In short, if you can't be in the classroom, you will need to enroll in an independent studies program. The hybrid learning model of part-time in-classroom and part-time online will no longer be a standard offering from schools this fall.
Learn how ending the hybrid learning model is perceived as leaving some students who found it to be a model solution for them, behind.
Independent studies solutions may vary from district to district, but parents hold out hope that their models will be vastly improved from pre-pandemic times. Those who are critical of the independent study model say it has been used to push low-achieving students out of schools and lacks accountability over academic experiences and outcomes for students.
In early July, a bill amendment was introduced that implements additional requirements to Independent studies programs that would help curb some of the concerns from critics. Some of the requirements to meet higher standards include:
- Curriculum, instructional minutes, and student-to-teacher ratios must be equivalent to what is offered in-person
- Access to technology and Wi-Fi must be made available for all students
- Plans to monitor and keep a record of daily participation, which could include online activities, live instruction or completing assignments without teacher supervision
- Plans to support English learners, students in foster care or other high-needs groups
- Meals must be available for students in distance learning if they qualify for free or reduced-price lunches
- Plans to transition students who wish to return to in-person instruction in no less than five instructional days
- Strategies to re-engage students who are absent for several days
- Regular communication between caregivers, teachers and students regarding a student’s academic progress
- For high schools, access to all courses offered for graduation and approved by the University of California or the California State University
“We are pleased that the Legislature listened to families, particularly those in communities of color, who asked for meaningful distance learning options in case it’s still unsafe for their children to return in the fall. The proposal could still use more clarity and stronger protections to ensure that remote instruction is high-quality, particularly in terms of synchronous instruction, but this is a step in the right direction.”
- Victor Leung, Director of Education Equity - ACLU Foundation of Southern California.