Quest Protocols

Quest staff will follow an internal chain of command. This might take a while to learn and I will continue to set standards for this as we move along, but basically it means that you know who to cc in on your emails, who to go to with a particular question, when to turn a situation over to executive management and when to redirect emails and questions to other staff members and/or executive management.

We often have to play good cop, bad cop, and use the President of Quest as bad guy when needed. If you are not sure how to handle a situation, you should ask executive management for guidance. The Quest president is responsible for all final decisions regarding Quest. Any directive given from the President to staff must be followed without hesitation.

Program Management Chain of Command
Natural Parents = Partner
Partner = Quest
Quest = Schools HF, LC’s
Quest = Partner

As a policy Quest staff does not speak with Natural Parents; the exception is when we have contracted directly with the NP. If they call our office, you politely tell them that they need to contact the office in their home country. We do not allow Natural Parents or partners to contact our schools or LC’s directly. It only stands to reason that Natural Parents will contact host parents after the student arrives, we cannot prevent this. In the training materials for LC’s be sure to inform them that they should not have any direct contact with Natural Parents or partners.

Staff Chain of Command
All Staff — Report to Lisa
Issues pertaining to: Office maintenance, Atlas, New Hires — Report to Director of Operations
Issues pertaining to: School On-boarding, Invoices, Payments — Report to Director of Operations or Lisa if Director of Operations isn’t available
The Quest President reports to the Board of Directors.

Executive Management includes: Quest President, Director of Operations

Foreign Partner Communication
Any inquiries regarding partnership or sending students will be forwarded to Lisa only- please do not cc in other Quest staff. Partner requests are handled by Lisa, unless otherwise discussed. This applies to phone calls as well.

Any requests from partners regarding probation leniency, pricing reductions, fee reimbursements, payment plans, special favors or other requests must be sent to the Quest President or Director of Operations for response.

Promotional Materials / Shared Documents
Employee must get approval from President for all edited and newly created written materials before sending or adding to Atlas. Student, mail chimp, and all newsletters are included. Exclusions are your general email replies and pre made templates.

Atlas
Do not make any changes to Atlas templates or processes unless you have discussed and received approval from Director of Operations. Disabling Foreign Partners from the database must be approved through executive management.

Pricing
F1 Program Pricing will be detailed in our Active Excel sheets and can be found in Dropbox. F-1 Program Pricing may be quoted from Atlas but ONLY from the Following fields:

• T1 Total Year Price, T2 Total Year Price, T3 Total Year Price, T4 Total Year Price
• T1 Total Sem. Price, T2 Total Sem. Price, T3 Total Sem. Price, T4 Total Sem. Price

These fields match the price lists found in the Pricing 2015-16 folder. Middle school year and semester prices simply have an added $400 to the above year and semester prices. Middle school prices are only displayed internally, so the partners do not see this in Atlas. Partners do see in Atlas the year and semester prices which match the excel price list that was originally sent to them.

Do not quote a price from the Total Year Price field. The Total Year Price field, which you see on the left hand side of Atlas, is the dynamic field where schools update their tuition via the Tuition, Fees, and Discounts online form. This field can also be updated if we manually update any amount that is included in the Total Year Price. If a school sends you a tuition sheet with new pricing, follow the below steps in order to make the update:

• Enter in the new tuition figure
• Save the tuition sheet in the school’s Dropbox folder
• Scroll down to the Payment Notes section in Atlas
• In the Pricing Notes field, make a note of the changes that you made with the date that you made them. Note if you saved a tuition doc in Dropbox.

If you ever have any questions on how pricing is set up in Atlas, please ask the Director of Operations for clarification. Only the President, Director of Development, and Director of Operations have the authority to update the Price Lists using Atlas. The ASE and Outbound Program Pricing can be developed by staff but must be approved by the President.

Drop Box File Management
Folders should not be moved or renamed with out permission from the Quest President. Short-cut links are broken when current folders are moved or renamed. Placement and naming of new folders should be discussed before implementing.

Invoices / Payments
Payment or invoice issues will be handled by the Director of Operations, unless we are being asked for special payment plans, favors etc. this would then be handled by the President. If you receive email regarding payment that is delayed or there are questions regarding an invoice, please pass emails on to Director of Operations and President.

Quest Employees are expected to complete their work accurately, on time and in a way that shows their ability to provide excellent customer service. Employee is accountable for his or her own work responsibilities. Employees assume responsibility for managing workload and maintaining work routines. Employee will communicate directly with the Quest President regarding any difficulties with workload. Job descriptions outline responsibilities, employee will hold themselves accountable for completing their work on time. 

Territory Assignments
If you have been assigned a territory for the F-1 program this territory outlines which reps and schools you are responsible for. Students who apply to your schools are yours to work through the entire F-1 process from start to finish. You will find your job responsibilities for the F-1 program on a document called F-1 Program Work Responsibilities Defined. Unless otherwise noted in your contract, you are to perform all responsibilities accordingly and will create a work routine based on the responsibilities outlined. You will not share your responsibilities with other Quest staff members unless it has been discussed and approved by executive management. 

When a Quest staff member takes over monthly reports due to a non-performing LC or an LC that is being replaced, the staff member must notify the school and the partner of this status.

Work Routines
Quest employees will develop individual work routines /plan will allow them to perform their job responsibilities with the most efficiency. Work routines will be established by each individual employee, and reviewed by executive management. An example of a good work routine is: Preparing your desk before you go home, for the next day’s work, and having a “To Do” list, prioritizing emails etc. Employees will define a working method for follow-up and will share a tracking doc which will be reviewed by executive management. It is imperative that you follow up on your work with regularity and accuracy. This protocol will be reviewed during employee evaluations.

Time Management
Managing your time effectively will result in meeting your personal goals on a daily and weekly basis. If you have more than one program that you are responsible for, you will need to adhere to your own time management scheme. Meeting your priorities is your responsibility; time plays an important role in being able to complete your work.

Professional Attitude/ Communication
It is important that Quest staff remain professional, polite and prompt at all times. It can be a challenge to work with people who “just don’t get it”, or with people who may not always be prompt or kind towards us, but you must remain polite and helpful in every correspondence you conduct. Partners may not have much experience and repeatedly ask questions, school officials may drag their feet getting things to you, local coordinators forget to turn in monthly reports. Your response should always be suggestive not directive, warm and helpful, not cold and demanding. Your communications reflect on Quest as a whole, people choose to work with us because of the service they receive.

Our main goal is to ensure that all Quest partners, host families, school officials and coordinators feel taken care of in a professional and timely manner. Your professional attitude is key to our success.

Collaborative Work Process versus Individual Work Process
Projects assigned to you by executive management are yours to complete. You will not share your work or assigned projects with other staff members via shared Google doc. Google docs for sharing work are not an effective way to complete assigned projects and will not be used unless pre-approved by executive management. When the team shares their work projects with you, suddenly you have more projects to contribute to than if you just completed your own projects. It is not an effective use of time to share work projects, you will create a workflow routine or plan for completing your job responsibilities and assigned projects.

Collaborative Problem Solving
We support a collaborative problem-solving scheme for difficult student issues. Student issues, which are not at a difficult level, need to be solved quickly and professionally by the staff member assigned to the student. We will work as a team on difficult students issues. If any Quest staff person is dealing with a particularly difficult case, it helps to have someone step in to relieve the stress, please be mindful to cc the president in on all student issues which will be shared.

Meetings
Staff or Office meetings will be held on a regular basis and will be called by the Quest Exchange president. All meetings called by the Quest President require mandatory attendance. All employees are required to give their full attention and must leave their desks to do so.

Meetings help everyone, they bring out new ideas, allow us to share our experiences and share “problem topics” so the team can help contribute to the solution. While you will no longer be able to share work projects, you will be able to share ideas that will help everyone formulate their own ideas. Regular meetings with executive management will be scheduled, impromptu meetings will also pop up, you need to come prepared for all meetings. Bring writing materials, take notes, bring your ideas and your solutions.

Having a positive attitude towards management meetings is critical, be open to the information that you can use to help you in your with your work routine, be positive about the sharing of knowledge and experiences that are brought to the table.

Overall Expectations
• Demonstrate excellent customer service to program participants through attitude and written or oral communication. Do not be directive when asking for help, be suggestive and use please/thank you often.
• Think openly about new possibilities, try new ways of doing things with newest technology, use your ideas to help Quest evolve.
• Explore and present ways to maintain growth and success, ways to improve our process and become more productive.
• Build honest relationships with partners, local coordinators, school officials and host families.
• Embrace management set goals and priority projects as an important job responsibility.
• Design realistic work methods, procedures and timetables for achieving your project goals. Be prepared to put into place a method for following up on your work load.
• Continue to look for ways to streamline daily tasks and automate processing procedures.
• Exhibit patience while problem solving.
• Demonstrate politeness and respect in all interactions with individuals both on the phone and in person, give accurate information, listen carefully to determine the person’s needs.
• When bringing a problem to your supervisor’s attention, be prepared to recommend a possible solution.

Quest staff must review the below protocols before starting their work from home schedule.

Working from home will be offered to employees who have passed the probation period. It is not mandatory, you can choose to work from home or not.

Decide in advance if you are starting at 8:00 or at 9:00 if you take the morning at home. Quest still needs another person in the office to open at 8:00 regardless if someone is working from home at 8:00.

If you are working from home in the afternoon, a good time to leave is lunchtime, giving you time to get home and get settled in.

Working from home should be approx. 4 to 4 1/2 hours; the time working should match Quest business hours unless it’s an exception that has been approved by me.

You will need to be online with Internet working and able to answer Gchat.

If you will be leaving or away from your computer for any length of time, you need to Gchat all of us to let us know when you will be back. Check in with another Quest staff member or Lisa if you have any questions.

• All new documents created must first be sent to the Director of Operations for review. Lisa does not need to be involved in all document checking, so only send to Lisa once you have already sent the document to other Questers for review and they deem it necessary to pass along to Lisa.
• If you edit a document that is active in Atlas, please let the Director of Operations know so it can be updated.
• Each main folder in Dropbox should contain sub folders called Word Docs for Editing. We use these word docs to create and update our materials, before saving them as a final copy in PDF.
• On each document that is created and edited, there needs to be a revision date in grey, font size 9, footer right aligned and should include the day until there is a final version. Once there is a final version, you can take out the day (i.e. from 2/2/15 to 2/15). If the doc is more than 2 or 3 pages, we need the name of the document footer left aligned.
• Editing existing documents – look for the latest version under Word Docs for Editing. Please save all versions while editing, do not save over a previous version.
• If you are re-writing or editing a manual or longer document that will take some time, please make a copy of the document, save your copy using your initials with the same name – save this copy in the same folder where original is being kept. Example: Quest_Protocols_LL edits.doc
• When saving a document that is a final or active version, please use AC at the end of name. After saving, transfer the old copy of the doc into the OLD DB Folder – remove AC from title if it was in the original active copy.
• Promo Materials and materials we share with Partners, Schools, HF etc. Always name a flyer or promo starting with Quest, followed by the name of doc (i.e. Quest_ASE Promo_AC). When we are sending docs or making them available for download in Atlas we should make sure the recipient sees the Quest name to identify the document. While this may seem redundant to us, it can be very helpful for recipients.
• If you have something to contribute to the editing process of a document, please contact the person whose initials are in the document name for approval before making any changes.
• Keep an eye on Dropbox folders and periodically clean them up. Let’s try not to have any single “floater” docs outside of a main folder.
• Program Manager of the doc must do a final review after other staff members have edited.

Content disclosed in your emails directly affect the image and level of professionalism represented as a company. Employees are responsible for following all of these protocols, They will be monitored by executive management and will be addressed on employee performance reviews.

Respond to all email within 24 hours- this must be adhered to especially when dealing with partners and school officials.

Be careful when you hit “reply” versus “reply to all”- look at who is CC’ed in on email and determine if “all” is appropriate before sending emails.

Please remember to CC Lisa on all group emails to LCs, Partners or Schools. You will learn which emails are appropriate to send without CCing Lisa, but if in doubt, CC her.

Blind copy – always unless you see that the originator of email has copied all in without a blind copy.

Review your email for grammar and errors before sending. New Hires must send copies to other staff for review before sending email.

Ensure that you are stating facts and that information in your email is accurate. Misinformation can lead to serious issues, if in doubt you will check in with another staff member or executive management regarding information you disclose. Be selective about which information you share. New Hires must work closely with seasoned staff when sharing information especially with partners and school officials. We do not disclose Quest business practices to anyone, if you are asked for “proprietary” information, please consult with Quest President before responding. This also applies to phone calls.

Sharing email by forwarding is not acceptable- Do not share emails form foreign partners directly with LCs or Host Families and visa versa, do not share information you receive in an email from LC, Host Family, School Official by forwarding email to other party. You may copy some of the text and only quote another person when appropriate. It is vital that you use professional discretion when sharing any information with another participant. 

Information Requests
Info Request emails must be replied to within one day of being sent, timeliness of responses will be tracked. Employees can expect the Quest president to ask for updates individually based on the information on the tracking sheet and/or will be asked to forward emails sent as replies. The employee who is responding must fill in follow up dates and reply more than once to those who do not respond the first time, this should be done after 3-4 days from first contact.

We receive many emails that don’t require our attention. Here’s how we reduce the volume of these emails:

If the email is clearly regarding inbound programs, including local coordinators, host families and schools, the F-1 Program Manager will respond.

If the email is clearly regarding outbound programs, the Outbound Program Manager will respond.

If the email is clearly regarding foreign partnerships, the Quest President will respond. An exception is if another staff member has been in communication with the partner and has permission to correspond directly.

In these cases, the responding Quester does not include any other staff members in the response.

If several Questers receive an email and only one needs to respond but it’s not clear who will do so, communicate with the other recipients to decide who will respond. If you are unable to do this and will respond before others are able to (for example if others are in a meeting), include the other staff in BCC so that they know that you responded, but they will not receive follow-up messages.

When handing off a message to another Quester, either forward the email directly to the other Quester to take over, or you can introduce the other Quester in the email back to the email sender and make it clear that s/he will now be handling this communication. The Quester that takes over should respond with the original Quest in the BCC so that the original Quester does not receive any more of these communications.

Always test MailChimp campaigns before they go out. Send a copy to yourself, and a copy to the President for final review that everything is correct on the template. If any edits are made to the template, then the original template creator needs to be notified.

For more details on how to handle student issues, please see the Resolving Student Issues protocol listed below.

Time spent on the phone with LCs, School Officials and or Host Families must be as short as possible while maintaining a level of professionalism. Giving great service does not mean spending the greater part of your day as a personal counselor. You must learn to be professionally assertive, let the party know that it would really help you make their case to (partner, the Quest president, student etc.) if they put it in an email. Be cognitive of other team members who get trapped on the phone and use one of the “help methods “ to get assist them in hanging up.

Get things in writing, check caller ID to determine who should pick up a call, it is best for the person NOT handling the situation to be the person picking up the call. Informing the caller that their party is in meeting or on lunch etc., is a good way to intro into asking them to send their thoughts in an email. The best way you can show support is by carefully reading the email and responding with a well thought out response- in writing.

Emergency Phone/ VoiceNation
When handling student issues that may result in an anticipated call on the emergency line, please alert other staff members and decide who will take the call. Voicenation takes over these calls after hours and on weekends. The hierarchy for voicenation emergency line is:

• F-1 Program Manager
• Director of Operations
• Outbound Program Manager
• President — Lisa

VoiceNation follows our protocols for who to call first, second etc. If they get your voicemail, they will leave a message and call the next person on the list. If you answer an emergency call, you need to send notification to all persons on list ahead of you so they know NOT to call VoiceNation back. You should always send email or text message notification to the other team members to let us know there was an emergency call. If you are not going to have phone coverage over the weekend i.e. hiking in remote areas, phone off for funeral, wedding etc. Please send an email to all staff indicating you will not be available and the days/times included in this. It will help those lower on the list to know why they are getting a call.

When dealing with student issues, there are always multiple parties to consider.

• Student
• Host Family
• Local Coordinator
• School
• Foreign Partner/Natural Parents

It is important to keep in mind each of these “parties” when working through issues.

Local Level Resolution
1. Encourage Autonomy
For smaller issues, encourage LCs to solve the problem on the local level. Try to encourage the LC to work within their local resources by:

• Asking what they have done so far
• Asking what they think should be done next
• Tell the LC that we trust their judgment and that is why we hired them
• Remind them that we are here if they cannot handle the issue on the local level first

2. Written Reports
Ask LC’s to give you written reports and updates as they work through problems so that you can keep the foreign partner updated as well. A “paper trail” prepares us in the event that we need to eventually send a probation letter or terminate the student from the program.

3. Managing the Workload
If you get the sense that the coordinator is feeling burdened by the issue, try giving them the following tips:

• Have LCs remind host families that these are kids and that they will pose the same challenges that American kids pose sometimes. This is normal and expected.
• Encourage the LC to empower the host family, rather than stepping in to parent for them. Give parents advice rather than taking over the issue. That will keep the work load more manageable.
• Stay calm and plant the idea with host families that this is not a life-threatening emergency
• Reassure the host family that we have protocol for student issues and we will work through them step-by-step. We just need to be calm and patient while we implement our experience and ideas. 

National Level Resolution
1. Gather Information
If the LC is not able to resolve the issue on the local level, you will have to step in to help. The first step is to collect information. Look through what you have been given and ask for whatever additional information you need. Consider all of the parties listed and ask if they have relevant information. If people are pushing you for answers, calmly explain that you are in the information gathering stage and that we need to wait until we have a clearer picture before acting.

2. Brainstorm Solutions
Once you have a good idea about what is going on and you have allowed all parties to share their perspective, it is time to strategize. Work with the LC to come up with ideas about how to address the issue. If necessary, consult with a coworker to get their opinion. When applicable, refer to Quest protocol for suggestions on how to tackle traditional problems such as homesickness, low grades, reclusiveness or eating disorders.

3. Divvy the Work
Remind yourself and your LC that part of problem solving is delegating the work. Think about how you can get others involved to help implement a solution. Host Families who are witnessing issues are more than happy to be part of the solution if you can hand them a novel idea. Try to get the school involved through guidance counselors or international student coordinators. After all, they are getting paid a boatload to assist the students! Also, consider whether the foreign partner can add value to the solution strategy. Lastly, divvy up the rest of the work between the LC and the national office staff.

4. Report the Plan
Once you have a plan in place, it is time to let everyone know. Consider all of the parties involved and write or call to update them about the plan of action and their role in it. Remember to cc when appropriate.

5. Check In
This step is the easiest to forget because there is always another student issue looming that consumes our time. Make sure that you track your student issues so that you can remember to follow up with people once the solution strategy has been implemented. You may need to come up with a new idea or step up the tone, depending on whether the student makes progress or not.

6. Updates
Make sure you update all of the parties involved about the student’s progress.

7. Finishing up
Hopefully by now, the student has either made progress, returned home or been sent home. Congratulations, you’re done and life goes on! Even if the issue wasn’t resolved to a cheesy-movie-ending extent, the student probably learned a lot in the process. Congratulate the LC for their efforts and remind them of how their work has contributed to the student’s development.

Goal: To gather as much information as possible so that a thoughtful decision can be made about whether and how to move a student. Once the decision has been made to move a student, Quest staff will create a plan of action that takes all program participants into account, while prioritizing the student’s safety and well-being. Once a plan is in place it should be executed as quickly as possible. All related parties should be kept in the loop about any changes.

If it is suspected or determined that a student’s safety or well-being is in danger, the Quest National office must be notified immediately and the student should be removed from the host family home. A student should never be moved from a host family home without notifying the Quest National office of the move. Please use the emergency line to contact a member of the National office.

1. Gather Information
Before you decide to move a student, it’s important to gather as much information as possible in order to determine whether a move is really necessary. Most issues can be resolved through counseling or mediation and may not require a move. We hope to avoid moves whenever possible, as they are turbulent for everyone involved. Remember to keep all incident reports in writing and send to the Quest National office as situations occur and not after they build up to a point where an emergency move has to be made.

a. LC talks to student

• LC should speak with the student, preferably in person (you may do this over Skype if necessary), to get their side of the story. It is important that this conversation happens in private, in a space where the student is comfortable and the host family is not present, so that the student can speak freely.

b. LC talks to host family

• The LC needs to contact the host family to get their perspective while being sure to protect the student’s confidentiality.

c. LC and/or Quest talks to school official

• It may be necessary to involve a teacher or guidance counselor who knows the student well, so that the situation can be seen from another perspective. This is especially helpful when the two sides of the story are drastically different from each other. A 3rd person perspective can be helpful.

d. Quest National Office communicates with Foreign Partner

• Depending on the situation, the Quest National office may reach out to the FP for the natural parents’ perspective and insight.

Example: If the student wants to move because she thinks her HF home is not clean, host family is not nice etc. it might be insightful to learn more about the student’s family life in his/her home country. It may be that the student’s expectation is that the host family will be exactly like his/her family. Student will need to be counseled on how to re-adjust expectations and learn how to accept the differences.

• Some issues are best handled internally and contact with the foreign partner is not needed until a resolution has been determined. Quest protocol is to find a quick and agreeable solution before alerting the FP.

Example: It is reported that the Host family does not meet Quest’s hosting standards because they were not truthful on their application or were not properly screened, in this case a move may be warranted and Quest will determine a resolution before reporting to the foreign partner.

2. Upfront and Honest Communication
You will often know through your intuition whether a particular problem will lead to a student move. Whenever possible, be up front and open about the consequences of someone’s actions. If a family has broken their agreement, let them know that we might need to move the student because we are in violation of our contract with natural parents. It is better that people hear the potential consequences at the earliest possible time rather than hear the news for the first time when the student actually moves.

3. Make Assessment

a. LC provides assessment

• LC sends a written assessment of the situation based on the information gathered and communicates this information the Quest National office. LC can then discuss with the Quest National office if the problem can be resolved through other means (i.e. discussion with HF, Student Counselor brought in to mediate, talking with the student about a readjustment of expectations on student’s part etc.) Are there any other families to move the student into? Is a move best for the student, or does LC feel that the relationship can be worked out?

b. What are the financial implications?

• The student is at fault – Quest charges the natural parents for the move
• The family fails to abide by the Quest program guidelines, does not adhere to the agreement or has given false information on their application – the LC will need to recruit and screen a new host family (payment or non-payment to the LC for this move will be determined by the circumstances surrounding the host family)
• Simply a bad match – Both host family and student ask for the move. In this case Quest will recommend that LC recruit and screen a new host family, payment will come from Quest with approval from the president.

c. Quest National office makes decision

• Taking all of the above information into account, the Quest National Office assess the situation and will help the LC decide what would be best for the student. You may want to reach out to the student directly, especially if details remains unclear.

d. Communication with the Foreign Partner Office

• Quest National Office staff will notify foreign partner of pending student moves, as well as reasons for a student move. It is important that LC’s send written incident reports detailing the circumstances that result in a student move.

4. Identify New Host Family
Ideally, there would already be another host family available to take in the student. If this is not the case, the LC will need to work on finding a new host family. Some ideas:

a. Ask student – they may have friends from school whose families would be interested in hosting them
b. Ask school officials– Are any teachers interested, or do they know of any other families who might be interested? Now that the student is there and a part of the community, they may be more willing to help
c. Other Quest families / host families in the area

5. Confirm Move Details

a. Talk with new host family to figure out who will pick up the student and when the best time to take the student will be.
b. Make sure the student knows the move date and will be prepared with all of his or her bags ready to go.
c. LC will notify the Quest National office of move details in writing.
d. Talk with the current host family about the move details only if they requested the move, if they do not yet know about the move, please advance to Emergency Moves Protocol below.

6. Notify Current Host Family of Move
If the decision to move a student was made by Quest due to current host family obligations not being met, Quest office staff will offer to notify the current host family of the decision to move a student. This will take the stress of this difficult situation off the Quest LC, it is offered as an option. Telling an unsuspecting host family of a student move is a difficult and potentially upsetting conversation for the host family, so it’s important that everyone handle this step delicately. Quest LC’s can request to notify current host family of student move especially in a case where the move has been requested by the currently host family.

How to decide when to tell the host family about the move:

• Do you have a sense of what the host family’s reaction might be to the news? Do you think that it will likely evoke an angry reaction? If you feel that the family will react in anger and the student may feel uncomfortable or even unsafe as a result, it may be best to wait until a new host family has been arranged and a move date has been set before notifying the family.
Has a new host family been found? ? If a new host family has not yet been lined up and there are no prospective families, you may want to wait to tell the current family. If you tell them now they may react angrily and want the student to leave immediately, in which case the LC will have to take the student or find an temporary host family-both scenarios are not ideal, wait until a potential family has been found and/or confirmed before notifying the current family.
Is the host family making plans with the student in mind (i.e. are they planning on buying a plane ticket for her to join them on a family vacation?). If this is the case, you will probably want to alert the family to the possibility of the student moving so they do not make any purchases or important plans with the student in mind.

7. Execute Student Move
Proceed with plans to move the student after the new host family application has been submitted in Atlas and the family references have been checked.

Goal: To gather as much information as possible so that a thoughtful decision can be made about whether and how to move a student. Once the decision has been made to move a student, Quest staff will create a plan of action that takes all program participants into account, while prioritizing the student’s safety and well-being. Once a plan is in place it should be executed as quickly as possible. All related parties should be kept in the loop about any changes.

The Quest National office must be notified of circumstances that happen that may result in having to move a student. A student should never be moved from a host family home without notifying the Quest National office prior to the move. Please use the emergency line to contact a member of the Quest National office if it is after hours.

If it is suspected or determined that a student’s safety or well-being is in danger and an emergency move is needed, please see the protocol for Emergency Student Move under item 8 below.

1. Gather Information
Before you decide to move a student, it’s important to gather as much information as possible in order to determine whether a move is really necessary. Most issues can be resolved through counseling or mediation and may not require a move. We hope to avoid moves whenever possible, as they are turbulent for everyone involved. Remember to keep all incident reports in writing and send to the Quest National office as situations occur and not after they build up to a point where an emergency move has to be made.

a. LC talks to student

• LC should speak with the student, preferably in person (you may do this over Skype if necessary), to get their side of the story. It is important that this conversation happens in private, in a space where the student is comfortable and the host family is not present, so that the student can speak freely.

b. LC talks to host family

• The LC needs to contact the host family to get their perspective while being sure to protect the student’s confidentiality.

c. LC and/or Quest talks to school official

• It may be necessary to involve a teacher or guidance counselor who knows the student well, so that the situation can be seen from another perspective. This is especially helpful when the two sides of the story are drastically different from each other. A 3rd person perspective can be helpful.

d. Quest talks to Foreign Partner (FP)

• Depending on the situation, the Quest National office may reach out to the FP for the natural parents’ perspective and insight.

Example: If the student wants to move because she thinks her HF home is not clean, host family is not nice etc. it might be insightful to learn more about the student’s family life in his/her home country. It may be that the student’s expectation is that the host family will be exactly like her family. Student will need to be counseled on how to re-adjust expectations and learn how to accept the differences.

• Some issues are best handled internally and contact with the foreign partner is not needed until a resolution has been determined. Quest protocol is to find a quick and agreeable solution before alerting the FP.

Example: It is reported that the Host family does not meet Quest’s hosting standards because they were not truthful on their application or were not properly screened, in this case a move may be warranted and Quest will determine a resolution before reporting to the foreign partner.

2. Upfront and Honest Communication
You will often know through your intuition whether a particular problem will lead to a student move. Whenever possible, be up front and open about the consequences of someone’s actions. If a family has broken their agreement, let them know that we might need to move the student. It is better that people hear the potential consequences at the earliest possible time rather than hear the news for the first time when the student actually moves.

3. Make Assessment

a. LC provides assessment

• LC creates a written assessment of the situation based on the information gathered and discussions with both the student and the host family. LC can then discuss with the Quest National office if the problem can be resolved through other means (i.e. discussion with HF, Student Counselor brought in to mediate, talking with the student about a readjustment of expectations on student’s part etc.) Are there any other families to move the student into? Is a move best for the student, or does LC feel that the relationship can be worked out?

b. Quest National office makes decision

• Taking all of the above information into account, the Quest National office assess the situation and will help the LC decide what you would be best for the student. You may want to reach out to the student directly, especially if any details regarding a potential move need to be clarified.

c. Communication with the Foreign Partner Office

• Quest National office staff will notify foreign partner of pending student moves, as well as reasons for a student move. It is important that LC’s send written incident reports detailing the circumstances that result in a student move.

4. Identify New Host Family
Ideally, there would already be another host family available to take in the student. If this is not the case, the LC will need to work on finding a new host family. Some ideas:

a. Talk with new host family to figure out who will pick up the student and when the best time to take the student will be.
b. Make sure the student knows the move date and will be prepared with all of his or her bags ready to go.
c. Notify the Quest National office of move details in writing.
d. Talk with the current host family about the move details only if they requested the move, if they do not yet know about the move, please advance to Emergency Moves Protocol below.

5. Confirm Move details

a. Talk to the LC and new family to figure out who will pick up the student and when.
b. Make sure the student knows the move date and will be prepared with all of his or her bags ready to go.

6. Notify Current Host Family of Move
If the decision to move a student was made by Quest due to current host family obligations not being met, Quest office staff will offer to notify the current host family of the decision to move a student. This will take the stress of this difficult situation off the Quest LC, it is offered as an option. Telling an unsuspecting host family of a student move is a difficult and potentially upsetting conversation for the host family, so it’s important that everyone handle this step delicately. Quest LCs can request to notify current host family of student move especially in a case where the move has been requested by the currently host family.

How to decide when to tell the host family about the move:

• Do you have a sense of what the host family’s reaction might be to the news? Do you think that it will likely evoke an angry reaction? If you feel that the family will react in anger and the student may feel uncomfortable or even unsafe as a result, it may be best to wait until a new host family has been arranged and a move date has been set before notifying the family.
Has a new host family been found? ? If a new host family has not yet been lined up and there are no prospective families, you may want to wait to tell the current family. If you tell them now they may react angrily and want the student to leave immediately, in which case the LC will have to take the student or find an temporary host family-both scenarios are not ideal, wait until a potential family has been found and/or confirmed before notifying the current family.
Is the host family making plans with the student in mind (i.e. are they planning on buying a plane ticket for her to join them on a family vacation?). If this is the case, you will probably want to alert the family to the possibility of the student moving so they do not make any purchases or important plans with the student in mind.

7. Execute Student Move
Proceed with plans to move the student after the new host family application has been submitted in Atlas and the family references have been checked. Always notify the Quest National office staff of student move details.

Step 1 – Research
Create an Atlas account page for the new school. Fill out basic information on this page including location, tuition, % going to college, school size etc.

Step 2 – Phone Call
The purpose of the initial phone call is twofold. First, we want to communicate how we can benefit the school. Secondly, we want to assess whether the school is a good fit for our students.

Tip: Resist the urge to talk endlessly about Quest during this phone call. Try to keep the conversation going both ways. This is about a partnership and it takes both sides to work through the details. This way, the conversation is less of a one-sided sales pitch and more of a cooperative discussion.

  1. About Quest
    • CSIET listed, non-profit organization
    • Have you ever worked with an agency before? Our services are free!
    • Application materials
    • School promotion abroad
    • Timely payment
    • Medical insurance
    • Communication with natural parents
    • Student counseling
    • Language Assessment – SLEP, Skype
    • FedEx charges for I-20 and visa services
    • Reference our presence in area (other schools and reps) if applicable
  1. F-1 Visa – Are you SEVIS certified to issue the I-20 document?
  2. About your School
    • School Size
    • Community (rural, urban, suburb)
    • Affiliations
    • Tuition Rate
    • International Student Department
    • Nationalities and numbers
    • School provided services
    • History working with exchange organizations
  1. Host Family
    • Help finding families? We provide this service and just ask for support and respect.
    • Do you think that the community is “saturated”
    • If yes, is it because no one is recruiting or because it is truly full?

Step 3 – Follow up email 1
Send the School Profile online form and the Tuition, Fees, and Discounts online form for the school to complete. Follow up on questions that they did not fill out.

Step 3 – Follow up email 2
• Send mock application
• Ask about their application requirements
• Host Family Stipend

Step 4 – Read School Review Online

Step 5 – Email
Ask about local coordinator referrals or our strategy for reaching out

FAQ from School
• Student nationalities
• English Level of students
• How we screen our students

Atlas User Guide Training

Opening Blurb
Atlas is our new database system that allows us to easily manage our students. Don’t be worried about remembering everything right now; we have created an online Atlas User Guide that will answer many of your questions. If you have any questions, feel free to ask and we can include it in the FAQs section so we can share it with other LCs. The Director of Operations (Tara) will be the main point person for all things Atlas related, so don’t hesitate to reach out to her regarding the new system. Don’t hesitate to stop me throughout this training if you have any questions.

First things first: Atlas User Guide for LC’s!
Show them where to find the User Guide first. This is not just a User Guide for Atlas, it’s a general guide and resource for being a Local Coordinator.

What they can find in their User Guide
Instructions on general Quest processes
Resources that they will need to complete these processes
What Quest is responsible for doing and what they are responsible for doing
How all this is integrated in Atlas

Placement
Student Profile
Host Family Screening
Application: How to send application through Atlas
• CBC’s: How to view if CBC’s have been approved by Quest
• References: Where to view references in Atlas and what form to use
• In-Home Interview: Where to find the form
• HF Orientation: Slideshow, HF Handbook, House Rules Form
• Screening Status: HF view in Atlas
Student Arrival Orientation
• Slideshow, Handbook, Orientation Agreement Form, House Rules Form

Flights
View Student Flights
• View by Student
• View by Month: Arriving or Departing this month

Insurance
Policy Brochure
Guide to Finding Local Providers

Monthly Reports
Create a Monthly Report: Save and Submit when ready

Travel
Online Travel Authorization Form: Where to find in Atlas

Resources
Host Family Recruiting Tips
Screening Forms

FAQs
Just ask! :)

Other Things to Mention:
Earn Commission by referring an American Student to study abroad through Quest
Friend us on Facebook
Resources for LC’s in sidebar – want to see something there? Ask us!
Recent items
*Show them how to adjust the columns in their tabs*
*Show them how they can sort by column*

All Students Tab
All your students, past and present

Current Students Tab
Your students currently studying in the U.S.

Host Families Tab
Shows all of your families. There won’t be any families yet. As you, or a member of the Quest staff, create families assigned to you in your region, this section will fill up with family names.
*Account Name: LAST NAME FAMILY

School Info Tab
Shows schools in your region, monthly HF stipend, semester start and end dates, and the main contact.

Monthly Reports
Shows all monthly reports. Including drafts, submitted, and approved.

Flights
Shows your students that have set flights.
List View types: All flights, Arriving this month, Departing this month

  1. 1. Quest will send a Hire Letter and an Agreement in the LCs name via Atlas.
  2. 2. The LC will sign and return the Agreement as a scanned email attachment.
  3. 3. Quest will mark in Atlas that the Agreement has been received via the “Received Contract” button.
  4. 4. Quest will send the LC an LC Handbook and the LC Training Confirmation. We will also request that the LC complete the online Training Module.
  5. 5. The LC will read through the Handbook and contact Quest if s/he has any questions.
  6. 6. The LC will sign and return the LC Training Confirmation online, and the Regional Manager will receive an email alert.
  7. 7. The LC will use the Handbook to take our online Training Module (open book test!).
  8. 8. The Quest Regional Manager will receive a notification that the LC has completed the Module.
  9. 9. Quest will send the LC the login information for Atlas.
  10. 10. The Quest Regional Manager will schedule a training phone call with the LC.
  11. 11. The Quest Regional Manager will send some final information to help the LC recruit Host Families and perform the Supervision of the students effectively.

Tips for recruiting host families
Student Profiles as they are accepted to your school region