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Independent Study Policy

CWCS Board Approved September 28, 2021

 

  1. This policy shall apply to all pupils enrolled in Connecting Waters Charter School (CWCS), Connecting Waters Charter School, East Bay (CWEB), and Connecting Waters Charter School, Central Valley (collectively, “the Charter Schools”), independent study charter schools serving pupils in grades TK-12.
  2. Students who attend CWCS, CWEB, or CWCV will be educated through individually designed curricula, which may include, but are not limited to: non- classroom based learning programs, cooperative school programs and classes, apprenticeships, on-the-job training, community-based educational programs, group seminars, distance learning via current technology, and supplemental learning projects.
  3. The Charter Schools shall comply with all state and federal Charter School laws regarding independent study instruction.
  4. Each student’s independent study shall be coordinated, evaluated, and carried out under the general supervision of an assigned certificated employee or employees of the Charter Schools.
  5. The maximum length of time that may elapse between the times an independent study assignment is made and the date by which the student must complete the assigned work shall be no more than twenty (20) school days, for all grade levels and for CWCS, CWEB, or CWCV, or as modified by an assigned credentialed teacher at the time the work is assigned to the pupil.
  6. For all grade levels and for CWCS, CWEB, or CWCV, the Executive Director or designee shall conduct an evaluation to determine whether it is in the best interests of the pupil to remain in independent study upon the following triggers:
    1. When any pupil fails to complete one assignment during any period of 20 school days.
    2. In the event Student’s educational progress falls below satisfactory levels as determined by the Charter School’s Personalized Learning Team Process which considers ALL of the following indicators:

 

  1. 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 Education Code Section 52060(d) paragraphs (4) and (5).
  2. The completion of assignments, assessments, or other indicators that evidence that the pupil is working on assignments.
  3. Learning required concepts, as determined by the supervising teacher.
  4. Progressing toward successful completion of the course of study or individual course, as determined by the supervising teacher.

 

A written record of the findings of any review made pursuant to this subdivision shall be maintained in the pupil’s mandatory interim 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.

The evaluation may consist of some or all of the following:

 

  1. Monthly review of work
  2. Annual portfolios
  3. Parent, student, and Education Specialist observation
  4. Norm - and criterion-referenced tests
  5. Student demonstrations
  6. Student grades
  7. Student work samples
  8. Student self-evaluation

 

The role of the credentialed teacher is critical to the success of charter school independent study students. The teacher’s observations, discussions with parents/guardians and students, and examinations of written work are the key to quality control.  The results of the evaluation may lead to a recommendation for involuntary removal of the student in accordance with the terms of the approved charters and Education Code Section 47605.

 

  1. The Charter School shall provide 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 school grade levels this shall include access to all courses offered by the Charter School for graduation and approved by the UC or CSU as credible under the A-G admissions criteria.

 

  1. The Charter School has adopted tiered reengagement strategies for the following pupils:

 

  1. all pupils who are not generating attendance for more than three (3) 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 the Charter School’s approved instructional calendar,
  2. pupils found not participatory pursuant to Education Code 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,
  3. or pupils who are in violation of the written agreement pursuant to Education Code Section 51747(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 Charter 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 shall be required 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) of Education Code Section 51747.

 

  1. The following plan shall be in place in accordance with Education Code Section 51747(e) for synchronous instruction and live interaction:

 

  1. For pupils in transitional kindergarten through grade 3, inclusive, the plan to provide opportunities for daily synchronous instruction for all pupils throughout the school year by each pupil’s assigned supervising teacher shall be as follows: The supervising teacher will provide daily opportunities to meet with these students for synchronous instruction via an online platform. The students and parents will be provided the times in which they can participate in the daily synchronous instruction.
  2. For pupils in grades 4-8, inclusive, the plan to provide opportunities for daily live interaction between the pupil and a certificated or non-certificated employee of the Charter School and at least weekly synchronous instruction for all pupils throughout the school year by each pupil’s assigned supervising teacher shall be as follows: The supervising teacher will provide at least weekly opportunities to meet with these students via an online platform. The students and parents will be provided the days and times in which they can participate in at least weekly synchronous instruction.
  3. Opportunities for live interaction will also be provided by school employees daily. This will be provided through an online platform.
  4. For pupils in grades 9-12, inclusive, the plan to provide opportunities for at least weekly synchronous instruction for all pupils throughout the school year by each pupil’s assigned supervising teacher shall be as follows: The supervising teacher will provide weekly opportunities to meet with these students via an online platform. The students and parents will be provided the days and times in which they can participate in the weekly synchronous instruction.

 

  1. Enrollment in a charter school is totally voluntary pursuant to Education Code Section 47604. In order 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, upon request, the supervising teacher will provide the families with options for enrollment in classroom based instruction, including but not limited to schools from the district of residence.

 

  1. A current written agreement shall be maintained on file for each independent study pupil, 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. (1) 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.
  1. Written agreements may be signed using an electronic signature that complies with state and federal standards, as determined by the California Department of Education, 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.
  2. For the 2021–22 school year only, the Charter School shall obtain a signed written agreement for an independent study program of any length of time no later than 30 days after the first day of instruction in an independent study program or October 15, whichever date comes later.
  3. If a parent or student knowingly provides any false information on the student application, the student shall be recommended for involuntary removal from the Charter Schools in accordance with the terms of the charters and Education Code Section 47605.

 

I.    A charter school may not claim state funding for the independent study of a pupil, whether characterized as home study or otherwise, if the charter school has provided any funds or other thing of value to the pupil or the pupil’s parent or guardian that a school district could not legally provide to a similarly situated pupil of the school district, or to the pupil’s parent or guardian.

 a.    CWCS and CWCV may only receive funding for the provision of independent study to pupils who are residents of Stanislaus County or who are residents of a county immediately adjacent to Stanislaus County. CWEB may only receive funding for the provision of independent study pupils who are residents of Alameda County or who are residents of a county immediately adjacent to Alameda County.

 b.    The Charter Schools must comply with Education Code Section 51745.6 and California Code of Regulations Section 11704 regarding teacher to ADA limits.

 

4825-0983-6284, v. 1