It is imperative that your student attends school daily. Lost classroom time is difficult to replace. In certain circumstances though, students may wish to be absent from their assigned school site, but continue to participate in their studies. In such cases, you may request that your student be placed on “independent study,” during which time he or she will be provided with a course of instruction to be completed away from school. To request independent study, you must fill out and return an Independent Study Contract.
Students do not have a right to participate in an independent study. Independent study is made available to students on a case-by-case basis, considering the length of the absence, the student’s academic history, teacher availability, and other factors. Students who are not on independent study, and are who are otherwise absent for an unexcused reason, will not receive attendance or coursework credit. Such students may also be considered truant EC sections 51745–51749.3.
Below are the guidelines governing independent study:
Trips should not coincide with days that school is in session. After school is in session, absences between 5 and 10 days can be given attendance credit as long as they are not at the end or beginning of a school year. Contracts will not be issued with dates beginning or ending before September 15 or after June 1. Days of attendance credit may bracket around school holidays as long as the school days are consecutive and do not exceed the number of days approved on the Independent Study Contract. A student may not exceed 10 independent study days per school year unless the student has a need that has qualified them for long-term independent study. Long-term independent study is available for specialized cases (i.e. health issues) and requires approval of both the principal and Assistant Superintendent of Student Services.
1. Independent Study is a signed contract between the student, parent/guardian, and the school district.
2. The principal may use his/her discretion to approve or deny a contract.
3. Your child’s teacher and the school office staff must be notified a minimum of 5 school days in advance to compile homework assignments and prepare the Independent Study contract.
4. Each contract is limited to a minimum of 5 days to a maximum of 10 school days, beginning on the first day of absence, and ending on the returning day, i.e. the 11th day for a maximum of 10 excused school days. If the contract date lapses (12th day) without work being returned to the school by a child or parent, the contract is void. Void contracts will affect future independent contracts being granted.
5. Homework may be turned in early for appropriate credit, but not late. A student will not be given attendance credit if work is turned in late or goes past the stipulated contract date by one day. The student on an Independent Study contract must personally turn in homework prior to, but no later than the due date on the contract.
6. Teachers require a minimum of one week to evaluate returned work which represents 5 to 10 days of school attendance with appropriate credit of 1 to 10 days of ADA credit depending on the quality and quantity of the work returned.
7. Work not turned in by the agreed contract date voids the contract for any reason.
8. A student with disabilities, as defined in Education Code section 56026, is not eligible for independent study unless his/her individualized education program specifically provides for such participation (Education Code, 51745).
9. Schools cannot save spaces; if a contract due date is missed and the student has not returned to school he/she may lose their classroom placement if there are resident students on a waiting list ready to fill openings. Upon returning, the student may be administratively placed in another school if there is no longer available space in his/her grade when he/she returns. Students who are ill on their return date, and can provide a doctor’s excuse note, may have a parent/guardian turn in all of their assignments to the school on or before the end of the contract expiration date in order to meet the contract deadline. Schoolwork, approved by the teacher for content, but turned in after the due date, maybe given academic credit, but not attendance credit, and can negatively affect future contract requests.