Section 4: ALE program requirements

Rule Text

(4) Alternative learning experience program requirements:

(a) Each student participating in an alternative learning experience must have a written student learning plan developed and approved by a certificated teacher that is designed to meet the student's individual educational needs. A certificated teacher must have responsibility and accountability for each course specified in the plan, including supervision and monitoring, and evaluation and documentation of the student's progress. The written student learning plan may be developed with assistance from the student, the student's parents, or other interested parties. For students whose written student learning plan includes only online courses, the written student learning plan may be developed and approved by a certificated teacher or a school-based support staff.

(b) Each student enrolled in an alternative learning experience must have one of the following methods of contact with a certificated teacher at least once a school week until the student completes all course objectives or otherwise meets the requirements of the learning plan:

(i) Direct personal contact; or

(ii) In-person instructional contact; or

(iii) Synchronous digital instructional contact.

(c) The educational progress of each student enrolled in an alternative learning experience must be evaluated at least once each calendar month of enrollment by a certificated teacher or, for students whose written student learning plans include only online classes, school-based support staff in accordance with this section. The results of each evaluation must be communicated to the student or, if the student is in grades K-8, both the student and the student's parent. For students whose written student learning plan includes only online courses, a school-based support staff may communicate the progress evaluation to the student. Educational progress must be evaluated according to the following requirements:

(i) Each student's educational progress evaluation must be based on the learning goals and performance objectives defined in the written student learning plan.

(ii) The evaluation of satisfactory progress must be conducted in a manner consistent with school district student evaluation or grading procedures, and be based on the professional judgment of a certificated teacher.

(iii) In the event that the monthly evaluation is not completed within the calendar month being evaluated, the evaluation must be completed within five school days of the end of the month. Districts must not claim funding for the subsequent month for a student who was not evaluated within that timeframe.

(iv) The progress evaluation conducted by a certificated teacher must include direct personal contact with the student with the following exceptions:

(A) After an initial month of satisfactory progress, in subsequent months where progress continues to be satisfactory the evaluation may be communicated to the student without direct personal contact.

(B) Direct personal contact is not required as a part of the evaluation conducted in the final month of the school year if the evaluation takes the form of the delivery of final grades to the student.

(v) Based on the progress evaluation, a certificated teacher must determine and document whether the student is making satisfactory progress reaching the learning goals and performance objectives defined in the written student learning plan.

(vi) For students whose written student learning plan includes only online courses, school-based support staff, according to school policy and procedures, may use the student's progress grades in the online course or courses to determine whether a student's progress is satisfactory. School-based support staff, following school policy and procedures, may take into account nonacademic factors or local school expectations to finalize the determination of satisfactory progress. The progress grades posted in the learning management system may serve as the documentation of determining satisfactory progress.

(vii) If it is determined that the student failed to make satisfactory progress or that the student failed to follow the written student learning plan, an intervention plan must be developed for the student. An intervention plan is not required if the evaluation is delivered within the last five school days of the school year.

(viii) If after no more than three consecutive calendar months in which it is determined the student is not making satisfactory progress despite documented intervention efforts, a course of study designed to more appropriately meet the student's educational needs must be developed and implemented by a certificated teacher in conjunction with the student and where possible, the student's parent. This may include removal of the student from the alternative learning experience and enrollment of the student in another educational program offered by the school district.

Comments

This subsection of the rule maps out the core requirements of an ALE: a written student learning plan; weekly contact; and monthly progress review, including an evaluation of satisfactory progress, the establishment of an intervention plan for a student not making progress, and requirements for adjustments to the instructional program for students consistently not making progress in the ALE.

Common Questions

Written Student Learning Plan

Q. Can the parent write the WSLP?

A. No. Each student must have a WSLP developed by a certificated teacher. While parents may play an active role in determining the content of the plan, the teacher is ultimately responsible for its development and is accountable for its content. For students whose WSLP includes only online courses, a certificated teacher or school-based support staff may develop and approve the plan.

Last updated: 8/19/2013

Q. Must the parent approve the WSLP?

A. No, although local program procedures can define the role of a parent with respect to WSLP development.

Last updated: 8/12/2011

Return to links

Weekly contact

Q. Can we mix and match the types of weekly contact for a student throughout the year?

A. Yes. A program can fulfill the weekly contact requirement by having direct personal contact with a student one week and in-person instructional contact the next week, for example.

Last updated: 8/16/2012

Q. If a student is taking courses in both an ALE program and a regular education program, can the face-to-face time spent with a teacher in the regular program count as the face-to-face instructional contact time for ALE?

A. Contact time in non-ALE courses doesn’t apply to the ALE requirements. The face-to-face instructional contact time (or synchronous digital contact time) needs to specifically relate to the ALE WSLP.

Last updated: 6/1/2015

Q. Is there a minimum amount of time established to count as "weekly contact?"

A. There is not a minimum amount of time established. The weekly contact can be either direct personal contact, or in-person instructional contact, or synchronous digital instructional contact. Contact must be with a certificated teacher for the purposes of instruction, review of assignments, testing, reporting of student progress, or other learning activities. The amount of time for a particular weekly contact should reflect these parameters and the individual needs of a student at that particular time and be appropriately documented. (See sample weekly contact logs.)

Last updated: 6/1/2015

Q. What will constitute adequate documentation of weekly contact?

A. Evidence of direct personal contact must include the date of the direct personal contact, the method of communication by which the direct personal contact was accomplished, and documentation to support the subject of the communication. For students receiving either in-person instructional contact time or synchronous digital instructional contact time in regularly-scheduled classes, evidence may include classroom attendance records. Documentation should also include confirmation that the contact was with a certificated teacher.

Additional examples of documentation may be found in Section (10).

Last updated: 6/30/2014

Q. If a student misses a weekly contact, is it necessary to make-up a missed weekly meeting?

A. Weekly contact is a required component of an ALE course of study. On rare occasions there may be circumstances where it will not be possible to meet weekly with a student. Every effort should be made to make up missed weekly contacts. When a student displays a pattern of missed weekly contacts, the student is not following the requirements of the WSLP and an intervention plan must be developed for that student. If the student fails to make contact for twenty consecutive school days prior to the count date, the student must not be included in monthly enrollment reporting until the student resumes participation in the ALE.

Last updated: 8/21/2012

Q. Can the monthly evaluation meeting count as the weekly direct personal contact for the week in which it occurs (as opposed to having two separate contacts)?

A. Yes. The progress evaluation must include direct personal contact with a certificated teacher and thus can meet both requirements at the same time. However, if the ALE program has decided to communicate, without direct personal contact, the progress evaluation to a student who, after the initial month of satisfactory progress, continues to perform satisfactorily, then a separate weekly contact must be made with the student.

Last updated: 8/19/2013

Q. What do you do when you cannot get the students to respond to the teacher’s email, but they are progressing in their courses?

A. Without weekly contact, the student is not fulfilling the requirements of the ALE rules. You may need to look at different methods such as the phone, Skype or meet with the student face-to-face. Weekly contact helps a teacher and student build a relationship that contributes to deeper learning opportunities and minimizes academic integrity concerns.

Last updated: 5/20/2013

Return to links

Monthly evaluation and satisfactory progress

Q. For K-8 students, must the parent be present for the progress evaluation?

A. No. However, the results of the progress evaluation must be communicated with the parent. The parent communication should be documented. For example, if the parent was present during a face-to-face meeting, and that meeting was documented using a log, then information about the parent’s presence could be added to the log.

Last updated: 6/30/2014

Q. What documentation is necessary to verify monthly progress?

A. Each student’s monthly progress evaluation should definitively state if the student made satisfactory progress or not. This statement should be signed (physically or digitally) and dated by the reviewing teacher. If a student’s WSLP includes only online courses, progress grades posted in the learning management system may serve as the documentation of determining satisfactory progress.

Beyond this, the documentation should clearly show that the evaluation was conducted in a manner consistent with the rules.

Because the ALE rules don’t proscribe a specific evaluation method, nor do they define what is or isn’t satisfactory (beyond the basic definition), the documentation will vary depending on the methods used. Districts have significant flexibility in creating an evaluation system that best meets the needs of students. However, the rules do include several specific provisions that will strongly influence how the evaluation is conducted and documented.

(4)(c)(i) “Each student's educational progress evaluation must be based on the learning goals and performance objectives defined in the written student learning plan.”

Based on this rule, the evaluation documentation must refer to the learning goals and performance objectives defined in the WSLP. This also highlights how vitally important it is to write a WSLP “in a manner that facilitates monthly evaluation of student progress” (See section (3)(n)(iv)).

(4)(c)(ii) “The evaluation of satisfactory progress must be conducted in a manner consistent with school district student evaluation or grading procedures, and be based on the professional judgment of a certificated teacher.”

The documentation should also indicate that the evaluation was conducted in a manner consistent with the district’s student evaluation/grading procedures. Having those policies/procedures available for the auditors will help as well.

(4)(c)(v) “Based on the progress evaluation, a certificated teacher must determine and document whether the student is making satisfactory progress reaching the learning goals and performance objectives defined in the written student learning plan.”

This third rule highlights the requirement that the evaluation be conducted by a certificated teacher. Some ALE programs feature significant involvement by parents. While this can be a valuable educational option, it should be clear that the teacher, not the parent, is the one conducting the student evaluation. The teacher can, and should, use their professional judgment when conducting the evaluation.

Last updated: 6/30/2014

Q.If a student enrolls late in the month, does the student need a monthly review of progress?

A. You do not need to do an evaluation for a student who enrolled after the count date. However, in some cases (such as a student who participated for a majority of the month) it may make educational sense for the student to be evaluated, and in those cases, an evaluation should be done.

Last updated: 6/1/2015

Q. Who will determine if "satisfactory progress" is being made?

A. A certificated teacher must determine if satisfactory progress is being made by determining a student's progress toward achieving the learning goals, performance objectives and completion of the learning activities specified in the written student learning plan. The WSLP must be developed in a manner that facilitates monthly evaluation of student progress. The teacher may use a number of factors to come to this determination including, but not limited to, assessment results, parent feedback, attendance, running records, subjective and objective data, educational artifacts, etc., but the WSLP must include a description of the timelines and methods for evaluating student progress so the student knows how satisfactory progress is determined. However, if the student’s WSLP includes only online courses, school-based support staff may use the progress grades posted by the online teacher and may take into account non-academic factors or local school expectations to finalize the determination. School-based support staff must follow school policy and procedures.

Last updated: 8/19/2013

Q. Is there a required format or directive on how to determine what satisfactory progress means?

A. No. ALE programs represent a diverse range of structure and delivery. Mandating a process for determining satisfactory progress is counterproductive to the intent of ALE of allowing for flexible and innovative programs and services that meet the unique needs of the students they serve. Each school district will define the process by which ALE teachers will determine if satisfactory progress is being made. This process should be established as part of adopted board policy and procedure.

Last updated: 8/12/2011

Q. Can a certificated instructional staff member make the determination of satisfactory progress on a monthly basis, and then delegate the communication of the decision to a classified staff?

A. It depends. The rules require that monthly progress reviews be conducted by a certificated teacher, and the results of the reviews be communicated to the student and, where necessary, the student's parent. However, if the student’s WSLP includes only online courses, school-based support staff may use the progress grades posted by the online teacher and may take into account non-academic factors or local school expectations to finalize the determination. School-based support staff must follow school policy and procedures.

Last updated: 8/19/2013

Q. Can the monthly progress evaluation occur on the first day of school?

A. No. The rules state that the “educational progress of each student…must be evaluated at least once each calendar month of enrollment” (subsection 4(c)). The definition of “satisfactory progress” also speaks of the “student's progress toward achieving the specific learning goals and performance objectives specified in the written student learning plan”. Both statements highlight the notion of student “progress.” In order for there to be some student progress to evaluate, some time must past between the start of school and the initial evaluation. As a result, it would not be appropriate to conduct a progress evaluation on the first few days of school.

Last updated: 6/30/2014

Return to links

Nonsatisfactory progress and intervention plan

Q. Is there a certain process ALE programs should follow to develop an intervention plan?

A. An intervention plan must be developed, documented, and implemented by a certificated teacher in conjunction with the student and, for students in grades K-8, the student's parent(s). If the student’s WSLP includes only online courses, the intervention plan may be developed by school-based support staff in conjunction with the student, parents (if grades K-8), and online certificated teacher. It must be approved by the teacher.

Last updated: 8/19/2013

Q. What should an intervention plan look like?

A. At minimum, the intervention plan must include at least one of the following interventions:

  1. Increasing the frequency or duration of direct personal contact for the purposes of enhancing the ability of the certificated teacher to improve student learning;
  2. Modifying the manner in which direct personal contact is accomplished;
  3. Modifying the student's learning goals or performance objectives;
  4. Modifying the number of or scope of courses or the content included in the learning plan.

Last updated: 8/12/2011

Q. What needs to happen if a student hasn’t made satisfactory progress in three consecutive calendar months?

A. The intent behind this rule is to ensure that the student has an opportunity for success. If after three months of unsatisfactory progress (and the attendant intervention plans), the student is still not making satisfactory progress, then a change is in order.

The rules state that if a student has three months of unsatisfactory progress, then “a course of study designed to more appropriately meet the student's educational needs must be developed and implemented by a certificated teacher”. This new course of study could either take the form of a major change in the student’s WSLP or placing the student in another educational program offered by the school district.

A major change could include enrolling the student in different classes, or dramatically altering the type of student-teacher interaction.

A student’s third month of unsatisfactory progress could occur within 20 school days of the end of the semester. In that case, if the district determines that the student will be best served by being enrolled in another educational option, and the student’s best interests are served by having the new option start at the semester, the student may stay enrolled, and the district may continue to claim the student for funding, in the current program until the semester break. If the student’s third month of unsatisfactory progress occurs within 20 school days of the end of the school year, the district may also continue to claim the student provided the district works to ensure the student is place in an appropriate educational option for the following school year.

Last updated: 6/30/2014

Q. If we do intervention plans with a student and the student still does not make progress, must we drop the student from the ALE?

A. Section 4(c) of the rule addresses intervention plan requirements. If the student is not making satisfactory progress, despite an intervention plan, then the district should design a course of study to more appropriately meet the student’s educational needs. This may include removal of the student from the alternative learning experience and enrollment of the student in another educational program offered by the district. If the program doesn't have the flexibility to design a new course of study, the district may need to find another educational option for that student.

Last updated: 6/30/2014

Return to links

Last month of the school year

Q. What does the monthly progress evaluation look like in June? Is an intervention plan required after the June monthly evaluation?

A. The June monthly evaluation can consist of delivering final grades to the student. The evaluation must meet all of the normal monthly progress evaluation requirements. If the evaluation is delivered within the last five school days of the school year, an intervention plan is not required.

Last updated: 5/31/2012

Q. If grades can be looked up online, does that satisfy the requirement of the final evaluation in June or does it need to be a paper report?

A. Yes. An online tool can be used to report grades in June as long as the student knows how to access the grades.

Last updated: 5/20/2013

Relevant Forms or Samples

Note: These sample forms were developed by a working group that included representation from WALA, the State Auditor's Office, OSPI, and several ALE programs. They are intended to be used as samples, and use of the sample forms provided is not required.

Weekly contact

Intervention plans

Written student learning plans

  • WSLP Alignment Self Assessment Tool (Word .doc) - The checklist can be used to see how a WSLP aligns with all 8 components required by section 3(n).
  • K-5 Outcome-based Written Student Learning Plan
    • Completed Sample WSLP (PDF): This file contains a sample WSLP with all eight components of the WSLP included.
    • Compliance checklist (PDF): This file shows how the completed sample WSLP and related sections of the rule are met by the sample using the WSLP Alignment Self Assessment Tool. You will be able to see specifically how the content of the WSLP addresses each of the 8 required components outlined in WAC 392-121-182(3)(n). The tool will demonstrate how those components are broken down into sub-components, how related sections of the rules are linked to the WSLP requirements, and will provide any comments or notes about items related to, but not required to be directly contained on the WSLP, are handled by the sample district.
    • Blank Template (Word .doc): This can be used as a starting point for a local WSLP.
  • High School American Studies Outcome-based Written Student Learning Plan
    • Completed Sample WSLP (PDF): This file contains a sample WSLP with all eight components of the WSLP included.
    • Compliance checklist (PDF): This file shows how the completed sample WSLP and related sections of the rule are met by the sample using the WSLP Alignment Self Assessment Tool. You will be able to see specifically how the content of the WSLP addresses each of the 8 required components outlined in WAC 392-121-182(3)(n). The tool will demonstrate how those components are broken down into sub-components, how related sections of the rules are linked to the WSLP requirements, and will provide any comments or notes about items related to, but not required to be directly contained on the WSLP, are handled by the sample district.
    • Blank Template (Word .doc): This can be used as a starting point for a local WSLP.
  • High School Algebra Outcome-based Written Student Learning Plan
    • Completed Sample WSLP (PDF): This file contains a sample WSLP with all eight components of the WSLP included.
    • Compliance checklist (PDF): This file shows how the completed sample WSLP and related sections of the rule are met by the sample using the WSLP Alignment Self Assessment Tool. You will be able to see specifically how the content of the WSLP addresses each of the 8 required components outlined in WAC 392-121-182(3)(n). The tool will demonstrate how those components are broken down into sub-components, how related sections of the rules are linked to the WSLP requirements, and will provide any comments or notes about items related to, but not required to be directly contained on the WSLP, are handled by the sample district.
    • Blank Template (Word .doc): This can be used as a starting point for a local WSLP.