TK-8 District of Choice


Instruction > Board Policy 6158 - Independent Study

The Governing Board authorizes independent study as an optional alternative instructional strategy for eligible students whose needs may be best met through study outside of the regular classroom setting. Independent study shall offer a means of individualizing the educational plan and enabling students to reach curriculum objectives and fulfill graduation requirements. As necessary to meet student needs, independent study may be offered on a full-time basis or on a part-time basis in conjunction with part- or full-time classroom study.

A student's participation in independent study shall be voluntary. Students participating in independent study shall have the right, at any time, to enter or return to the regular classroom mode of instruction. (Education Code 51747; 5 CCR 11700)

Parents/guardians of students who are interested in independent study shall contact the school principal or Superintendent's designee. The school principal or Superintendent's designee shall approve independent study for an individual student only upon determining that the student is prepared to meet the district's requirements for independent study and is likely to succeed in independent study as well as or better than he/she would in the regular classroom setting.

The minimum period of time for any independent study option shall be five consecutive school days.

Written Agreements

The Superintendent or designee shall ensure that a written independent study agreement exists for each participating student as prescribed by law.

(Education Code 51747, 51749.5) Each independent study agreement shall be designed to fit the educational needs of the participating student and shall provide for a balanced set of educational experiences. Students shall receive full academic credit for work satisfactorily performed under an independent study agreement.

The Superintendent or designee shall determine that the prospective independent study student understands and is prepared to meet the District's requirements for independent study. Independent study entails a commitment by both the parent/guardian and the student.

To foster each student's success in independent study, the Board establishes the following maximum lengths of time which may elapse between the time an assignment is made and date by which the student must complete the assigned work shall be as follows:

  1. For students in grades K-3: 1 week

  2. For students in grades 4-8: 2 weeks when circumstances justify a longer time, the Superintendent or designee may extend the maximum length of an assignment to a period not to exceed eight weeks, pursuant to a written request with justification.

When a participating student misses three assignments, an evaluation shall be conducted to determine whether it is in the student's best interest to remain in independent study. However, a student's written agreement may specify a lower or higher number of missed assignments that will trigger an evaluation when the Superintendent or designee determines it appropriate based on the nature of the assignments, the total number of assignments, and/or other unique circumstances.

Student-Teacher Conferences

Supervising teachers should establish an appropriate schedule for student-teacher conferences in order to help identify students falling behind in their work or in danger of failing or dropping out of school . Except in unusual circumstances, it is expected that the supervising teacher will meet, either in person or by electronic means, with each participating student at least once a week to discuss the student's progress. Missing appointments with the supervising teacher without valid reasons may trigger an evaluation to determine whether the student should remain in independent study.

Program Evaluation

The Superintendent or designee shall annually review the number of district students participating in independent study, the average daily attendance generated for apportionment purposes, student performance as measured by standard indicators and in comparison to students in classroom-based instruction, and the number and proportion of independent study students who graduate or successfully complete independent study.

Home Schooling Through Independent Study

The Superintendent or designee shall encourage parents/guardians desiring to teach their children at home to enroll their children in independent study. Such enrollment allows continued contact and cooperation between the school system and home-based student and ensures that the student will be offered a standard-based education substantially equivalent in quality and quantity to the district's classroom instruction.


Adopted: September 10, 2020
Evergreen School District, San Jose, California