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Preparing to Launch Independent Study 2021-22

This notice provides charter schools with an overview of the required steps necessary to launch any amount of independent study for the 2021-22 school year in compliance with the recently approved Budget Trailer Bill, Assembly Bill 130 (“AB 130”).  This would apply to all nonclassroom-based charter schools and any classroom-based charter school that is offering even a small amount of independent study.  The following four steps are provided by YM&C to support charter schools with their legal compliance in this tricky area of law.

  1. Board Approval of Independent Study Policy – Every charter school offering independent study must do so in accordance with a legally-compliant board policy that is adopted by the board prior to claiming any apportionment for independent study. If you have an existing board policy on independent study, it will need to be updated to comply with the terms of AB 130.  If you do not have a board policy, one must be created and adopted by your board.
  2. Written Agreement for Independent Study – Every student who engages in independent study must do so in accordance with a fully-executed written independent study agreement.  This agreement must be signed (digital or ink signatures are acceptable) by the parent, the student, the credentialed teacher who is employed by the school and who is assigned to supervise the student’s independent study (“supervising teacher”), and any other person who has direct responsibility for providing assistance to the student while engaging in an independent study.  This independent study agreement must align with both (1) all updated requirements of AB 130 and (2) with the school’s board-approved independent study policy.  If you are using a template, you will need to ensure it aligns with your school’s board policy prior to using it.  For this year (2021-22) only, charter schools will have 30 days from the first date of instruction to gather signatures on the written independent study agreements.  In future years, all charter schools will need to ensure these are in place prior to claiming any independent study ADA.
  3. Independent Study Documentation Requirements – It is important to ensure that you have a plan for creating and maintaining all required independent study documentation.  You do not want to come this far only to lose any apportionment for failure to have the appropriate documentation.  Linked in the column to the right is a chart of the documentation requirements for independent study with all new requirements pursuant to AB 130 noted in red.
  4. Train Your Employees Who Are Responsible for Independent Study – Each charter school is encouraged to train its employees who will be responsible for independent study regarding documentation requirements and the calculation of attendance.  Independent study attendance in charter schools is unique to any other LEA and requires a consideration of both (1) student engagement in educational activities required by the school-on-school days; and (2) the time value of the work produced by the student (in terms of whole days).  If you require support in training your staff, YM&C can assist in conducting targeted training sessions via Zoom for this purpose.

Also linked in the right column is a compendium of independent study laws applicable to charter schools and updated to comply with AB 130.

Please let us know if we can be of assistance in creating or updating your school’s independent study policies and procedures or reviewing your independent study agreements.

Young, Minney & Corr, LLP’s Legal Alerts provide general information about events of current legal importance; they do not constitute legal advice. As the information contained here is necessarily general, its application to a particular set of facts and circumstances may vary. We do not recommend that you act on this information without consulting legal counsel.


Contact YM&C with questions regarding this advisory:

Attorney Lisa Corr

Lisa Corr, ESQ.

Janelle Ruley

Janelle Ruley, ESQ.