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San Carlos ESD |  AR  6158  Instruction

Alternative Education Program - Independent Study K-12   

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I. Independent study will serve the following purposes for students:

A. Provide opportunities for the pursuit of special or unique educational interests on an independent, school supervised basis.

B. Provide for an alternative instructional program for students who have experienced difficulty in adapting to the regular curriculum or school setting.

C. Provide outlets for students with scheduling problems, intern off-campus programs, and other specialized interests not offered in the regular school curricula, including volunteer community service activities that support and strengthen student achievement.

D. Provide exceptionally gifted students with in-depth opportunities, some of which may lead to state, regional, and national competition.

E. Provide students with special medical or other handicapping problems with alternatives to meeting normal educational requirements. (See II-D below)

F. Provide for students who wish to continue studies while on an extended family travel.

II. Independent study procedures:

A. The Independent Study Coordinator shall be a certificated employee of the district or contracted service and act as the supervisor of the Independent Study Program.

B. No temporarily disabled pupil may receive individual instruction pursuant to Education Code Section 48206.3 through independent study. Such instruction will be provided through the "home and hospital program."

1. If the temporarily disabled pupil's parents and the school district agree, however, the pupil may instead receive instruction through independent study as an alternative to "home and hospital" instruction.

2. If independent study instruction is used for a student in a hospital located in a different school district from the one in which the pupil's home is located, there must be an inter-district transfer agreement if the home district is to provide the independent study instruction.

C. A well-defined plan is required as a part of the application for the student and must be agreed upon and signed by the student, parent/guardian, and supervising teacher. When appropriate, other signatures will be required.

D. The plan shall be in the form of a memorandum of understanding (MOD) and shall be signed by all concerned parties, to include the following:

1. Name of student, pupil's parent or legal guardian, supervising teacher, and others as required

2. Grade level objectives or individual course requirements

3. The specific resources, including materials ro'1d personnel, which will be made available to the pupil

4. Process by which objectives and competencies are to be evaluated

5. Procedures, time and place of reporting progress

6. Timeline for achieving objectives and completing the MOD and the number of missed assignments which will require an evaluation of whether or not the pupil should be allowed to continue in independent study. Maximum duration shall be valid for any period longer than one semester or 1/2 year for a school on year-round calendar, unless formally extended by the supervising teacher

7. The description of the methods for obtaining assistance or the tutoring required to achieve objectives, if applicable

8. A tentative schedule of conferences/communications between student/parent and supervising employee

9. Name(s) of other than school staff supervising student

10. A statement of the number of course credits or, for the elementary grades, other measures of academic accomplishment appropriate to the agreement, to be earned by the pupil upon completion

11. The inclusion of a statement that independent study is an optional educational alternative in which no pupil may be required to participate

E. If a full-time student, the educational plan for each student must represent the equivalent of a minimum school day for the student's grade level and shall include subjects required by law.

F. Records shall be maintained that indicate the names of students enrolled and number of students passing or failing independent study.

G. The district shall provide appropriate existing services and resources to enable pupils to complete their independent study successfully and shall ensure the same access to all existing services and resources in the school in which the pupil is enrolled as is available to all other pupils in the school.

H. District records must identify the student by grade level, program placement, and the school in which he/she is enrolled.

I. After supervising teacher's approval of satisfactory completion of program objectives, the student's permanent record shall be marked accordingly.

J. An annual report regarding independent study shall be presented to the Superintendent or his designee by the Independent Study Coordinator.

III. Application for Enrollment

A. Application for enrollment in the Independent Study Program is made to the screening committee and shall include:

1. Rationale for application (see purposes)

2. Acceptable educational objectives and the means of achieving them 3. Program activities and timeline for completion of objectives

B. The applicant shall appear before the screening committee before being accepted into the program. Acceptance into the program will be based on:

1. Evidence that the student can work with minimal certificated supervision

2. Evidence that the proposed program will be pursued

3. Availability of the certificated staff to supervise the student effective

4. Rationale that meets one or more of the purposes

C. No individual with exceptional needs, as defined in Ed. Code 56026, may be enrolled in an Independent Study Program unless his/her IEP specifically provides for such enrollment.

D. Screening Committees:

1. If a student is applying for a single subject and maintaining enrollment in a regular program, the application will be processed by the school of attendance.

2. The committee for full-time independent study shall include: a) the principal/designee; b) Independent Study Coordinator; and c) classroom teacher, counselor, or others if applicable.

IV. Credits

A. Units of credit, if appropriate, will be variable in relation to the student's accomplishments.

B. Credits may be earned in the following way:

1. Through fulfillment of an independent study MOD.

2. By an independent study test or examination after completion of study course or project.

a. Deficiencies in course work failed may be made-up. Time limit decided upon by student and supervisor.

b. Subjects learned or mastered prior to independent study may be eligible for independent study credit by examination and testing.

3. Credits earned at other accredited schools previous to participation in independent study.

4. Credits allowed for outside educational achievement with the relationships between hours spent and credit earned to be decided by the selection committee and including (secondary only):

• Work experience

• Exploratory work programs

• Volunteer work, internships

• Travel

C. Records to be kept on file with coordinator or teacher:

1. A copy of the adopted school board policy and procedures

2. A file of application forms - approved and disapproved

3. A file of individual contracts

4. A list of students participating in independent study

5. The number of credits or subjects attempted

6. The number of students successfully completing a MOU

7. The number of credits or subjects completed

8. The title of the courses undertaken in independent study

9. An attendance register (see below, Section IV.D.2)

D. Scholarship and Attendance

1. Unless otherwise contracted, instruction will be graded on a credit/no credit basis

2. An attendance register shall be kept, separate from other attendance records, in which attendance is recorded on the basis of positive attendance accounting procedures.

3. There are no excused absences allowed in independent study

4. A student on full-time independent study will be counted as a full ADA as determined by the minimum day for that grade

5. Part-time independent study student's ADA is dependent on the type of student enrollment as follows:

• If the student has a daily mixed schedule of regular and independent study programs, the attendance will be kept in one register at the site/program where the student spends the majority of the day.

• If a student's weekly schedule includes a combination of a regular and independent study programs on separate full days, each program should retain its own register using the attendance accounting techniques approved for the program.

V. Dismissal from Independent Study

The Independent Study Coordinator may dismiss a student from independent study upon evidence that any of the following are not being met:

• Objectives

• Program Activities

• Meetings with supervisor

• Timelines

a. In grade K-8

• Maximum time for completing assignments will be four weeks

• Two consecutive missed assignments will trigger a placement review

b. In grades 9-12

• Maximum time for completing assignments will be four weeks

• Three missed assignments during any period will trigger a placement review

A student may also be dismissed if he/she no longer meets the criteria for admission.

In the event there is a dispute related to the Independent Study MOD approval or credit approval, the parent and/or student have a right to appeal to the superintendent or his designee.


approved: November 13, 2003 San Carlos, California