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Short Term Independent Study

Independent Study

Independent Study (IS) is an optional instructional strategy for students in grades TK - 12, using standards-based, grade-level content. It is not an alternative curriculum and is designed to teach the knowledge and skills of the core curriculum (CA Ed Code 51745[a][3]). The 2021 - 2022 school year has brought some updates to IS that includes students whose health would be put at risk by in-person instruction, as determined by the parent/guardian, or a student who is unable to attend in-person instruction due to a quarantine due to exposure to, or infection with, COVID-19, pursuant to local or state public health guidance. CA Ed Code 51745(6) SBCUSD Board Policy was revised on August 17, 2021 on IS.

Students may participate in grades TK - 12, or per IEP recommendations, if the student receives special education services. Independent Study is always the choice of the family as participation cannot be mandated. Pursuant to CA Ed Code 48915 & 48917, students who are suspended or expelled may participate in Independent Study only if the student is offered the alternative of classroom instruction.

Master Agreement

Independent Study (IS) requires the completion of a master agreement document before IS instruction begins. The master agreement includes information such as dates for IS, when/how to turn in completed work, and subjects taught For the 2021 - 2022 school year only, the district shall obtain a signed written agreement for independent study no later than 30 days after the first day of IS instruction. Education Code 51747; 5 CCR 11700, 11702

Student-Caregiver-Educator Conferences

A caregiver may request a conference with the teacher(s), before signing the master agreement for Independent Study-- at the student or parent/guardian's request. the school will hold a student-parent/guardian-educator conference or school meeting via phone, videoconference, or in-person. This conference or meeting must involve all of the people who sign the student’s written agreement for independent study. During the conference or school meeting, attendees may ask questions about the educational options, curriculum offerings, and nonacademic support available to the student (CA Ed Code 51747). If you would like a conference or meeting, please contact your child’s school.

Educational Progress in Independent Study

  • When beginning independent study, families will be provided student work assignments, resources to complete the schoolwork, devices/connectivity (if needed), and other support/materials needed to access the education.
  • Families that wish to return to in-person instruction from Independent Study will be transitioned within five instructional days.
  • Satisfactory educational progress shall be determined based on all of the following indicators:
    • The student’s achievement and engagement in the IS program, as indicated by performance on applicable measures of achievement and engagement;
    • The completion of assignments, assessments, or other indicators that evidence that the student is working on assignments;
    • Learning required concepts, as determined by the supervising teacher;
    • Progressing toward successful completion of the course of study or individual course, as determined by the supervising teacher.
  • If satisfactory educational progress is not being made, the parent/guardian will be contacted and an evaluation meeting will be conducted to determine whether it is in the best interest of the student to remain IS. This evaluation paperwork will be in the student’s file and be maintained for 3 years.

SBCUSD Independent Study Options

SBCUSD currently offers independent study programs through Virtual Academy and Short-Term Independent Study. Virtual Academy is considered the district’s long term independent study option. Virtual Academy currently has an Interest List for students whose Parent/Guardians can add their child’s name to the Interest List by following this link: VA Interest List. Want additional information on Virtual Academy? Virtual Academy Website, Call (909) 888-0763, or email:

Short Term Independent Study

Short-Term Independent Study is an educational option for students who will be absent for three (3) to fourteen (14). The Short-Term Independent Study option has to be substantially equivalent in quality and quantity to classroom instruction CA Ed Code 51745(a)(3). After Day 14 of independent study, CA Ed Code 51747(e)(1)(2)(3) requires the addition of opportunities for daily live synchronous instruction for grades TK - 3, opportunities for daily live interaction & weekly synchronous instruction for grades 4 - 8, and weekly synchronous instruction for grades 9 - 12.

CA Ed Code 51745.5 defines the following:
(a) “Live interaction” means interaction between the pupil 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.
(b) “Local educational agency” means a school district, county office of education, or charter school.
(c) “Pupil-parent-educator conference” means a meeting involving, at a minimum, all parties who signed the pupil’s written independent study agreement pursuant to subdivision (g) of Section 51747 or the written learning agreement pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 51749.6.
(d) “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 pupil. Synchronous instruction shall be provided by the teacher of record for that pupil pursuant to Section 51747.5 or the certificated employee of the local educational agency providing instruction for course-based independent study.

Is Independent Study Available for Students with Disabilities? Yes, independent study is an option for all students with disabilities, provided that the student’s needs are evaluated and it is determined if a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) can be provided with support in independent study. A student must have an Individualized Education Program (IEP) that specifically provides for participation in independent study prior to participation per CA Ed Code 57145(c). A student will receive their services and supports under their IEP by enrolling in independent study.

FAMILIES: To participate in Short-Term Independent Study, caregivers should contact their child’s school.

STAFF: For access to the ‘Short Term Independent Study 2021-2022’ shared drive, with all guiding documents, please email:


Angela Urquidies, Director
Dora Tanya Burrows, Coordinator
Marisa Ruiz, Bil. Secretary III

Lincoln ES
255 West 13th Street E-202
San Bernardino, CA 92405
Ph: (909)880-6850
Fax: (909)383-0634