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Independent Study Options for the 2021-2022 School Year
Posted 7/30/21

Click here for to review the Board of Education presentation on Independent Study

Please complete our online interest form if you are interested in participating in Independent Study

San Rafael City Schools is excited to welcome all students back to in-person school five days a week starting on August 19, 2021.  We also wanted to ensure that parents are aware of changes for the 2021-2022 school year that allow parents to enroll their student(s) in an Independent Study program instead of 5 day a week in-person instruction. Independent Study is being offered to students whose health would be put at risk by in-person instruction, as determined by the parent or guardian. 
This letter will provide you with the information needed to request a conference/orientation and enroll in the District’s independent study option. 
For the 2021-2022 school year only, school districts are required to offer students an independent study option. Under Assembly Bill (AB) 130, a school district must offer independent study for a pupil whose health would be put at risk by in-person instruction, as determined by the parent or guardian for the 2021-2022 school year only. For students with special education needs, participation in independent study continues to be subject to IEP team determination as already provided in the law. 

(a.) Students who enroll in independent study will be expected to participate in the following:

  1. Grades TK-3: Daily synchronous instruction for one hour, and asynchronous instruction as required by the student’s teacher or course;
  2. Grades 4-8: Daily live interaction, at least one hour of weekly synchronous instruction, and asynchronous instruction as required by the student’s teacher or course; 
  3. Grades 9-12: At least one hour of weekly synchronous instruction, and asynchronous instruction as required by the student’s teacher or course;

➢    Synchronous Instructional Time - Classroom-style instruction or designated small group or one-on-one instruction delivered in person or in the form of internet or telephonic communications and involving live, two-way communication between the teacher and student. Synchronous instruction shall be provided by the teacher(s) of record for that student. 

➢    Asynchronous work - Assignments submitted/completed in Google Classroom or Canvas, or reading, for example. Families are responsible for supporting students to complete asynchronous work as a required part of the program. This parent expectation is part of the Independent Study Agreement contract that families sign. 

(b.) Additional information regarding the instructional time that students will be expected to participate in, as well as the curriculum and nonacademic support available to students in independent study will be provided during the pupil-parent educator conference described in Section (f), below. 

(c.) A-G courses and any courses required for graduation must be offered and be aligned to grade-level standards.

(d.) Tiered re-engagement procedures must be implemented for students who are not in attendance for more than three school days or 60% of instructional days in a school week, or who are in violation of their written learning agreement. These procedures must include the following:

  1. Verification of current contact information for each enrolled pupil.
  2. Notification to parents or guardians of lack of participation within one school day of the absence or lack of participation.
  3. A plan for outreach from the school to determine pupil needs, including connection with health and social services, as necessary.
  4. A clear standard for requiring a pupil-parent-educator conference to review a pupil’s written agreement and reconsider the independent study program’s impact on the pupil’s achievement and well-being.

For more information about the District’s independent study program, please see below:

Grades TK-8 (Elementary and Middle School): NUSD Independent Study - https://nova.nusd.org/

  • NUSD Credentialed Teachers for grades TK-8
  • Teacher led virtual lessons and instruction
  • Independent virtual lessons and instruction
  • Field Trip Opportunities
  • Social Emotional Learning Supports
  • English Learner Supports
  • Library access and digital subscriptions
  • Regularly scheduled in-person student/teacher check-ins
  • Access to Counselors for High School, College & Career Planning (grade 8)

Grades 9-12 (High Schools): FUEL 

  • Partner with FUEL to provide 6 classes for each interested student
  • Students meet with one of our current FUEL teachers to check in weekly
  • Important to consider alignment with comprehensive schools 

(e.) The following rights and procedures will apply to students who wish to enroll, disenroll, and re-enroll in independent study:

  1. For enrollment in a course-based independent study program, a learning agreement must be signed by the student (or the student’s parent or legal guardian if the student is not at least 18 years old), the teacher who will be responsible for the general supervision of the student, and all other persons who will be directly responsible for providing assistance to the student before the student can begin receiving instruction in the course-based independent study program; 
  2. For enrollment in a traditional independent study program, an independent study agreement must be signed by the student (or the student’s parent or legal guardian if the student is not at least 18 years old), the teacher who will be responsible for the general supervision of the student, and all other persons who will be directly responsible for providing assistance to the student no later than 30 days after the first day of instruction; 
  3. Parents and guardians have a right to request a pupil-parent conference, as described in Section (f), below, before enrollment in an independent study program;
  4. A plan must be in place to transition students who wish to return to in-person instruction, upon written parent request, within 5 instructional days. 

To initiate the enrollment, disenrollment, or re-enrollment of your child in the independent study program, please contact Kathia Herschkorn in the Student Services Department at (415) 492-3238, or kherschkorn@srcs.org. You may also contact your school site administration for assistance. 

If your child is enrolled in the independent study program, please be aware of the following:

  • Students will need to follow independent study requirements, which include an independent student contract/written learning agreement, and completion of all assigned work.
  • Students will receive daily independent assignments that may require parent support and guidance
  • While students may enroll, disenroll, and re-enroll in the independent study program at any time during the school year, re-enrollment at one's home-school or school of preference is not guaranteed. Students returning to in-person learning will be placed based on space in the respective grade level. 

(f.) Before signing a learning agreement, a parent or guardian of a student may request a phone, videoconference, or in-person pupil-parent-educator conference or other school meeting where the student and/or parent/guardian may ask questions about the educational options, including which curriculum and nonacademic supports will be available to the student through independent study, before making a decision about enrollment or disenrollment in the various options for learning. 

(g.) A student’s participation in daily live interaction and synchronous instruction must be documented on each school days, as applicable, in whole or in part, for which independent study is provided. 

(h.) Written or computer-based evidence of student engagement must be maintained for each course and student, including a grade book or summary document that, for each course, lists all assignments, examinations, and associated grades. 

(i.) Participation in independent study is optional and no student is required to participate. 

(j.) Students with disabilities: For students with special education eligibility, an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) meeting will be scheduled and held upon a parent request for independent study. An IEP meeting is necessary in order to review the special education services and supports a child requires in order to access the general education program, as well as any special education and related services to determine if the student’s special education learning needs can, or cannot be met in the independent study program. If an IEP team determines a student’s special education learning needs can be met, a new IEP will be developed to reflect the independent study program as the new Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) offer, specifically for enrollment in the independent study program. It is important to know that an IEP placement in the independent study program may look different in terms of services and program than compared to placement in the traditional in-person learning program at their public school site. 

Parents or guardians may select an instructional program that best suits their child’s needs. If you have any questions beyond the details listed above, please contact the Student Services Department at (415) 492-3238 to ask about the process. As you make your decision about Independent Study options, you may want to review the California Department of Public Health COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for K-12 Schools in California, 2021-22 School Year.