File IHBGA: Equivalent Instruction Through Home Instruction

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FILE:  IHBGA 

 

HOME SCHOOLING – PARTICIPATION IN SCHOOL PROGRAMS 

 

The District will follow the provisions for equivalent instruction under 20-A MRSA §5021 and will cooperate in the home instruction of any child who resides in the school district.  As dictated by Maine law, “equivalent instruction” does not mean the same instruction that is provided in the public setting. 

 

The Board directs the Superintendent/designee to maintain procedures, as appropriate, regarding the availability of school district resources and services to home-schooled students who would otherwise be eligible to attend school in M.S.A.D. No.75.  These procedures shall be in accordance with the following provisions. 

 

  1. PROVISION OF INFORMATION 

 

At the request of the student or the student’s parent/guardian, this school unit shall make available to home-schooled students, in a form determined by the school, information regarding access to public school activities and attendance at the school unit’s schools.  This information must include: 

 

  1. Requirements regarding initial health and developmental screening for motor skills, vision, hearing, and immunization; and  

 

  1. Criteria for participation of home-schooled students in curricular, co-curricular, and extracurricular activities. 

 

  1. PERMITTED PARTICIPATION 

 

  1. Participation in regular classes 

 

Home instruction students may enroll in specific, day-school classes provided that the student’s attendance is regular, the class is deemed to be age and grade-appropriate, and all prerequisite course requirements are met.  In addition, the following shall also apply. 

 

  1. The student or the student’s parent/guardian, on the student’s behalf, shall apply in writing to and receive written approval from the Superintendent/designee.  Approval may not be unreasonably withheld. 

 

  1. The student shall demonstrate prior satisfactory academic achievement consistent with school unit policy and procedures applicable to all students. 

 

  1. The student shall comply with behavioral, disciplinary, attendance and other classroom rules applicable to all students.  If a student fails to comply, the school may withhold credit or terminate the student’s participation. 

 

  1. Transportation must be provided by the parent/guardian or student.  However, the student may use the same transportation as all other students in the school unit as long as additional expenses are not incurred and vehicle capacity is not exceeded. 

 

  1. The student shall complete all assignments and tests as required of all students in the same class. 

 

  1. Course auditing 

 

Home instruction students may audit a course(s) provided the following conditions have been met. 

 

  1. The student or the student’s parent/guardian, on behalf of the student, shall apply in writing to and receive written approval from the Superintendent/designee to audit a specific course or courses.  Participation may not be unreasonably withheld. 

 

  1. The student agrees to meet established behavioral, disciplinary, attendance and other classroom rules applicable to all students.  If a student fails to comply, the school may terminate participation. 

 

 

III: SPECIAL EDUCATION SERVICES 

While Maine Law states “Children who are enrolled in home instruction programs do not have an individual right to receive some or all of the special education and related services that they would receive if enrolled in a public school,” the M.S.A.D. No. 75 Board of Directors recognizes the benefits of special education services and is committed to providing such services to the most reasonable extent possible to home-schooled students who reside within the M.S.A.D. No. 75 School District.  

 

Students enrolled in M.S.A.D. No. 75 with an Individualized Education Program (IEP) who wish to become a home-schooled student residing within the District may request a Transfer IEP meeting with the IEP Team to develop an Individualized Service Plan (ISP). An ISP is a written document that describes the special education and related services that will be made available to a home-schooled student with a disability. 

 

The M.S.A.D. No. 75 Child Find and Referral obligations toward your child while he/she is enrolled in a program of home instruction are the same as for students enrolled in public school; therefore, home-schooled students have the right to be located, identified, and evaluated by M.S.A.D. No.75 as a possible special education student, including referral of your child to an Individual Education Program (IEP) Team to determine whether your child qualifies as a special education student. For those home-schooled students residing in the District who qualify for special education services, an ISP may be developed should the student remain home-schooled.   

Should a child enroll in the public school program in M.S.A.D. No. 75, the child has the right to receive a free, appropriate public education (FAPE) and an Individualized Education Program (IEP) from M.S.A.D. No. 75. 

 

Home-schooled students will be considered eligible for special education services provided the following:  

  1. The IEP Team has determined that a student has a disability and a special education  service is necessary. 

B. An Individualized Service Plan (ISP) has been developed for the student by the IEP Team  that clearly identifies the services needed, the frequency of the service, and the service  provider(s). 

C. The parent has signed the Individualized Service Plan document.  

D. The parent agrees to transport the student to/from school to receive the service. 

E. The student agrees to meet established behavioral, disciplinary, attendance and other  classroom rules applicable to all students. If a student fails to comply, the school may  terminate participation.  

 

Parents of home-schooled students with disabilities may file a complaint regarding the provision of special education services under an ISP through a local complaint procedure.  

 

Local Complaint Procedure 

 

While State Law requires that public schools provide special education services only in the event that a home-schooled student elects to participate in classes at the school, and only to the extent that those services are necessary, due to the student’s disability, to enable the student to participate in those classes, the M.S.A.D. No. 75 Board of Directors is committed to making available special education services to home-schooled students to the most reasonable extent possible. 

 

It is the District's goal to work collaboratively with families through the Individualized Service Plan (ISP) process. However, parents of home-schooled students who have chosen to access services through an ISP may file a complaint regarding the provision of special education services through local complaint procedures. To file a complaint: 

 

  1. A parent of a home-schooled student may complete a complaint using form (Link Form) with the Director of Special Education. 

  1. The Director of Special Education will review the complaint. 

  1. The Director or a designated administrator will work with the family to set up an Individualized Education Program Team Meeting. 

 

Special education services will be available to eligible special education students in accordance with applicable Federal and State laws and regulations. 

 

 

If you choose to enroll your child in the public school program in MSAD No. 75, your child would have the right to receive a free, appropriate public education (FAPE) and an Individualized Education Program (IEP) from M.S.A.D. No. 75. If you have any interest in exploring what special education services your child might receive if enrolled in the public schools of M.S.A.D. No. 75, please contact the Department of Special Services at 50 Republic Avenue, Topsham, ME 04086 {(207)729-9961 ext. 1030}.  If you enroll your child in public school, you and your child are entitled to all the rights set forth in the M.S.A.D. No. 75 Special Education “Procedural Safeguards Statement.” You may request a copy of the Special Education “Procedural Safeguards Statement” at any time through the District’s Special Education Department {(207)729-9961 ext. 1030}. 

 

 

  1. ADMISSION TO REGULAR PROGRAM/PLACEMENT 

 

A student who has been receiving home-school instruction and who seeks admission to a regular school program will be placed in a grade commensurate with the level of the student’s academic achievement.  The placement must be guided by the following. 

 

  1. For students who transfer into school program from an educational program that is not required to meet the standards of the system of Learning Results, the principal of the receiving school shall determine the value of the student’s prior educational experience toward meeting these standards. 

 

  1. Appropriate school staff may make recommendations concerning placement based on, but not limited to, factors such as the student’s complete curricular and record of achievement, conferences with the student’s parent/guardian, and administration of tests. 

 

  1. The final placement decision shall be made by the principal.  The principal’s decision may be appealed to the Superintendent, whose decision shall be final. 

 

  1. READMISSION TO THE SCHOOL PROGRAM 

 

Placement of home-schooled students who wish to be readmitted to the school program will be determined by the principal who shall consult with members of the professional staff to the extent appropriate and, as deemed necessary, to make a reasonable determination that the requisite academic standards have been met, and collect from parents actual samples of coursework (e.g., homework, papers, examinations).   

 

  1. USE OF SCHOOL TEXTBOOKS AND LIBRARY BOOKS 

 

A student receiving home instruction may use school textbooks and library books owned by the district subject to the following conditions, 

 

  1. The use does not disrupt regular student, staff or special program functions. 

 

  1. The student’s sign-out period for a library book is the same as that applicable to regularly-enrolled students. 

 

  1. The student may sign out a textbook for a period not to exceed one school year. 

 

  1. The parent/guardian and student agree to reimburse the school unit for lost, unreturned or damaged library books and textbooks and for consumable supplies used. 

 

  1. USE OF SCHOOL FACILITIES AND EQUIPMENT 

 

A student receiving home-school instruction may use public school facilities and equipment on the same basis as regularly-enrolled students if the following conditions are met: 

 

  1. The use does not disrupt regular school activities. 

 

  1. The use is approved by the school principal in accordance with established school policy. 

 

  1. The use does not create additional expense to the school unit. 

 

  1. The use is directly related to the student’s academic program. 

 

  1. The use of potentially hazardous areas, such as shops, laboratories, and gymnasiums, is supervised by a qualified employee of the school unit, approved and assigned by the Superintendent. 

 

  1. MANDATED EDUCATIONAL ASSESSMENTS 

 

If a parent of a student in an equivalent instruction program requests to have the student participate in the Maine Educational Assessment (MEA) or any other State-mandated test, such request must be granted.  Participation in such examinations must be in compliance with all rules and procedures governing testing conditions in the school unit. 

 

  1. ACADEMIC CREDIT 

 

A student receiving home-school instruction must receive academic credit subject to the following requirements. 

 

  1. Academic credit for individual courses must be awarded if the student meets required academic standards applicable to all students enrolled in the same course. 

 

  1. Academic credit must be awarded for successful completion of alternative instruction opportunities sponsored by the school and available to all students. 

 

  1. HIGH SCHOOL COURSE CREDITS AND DIPLOMA ELIGIBILITY  

 

The following standards govern the awarding of course credits and a graduation diploma to a student receiving home-school instruction who seeks admission or readmission to the high school. 

 

  1. A student shall earn high school credits for satisfactory completion of courses in the high school pursuant to 20-A MRSA §5021(2)(A). 

 

  1. A student may earn credit for course work completed through home-school instruction if the principal determines, both in advance and upon completion of the course, that the course satisfies the requirements for awarding the credit.  The principal may direct that the student undergo a test or tests to assist in making a determination relative to the awarding of credit. 

 

  1. Requests for transfer credit for equivalent instruction completed at non-approved private schools, at private schools that elect not to meet requirements under 20-A MRSA §2901,or through other equivalent instruction programs must be evaluated on the merits of the documentation provided.  The principal and guidance staff shall conduct these evaluations on request made by the student or the student’s parent/guardian.  The principal may direct that the student undergo a test or tests to assist in making a determination relative to the awarding of credit. 

 

  1. For students who transfer into a secondary school from another state or an educational program that is not required to meet the standards of the system of Learning Results, the principal of the receiving school shall be responsible for assessing the student’s prior educational experience in determining the progress made toward meeting the content standards through the local assessment system.  

 

  1. Awarding of a high school diploma by the local school is conditioned upon the student’s demonstration of having satisfied all requirements set by the State and all specific course credit and other requirements established by the Board.  The Board may establish resident credit requirements as a pre-condition for the awarding of a local school unit diploma. 

 
XI. PARTICIPATION IN CO-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES 

 

Students receiving me-school instruction may participate in co-curricular activities such as field trips, assemblies, and academically-related fairs provided: 

 

  1. Prior written permission is obtained from both the parent/guardian and the principal; and  

 

  1. The student has agreed to meet established behavioral, disciplinary, attendance, and other rules applicable to all students. 

 

  1. PARTICIPATION IN EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES 

 

Students receiving home-school instruction are eligible to try out for extracurricular activities sponsored by the district provided the student applies in writing and the following requirements are satisfied. 

 

  1. The student agrees to abide by equivalent rules of participation as are applicable to regularly-enrolled students participating in the activity and provides evidence that the rules of participation are being met. 

 

  1. The student complies with the same physical examination, immunization, insurance, age, and semester eligibility requirements as regularly-enrolled students participating in the activity.  All required documentation must be made available upon request by the school district.   

 

  1. The student meets equivalent academic standards as those established for regularly-enrolled students participating in the activity and provides evidence that the academic standards are being met. 

 

  1. The student abides by the same transportation as regularly-enrolled students participating in the activity. 

 

  1. STANDARDS FOR PARTICIPATION WHEN TUITION PAYMENT TO ANOTHER UNIT IS REQUIRED 

 

If and when the school unit does not provide academic instruction for specific grade levels, the following applies for students enrolled in an approved program of equivalent instruction. 

 

  1. Class participation – The home-schooled student or the student’s parent/guardian shall request authorization from the resident local school district to apply to another school unit for permission to participate in classes or activities in that other school unit. 

 

 

 

  1. Tuition payment – Tuition payments for home-schooled student participation in a local school unit, including attendance at an applied technology center or an applied technology region other than the applicant’s resident district is the responsibility of the home-schooled student, the student’s parent/guardian, or the student’s resident school administrative unit, in accordance with school unit policy.  Participation may not be unreasonably withheld. 

 

  1. Participation eligibility – tuitioned, home-schooled student is subject to the rules relating to eligibility for participation in co-curriculum or extracurricular activities as may apply at the receiving school unit. 

 

  1. Interscholastic activities – tuitioned, home-schooled student attending classes in more than one receiving school unit is not eligible for participation in interscholastic activities at any local school unit. 

 

  1. APPEALS 

 

Appeals from administration and application of the Board policy are heard by the Board, whose decision is final and binding.  Appeals that question the Board policy compliance with legal requirements must be made to the Commissioner, whose decision is legal and binding. 

 

Legal Reference: 20-A MRSA §§5001-A(3), 5021-5205 

Ch. 127, 132 (Me. Dept. of Ed. Rules) 

 

Cross Reference: JGAB – Assignment of Students to Classes:  Transfer Students and Home-Schooling Students 

 

FIRST READING: June 24, 2021 

SECOND READING: July 8, 2021 

ADOPTION: July 8, 2021 

 

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