Educational Services > Long Term Independent Study

Long Term Independent Study

Independent Study Program

In Union School District, we have been diligently preparing for the new school year with full in-person learning 5 days a week. This is in alignment with the state's emphasis of resuming full-time in-person instruction for students. As such, Distance Learning as implemented last school year is no longer an allowable learning alternative. Per recent state legislation, Independent Study is the only allowable option for students as an alternative to in-person learning. Independent Study as defined by the state is “an alternative to classroom instruction consistent with a school district’s course of study and is not an alternative curriculum.” Independent Study in USD will contain a mix of some online, classroom-style instruction with an overseeing teacher, and independent, at-home individualized learning overseen by the parent/guardian.

What this means for USD students

USD administrative staff strongly recommend that students return to school campuses for in-person learning which encompasses a well-rounded academic and social-emotional experience. With multi-layered mitigation protocols such as universal masking indoors, frequent hand washing, ventilation, and parent responsibility to keep symptomatic children home, we feel confident we are providing a safe learning environment.

However, for families with health concerns, Independent Study will be offered in partnership with an approved independent, online school. The state assembly bill updates regarding independent study were made available July 12. USD is quickly working to determine a program that will adhere to the updated legislation (AB 130).

Please note that independent study is meant as an alternative for families whose members may have health risks. Although Independent Study is primarily done at home, there are live interaction requirements where the designated online school will support our students. Independent Study is not intended for students who reside temporarily out of the district. Families enrolling in USD’s Independent Study program must meet all residency requirements.

Learning Option 1: In-person Learning on School Campus

  • 5 full days per week on campus in-person learning

  • Schools will adhere to public health department mandates regarding masking, gathering size limitations, daily health screening, ventilation, cleaning, etc.

  • Additional interventions and support will be made available for students identified as needing academic or behavioral support

Learning Option 2: Independent Study Program

  • Students will transfer out of their current in-person school and enroll into our Independent Study program. The program will be hosted in partnership with an independent, online school program.

  • Independent Study includes synchronous and asynchronous instruction and live interaction. Please note that the number of live minutes will be substantially less than last year’s distance learning school led by USD teachers:

      • Grades TK-3: Daily synchronous for all students

      • Grades 4-8: Both daily live interaction & weekly synchronous

          • “Synchronous instruction” - classroom style instruction or designated small group or one on one instruction delivered virtually.

          • “Asynchronous instruction” - learning occurs on the child’s own schedule independently at home. Examples: Reviewing recorded lessons, assigned reading, self-guided lessons and homework.

          • “Live interaction” - interaction between the student and a designated adult to include wellness checks, progress monitoring, provisions of services and instruction.

  • The designated Independent Study program provides an online standards based curriculum.

  • There may be a combination of grades in each class.

  • There may be students from other districts in the class.

  • A student with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) cannot participate in Independent Study, unless the student’s IEP specifically provides for that participation. If interested, please contact your current school site administrative assistant to request an IEP meeting.

  • Independent Study students will be TRANSFERRED OUT of their current school and will enroll in our Independent Study program. Students may transfer back to in-person instruction per parent request. Transfers back to in-person learning will take place within 5 days of the request. When the student returns to in-person learning, the district will make every effort to transfer the student back to their previous school, but placement is not guaranteed. If the grade level at a site is full, then the student will be placed at another site. USD guarantees placement at one of our schools and is unable to “hold spots” at the current school.

  • Devices will be provided by USD.

  • Platform support will be provided by the designated Independent Study program.

  • While enrolled in the designated Independent Study program, communications will be received by the Independent Study Program and the district. While you may still receive communications from your child’s home school, please note that this does not guarantee a spot when they return to in-person learning.

  • Please note, if your child returns to in person learning after being in the Independent Study program there is no guarantee placement will be in their home school for the 2021-22 school year. It is pending if space is available, however priority will be given for students to be placed at their home school when possible. Every effort will be made to return students to their home schools in the 2022-2023 school year.

Student-Parent-Educator Conference

Parents and guardians have the right to request a student-parent-educator conference to ask questions before making the decision about enrollment or disenrollment in the Independent Study program. The conference may be conducted by telephone, videoconference or in-person. If you wish to request a conference for your student, please do so using the contact information at the end of this notice.

Procedures for Enrolling, Disenrolling and Reenrolling in Independent Study

To enroll in the Independent Study program for the 2021-2022 school year, we will partner with families to develop a written agreement outlining the details, expectations and support included in the program. A student with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) may not participate in Independent Study unless the student’s IEP specifically provides for that participation. If you would like to enroll your student in Independent Study, you must complete the following Independent Study Application.

In Union School District our commitment is to provide our families the choice to enroll your child(ren) in an Independent Study program if that is the best choice for your family. If you are interested in the program please complete the following Independent Study Application. By submitting this application, you are notifying USD of this enrollment decision, and that you are ready for USD administrative staff to meet with you regarding the Independent Study Agreement. Please complete the application by August 4, 2021 to help with placement into our Independent Study program by August 11th. For applications submitted thereafter, every effort will be made to place your child in a timely manner.

Thank you and please contact Annie Murphy in USD’s Learning and Innovation department with any questions regarding the Independent Study process at Murphya@unionsd.org.