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Lakeside Union SD (Lakeside) |  BP  6158  Instruction

Independent Study   

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The Governing Board authorizes independent study as an optional alternative instructional strategy for eligible students whose needs may be best met through study outside of the regular classroom setting. Independent study shall offer a means of individualizing the educational plan to serve students who desire a more challenging educational experience, whose health or other personal circumstances make classroom attendance difficult, who are unable to access course(s) due to scheduling problems, and/or who need to make up credits or fill gaps in their learning. As necessary to meet student needs, independent study may be offered on a full-time basis or on a part-time basis in conjunction with part- or full-time classroom study.

The independent study option is to be substantially equivalent in quality and in quantity to classroom instruction, thereby ensuring that a student who engages in independent study on a full-time basis, or on a part-time basis in conjunction with part- or full-time classroom study, will be enabled to complete the district's adopted course of study within the customary time frame for completion of that course of study.

(cf. 5147 - Dropout Prevention)

(cf. 6011 - Academic Standards)

(cf. 6143 - Courses of Study)

(cf. 6172 - Gifted and Talented Student Program)

The Superintendent or designee may provide a variety of independent study opportunities, including, but not limited to, through a program or class within a comprehensive school, an alternative school or program of choice, a charter school, a home-based format, and an online course.

(cf. 0420.4 - Charter School Authorization)

(cf. 6181 - Alternative Schools/Programs of Choice)

A student's participation in independent study shall be voluntary. Students participating in independent study shall have the right, at any time, to enter or return to the regular classroom mode of instruction. (Education Code 51747; 5 CCR 11700)

Parents/guardians of students who are interested in independent study shall contact the Superintendent or designee. The Superintendent or designee shall approve independent study for an individual student only upon determining that the student is prepared to meet the district's requirements for independent study and is likely to succeed in independent study as well as or better than he/she would in the regular classroom setting.

The minimum period of time for any independent study option shall be five consecutive school days.

The Superintendent or designee shall ensure that a written independent study agreement, as prescribed by law, exist for each participating student. (Education Code 51747)

The Board has established the maximum length of time, by grade level and type of program, which may elapse between the time an independent study assignment is given and required to be completed by the student as follows:

K-3 5 days/one week

Grades 4-8 5 days/one week

When circumstances justify a longer period of time, the Superintendent or designee may extend the maximum length of an assignment to 15 days/three weeks.

When a student fails to attend or complete two (2) assignments in one semester, the Superintendent or designee shall conduct an evaluation to determine whether it is in the student's best interest to remain in independent study or whether the student should return to the regular school program. A written record of the outcome of this evaluation shall be a mandatory interim pupil record and retained for three years excluding the current fiscal year. If the student transfers to another California school, the evaluation must accompany the student's records. A current written independent study agreement with all the required elements and components must be on file for each independent study student.

Supervising teachers should establish an appropriate schedule for student-teacher conferences in order to help identify students falling behind in their work or in danger of failing or dropping out of school. Except in unusual circumstances, it is expected that the supervising teacher will meet, either in person or by electronic means, with each participating student at least once a week to discuss the student's progress.

(cf. 5147 - Dropout Prevention)

Missing a scheduled appointment with the supervising teacher without valid reasons also may trigger an evaluation to determine whether the student should remain in independent study.

The Superintendent or designee shall annually report to the Board the number of students participating in independent study, the average daily attendance generated for apportionment purposes, the quality of these students' work as measured by standard indicators, and the number and proportion of independent study students who graduate or successfully complete independent study. Based on the program evaluation, the Board and Superintendent shall determine areas for program improvement as needed.

(cf. 0500 - Accountability)

(cf. 5121 - Grades/Evaluation of Student Achievement)

(cf. 6162.5 - Student Assessment)

(cf. 6162.51 - State Academic Achievement Tests)

The Superintendent or designee shall encourage parents/guardians desiring to teach their children at home to have their children participate in independent study. Such participation allows continued contact and cooperation between the school system and the home-based student and ensures that the student will be offered a standards-based education substantially equivalent in quality and quantity to the district's classroom instruction.

Legal Reference:


17289 Exemption for facilities

41976.2 Independent study programs; adult education funding

42238 Revenue limits

44865 Qualifications for home teachers and teachers in special classes and schools

46300-46307.1 Methods of computing average daily attendance

47612.5 Independent study in charter schools

48204 Residency based on parent employment

48206.3 Home or hospital instruction; students with temporary disabilities

48220 Classes of children exempted

48340 Improvement of pupil attendance

48915 Expulsion; particular circumstances

48916.1 Educational program requirements for expelled students

48917 Suspension of expulsion order

51745-51749.3 Independent study programs

56026 Individuals with exceptional needs

58500-58512 Alternative schools and programs of choice


6550 Authorization affidavits


11700-11703 Independent study

19819 State audit compliance


Modesto City Schools v. Education Audits Appeal Panel, (2004) 123 Cal.App.4th 1365


Lucerne Valley Unified School District, Case No. 03-02 (2005)

Management Resources:


Elements of Exemplary Independent Study


California Consortium for Independent Study:

California Department of Education, Independent Study:

Education Audit Appeals Panel:


adopted: September 17, 2012 Lakeside, California

revised: April 23, 2020