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    SUSQUEHANNA TOWNSHIP SCHOOL DISTRICT

    Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17109

     

    POLICY

    HOME EDUCATION POLICY

     

    The Board shall approve a program of home education, also known as homeschooling, pursuant to the School Code, permitting students to study at home in accordance with the following regulations.

     

    Definitions

     Home Education Program – a program conducted in compliance with this Policy and state law and regulation, by the parent or guardian or such person having legal custody of the child or children. A home education program shall not be considered a non-public school.

     

    Supervisor – the parent or guardian or such person having legal custody of the child or children who shall be responsible for the provision of instruction, provided that such person has a high school diploma or its equivalent.

     

    Hearing Examiner – shall not be an officer, employee or agent of the Department of Education or of the School District or intermediate unit of residence of the child in the Home Education Program.

     

    Appropriate Education – a program consisting of instruction in the required subjects for the time required in this Act and in which the student demonstrates sustained progress.

     

    Eligibility

     A notarized affidavit of the parent or guardian or other person having legal custody of the child or children shall be filed prior to the commencement of the Home Education Program and annually thereafter on or before August 1 with the Superintendent of the School District and which sets forth:

     

    1.         The name of the Supervisor of the Home Education Program who shall be responsible for the provision of instruction.

     

    2.         The name and age of each child who shall participate in the Home Education Program.

     

    3.         The address and telephone number of the Home Education Program site.

     

    4.         That such subjects as required by law are offered in the English language, including an outline of proposed education objectives by subject area.

     

    5.         Evidence that the child has been immunized and has received the health and medical services required for students of the child’s age or grade level.

     

    The affidavit shall contain a certification to be signed by the Supervisor that the Supervisor, all adults in the home and persons having legal custody of a child or children in the Home Education Program have not been convicted of criminal offenses as enumerated in Sec. 111 of the School Code.

     

    If the student to be home educated is identified per federal law as needing special education services, excluding those who are gifted or talented, the affidavit must include approval by a teacher certified by Pennsylvania to teach special education or a licensed clinical or school psychologist that the education objectives as identified in (4) above address the specific needs of the exceptional student.

     

    In the event of the Home Education Program relocating to another School District, the Supervisor must apply, by registered mail, to the Superintendent of the District in which she/he currently resides, requesting a letter of transfer for the Home Education Program to the District to which the Home Education Program is relocating. The letter of transfer must be filed by the Supervisor of the Home Education Program with the Superintendent of the new District of residence. The letter of transfer shall be issued no later than thirty (30) days after receipt of the registered mail request of the Home Education Program Supervisor.

     

    Program

     A child who is enrolled in a Home Education Program and whose education is therefore under the direct supervision of his/her parent, guardian or other person having legal custody shall be deemed to have met the requirements of Section 1327 of the Public School Code if the program provides a minimum of one hundred eighty (180) days of instruction or nine hundred (900) hours of instruction per year at the elementary level, or nine hundred ninety (990) hours per year at the secondary level.

     

    At the elementary level, the following courses shall be taught: English, to include spelling, reading and writing; science; arithmetic, geography; history of the United States and Pennsylvania; civics; safety education, including dangers and prevention of fires; health and physiology; physical education; music; and art.

     

    At the secondary level, the following courses shall be taught: English, to include language, literature, speech and composition; science; geography; social studies, to include civics, world history, history of the United States and Pennsylvania; mathematics, to include general mathematics, algebra and geometry; art; music; physical education; and health and safety education, including regular and continuous instruction in the dangers and prevention of fires.

     

    Such courses of study may include, at the discretion of the Supervisor, economics; biology; chemistry; foreign languages; trigonometry; or other age appropriate courses as contained in Chapter 5 curriculum requirements of the State Board of Education.

     

    The Supervisor of the Home Education Program may request that STSD or IU15 provide services that address the specific needs of the exceptional student. Services agreed to by both the Supervisor of the Home Education Program and the Superintendent shall be provided in the public schools or a private school licensed to provide such programs and services. STSD will submit dual enrollment child accounting data for time the home education student spends in a public school curricular program. The District is not obligated to provide special education services if the student is not enrolled in the District.

     

    Graduation Requirements/Attainment of Credits

     The following minimum courses in grades 9 through 12 are established as a requirement for graduation in a Home Education Program: four years of English; three years of mathematics; three years of science; three years of social studies; two years of arts and humanities.

     

    The Susquehanna Township School District will not award credit for home education courses nor provide a STSD diploma for students who complete high school through the home education option. For students who wish to enroll in STSD from a Home Education Program, high school credit will be given for subjects successfully completed at an accredited institution that match the Susquehanna Township School District curriculum and/or State Board of Education Curriculum regulations. Credits, class or course placement shall be determined by the school’s guidance counselor, with appeal to the principal and Superintendent. The determination of the Superintendent shall be final.

     

    Requirements of Supervisor

    In order to demonstrate that Appropriate Education is occurring, the Supervisor shall provide and maintain on file a portfolio of records and materials. The portfolio shall consist of a log, made contemporaneously with the instruction, which designates by title the reading materials used, samples of any writings, worksheets, workbooks or creative materials used or developed by the student and in grades three, five and eight results of nationally normed standardized achievement tests in reading, language arts and mathematics or the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA). The supervisor must notify the STSD Superintendent by December 1 of the school year in which he or she wishes their student or students to participate in the PSSA. Participation in the PSSA shall take place in the school building the student would attend if enrolled. The Supervisor shall ensure that the nationally normed standardized tests not be administered by the child’s parent or guardian.

     

    Evaluation Requirements

    An annual written evaluation of the student’s educational process as determined by a licensed clinical or school psychologist or a teacher certified by the Commonwealth or by a non-public school teacher or administrator is required. The evaluation shall also be based on an interview of the child and a review of the portfolio and shall certify whether or not an Appropriate Education is occurring. At the request of the Supervisor, persons with other qualifications may conduct the evaluation with the prior consent of the Superintendent. In no event shall the evaluator be the Supervisor or his/her spouse.

     

    A non-public teacher or administrator shall have at least two years of teaching experience in a Pennsylvania public or nonpublic school within the past ten years. A teacher or administrator who evaluates a portfolio at the elementary level shall have at least two years of experience in grading any of the following subjects: English, to include spelling, reading and writing; arithmetic; science; geography; history of the United States and Pennsylvania; and civics.

     

    A teacher or administrator who evaluates a portfolio at the secondary level shall have at least two years of experience in grading any of the following subjects: English, to include language, literature, speech, reading and composition; science, to include biology, chemistry and physics; geography; social studies, to include economics, civics, world history, history of the United States and Pennsylvania; foreign language; and mathematics, to include general mathematics, algebra, trigonometry, calculus and geometry.

     

    Documentation

     Documentation required by this Policy shall be provided to the School District Superintendent by June 30th of each school year. The Supervisor of the Home Education Program shall submit: the portfolio including the log of instructional time, samples of student work and results of standardized tests in grades 3, 5 and 8, and the evaluator’s report. If the Superintendent or designee has a reasonable belief that, at any time during the school year, Appropriate Education may not be occurring in the Home Education Program, she/he may require documentation pertaining to the portfolio to be submitted to the District by certified mail (with return receipt requested) within fifteen (15) days, and the evaluation to be submitted within thirty (30) days.

     

    If the Superintendent determines, based on documentation, that Appropriate Education is not occurring, the Superintendent shall send a letter to the Supervisor that in his/her opinion Appropriate Education is not occurring in the Home Education Program and shall return all documentation, specifying what aspect or aspects of the documentation are inadequate.

     

    The Supervisor of the program shall have twenty (20) days from the receipt of the certified letter to submit additional documentation demonstrating that Appropriate Education is taking place. If documentation is not submitted within that time, the Home Education Program shall be out of compliance, and the student shall be promptly enrolled in the public or a non-public school.

     

    Right of Hearing

    If the Superintendent determines that the additional information, if submitted, does not demonstrate that Appropriate Education is taking place in the Home Education Program, she/he shall notify the Supervisor by certified mail, return receipt requested and the Board shall provide for a proper hearing by a duly qualified and impartial Hearing Examiner within thirty (30) days. The examiner shall render a decision within fifteen (15) days of the hearing except that s/he may require the establishment of a remedial education plan mutually agreed to by the Superintendent and Supervisor of the Home Education Program which shall continue the Home Education Program. The decision of the examiner may be appealed by either the Supervisor or the Superintendent to the Secretary of Education or Commonwealth Court.

     

    If the Hearing Examiner finds that the documentation does not indicate that Appropriate Education is taking place in the Home Education Program, the Home Education Program shall be out of compliance, and the student shall be promptly enrolled in a public or non-public school.

     

    Loan of Instructional Materials

    The District shall, at the request of the Supervisor, lend to the Home Education Program copies of the School District’s planned courses, textbooks and other curriculum materials, such as consumable workbooks appropriate to the student’s age and grade level. Items such as, but not limited to, additional teacher’s edition books, software, computers and microscopes are not considered curriculum materials available for loan.

     

    Participation of Home Schooled Students in Extracurricular Activities

     

    The participation of home-educated students in the School District’s extracurricular activities, including (but not limited to) athletics, music groups, clubs and theatrical productions shall be allowed in compliance with Act 67 of 2005. Students who wish to become involved in these activities must meet the eligibility and try-out criteria or their equivalents required of STSD students and comply with all policies, rules and regulations for the particular activity, including those for interscholastic athletics.  Equivalent eligibility and try-out criteria shall be determined by the Assistant Principal with appeal to the Principal and Superintendent. The decision of the Superintendent shall be final.  Those home-educated students wishing to try out for School District athletic teams will have access to required physical examinations as provided by the School District at those times established by the athletic director and his/her designee and shall be notified through the STSD newsletter and website.

     

    Approved by the School Board – October 27, 1986

    Amended by the School Board – June 8, 1987

    Amended by the School Board – January 8, 1990

    Amended by the School Board – May 22, 2006