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Orinda Union SD |  BP  6158  Instruction

Independent Study   

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The Board of Trustees authorizes independent study as an optional alternative instructional strategy by which eligible students in grades TK-8 may reach curricular objectives. Independent study shall offer a means of individualizing the educational plan for students whose needs may be met best through study outside of the regular classroom setting.

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

(cf. 6011 - Academic Standards)

(cf. 6143 - Courses of Study)

The Superintendent of 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.

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)

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

Written Agreements

The Superintendent or designee shall ensure that a written independent study agreement, as prescribed by law, exists for each participating student. Orinda Union School District allows independent study agreements between five and ten consecutive school days in length. An extension in the independent study agreement beyond ten consecutive school days requires the approval of the Superintendent or designee. No independent study agreement can be valid for longer than one semester. (Education Code 51747, 51749.5)

The independent study agreement shall specify the length of time in which each independent study assignment must be completed. Because excessive leniency in the duration of independent study assignments may result in a student falling behind his/her peers and increase the risk of dropping out of school, independent study assignments shall be no more than two weeks in duration for all grade levels and types of program. However, when necessary based on the specific circumstances of the student's approved program, the Superintendent or designee may allow for a longer period of time between the date an assignment is made and when it is due, up to the termination date of the agreement.

An evaluation shall be conducted to determine whether it is in a student's best interest to remain in independent study whenever the student misses three assignments, unless the student's written agreement specifies a lower or higher number of missed assignments based on the nature of the assignments, the total number of assignments, and/or other unique circumstances.

Legal Reference:


17289 Exemption for facilities

41976.2 Independent study programs; adult education funding

42238 Revenue limits

42238.05 Local control funding formula; average daily attendance

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

46200-46208 Instructional day and year

46300-46307.1 Methods of computing average daily attendance

47612.5 Independent study in charter schools

48204 Residency

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

49011 Student fees

51225.3 Requirements for high school graduation

51745-51749.6 Independent study programs

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


6301 Highly qualified teachers


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: January 25, 1999 Orinda, California

revised: April 7, 2008

revised: December 6, 2010

revised: March 11, 2019