
High School Students: Posting on Next Door will net you the most responses. Most DUBLIN teens charge 5 dollars an hour (sometimes per kid). Coordinating with other neighborhood parents for group care might be a great economical choice.