COVID-19 » Independent Study

Independent Study

Monday, July 19, 2021
 
Dear BHUSD Parents/Guardians,

We understand that the current pandemic situation continues to evolve and it is overwhelming to decipher what is a guarantee for next year. Currently, there is no doubt that the mask mandate from the California Department of Public Health for inside buildings will remain regardless of vaccination status. We are required, per California Department of Education Assembly Bill 130 (AB 130), to inform you of the Independent Study (IS) program for students whose health would be put at risk during the 2021-2022 school year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

We are excited to fully reopen on August 13th for in-person school! If you do not apply for the Independent Study (IS) program by Monday, July 26th at 8 am, your student will attend regular in-person school, no further action is required. 

To apply for the Independent Study Program please be sure you are logged into your ParentSquare account and complete the form.

Sincerely,
Dustin M. Seemann
Assistant Superintendent, Education Services

What is Independent Study (IS)?
Independent Study, per the California Department of Education Assembly Bill 130 (AB 130), requires us to provide an alternative to in-person classroom instruction for students whose health would be put at risk during the 2021-2022 school year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The IS program will take place via Zoom and other tools.

Is Independent Study (IS) the same as the distance learning programs last year - LIVE@BHUSD or the Independent Learning Center/ILC)?
No, the Independent Study (IS) program, required under AB 130, looks different for each grade span. The teachers in the IS program may have previously worked for BHUSD and they will be employed by BHUSD, however, the IS program is entirely separate from the in-person instruction.
 
* “Live interaction” means interaction between the student and local educational agency classified or certificated staff, and may include peers, provided for the purpose of maintaining school connectedness, including but not limited to: wellness checks, progress monitoring, provision of services, and instruction. This interaction may take place in person or in the form of internet or telephonic communication.

* “Synchronous instruction” means classroom-style instruction or designated small group or one-on-one instruction delivered in person, or in the form of internet or telephonic communications and involving live, two-way communication between the teacher and student. Synchronous instruction shall be provided by the teacher of record for that student.

When is the deadline to apply?
Monday, July 26, 2021 at 8 am. We understand that you may feel as though there are still so many unknowns about COVID however this is the latest deadline we are able to provide to ensure we are staffed appropriately.

What is the commitment for Independent Study TK-12?
The commitment for Independent Study is one semester. This is to ensure appropriate staffing and to provide consistency for our student’s education. Please ensure that you carefully consider this choice due to the commitment.

If my student struggled in distance learning last year, should I sign them up for independent study?
No, you should keep them in in-person (regular school) learning. The 2020-21 school year forced all students into distance learning due to a pandemic. All students have the option to return to in-person instruction for the 2021-22 school year. If your student struggled with learning remotely, they should return to in-person instruction.  
 
What are the expectations of an Independent Study student?
  • Daily engagement with curriculum and school work 
  • Distraction free learning environment 
  • Assignments completed and submitted on time  
  • High standards of academic integrity  
  • Daily monitoring of school platforms including email, Aeries, Google Classroom, APEX Learning/Seesaw and textbooks 
  • Organization with daily and long-term assignments through use of a list or agenda 
  • Communication with teachers and staff to seek clarification and support  
  • Respectful communication and collaboration with peers  
  • Maintain balance with activities, outside of school, that do not involve a screen 
  • Engage in remote learning with the same commitment as in the “traditional” setting 
 
What are the expectations of an Independent Study parent?
  • Active monitoring of student’s courses including assignments, grades and attendance 
  • Consistent communication with teachers and staff  
  • Support of the student’s distraction free learning environment  
  • Establishment of a structured daily routine for completing work 
  • Participation in meetings with program staff if requested. 
  • Ensure student’s daily monitoring of all school platforms 
  • Engaged communication with the teachers and school staff  
  • Maintain an active role in my student’s education and provide assistance as needed 
  • Provide student opportunities for physical activity and healthy social interactions 
 
My child is easily distracted by video games, online videos, and social media but wants to be in the Independent Study program, should I sign them up?
No.  While many students have been successful in distance learning, online distractions have caused some students to struggle with their academics. If your child is easily distracted in this way, they would be better served with in-person instruction.

Will counseling and support services be available to my child?
Counseling and support services will continue to be offered to students remotely for Independent Study.

What technology do I need in my home for my student to be successful in distance learning?
For a student to be successful in distance learning they will need a reliable internet connection. Students and parents should be familiar with technology and be able to troubleshoot issues as they arise. The program will have technology support that can help families remotely troubleshoot any technology issues. For some families hardwiring a device directly to a modem has helped with WIFI issues. In addition, setting up a clean space, free of distractions, and dedicated to school has helped students be successful this year.  

What if Independent Study is not working for my child?
If Independent Study is not working for your child, you can always reach out to your Independent Study teacher for assistance. The IS teacher will work with your student’s school administration to discuss support and accommodations.

What if I want to change the program and go back to in-person?
The commitment to Independent Study is a one-semester commitment.

Will my child participate in standardized testing or other district-wide testing?
Yes, students in Independent Study will continue to participate in all state and local assessments.  
 
What about activities and sports through PTA/PTSA/Clubs/Athletics at my home school?
Students can continue to participate in after-school activities and sports through their home school.  
 
Will Special Education Services and accommodations be the same as in-person learning?
Independent Study will deliver Special Education Services and accommodations remotely, as appropriate.  These may look different than in-person learning and as a result, the IEP will be reviewed in order to determine appropriate accommodations and services.