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Escondido Union HSD  |  AR  6158  Instruction

Independent Study   

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No student shall be required to participate in independent study. All students shall have the alternative of classroom instruction at all times. (Education Code 51747)

No course required for high school graduation shall be offered exclusively through independent study. (Education Code 51745)

No individual with exceptional needs, as defined in Education Code 56026, may participate in independent study unless his/her individualized education program specifically provides for such participation. (Education Code 51745)

No more than 10 percent of the students enrolled in Continuation or Opportunity Education may be on independent study at any given time. (Education Code 51745)

No temporarily disabled student may receive individual instruction pursuant to Education Code 48206.3 by means of independent study. However, if the temporarily disabled student's parent/guardian and the district(s) agree, the student may receive instruction through independent study instead of receiving the "home and hospital" instruction pursuant to Education Code 48206.3. (Education Code 51745)

(cf. 6183 - Home/Hospital Instruction)

Independent study may be offered to students 19 or 20 years of age only if they have been continuously enrolled in school since their 18th birthday. (Education Code 46300.1)

Each student's independent study shall be coordinated, evaluated and carried out under the general supervision of a certificated employee. (Education Code 51747.5)

An individual who has received an interdistrict transfer on the basis of the conditions listed in Education Code 46600 and following may be enrolled in independent study.

No individual who has received an interdistrict transfer on the basis of the conditions listed in Education Code 48204(f), parent/guardian lives outside of the district but works in the district and wants the child to attend near his/her place of employment, may be on independent study.

Criteria for Participation

Students who are interested in independent study should contact their school counselor or assistant principal who will forward the recommendation to the Learning Center Lead for placement. Approval for participation shall be based on the following criteria:

1. An acceptable reason for requesting independent study.

2. Evidence that the student will work independently to complete the program.

3. Availability of experienced certificated staff with adequate time to supervise the student effectively.

4. A written statement indicating educational objectives, how the objectives will be accomplished, and how progress toward the objectives will be measured.

5. The district shall provide appropriate existing services and resources to enable students to complete their independent study successfully.

6. Students who request independent study must make the major commitment and must be assisted or supported, as necessary, by parents/guardians and others who may help directly with instruction.

7. All students enrolled shall reside in the county or adjacent county in which the apportionment claim is reported.

8. No funds or other thing of value may be provided to a student or his/her parents/guardians that is not provided to students of other schools within the district.

Written Agreements and Assignments

A written independent study agreement shall be executed for each participating student. The agreement shall include, but not be limited to, all of the following: (Education Code 51747)

1. The manner, frequency, time and place for submitting the student's assignments and for reporting his/her progress.

2. The objectives and methods of study for the student's work, and the methods used to evaluate that work.

3. The specific resources, including materials and staff, which will be made available to the student in order to attain the objectives.

4. A schedule for achieving objectives and completing the agreement.

5. A copy of the district's independent study policy, describing the maximum length of time allowed between an assignment and its completion and the number of missed assignments which will trigger an evaluation of whether the student should be allowed to continue in independent study.

6. The duration of the independent study agreement, including the beginning and ending dates for the student's participation in independent study under the agreement. No independent study agreement shall be valid for any period longer than one year .

7. A schedule of conferences between student and supervising teacher.

8. A statement that independent study is an optional continuously voluntary educational alternative in which no student may be required to participate.

9. The method used to evaluate the student's work.

10. A statement of the maximum length of time allowed between the assignment and the completion of the student's work, as determined by Board policy.

11. In the case of a student who is referred or assigned to any school, class or program pursuant to Education Code 48915 or 48917, the agreement also shall include the statement that instruction may be provided through independent study only if the student is offered the alternative of classroom instruction.

12. Before beginning the independent study, each written agreement shall be signed by the student, the parent/guardian or caregiver of the student under 18 years of age, the certificated employee designated as responsible for the general supervision of independent study, and all persons who have direct responsibility for providing assistance to the student. Should a caregiver be involved, the district Caregivers Authorization Affidavit must be signed prior to signature of the master agreement. (Education Code 51747)

13. The signatures of the student, student's parent(s)/ guardian(s) if the student is less than 18, certificated employee of the district who has been designated as the person responsible for the general supervision of independent study, and any person who has direct responsibility for providing assistance to the student.

14. High school students desiring concurrent enrollment in Adult Education shall have completed a counseling session with a certificated representative of the student's high school. The counseling session shall address the requirements of voluntary participation by the student in adult education, and the understanding that enrollment in adult education would enhance the student's progress.

15. A student may be enrolled in either adult education independent study or in high school independent study; not both.

16. Every student given the opportunity to participate in independent study after receiving a "suspended expulsion" pursuant to Education Code and 48917, has a bona fide opportunity for a classroom-based alternative such as Continuation Education, at the time the option of independent study is selected by the student and parent/guardian/caregiver.

17. When an independent study agreement is prepared for a student who is an emancipated minor or who is an adult, the parent's or guardian's signature is not required; evidence of that fact should be made a part of the official record.


Each school shall maintain records for the students at that school.

Records shall include the following: (Code of Regulations, Title 5, 11703)

1. A copy of the district policy, administrative regulation, and procedures related to independent study.

2. A file of all agreements, with representative samples of each student's work products bearing the supervising teacher's signed or initialed and dated notations indicating that he/she has personally evaluated the work or that he/she has personally reviewed the evaluations made by another certificated teacher.

3. A separate listing of the students and adult education students, by grade level, program and school, who have participated in independent study and identifying course credits attempted by and awarded to students in grades 9-12 and in adult education, as specified in their written agreements.

4. A daily or hourly attendance register, as appropriate to the program in which the students are participating, separate from classroom attendance records, and maintained on a current basis as time values of student or adult education work products are personally judged by a certificated teacher, and reviewed by the supervising teacher if they are two different persons.

5. A record of grades and other evaluations issued to each student for independent study assignments. Records for adult school independent study will be kept separate from the 9-12 records.

Independent Study Student's Privileges, Rights and Responsibilities

Students participating in independent study shall have the right, continuously, to enter or return to the regular classroom mode of instruction, including upon termination of the agreement.

1. "Tardiness" and "truancy" are terms that, in a formal, legal sense, can apply only to students' actions in regular programs. Independent study students who are late for or miss scheduled conferences, or who do not submit assigned work on time, should not be reported as tardy or truant. The student's failure to meet the terms of their written agreements, however, should always be addressed promptly and directly.

2. There are no excused absences in independent study; therefore, no apportionment may be claimed on that basis.

3. The administrator shall incorporate in program procedures the appropriate use of the following strategies to deal with missed appointments or completion of assignments. The aim is to increase the student's achievement as well as to reduce and prevent the student's failure to meet the terms and conditions of the written agreement.

a. Immediately telephone or contact the student and/or parent. (The teacher can probably do so most effectively.)

b. Send a letter of concern to the student and parent, if appropriate.

c. Schedule a special appointment.

d. Set up a special meeting with the teacher or counselor or both.

e. Meet with the student, together with the parent/ guardian, if appropriate.

f. Place the student on probation.

g. Increase the amount of time the student must be under instructional supervision.

h. A meeting between the student and the administrator, including the parent/guardian if appropriate.

i. When the student has missed the number of assignments specified in board policy as precipitating an evaluation, the Superintendent or designee shall conduct an evaluation which may result in termination of the independent study agreement, with the student's return to a regular classroom or alternative instructional program.

4. Parents/guardians may appeal decisions in accordance with school district procedures.

Administration of Independent Study

The use of independent study shall be supervised by the designated administrator. His/her responsibility shall include:

1. Ensuring that independent study occurs in accordance with state law and district policy and regulations.

2. Facilitating the completion of independent study written agreements.

3. Approving all credits earned through the Independent Study program so that they become part of the student's permanent record.

4. Authorizing the selection of all staff who are assigned to supervise independent study.

5. Supervising any staff assigned to independent study functions who are not regularly supervised by another administrator.

6. Completing or coordinating the preparation of all necessary records and reports.

7. Establishing and maintaining in a systematic manner all records required by state regulations for an audit trail of average daily attendance attributed to independent study and reported by the district.

8. Monitoring enrollment in independent study to stay within prescribed limits and to maximize income to the district without comprising the educational quality of independent study.

9. Developing and managing the budget for independent study.

10. Obtaining and maintaining current information and skills required for the operation of an independent study strategy that meets established standards for district educational programs.

11. Preparing and submitting reports as required by the Superintendent or school board.

12. Evaluating classified and certificated staff.

The teacher supervising independent study shall:

1. Complete designated portions of the written independent study agreement and add additional information to the written agreement when appropriate

2. Supervise and approve coursework

3. Design all lesson plans and assignments

4. Assess all student work and determine and assign grades or other approved measures of achievement

5. Personally judge the time value of assigned work or work products completed and submitted by the student

6. Select and save with each agreement representative samples of the student's completed and evaluated assignments on not less than a monthly basis, preferably biweekly, and signed or initialed and dated in accordance with item #2 in the section on "Records".

7. Sign and complete the agreement when the student has reached his/her objectives or the agreement is terminated

8. Maintain a daily or hourly attendance register in accordance with item #4 in the section on "Records".

9. Maintain any other required records and files on a current basis


approved: October 21, 2008 Escondido, California

revised: January 15, 2019