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Petaluma City Schools |  BP  6158  Instruction

Independent Study   

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The Board of Education authorizes independent study as a voluntary 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 be met best through study outside of the regular classroom setting.

(cf. 5147 - Dropout Prevention)

The district's independent study option shall be substantially equivalent in quality and quantity 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 is available to other students in the school.

(cf. 6143 - Courses of Study)

(cf. 6200 - Adult Education)

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, as prescribed by law, exists for each participating student. (Education Code 51747)

To foster each student's success in independent study, the Board establishes the following maximum lengths of time which may elapse between the time an assignment is made and date by which the student must complete the assigned work shall be as follows:

1. For students in grades K-3: 2 weeks

2. For students in grades 4-8: 2 weeks

3. For students in grades 9-12, 3 weeks

continuation and adult education

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 two 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.

(cf. 5125 - Student Records)

The Superintendent or designee district may 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.

Home Schooling Through Independent Study

The Superintendent or designee shall encourage parents/guardians desiring to teach their children at home to enroll their children in independent study. Such enrollment allows continued contact and cooperation between the school system and home-based student.

Legal Reference:


17289 Exemption for facilities

42238 Revenue limits

44865 Qualifications for home teachers and teachers in special classes and schools; consent to assignment

46300-46300.6 Methods of computing ADA

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

56026 Individuals with exceptional needs


6550 Authorization affidavits


11700-11703 Independent study


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

Management Resources:


Independent Study Operations Manual, 2000 edition


California Consortium for Independent Study:

California Department of Education, Independent Study:


adopted: June 25, 2002 Petaluma, California

revised: April 29, 2008