Code Section

Education Code - EDC

TITLE 2. ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION [33000 - 65001]

  ( Title 2 enacted by Stats. 1976, Ch. 1010. )
  

DIVISION 4. INSTRUCTION AND SERVICES [46000 - 65001]

  ( Division 4 enacted by Stats. 1976, Ch. 1010. )
  

PART 28. GENERAL INSTRUCTIONAL PROGRAMS [51000 - 53303]

  ( Part 28 enacted by Stats. 1976, Ch. 1010. )
  

CHAPTER 5. Authorized Classes and Courses of Instruction [51705 - 51879.9]

  ( Chapter 5 enacted by Stats. 1976, Ch. 1010. )
  

ARTICLE 5.5. Independent Study [51745 - 51749.6]
  ( Article 5.5 repealed and added by Stats. 1989, Ch. 1089, Sec. 5. )

  
51747.  

A local educational agency 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) 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) (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 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) 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 progress.

(2) The objectives and methods of study for the pupil’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 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) and (b) 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) 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) (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 “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).

(Amended by Stats. 2021, Ch. 252, Sec. 30. (AB 167) Effective September 23, 2021.)