Key Policies and Procedures
Below, find some of Harlem Link’s important policies designed to protect student and family information and safety, and comply with applicable state and federal laws.
This page is currently in development, and will include the following:
- Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) policy
- Family Educational Rights Privacy Act (FERPA) Policy
- Complaint policy
- McKinney-Vento Homeless Act (coming soon)
- DASA Act (coming soon)
- ARP ESSER Funding Plan (coming soon)
- Annual Report (coming soon)
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Policy
Part of Harlem Link’s mission involves accessing and utilizing community resources. The founding team sees the flow of resources as a two way street. Further, Harlem Link believes that the Board of Trustees best practices include general transparency and clarity in its dealings. The New York State Freedom of Information Law (Article 6 of the New York Public Officers Law) is therefore in line with the school’s mission. Harlem Link will follow the following procedures in order to comply fully with this law.
Freedom of Information Policy
Requests for public information must be in writing and submitted to the school’s Records Access Officer who shall be designated by the Co-Director for Instruction or Co-Director for Operations. Within five business days of a written request, Harlem Link will, depending on the requested information, either make the information available at the school’s principal location during normal business hours to the person requesting it, deny the request in writing, or provide a written acknowledgement of receipt of the request that supplies an approximate date for when the request will be granted or denied.
If the person requesting information is denied access to a record, he or she may, within 30 days, appeal such denial to the Co-Director for Operations or his or her designee, who shall not be the school’s Records Access Officer. Upon timely receipt of such an appeal, Harlem Link will, within 10 business days of the receipt of the appeal, fully explain in writing the reasons for further denial or provide access to the record(s) sought. Harlem Link will also forward a copy of the appeal, as well as its ultimate determination, to the Committee on Open Government.
In the event an appeal for records is denied, the person requesting the information may bring a proceeding for review of such denial pursuant to Article 78 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules.
Harlem Link may deny access to requested records, including where:
- Such records are specifically exempted from disclosure by state or federal statute;
- Such access would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy;
- Such records, if disclosed, would impair present or imminent contact awards or collective bargaining negotiations;
- Such records are trade secrets or are submitted to the school by a commercial enterprise or derived from information obtained from a commercial enterprise and which if disclosed would cause substantial injury to the competitive position of such enterprise;
- Such records are compiled for law enforcement purposes;
- Such records, if disclosed, would endanger the life or safety of any person;
- Such records are computer access codes;
- Such records are inter-agency or intra-agency materials that are not statistical or factual tabulations of data, instructions to staff that affect the public, a final policy or external audits.
Harlem Link will maintain:
- A record of the final vote of each Trustee in every proceeding in which the Trustees vote;
- A record setting forth the name, public office address, title and salary of every officer or employee of the education corporation; and
- A reasonably detailed current list, by subject matter, of all records in the education corporation’s custody or possession.
Harlem Link may charge a copying fee for each page requested to be copied. The fee can be no more than the fee allowed by State law.
Family Education Rights Privacy Act (FERPA) Policy
The following policy is provided each year to families in the annual family handbook.
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) Policy is a federal law designed to protect the privacy of a student’s education records. FERPA gives parents certain rights with respect to their children’s education records. These rights include:
- Parents or eligible students have the right to inspect and review all of the student’s education records maintained by the school. For records including information on more than one student, parents will be limited only to information pertaining to their child. Harlem Link may choose to provide copies of these materials and is required to do so only if it is impossible for parents or eligible students to inspect the records, for reasons such as great distance. Harlem Link may charge a fee for copies.
- Student records and other identifiable information are maintained in a secure location to ensure confidentiality. Records that are no longer required or need to be disposed will be done so in a manner that ensures confidentiality and security.
- Harlem Link parents and eligible students have the right to request that the school correct records believed to be inaccurate or misleading. If the school decides not to amend the record, the parent or eligible student has the right to a formal hearing. After the hearing, if the school still decides not to amend the record, the parent or eligible student has the right to place a statement with the record commenting on the contested information in the record.
- In general, Harlem Link must have written permission from the parent or eligible student before releasing any information from a student’s record. However, the law allows schools to disclose records without consent to the following parties:
- School employees who have a need to know;
- Other schools to which a child is transferring;
- Certain government officials in order to carry out lawful functions;
- Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student;
- Organizations conducting certain studies for the school;
- Accrediting and authorizing organizations;
- Individuals who have obtained court orders or subpoenas;
- Persons who need to know in cases of health and safety emergencies; and
- State and local authorities, within the juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific state law.
Harlem Link may also disclose, without consent, “directory” type information including a student’s name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, honors and awards, and dates of attendance. However, prior to releasing the school will tell parents and eligible students about directory information and allow parents and eligible students a reasonable amount of time to request that the school not disclose directory information about them. The school will notify parents and eligible students annually of their rights under FERPA. The actual means of notification is not specified under the law and is left to the discretion of the school each year.
Procedure for Accessing Student Records
- A parent may request to review his or her child’s student file. Any person requesting to review a student file must do so in writing.
- School staff will review the request and determine whether to release the information to the requester. If the requester is not a parent or legal guardian, a letter requesting consent for release of student information will be sent to the parent or guardian. The parent is not required to give permission.
- Once permission is granted to review a student’s file, the requester must sign a Record of Access form in the student folder. If the student has an IEP, the requester must also sign the Confidential File Access Log in the student folder.
- When a parent requests a record, the school must provide to him or her no later than 45 days from the date of request. If the request by a parent for a record is connected to a meeting of a committee on special education (CSE) or to an IDEA related due process hearing, the school must provide the requested record prior to such meeting or hearing, or within 45 days, whichever period is shorter.
- A list of school employees who m y have access to student records is maintained by the Principal.
Procedure to Amend or Appeal Student Records
- If the parent or guardian believes the education records relating to the student contain information that is inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of the student’s right to privacy, he or she may ask that the record be amended. Parents or legal guardians may express the appeal in writing to the Principal containing the following information:
- The information in question;
- Records in which the parent or legal guardian believes the information is contained;
- Basis for the claim (i.e., why he or she believes the information is inaccurate, misleading or in violation of the student’s right to privacy); and
- The parent or guardian’s proposed change.
- The Director of Operations will review the request and make a determination within fifteen school days of receiving the letter. The school will provide the parent or legal guardian with a written response to the request and explain the reason for the decision. If the action is warranted, the school may decide to remove, modify or expunge the information in the record. Removing, modifying or expunging an entry isn’t an admission that the entry was improper or that any person acted improperly by including the entry on the record.
Families may contact the Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education at (202) 260-3887 or TDD (202) 260-8956 or write the office at:
400 Maryland Avenue, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20202-4605
Harlem Link Complaint Policy
Any individual or group may bring a complaint to Harlem Link’s Board at any time. If the complaint alleges a violation of the provisions of Article 56 of the Education Law (i.e., the New York Charter Schools Act), the school’s charter, or any other applicable provision of law relating to the management or operation of the school, the Board will consider the complaint. If not, the Board will remand the matter to the Principal for resolution.
The complaint may be presented to the Board in an open meeting, in written form, by letter or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Board will respond at its next regular public meeting. The Board will make every effort to respectfully address the matter to the satisfaction of the individual or group who presented the complaint. The Board, as necessary, will direct one of the Principal or other responsible party to act upon the complaint and report to the Board. The Board will render a determination in writing. If the matter is directed back to the Principal for resolution, the Principal will report to the board.
If, after presentation of the complaint to the Board, the individual or group determines that Harlem Link has not adequately addressed the complaint, the complainant may present the complaint to the Charter Schools Institute of the State University of New York, which shall investigate and respond, pursuant to its complaint policy, which shall be provided to the complainant. If, after presentation of the complaint to this charter authorizer, the individual or group determines that its complaint has still not been adequately addressed, the complainant may present the case to the Board of Regents, which shall investigate and respond. The Charter Schools Institute and the Board of Regents have the power and the duty to take remedial action as appropriate. The decision of the Board of Regents is final.
Approved by Harlem Link Board of Trustees April 23, 2007