It is the intent of the Board of Education to provide the highest quality educational experience to meet the individual needs and interests of each student. The Board of Education authorizes independent study as voluntary optional alternative instructional strategy for eligible students whose needs may be best met through study outside of the traditional classroom setting. The District may not offer anything of value, not provided to students in traditional schools, as an incentive to participate in an independent study program. 

Independent study offers a means of individualizing the educational plan to serve students who desire an alternative educational experience, whose health or other personal circumstances make classroom attendance difficult (e.g., health is at-risk during in-person instruction, or continuing or special study during travel),  who are unable to access courses due to scheduling problems, who seek individualized study in a particular area of interest not currently available in the regular school curriculum,  and/or who need to make up credits or fill gaps in their learning, enabling students to reach curriculum objectives, meet college and career goals, 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.

The Superintendent or designee may provide a variety of independent study opportunities, including, but not limited to, a program or class within a comprehensive school, an alternative school or program of choice, a home-based format, a home-hospital program, or online coursework. Such programming may include asynchronous learning activities, and shall include synchronous learning activities as required by law.  The specific requirements of the District’s Independent Study program are outlined in the District’s accompanying Administrative Regulation and any Independent Study Program Policies and Procedures.

A student's participation in independent study shall be agreed upon by both the parent or guardian and the school (mutually voluntary). Students participating in independent study shall have the right, at any time, to enter or return to the traditional classroom mode of instruction. For students with disabilities, as defined in Education Code 56026, participation in independent study shall be approved if the student’s individualized education program specifically provides for such participation as a method to provide the student with a free appropriate public education.

Legal Reference:

17289 Exemption for facilities
41976.2Independent study programs; adult education funding
42238 Revenue limits
44865 Qualifications for home teachers and teachers in special classes and schools
46300-46307.1 Methods of computing average daily attendance
47612.5 Independent study in charter schools
48204 Residency based on parent employment
48206.3 Home or hospital instruction; students with temporary disabilities
48220 Classes of children exempted
48340 Improvement of pupil attendance
48915 Expulsion; particular circumstances
48916.1 Educational program requirements for expelled students
48917 Suspension of expulsion order
51225.3 Requirements for high school graduation
51745-51749.3 Independent study programs
52206 Gifted and talented education; use of independent study to augment program
52522 Adult education alternative instructional delivery
52523 Adult education as supplement to high school curriculum; criteria
56026 Individuals with exceptional needs
58500-58512 Alternative schools and programs of choice

6550 Authorization affidavits

11700-11703 Independent study
19819 State audit compliance

Modesto City Schools v. Education Audits Appeal Panel, (2004) 123 Cal.App.4th 1365

Lucerne Valley Unified School District, Case No. 03-02 (2005) Management Resources:
Independent Study Operations Manual, 2000 Edition
Elements of Exemplary Independent Study
Approaches to Satisfying No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 Teacher Requirements for Independent Study in Secondary Schools, January

California Consortium for Independent Study: California Department of Education, Independent Study:
Education Audit Appeals Panel:
SB-858 Education Finance: Education Omnibus Trailer Bill (2013-2014)

Policy Adopted: October 2, 1990
Policy Revised: October 2, 2012
Policy Revised: April 12, 2016
Policy Revised: August 17, 2021

Administrative Regulation 6158 - Independent Study