Section 6j: Home-based instruction

Rule Text

(j)(i) A school district that provides alternative learning experience courses or course work to a student must provide the parent(s) of the student, prior to the student's enrollment, with a description of the difference between home-based instruction pursuant to chapter 28A.200 RCW and the enrollment option selected by the student. The parent must sign documentation attesting to his or her understanding of the difference. Such documentation must be retained by the district and made available for audit.

(ii) In the event a school district cannot locate a student's parent within three days of a student's request for enrollment in an alternative learning experience, the school district may enroll the student for a conditional period of no longer than thirty calendar days. The student must be disenrolled from the alternative learning experience if the school district does not obtain the documentation required under this subsection before the end of the thirty day conditional enrollment period.

Comments

The purpose of this subsection is to ensure students and their families clearly understand the differences between the independent, away-from-school learning that occurs in an ALE and parent-directed learning that is authorized under Washington’s home-based instruction law. This is established through the signature on a “statement of understanding” form by the parent prior to the student’s enrollment in the program.

For circumstances where the parent is not immediately available, the revised rule allows for conditional enrollment of the student for up to 30 days while the district works to establish and document compliance with this requirement.

Common Questions

Q. Does the Statement of Understanding for students enrolled in ALE courses need to be completed every year or just upon enrollment?

A. The letter does not need to be filed annually. It does need to be filed within 30 days of enrolling the student. As long as the student is continually enrolled, we would not expect to see a letter filed each year. However, if the student left the program and re-enrolled, a letter should be filed.

Last updated: 6/6/2012

Q. Can parents digitally “sign documentation attesting to his or her understanding of the difference”?

A. Yes, a digital signature can be used to sign this documentation. Signatures need to meet the following criteria in order to be an acceptable digital signature:

  1. It must be clear that the parent understands the differences between ALE and home schooling. The digital method system used to sign the document must sufficiently explain the differences.
  2. There must be a way to identify the person signing the document. While it does not need to be cryptographically secure, there must be a way to show who signed the document.
  3. The date and time of the signature must be recorded.

Examples:

  • An email from the parent, showing that they understand the differences between ALE and home schooling, would suffice.
  • A web-based system that recorded a “signature” (such as a check box or text entry area) could work, presuming it sufficiently explained the differences between ALE and home schooling, and the system user (parent) was logged, along with the date and time.

Last updated: 10/9/2012

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.