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Morgan Hill USD |  BP  6158  Instruction

Independent Study   

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The Governing Board authorizes independent study as an optional alternative instructional strategy by which students in grades K-12 and adult education may reach curriculum objectives and fulfill graduation requirements. Independent study shall offer a means of individualizing the educational plan for students whose needs may best be met through study outside the regular classroom setting.

The district's independent study option shall be substantially equivalent in quality and quantity to classroom instruction, thus enabling students participating in independent study to complete the district's adopted course of study within the customary time frame. Students engaged in independent study shall have access to the same services and resources as are available to other students in the school.

The Superintendent or designee shall determine that the prospective independent study student understands and is prepared to meet the district's requirements for independent study. Independent study entails a commitment by both the parent/guardian and the student. As the student gets older, he/she assumes a greater portion of the responsibility involved. Independent study may be offered only to students who can achieve in this program as well as or better than they would in the regular classroom.

The Superintendent or designee shall ensure that a written independent study agreement pursuant to AR 6158 exists for each participating student (Education Code 51747) and is maintained on file by the district.

The Board recognizes that independent study may be used as an option to encourage students to remain in school. Teachers should carefully set the duration of independent study assignments, within the limits specified by the Board in order to help identify students falling behind in their work or in danger of failing or dropping out of school.

To foster each student's success in Independent Study, the Board establishes the following maximum lengths of time a student may participate in short-term Independent Study during any one instance as follows:

1. For students in grades K-8: 2 weeks.

2. For students in grades 9-12, continuation and adult education: 3 weeks.

When circumstances justify a longer time, the Superintendent or designee may extend the maximum length of an assignment to a period not to exceed eight weeks, pursuant to a written request with justification.

When any student fails to complete three (3) consecutive independent study assignments, the Superintendent or designee shall conduct an evaluation to determine whether it is in the student's best interest to remain in independent study. Evaluation findings shall be kept in the student's permanent record.

The Superintendent or designee shall annually report to the Board the number of students engaged in independent study, the ADA generated, 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.

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

51225.3 Requirements for high school graduation

51745-51749.3 Independent study programs

52206 Gifted and talented education; use of independent study to augment program

52522 Adult education alternative instructional delivery

52523 Adult education as supplement to high school curriculum; criteria

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:


Independent Study Operations Manual, 2000 Edition

Elements of Exemplary Independent Study

Approaches to Satisfying No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 Teacher Requirements for Independent Study in Secondary Schools, January 28, 2010


California Consortium for Independent Study:

California Department of Education, Independent Study:

Education Audit Appeals Panel:


adopted: June 1, 1981 Morgan Hill, California

revised: April 17, 2007

revised: August 2012

reviewed: November 13, 2012