Withdrawal Policy

Rachel Walker Braly said: Feb 21, 2019
Rachel Walker Braly
Suzuki Association Member
3 posts

I’m wanting to add a Withdrawal Policy to my Studio Handbook. I’d like to include something to encourage positive transitions in the event a student or family needs to leave the studio or transfer to another teacher. Does anyone have anything like this in their policies? I don’t have many students leave, and do not currently have any concerns in this regard. Just wanting to help encourage positive goodbyes if they need to happen.

Anita Knight said: Feb 21, 2019
Anita Knight
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki Early Childhood Education
Kent, WA
26 posts

Hello Rachel,
This IS an important question. I have great relationships with my families, but years ago, after 2 students informed me after their lesson: “This is my last lesson”, I knew something had to be communicated.
I also remember, as a Suzuki Mama of 6, that I DIDN”T KNOW how to communicate to a teacher when we were ready to leave! It is our job as educators to teach our people how to interact with us. And, it removes SO MUCH pressure, and can change that “difficult/ awkward conversation” into openness and hopefully, collaboration.

This is taken from my Parent Handbook:
*Discontinuing Lessons

My intention is to maintain open communication with each of my families.  If you find something unsatisfactory, I’d ask that you bring it to my attention right away so we can work towards resolution. I’m available through email, text or phone, as well as in person.

Each teacher is not necessarily the best fit for every student, and there are various reasons to find a new teacher. If you desire to discontinue lessons with me or find another teacher, I am available to discuss your needs and aid in the referral process.* Four weeks notice is required if you plan to discontinue lessons, and you are financially responsible for those remaining four lessons.

They initial the studio policies on my contract, including this line:
____ Discontinuing Lessons: If we / I need to discontinue lessons for any reason, I will let my teacher, Anita Knight, know at least one month in advance of my final lesson. I understand I am financially responsible for the balance remaining for the four lessons after notification.

Good job of thinking these issues through, Rachel!

Anita Knight
“Joyful Sound Violin Studio”

Joanne Shannon said: Feb 22, 2019
Joanne Shannon
Suzuki Association Member
Los Angeles, CA
140 posts

Thanks so much for your info. It never occurred to me to put that into my policies. I don’t lose many students either but it certainly does happen occasionally.

Lori Bolt said: Feb 23, 2019
Lori BoltPiano
San Clemente, CA
261 posts

I’ll definitely be adding something like this to my Policy. I do say in it that I need 3 weeks notice, but I think I need to be more specific and have the parent initial it. Great sample, Anita! Thank you for sharing :)

Lori Bolt

Mengwei Shen said: Feb 24, 2019
Mengwei Shen
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Piano, Cello
Jersey City, NJ
219 posts

I’ve written a “notice period of 3 lessons for closure/transition” but it’s about calculating refunds rather than the “financially responsible” wording. I personally wouldn’t be able to enforce collecting from students who no longer show up. The biggest help for me has been to deal in semester tuition and scheduling and show that we work as a team towards performance goals, generally conveying that I’m a long-term vision type of teacher and not a service provider for the come-and-go-as-you-please consumer. I’ve also tried using “if you are planning to be around in the spring/summer/fall…” and asking for schedule requests ahead of time to give parents an opening to say no, they don’t plan to be around.

Another thing is parents wanting to avoid the perceived awkwardness of sticking around after revealing their intentions (even though I would not treat them any less professionally). However, even if they read a policy when they start, or a reminder every year, by the time someone is ready to leave, they may or may not remember what they read. I don’t want to wave the information in their face though, making them think I want them to leave.

“Transition Etiquette:
There is always a time in a student’s educational journey when it is beneficial or necessary to move on. Transition discussions are to be honoring of the previous time and efforts of study while recognizing the need for a change in learning priorities or other factors. Furtive and discourteous behaviors are…[???]
For incoming students: please observe any required notice periods or closure requests of the previous teacher.
For outgoing students: the best time for transition discussion is May to July, when schedule arrangements are being made for summer (July-Aug) and fall (Sept-Jan), or else Dec to early Jan for spring (Feb-June).”

I haven’t decided what exactly to say about “furtive and discourteous behaviors” which means: there is no problem with students wanting to change teachers, but I do object to not giving enough notice, hiding it from me, asking the child to hide it from me, etc. I also don’t want to entertain a prospective transfer behind the back of someone I consider a colleague and would hope to receive the same courtesy!

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