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Ross Valley SD |  AR  6158  Instruction

Independent Study   

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Educational Opportunities

When requested by the parent/guardian due to emergencies or vacation , independent study may be used on a short-term basis not to exceed one semester or half of the school year to ensure that the student is able to maintain academic progress in his/her regular classes.

(cf. 5113 - Absences and Excuses)


The district shall not provide independent study students and their parents/guardians with funds or items of value that are not provided for other students and their parents/guardians. (Education Code 46300.6, 51747.3)

Eligibility for Independent Study

Parents/guardians of students who are interested in independent study should contact the principal or designee. Approval for participation shall be based on the following criteria:

Evidence that the student will work independently to complete the program

A student's participation in independent study shall be voluntary. (Education Code 51747)

Full-time independent study shall not be available to students whose district residency status is based on their parent/guardian's employment within district boundaries pursuant to Education Code 48204. (Education Code 51747.3)

(cf. 5111.12 - Residency Based on Parent/Guardian Employment)

A student with disabilities, as defined in Education Code 56026, shall not participate in independent study unless his/her individualized education program specifically provides for such participation. (Education Code 51745)

(cf. 6159 - Individualized Education Program)

A temporarily disabled student shall not receive individual instruction pursuant to Education Code 48206.3 by means of independent study. (Education Code 51745)

(cf. 6183 - Home and Hospital Instruction)

Written Agreements

A written agreement shall be developed for each student participating in independent study for five or more school days. (Education Code 46300, 51747)

The written independent agreement for each participating student shall include but not 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 personnel, that will be made available to the student

4. The Board'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

5. The duration of the independent study agreement, including the beginning and ending dates for the student's participation in independent study under the agreement, with a maximum of one trimester. The minimum duration for the agreement is 5 school days

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

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

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

(cf. 5144.1 - Suspension and Expulsion/Due Process)

Before beginning the independent study, each written agreement shall be signed and dated by the student, that parent/guardian or caregiver of the student if the student is under age 18, the certificated employee designated as responsible for general supervision of independent study, and all persons who have direct responsibility for providing assistance to the student.. (Education Code 51747; 5 CCR 11702)

The agreement shall state that the parent/guardian's signature confirms his/her permission for the student's independent study as specified in the agreement.

The written agreement shall be submitted to the school not less than five days prior to the start date of the agreement.

Student Rights and Responsibilities

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

Independent study students who are late or do not submit assigned work on time shall not be reported as tardy or truant. However, the independent study administrator shall promptly and directly address any failure by the student to meet the terms of his/her written agreement. The following supportive strategies may be used:

1. A letter to the student and/or parent/guardian

2. A meeting between the student and the teacher and/or counselor

3. A meeting between the student and the independent study administrator, including the parent/guardian if appropriate

4. An increase in the amount of time the student works under direct supervision

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

Administration of Independent Study

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

Supervising Teachers

The principal may recommend and the independent study administrator shall approve the assignment of teachers to directly supervise independent study. The teacher may be the student's regular classroom teacher, particularly for elementary students.

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 grade 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

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" below

9. In the case of short term Independent Study Agreements, the teacher shall mark on the completed assignment the date those assignments were submitted (which is to be no later than the morning of the first school day following the final day of the written agreement)

10. In the case of short term Independent Study Agreement, sign, date, and attach a one page representative sample of the student's completed work, indicating on that page the evaluation of it.

11. When appropriate, independent study teachers shall determine and assign grades or other approved measures of achievement


For audit purposes, the Superintendent or designee shall maintain the following records: (Education Code 51748; 5 CCR 11703)

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

2. A separate listing of the students , by grade level, program and school, who have participated in independent study, identifying units of the curriculum attempted and units of the curriculum completed by students in grades K-8

3. A file of all agreements, with representative samples of each student's or adult education 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

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 work products are personally judged by a certificated teacher, and reviewed by the supervising teacher if they are two different persons.

A written record of the findings of any evaluation conducted after the student has missed the number of assignments specified in Board policy shall be treated as a mandatory interim student record which shall be maintained for three years from the date of the evaluation. (Education Code 51747)

(cf. 5125 - Student Records)


approved: August 12, 2013 San Anselmo, California