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BUSD revises independent study policy

Joe Naiman

Village News Reporter

The Bonsall Unified School District made independent study a formal program for the 2021-22 school year. The April 17 BUSD board meeting approved revisions to the independent study policy.

Michael Gaddis was unable to attend that board meeting, but the other four board members all supported the revisions to the policy. Many of the changes reflect updated state policies regarding independent study.

“We continue to see that there are families and students who are thriving with independent study,” said BUSD Superintendent Joseph Clevenger.

The coronavirus shutdown replaced in-class learning with remote learning. Some students struggled outside of the classroom while other students found independent study to be beneficial.

The Bonsall Unified School District chose to incorporate the benefits of independent study into a formal program. Approximately 60 BUSD students participated in the independent study program during the first year, which equates to more than two percent of the total enrollment.

The BUSD superintendent or his designee shall ensure that a written independent study agreement exists for each participating student. The board policy changes now call for the school district to provide written notice to parents or guardians for all enrolled BUSD students about the option to enroll their child in either in-person instruction or independent study.

The notice shall be posted on the BUSD website and will include information about the right to request a student-parent-educator conference before enrollment, student rights regarding procedures for enrolling and disenrolling and the instructional time a student will be able to access for an independent study program.

If a meeting is requested, including a telephone or video conference meeting, as well as an in-person meeting, the student, parent, or guardian may ask questions about the educational options. These may include which curriculum offerings and non-academic supports will be available to the student in independent study.

Although the school district may not provide independent study students and their parents or guardians with funds or other items of value which are not provided for other students and their parents or guardians, the new policy clarifies that providing access to internet connectivity and local education agency-owned devices adequate to participate in an independent study program and complete assigned work shall not be considered funds or other things of value.

The new policy also allows written agreements to be signed using an electronic signature, which complies with state and federal standards.

 

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