We are committed to creating a satisfying, memorable, and enriching experience in all of our programs. However, as parents, we all know there will be times when things just don’t work as they should. Our policies are designed to minimize the unpleasant surprises and create shared expectations when they do happen. If you have suggestions on improving these policies, we would like to hear from you.
This camp must comply with regulations of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and be licensed by the local board of health. Empow Studios shall inform parents at time of application that they may request copies of background check, healthcare, and grievance policies, as well as procedures for filing grievances.
Due to the ever-changing nature of our organization, our policies are subject to change without notice.
Foods (applies to all Empow programs)
Because of the prevalence of food allergies, we do not allow any nuts or nut products to be brought in as snacks or lunches. Sugary snacks and drinks are not recommended.
Cancellations, Refunds, Pricing
Summer Camp Registration Refund Policy: We make it easy to register early, completely risk-free! You can change or cancel any camp registration up to two weeks (14 days) before camp starts. Families who cancel any camp registration are eligible for a refund up to two weeks (14 days) before camp starts, minus a $10 non-refundable registration & processing fee. We reserve the right to cancel camps due to insufficient enrollment. Camp cancellations as a result of bus transportation changes are subject to our standard camp registration refund policies.
COVID-19 Refund Policy: In the event that certain Empow programs are required by the state to close due to COVID-19, the following refund policy will be implemented:
- You will receive credit for any sessions and services that we cannot deliver to you.
- You may use that credit for any Empow program.
- You may request a refund of any unused credits after 12 months. Credit refunds will be processed minus a $10 non-refundable registration and processing fee.
Safety is always top of our mind at Empow and we respect your family’s personal decisions. If Empow is open, but your family chooses not to send your child to camp, we do not offer a credit or refund.
Please rest assured that we have a robust safety plan to address the risks associated with COVID-19. Our plans follow the latest guidelines issued by the MA Dept. of Early Education and Care (EEC), the MA Dept. of Public Health (DPH), the American Camp Association (ACA), and the Center for Disease Control (CDC). We will continue to provide safety protocol updates on our website here.
BUILD Registration Refund Policy: We make it easy to register for classes completely risk-free. You can change or cancel your class registration up to two weeks before classes start. Families who cancel any class registration are eligible for a refund up to two weeks (14 days) before the class begins. Cancellation requests made once classes begin are not eligible for a refund unless Empow Studios determines that the class is not a good match for the student’s abilities. Families may request to transfer to a different class before the semester begins or at any time during the semester if space is available. Adjustments to registration fees may apply to class transfers.
Private Lessons: We will do our best to accommodate Private Lesson rescheduling requests, however, we may be unable to accommodate these requests. Any cancellation of a Private Lesson will result in a $25 cancellation fee, unless we are able to reschedule the Private Lesson for the same week.
Holiday Camp: Refunds will be given prior to 14 days from the Holiday Camp session. All cancellations will have a $10 fee associated with the cost of registration and processing.
Workshops: Refunds will be given prior to 14 days from the start of the workshop. All cancellations will have a $10 fee associated with the cost of registration and processing.
Note on sickness:
The above cancellation policies also apply to cancelling due to sickness.
In case of full or partial cancellations due to inclement weather or other circumstances beyond our control, attendees will receive vouchers for a pro-rated amount based on the days/hours missed. Vouchers can be used for future camp or birthday party programs and are not redeemable for cash.
For our programs, we may have such high demand that we have waiting lists. As space opens up, we contact these parents on a first-come, first-serve basis. We will call and email the appropriate parent, but if we do not hear from the parent in (5) business days, we will move on to the next parent on the waiting list.
We reserve the right to adjust pricing of a program at any time. Customers will always be given proper notice prior to any price changes.
Parents should pick up their child promptly by the end of the program. This policy is not meant to punish parents or bring in extra revenue, but rather it is intended to help us manage pickup and be considerate of our staff’s time.
Parents who pick up their child after the end of program will be automatically charged a $15 fee. After 15 minutes there will be an additional $1 per minute charge, after 20 mins there will be a $2 per minute charge
BUILD and CLASSROOM Program Policies
Empow Studios is licensed by the Department of Early Education and Care, however, instructional programs (classes) and camps being offered by Empow Studios which do not occur at the same time as the BUILD program, are not licensed by the Department of Early Education and Care, although they may be licensed by different departments like the Department of Public Health. Students participating in these programs as well as the EEC licensed will be required to fill out a form granting them access to both the licensed and unlicensed programs. In Newton, our programs are also licensed by the Department of Early Education & Care.
We pride ourselves in making sure all of our programs are meeting regulations set by their respective state agencies. Because of this, it is absolutely necessary that all medical & program forms we require for your child are filled out BEFORE they arrive in our programs. If you have any questions about this, please call us at 617-395-7527.
Upon registration for a program, guardians will be asked to submit contact information, and designate other adults authorized to receive the child. In addition, with permission from a designated guardian, children may arrive or depart from the program at any time during their time at the program.
“Permission” may include:
- A guardian calls in advance to notify the company of a change in authorized privileges, be it an addition or a removal from drop off or pick up privileges. This can be for the creation of a new account, or updating the permissions for a future activity.
- A guardian calls on the day of a pickup change, notifying that the child will either be picked up or dropped off by someone other than a previously authorized person. This newly authorized person must also bring a handwritten note from the guardian stating they are allowed to pick up the child.
- A guardian provides a written (paper or email) permission to notify the program that their child is allowed to walk home. Notes from children without the presence of the parent/guardian will not be accepted unless verified by a phone call made by Empow to one of the parental phone numbers on file.
Snow Days & Missed Programs
In the event that Lexington Public Schools and/or Newton Public Schools are closed, or afternoon or weekend activities in that community are under risk of safety due to inclement weather, Empow Studios will close as well for the safety of our staff and your child. If your child is enrolled in a program and misses a session due to closure, we are happy to allow them to attend another block as make-up, subject to availability.
You may notice that we charge a set monthly fee for our programs, even when there are 5 sessions available in a month instead of the expected 4! When we come up with the price of the program, we take into consideration those few and far between days where we have closures due to Vacation or bad weather. That means we don’t have to charge for an extra session.
If your child misses a scheduled block due to illness or a family emergency, you can request to have him or her attend a make-up block, subject to availability.
We do not offer make up session for classes that have been missed. If you know that you may miss a future class you can notify us and if possible we may schedule a makeup session subject to availability. We cannot offer payment adjustments or program credits of any kind for missed days.
In programs which are not subject to regulations by EEC or DPH, the Empow Staff will supervise children with a student-to-adult-staff ratio of at least 13:1. The After-School Club has specific start and end dates as provided in its program information, and follows a formal registration process, during which we collect information about students.
Birthday Party Policies
If party participants stay past 30 minutes you will be charged an extra $30 for each additional half hour.
Refunds will be given prior to 14 days from the Party. All cancellations will have a $10 fee associated with the cost of registration and processing.
We do our best not to cancel due to snow and likely will only cancel a party if the studio is closed for the day. An email will be sent out the night before if the studio will be closed the following day. Rarely, but potentially, an email will be sent no later than 2 hours before our first program of the day if the storm charges up over night. Any additional cancellation decisions based on snow will be at your discretion. In the event that the party is cancelled, we will work together to reschedule your party for a day that works for you.
In case of full or partial cancellations due to inclement weather or other circumstances beyond our control, attendees will receive program credit for a prorated amount based on the days/hours missed. Program credit can be used for Empow programs and are not redeemable for cash.
In order to book a party, we do require a full payment.
We’re currently redesigning our referral program. Stay tuned!
We welcome children with special needs and health conditions into our programs. We accommodate children with Autism-spectrum disorders and other developmental challenges or learning differences. We do ask for full disclosure about a child’s challenges in order to help us create the best possible experience for them.
We also want to make sure that extra attention needed by some children does not come at the expense of the rest of the group. If your child has an aide or other special accommodations in school, those same accommodations should be provided at parents’ expense in our programs. Based on an initial phone conversation with the parent, we may accept a child into the program without an aide on a trial basis. However, if at any time the Program Director feels that the team’s attention is unevenly divided and unfair to other children, we may ask the family to provide an aide, or ask that the child be removed from the program.
If we ask the family to remove the child from the program, and the family had fully disclosed the child’s condition and followed our recommendations, we will issue a partial refund on a pro-rated basis. If the child’s condition was not fully disclosed prior to the program, or if the family had not followed our recommendations, we may reduce the amount of refund or not issue one at all.
Empow Studios’ Code of Conduct is enforced in order to protect the safety and individual rights of each participant and staff member during Empow programs. We expect both our students and staff to uphold this code.
We ask all participants in our programs to be respectful of 5 essential elements of Empow Studios:
- Fellow Students
- the Studio
Any other, more specific rules come from these 5 kinds of respect. When a participant chooses to break a rule, to act disrespectfully, or to disrupt the ability of others to participate, they lose the privilege to participate in Empow programming until they commit themselves to respectful future behavior. Participants who repeatedly choose to behave disrespectfully will be asked to leave the program. We ask for parents’ cooperation in supporting this approach.
We do not condone inappropriate or harmful behavior (physical or verbal) of our participants. In accordance with this policy, we will notify parents of infractions as soon as we learn about them.
The Directors exercise discretion in imposing consequences for student misbehavior. When necessary, we will implement disciplinary measures as deemed appropriate.
Empow Studios reserves the right to remove or suspend a student from programming for repetitive incidences of disruptive or harmful behavior, for repeated violations of classroom rules, or for any instance of egregious conduct/behavior.
For on-going problematic conduct with any Empow Studios participants, we may elect to withdraw that student from a specific class, or all classes, for which they are currently enrolled. We also reserve the right to remove a student from program participation for an extended timeframe if his/her conduct is egregious. Tuition is not refundable.
Empow Studios also reserves the right to withdraw a student from programming if parents and/or authorized pick ups and guests do not adhere to what we deem to be appropriate and civil behavior with Empow Studios staff or student participants. Tuition is not refundable.
Empow Studios Code of Conduct
Empow Studios’ Code of Conduct is enforced in order to protect the safety and individual rights of each participant and staff member during Empow programs.
- The right to personal physical safety.
- The right to an emotionally supportive and safe environment.
- The right to equal enjoyment of Empow programs.
This code outlines the rights of each participant and behavior that will not be tolerated during programs. The consequences for not adhering to this code are listed in our Behavior Policy.
The right to personal physical safety. Behavior will not be tolerated that threatens or harms any participant, staff member or volunteer. This behavior includes, but is not limited to:
- Physical aggression and/or force
- Verbal or non-verbal threats of force or violence.
Right to an emotionally supportive and safe environment. Behavior will not be tolerated that scares, degrades, humiliates or intimidates another participant, staff member, or volunteer. This behavior includes, but is not limited to:
- Willfully making jokes or comments to scare or intimidate others,
- Making jokes or comments based on: gender, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, religious belief, physical appearance or any other personal characteristic or distinguishing feature.
- Taking, handling or using others’ personal property without willful permission,
- Using coarse or inappropriate language.
Right to equal enjoyment of Empow materials and resources. Behavior will not be tolerated that infringes on others’ enjoyment and participation in Empow programs. This behavior includes, but is not limited to:
- Mistreatment of materials.
- Not following Empow procedures and protocols surrounding emergencies.
- Lack of cooperation with staff, volunteers and other participants.
In the case of unacceptable behavior, the following steps will be taken:
- Empow staff will immediately inform the Director following any such behavior.
- Empow staff will engage the participant who has displayed this behavior in an active conversation about their actions using the Responsible Thinking Process Question Routine.
- The participant involved will be informed that his/her behavior is not in line with Empow policy and that the behavior in question will not be tolerated in the future.
- The Director or Assistant Director will call parents following this process to inform them of the incident.
- Depending on the severity of the behavior, the parent may be asked to pick up their child early from the program.
- Under no circumstances will a camper ever be denied food, water or shelter.
- An Incident Report will be completed. At no time is physical punishment to be used with participants for any reason.
If the student does not comply at any point in this process, they may be fully separated from the program and asked to create a written plan of their own. A copy of this plan will be provided to the parents at pick up time if applicable.
If the participant’s guardian is contacted, the Director may inform them that this is the only warning the participant will receive. In the event that another incident occurs in this area, the participant may be removed from the program. The Director will provide in writing a detailed account of the behavior and a copy of the Incident Report Form completed at the time of the incident.
In the case of an additional incident, the participant may be removed from the program with prior knowledge of the Director. There will be no refund for classes remaining in the billing cycle that will not be attended. The participant may not register for further programs until approved by the Director to do so.
Appropriate Discipline Methods
All instructors will use the Responsible Thinking Process to help campers who are not following the rules.
Not-Appropriate Discipline Methods
At all Empow Studios programs:
- Corporal Punishment, including spanking, is not permitted.
- Under no circumstances will a camper ever be denied food, water or shelter.
- A camper will never be subject to cruel or severe punishment including humiliation or verbal abuse.
- A camper will never be punished for soiling themselves, wetting themselves, or not using the toilet.
Responsible Thinking Process
The Responsible Thinking Process (RTP) is a process by which students are taught to monitor their own behavior by taking responsibility for what they do. Rather than telling students what to do where you do the thinking, we ask them what they are doing in relation to the rules or standards of where they are. In this scenario, students think on their own and create their own effective plans rather than someone else doing the thinking for them. Everyone in a school-like environment, including teachers & administrators (not just students), should be held accountable for respecting the rights of others. This process was developed by Edward E. Ford and is called The Responsible Thinking Process (RTP)®. It is based on Perceptual Control Theory (PCT).
Customer information collected
Information about students and parents is collected at the time of registration for our programs. We collect only the information that is needed for ensuring a safe, efficient operation and ensuring that we have sufficient emergency contact information and background on each of our students to provide a rich learning environment. Students’ information is only used at the time of the session. Parent/Guardians’ information is used for all transactional communications related to the session, and may also be used for limited marketing communication to inform customers about major news or programs.
There is a very small number of third parties which have access to customer information for operational needs. These are specifically:
Outside of the vendors listed above, we do not share any customer information with any third parties. We do not store credit card information on premises or in any of our digital systems.
Our customer feedback form asks for testimonials, and also requests permission to post testimonial text on our website. If permission is granted, we will post the testimonial with only the first name and town of residence of the parent/guardian who submitted the testimonial. Customers can request for us to remove their testimonials from the website at any time, or to use other name format to ensure privacy (e.g. initials or altered name).
Our Facebook page and other social networking sites are open to the public. Our posts may contain the following information about our customers:
- photos with easily identifiable faces, if photo release was granted
- first names of parents and/or students, unless very unique or identifiable
- descriptions of projects
- session attended
- town name
Material can be removed upon customer request.
Our newsletter uses an opt-in list that uses SafeUnsubscribe standards. Each newsletter has a link that provides a way to opt out of the list. Once opted out, the same email address cannot be added back into the list without re-opting-in. Subscription services are provided by Constant Contact. Outside this vendor relationship, no other third party has access to the email list.
Photography and Recording
Our practice is to request a photo release for each session attended, regardless of prior releases for previous sessions. Releases may be requested on paper, or as a check-box shown during an online registration process. When registrations are taken by phone, photo release is requested over the telephone and is recorded in the online registration system. Once a release is granted, we may use the photos for any purpose, including marketing, posts on social sites, tutorial videos, or internal training materials. A photo release may be revoked by the customer retroactively, in which case we will make every reasonable effort to remove the photos from public view. However, we cannot guarantee that this photo will be removed from our internal materials, or from places outside of our control, such as web caching sites or individual and organizations which may have made copies of the photos while they were displayed publicly. Paper-based photo releases are retained for up to one year after the end of the session. If release is not given, we will not use a child’s photo in any publicly viewable context. We may still take photos with the child as part of the group, and make it available only to families who attended the same session. If you would prefer not to have your child photographed at all, please coordinate with the instructor of the specific program your child is attending. Please be aware that your child may be asked to stay out of group photos and prepare your child for this situation.
Our practice is to use only the first names of students in any context outside of the session attended by the student. Student are not allowed to put their last names into the credits of their projects. Any public posts on social media will also only use first names. In some cases, if we feel the student’s name is uniquely identifiable, we will alter it or use initials in order to protect their privacy.
3D Printer Policy
The Empow Studios 3D printer is available for use by the public (students and parents).
Empow Studios staff will oversee any printing and use of the machine, unless the student has completed one of our 3D printing courses, and has received approval from an Empow Studios staff member to use the equipment alone.
The cost of printing is 20 cents a minute for regular colors and 25 cents a minute for glow-in-the-dark colors. For those that need help making modifications to a design, there is a $35 per hour fee. Scheduling an appointment is required to use the 3D printer, unless you are using the 3D printer during drop-in time. If you need modification help, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment.