Today's Law As Amended


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AB-318 Pupil instruction: independent study: visual contact with pupil.(2017-2018)



As Amends the Law Today


SECTION 1.

 Section 51747 of the Education Code is amended to read:

51747.
 A local educational agency  school district or county office of education  shall not be eligible to receive apportionments for independent study by pupils, regardless of age, unless it has adopted written policies, and has implemented those policies, pursuant to rules and regulations adopted by the Superintendent, that include, but are not limited to, all of the following:
(a) (1) A statement that a teacher shall make visual contact with a pupil in person or by a live visual connection, no less than once every two weeks, to assess whether the pupil is making satisfactory educational progress.
(2) An exception to the requirement in paragraph (1) may be made on a case-by-case basis by the principal of the program, or by a designee of the governing board of a participating school district or county office of education, for justifiable reasons and for a specified period of time. The parent or guardian of a pupil who seeks an exception shall make a request in writing that designates the reason and the specified period of time for the exception. The principal or designee shall approve or deny the request pursuant to uniform standards established by the governing board of the participating school district or county office of education.
(a) (b)  The maximum length of time, by grade level and type of program, that may elapse between the time an independent study assignment is made and the date by which the pupil must complete the assigned work.
(b) (c)  (1)  The level of satisfactory educational progress and the  number of missed assignments that will be allowed before an evaluation is conducted to determine whether it is in the best interests of the pupil to remain in independent study, or whether the pupil  he or she  should return to the regular school program. A written record of the findings of any evaluation made pursuant to this subdivision shall be treated as a mandatory interim pupil record. The record shall be maintained for a period of three years from the date of the evaluation and, if the pupil transfers to another California public school, the record shall be forwarded to that school.
(2) Satisfactory educational progress shall be determined based on all of the following indicators:
(A) The pupil’s achievement and engagement in the independent study program, as indicated by the pupil’s performance on applicable pupil-level measures of pupil achievement and pupil engagement set forth in paragraphs (4) and (5) of subdivision (d) of Section 52060.
(B) The completion of assignments, assessments, or other indicators that evidence that the pupil is working on assignments.
(C) Learning required concepts, as determined by the supervising teacher.
(D) Progressing toward successful completion of the course of study or individual course, as determined by the supervising teacher.
(c) The provision of content aligned to grade level standards that is provided at a level of quality and intellectual challenge substantially equivalent to in-person instruction. For high schools, this shall include access to all courses offered by the local educational agency for graduation and approved by the University of California or the California State University as creditable under the A–G admissions criteria.
(d) Procedures for tiered reengagement strategies for all pupils who are not generating attendance for more than three schooldays or 60 percent of the instructional days in a school week, or 10 percent of required minimum instructional time over four continuous weeks of a local educational agency’s approved instructional calendar, pupils found not participatory pursuant to Section 51747.5 for more than the greater of three schooldays or 60 percent of the scheduled days of synchronous instruction in a school month as applicable by grade span, or pupils who are in violation of the written agreement pursuant to subdivision (g). These procedures shall include, but are not necessarily limited to, all of 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 recording of a non-attendance day 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, consistent with the policies adopted pursuant to paragraph (4) of subdivision (g).
(e) (1) For pupils in transitional kindergarten and grades 1 to 3, inclusive, a plan to provide opportunities for daily synchronous instruction for all pupils throughout the school year.
(2) For pupils in grades 4 to 8, inclusive, a plan to provide opportunities for both daily live interaction and at least weekly synchronous instruction for all pupils throughout the school year.
(3) For pupils in grades 9 to 12, inclusive, a plan to provide opportunities for at least weekly synchronous instruction for all pupils throughout the school year.
(f) A plan to transition pupils whose families wish to return to in-person instruction from independent study expeditiously, and, in no case, later than five instructional days.
(g) (d)  A requirement that a current written agreement for each independent study pupil shall be maintained on file, including, but not limited to, all of the following:
(1) The manner, time, frequency, and place for submitting a pupil’s assignments, for reporting the pupil’s academic progress, and for communicating with a pupil’s parent or guardian regarding a pupil’s academic  assignments and for reporting his or her  progress.
(2) The objectives and methods of study for the pupil’s work, and the methods used utilized  to evaluate that work.
(3) The specific resources, including materials and personnel, that will be made available to the pupil. These resources shall include confirming or providing access to all pupils to the connectivity and devices adequate to participate in the educational program and complete assigned work. 
(4) A statement of the policies adopted pursuant to subdivisions (a) (b)  and (b) (c)  regarding the maximum length of time allowed between the assignment and the completion of a pupil’s assigned work, the level of satisfactory educational progress,  and the number of missed assignments allowed before an evaluation of whether or not the pupil should be allowed to continue in independent study.
(5) The duration of the independent study agreement, including the beginning and ending dates for the pupil’s participation in independent study under the agreement. No independent study agreement shall be valid for any period longer than one school year.
(6) A statement of the number of course credits or, for the elementary grades, other measures of academic accomplishment appropriate to the agreement, to be earned by the pupil upon completion.
(7) A statement detailing the academic and other supports that will be provided to address the needs of pupils who are not performing at grade level, or need support in other areas, such as English learners, individuals with exceptional needs in order to be consistent with the pupil’s individualized education program or plan pursuant to Section 504 of the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. Sec. 794), pupils in foster care or experiencing homelessness, and pupils requiring mental health supports.
(8) (7)  The inclusion of a statement in each independent study agreement that independent study is an optional educational alternative in which no pupil may be required to participate. In the case of a pupil who is referred or assigned to any school, class, or program pursuant to Section 48915 or 48917, the agreement also shall include the statement that instruction may be provided to the pupil through independent study only if the pupil is offered the alternative of classroom instruction.
(9) (8)  (A) Each written agreement shall be signed, before the commencement of independent study, by the pupil, the pupil’s parent, legal guardian, or caregiver, if the pupil is less than 18 years of age, the certificated employee who has been designated as having responsibility for the general supervision of independent study, and all persons who have direct responsibility for providing assistance to the pupil. For purposes of this paragraph paragraph,  “caregiver” means a person who has met the requirements of Part 1.5 (commencing with Section 6550) of Division 11 of the Family Code.
(B) Signed written agreements, supplemental agreements, assignment records, work samples, and attendance records assessing time value of work or evidence that an instructional activity occurred may be maintained as an electronic file.
(C) For purposes of this section, an electronic file includes a computer or electronic stored image of an original document, including, but not limited to, portable document format (PDF), JPEG, or other digital image file type, that may be sent via fax machine, email, or other electronic means.
(D) Either an original document or an electronic file of the original document is allowable documentation for auditing purposes.
(E) Written agreements may be signed using an electronic signature that complies with state and federal standards, as determined by the department, that may be a marking that is either computer generated or produced by electronic means and is intended by the signatory to have the same effect as a handwritten signature. The use of an electronic signature shall have the same force and effect as the use of a manual signature if the requirements for digital signatures and their acceptable technology, as provided in Section 16.5 of the Government Code and in Chapter 10 (commencing with Section 22000) of Division 7 of Title 2 of the California Code of Regulations, are satisfied.
(F) Notwithstanding subparagraph (A), for the 2021–22 school year only, a local educational agency shall obtain a signed written agreement for an independent study program of any length of time from the pupil, or the pupil’s parent or legal guardian if the pupil is less than 18 years of age, the certificated employee who has been designated as having responsibility for the general supervision of independent study, and all persons who have direct responsibility for providing assistance to the pupil no later than 30 days after the first day of instruction in an independent study program or October 15, whichever date comes later. This subparagraph does not relieve a local educational agency from the obligation to comply with the requirements of this article, as amended by the act adding this subparagraph, upon commencement of instruction for a participating pupil in the 2021–22 school year.
(h) (1) For the 2021–22 school year only, school districts and county offices of education shall notify the parents and guardians of all enrolled pupils of their options to enroll their child in in-person instruction or independent study during the 2021–22 school year. This notice shall include written information on the local educational agency’s internet website, including, but not limited to, the right to request a pupil-parent-educator conference meeting before enrollment pursuant to this section, pupil rights regarding procedures for enrolling, disenrolling, and reenrolling in independent study, and the synchronous and asynchronous instructional time that a pupil will have access to as part of independent study. If 15 percent or more of the pupils enrolled in a local educational agency that provides instruction in transitional kindergarten, kindergarten, or any of grades 1 to 12, inclusive, speak a single primary language other than English, as determined from the census data submitted to the department pursuant to Section 52164 in the preceding year, the written information shall, in addition to being written in English, be written in the primary language.
(2) Upon the request of the parent or guardian of a pupil, before signing a written agreement pursuant to this section, the local educational agency shall conduct a telephone, videoconference, or in-person pupil-parent-educator conference or other school meeting during which the pupil, parent or guardian, and, if requested by the pupil or parent, an education advocate, may ask questions about the educational options, including which curriculum offerings and nonacademic supports will be available to the pupil in independent study, before making the decision about enrollment or disenrollment in the various options for learning.
(i) Subdivisions (d), (e), and (f) shall not apply to pupils that participate in an independent study program for fewer than 15 schooldays in a school year.
(j) (1) Notwithstanding paragraph (8) of subdivision (g) of this section, paragraph (1) of subdivision (e) of Section 46300, and subdivision (d) of Section 51745, for the 2021–22 school year only, a local educational agency shall be eligible to receive apportionments for independent study for pupils that are subject to quarantine for exposure to, or infection with, COVID-19 pursuant to local or state health guidance, and the pupil cannot participate in classroom-based instruction due to the quarantine, and for school closures due to COVID-19 pursuant to subdivision (c) of Section 41422. Local educational agencies shall receive apportionment for these pupils for all schooldays that they participate in and meet all other apportionment requirements of independent study while in quarantine or during a school closure.
(2) Notwithstanding Section 47612.5, for the 2021–22 fiscal year, a classroom-based charter school that provides an independent study program pursuant to this article for pupils that are subject to quarantine for exposure to, or infection with, COVID-19 pursuant to local or state health guidance, and the pupil cannot participate in classroom-based instruction due to the quarantine, shall not attribute quarantine-based independent study average daily attendance required pursuant to law for a nonclassroom-based charter school pursuant to Section 47612.5 and shall not be required to submit a request for a funding determination as a result of providing independent study to quarantined pupils.
(3) This subdivision shall apply only to pupils participating in independent study due to quarantine who do not have the option of in-person instruction, and only for the period of quarantine mandated pursuant to state or local health guidance or order. This subdivision shall not apply to classroom-based charter schools offering independent study to pupils whose parents or guardians have requested independent study pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 51745.
(k) Commencing with the 2021–22 fiscal year Guide for Annual Audits of K–12 Local Education Agencies and State Compliance Reporting, the Controller shall incorporate verification of the adoption of the policies required pursuant to this section, including loss of apportionment for independent study for local educational agencies found to be noncompliant, unless compliance verification for those policies is already included in the audit guide.
(l) The provisions of this section are not subject to waiver by the state board, by the Superintendent, or under any provision of Part 26.8 (commencing with Section 47600).

SEC. 2.

 Section 51747.1 is added to the Education Code, to read:

51747.1.
 (a) A charter school shall not be eligible to receive apportionments for independent study by pupils, regardless of age, unless it has adopted and implemented a written policy that requires a teacher to make visual contact with a pupil in person or by a live visual connection, no less than once every two weeks, to assess whether the pupil is making satisfactory educational progress.
(b) An exception to the requirement in subdivision (a) may be made on a case-by-case basis by the principal of the program, or by a designee of the governing body of a participating charter school, for justifiable reasons and for a specified period of time. The parent or guardian of a pupil who seeks an exception shall make a request in writing that designates the reason and the specified period of time for the exception. The principal or designee shall approve or deny the request pursuant to uniform standards established by the governing body of the participating charter school.

SEC. 3.

 Section 51749.5 of the Education Code is amended to read:

51749.5.
 (a) Notwithstanding any other law, and commencing with the 2015–16 school year, a local educational agency  school district, charter school, or county office of education  may, for pupils enrolled in kindergarten and grades 1 to 12, inclusive, provide independent study courses pursuant to the following conditions:
(1) The governing board or body of the local educational agency  a participating school district, charter school, or county office of education  adopts policies, at a public meeting, that comply with the requirements of this section and any applicable regulations adopted by the state board.
(2) A signed learning agreement is completed and on file pursuant to Section 51749.6.
(3) Courses are taught under the general supervision of certificated employees who hold the appropriate subject matter credential pursuant to Section 44300 or 44865, or subdivision (l) of Section 47605, meet the requirements for highly qualified teachers pursuant to the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (20 U.S.C. Sec. 6301 et seq.),  and are employed by the local educational agency  school district, charter school, or county office of education  at which the pupil is enrolled, or by a local educational agency  school district, charter school, or county office of education  that has a memorandum of understanding to provide the instruction in coordination with the local educational agency  school district, charter school, or county office of education  at which the pupil is enrolled.
(4) (A) Courses are annually certified, by local educational agency  school district, charter school, or county office of education  governing board or body resolution, to be of the same rigor, educational quality, and intellectual challenge substantially equivalent to in-person instruction and equivalent  rigor and educational quality as equivalent  classroom-based courses, and shall be aligned to all relevant local and state content standards. For high schools, this shall include access to all courses offered by the local educational agency for graduation and approved by the University of California or the California State University as creditable under the A-G admissions criteria. 
(B) This certification shall, at a minimum, include the duration, number of equivalent daily instructional minutes for each schoolday that a pupil is enrolled, number of equivalent total instructional minutes, and  number of course credits for each course, and a plan as described in subparagraph (C).  course.  This information shall be consistent with that of equivalent classroom-based courses.
(C) (i) For pupils in transitional kindergarten and grades 1 to 3, inclusive, a plan to provide opportunities for daily synchronous instruction for all pupils throughout the school year.
(ii) For pupils in grades 4 to 8, inclusive, a plan to provide opportunities for both daily live interaction and at least weekly synchronous instruction for all pupils throughout the school year.
(iii) For pupils in grades 9 to 12, inclusive, a plan to provide opportunities for at least weekly synchronous instruction for all pupils throughout the school year.
(5) Pupils enrolled in courses authorized by this section shall meet the applicable age requirements established pursuant to Sections 46300.1, 46300.4, 47612, and 47612.1.
(6) Pupils enrolled in courses authorized by this section shall meet the applicable residency and enrollment requirements established pursuant to Sections 46300.2, 47612, 48204, and 51747.3.
(7) (A) (i) Certificated employees and each pupil shall communicate in person or by a live visual connection, no less than once every two weeks, to assess whether each pupil is making satisfactory educational progress.
(7) (ii)  (A)  An individual with exceptional needs, as defined in Section 56026, shall not participate in course-based independent study, unless the pupil’s individualized education program developed pursuant to Article 3 (commencing with Section 56340) of Chapter 4 of Part 30 specifically provides for that participation. exception to the requirement in clause (i) may be granted on a case-by-case basis by the principal of the program, or by a designee of the governing board or body of a participating school district, charter school, or county office of education, for justifiable reasons and for a specified period of time. The parent or guardian of a pupil who seeks an exception shall make a request in writing that designates the reason and the specified period of time for the exception. The principal or designee shall approve or deny the request pursuant to uniform standards established by the governing board or body of the participating school district, charter school, or county office of education. 
(B) A temporarily disabled pupil shall not receive individual instruction pursuant to Section 48206.3 through course-based independent study.
(8) (A) Satisfactory educational progress shall be determined based on all of the following indicators:
(i) The pupil’s achievement and engagement in the independent study program, as indicated by the pupil’s performance on applicable pupil-level measures of pupil achievement and pupil engagement set forth in paragraphs (4) and (5) of subdivision (d) of Section 52060.
(ii) (B)  The  For purposes of this section, satisfactory educational progress includes, but is not limited to, applicable statewide accountability measures and the  completion of assignments, assessments, examinations,  or other indicators that evidence that the pupil is working on assignments. assignments, learning required concepts, and progressing toward successful completion of the course, as determined by certificated employees providing instruction. 
(iii) Learning required concepts, as determined by the supervising teacher.
(iv) Progressing toward successful completion of the course of study or individual course, as determined by the supervising teacher.
(B) (C)  If satisfactory educational progress in one or more courses  is not being made, certificated employees providing instruction shall notify the pupil and, if the pupil is less than 18 years of age, the pupil’s parent or legal guardian, and conduct an evaluation to determine whether it is in the best interest of the pupil to remain in the course or whether the pupil  he or she  should be referred to an alternative program, which may include, but is not limited to, a regular school program. A written record of the findings of an evaluation made pursuant to this subdivision shall be treated as a mandatory interim pupil record. The record shall be maintained for a period of three years from the date of the evaluation and, if the pupil transfers to another California public school, the record shall be forwarded to that school.
(C) Procedures for tiered reengagement strategies for all pupils who are not making satisfactory educational progress in one or more courses, or who are in violation of the written learning agreement pursuant to Section 51749.6. These procedures shall include, but are not necessarily limited to, all of the following:
(i) Verification of current contact information for each enrolled pupil.
(ii) A plan for outreach from the school to determine pupil needs, including connection with health and social services as necessary.
(iii) A clear standard for requiring a pupil-parent-educator conference to review a pupil’s written learning agreement, and reconsider the independent study course’s impact on the pupil’s achievement and well-being.
(D) Written or computer-based evidence of satisfactory educational progress, as described defined  in subparagraph (A), (B),  shall be retained for each course and pupil. At a minimum, this evidence shall include a grade book or summary document that, for each course, lists all assignments, examinations, and associated grades.
(9) A plan to transition pupils whose families wish to return to in-person instruction from course-based independent study expeditiously, and, in no case, later than five instructional days.
(10) (8)  A proctor shall administer examinations.
(11) (9)  (A) Statewide testing results for pupils enrolled in any course authorized pursuant to this section shall be reported and assigned to the school or charter school at which the pupil is enrolled, and to any school district, charter school, or county office of education within which that school’s or charter school’s testing results are aggregated.
(B) Statewide testing results for pupils enrolled in a course or courses pursuant to this section shall be disaggregated for purposes of comparing the testing results of those pupils to the testing results of pupils enrolled in classroom-based courses.
(12) (10)  A pupil shall not be required to enroll in courses authorized by this section.
(13) (11)  The pupil-to-certificated-employee ratio limitations established pursuant to Section 51745.6 are applicable to courses authorized by this section.
(14) (12)  For each pupil, the combined equivalent daily instructional minutes for enrolled courses authorized by this section and enrolled courses authorized by all other laws and regulations shall meet the minimum instructional day requirements applicable to the local educational agency. Pupils enrolled in courses authorized by this section shall be offered the minimum annual total equivalent instructional minutes pursuant to Sections 46200 to 46208, inclusive, and Section 47612.5.
(15) (13)  Courses required for high school graduation or for admission to the University of California or California State University shall not be offered exclusively through independent study.
(16) (14)  A pupil participating in independent study shall not be assessed a fee prohibited by Section 49011.
(17) (15)  A pupil shall not be prohibited from participating in independent study solely on the basis that the pupil  he or she  does not have the materials, equipment, or internet Internet  access that are necessary to participate in the independent study course.
(b) For purposes of computing average daily attendance for each pupil enrolled in one or more courses authorized by this section, the following computations shall apply:
(1) (A) For each schoolday, add the combined equivalent daily instructional minutes, as certified in paragraph (4) of subdivision (a), for courses authorized by this section in which the pupil is enrolled.
(B) For each schoolday, add the combined daily instructional minutes of courses authorized by all other laws and regulations in which the pupil is enrolled and for which the pupil meets applicable attendance requirements.
(C) For each schoolday, add the sum of subparagraphs (A) and (B).
(2) If subparagraph (C) of paragraph (1) meets applicable minimum schoolday requirements for each schoolday, and all other requirements in this section have been met, credit each schoolday that the pupil is demonstrating satisfactory educational progress pursuant to the requirements of this section, with up to one school day of attendance.
(3) (A) Using credited schoolday attendance pursuant to paragraph (2), calculate average daily attendance pursuant to Section 41601 or 47612, whichever is applicable, for each pupil.
(B) The average daily attendance computed pursuant to this subdivision shall not result in more than one unit of average daily attendance per pupil.
(4) Notwithstanding any other law, average daily attendance computed for pupils enrolled in courses authorized by this section shall not be credited with average daily attendance other than what is specified in this section.
(5) If more than 10 percent of the total average daily attendance of a local educational agency  school district, charter school, or county office of education  is claimed pursuant to this section, then the amount of average daily attendance for all pupils enrolled by that school district, charter school, or county office of education in courses authorized pursuant to this section that is in excess of 10 percent of the total average daily attendance for the local educational agency  school district, charter school, or county office of education  shall be reduced by either (A) the statewide average rate of absence for elementary school districts for kindergarten and grades 1 to 8, inclusive, or (B) the statewide average rate of absence for high school districts for grades 9 to 12, inclusive, as applicable, as calculated by the department for the prior fiscal year, with the resultant figures and ranges rounded to the nearest 10th.
(c) For purposes of this section, “equivalent total instructional minutes” means the same number of minutes as required for an equivalent classroom-based course.
(d) This section does not  Nothing in this section shall be deemed to  prohibit the right to collectively bargain any subject within the scope of representation pursuant to Section 3543.2 of the Government Code.
(e) (1) The Superintendent shall conduct an evaluation of independent study courses offered pursuant to this section and report the findings to the Legislature and the Director of Finance no later than September 1, 2019. The report shall, at a minimum, compare the academic performance of pupils in independent study with demographically similar pupils enrolled in equivalent classroom-based courses.
(2) The requirement for submitting a report imposed under paragraph (1) is inoperative on September 1, 2023, pursuant to Section 10231.5 of the Government Code.
(3) A report to be submitted pursuant to paragraph (1) shall be submitted in compliance with Section 9795 of the Government Code.
(f) (1) Commencing with the 2021–22 fiscal year Guide for Annual Audits of K–12 Local Education Agencies and State Compliance Reporting, the Controller shall incorporate verification of the ratios included in this section, including fiscal penalties for noncompliance as described in this section.
(2) Commencing with the 2021–22 fiscal year Guide for Annual Audits of K–12 Local Education Agencies and State Compliance Reporting, the Controller shall incorporate compliance reviews for subdivisions (a) to (e), inclusive, unless compliance verification for those subdivisions is already included in the audit guide. Findings of noncompliance shall result in the loss of apportionment equal to the average daily attendance impacted by the noncompliance.
(g) The provisions of this section are not subject to waiver by the state board, by the Superintendent, or under any provision of Part 26.8 (commencing with Section 47600).