BILL REQ. #:  S-0515.1 


State of Washington61st Legislature2009 Regular Session

By Senator Eide

Read first time 01/21/09.   Referred to Committee on Early Learning & K-12 Education.

     AN ACT Relating to digital learning program accreditation; and amending RCW 28A.150.262.


Sec. 1   RCW 28A.150.262 and 2005 c 356 s 2 are each amended to read as follows:
     Under RCW 28A.150.260, the superintendent of public instruction shall revise the definition of a full-time equivalent student to include students who receive instruction through digital programs. "Digital programs" means electronically delivered learning that occurs primarily away from the classroom. The superintendent of public instruction has the authority to adopt rules to implement the revised definition beginning with the 2005-2007 biennium for school districts claiming state funding for the programs. The rules shall include but not be limited to the following:
     (1) Defining a full-time equivalent student under RCW 28A.150.260 or part-time student under RCW 28A.150.350 based upon the district's estimated average weekly hours of learning activity as identified in the student's learning plan, as long as the student is found, through monthly evaluation, to be making satisfactory progress; the rules shall require districts providing programs under this section to nonresident students to establish procedures that address, at a minimum, the coordination of student counting for state funding so that no student is counted for more than one full-time equivalent in the aggregate;
     (2) Requiring the board of directors of a school district offering, or contracting under RCW 28A.150.305 to offer, a digital program to adopt and annually review written policies for each program and program provider and to receive an annual report on its digital learning programs from its staff;
     (3) Requiring each school district offering or contracting to offer a digital program to report annually to the superintendent of public instruction on the types of programs and course offerings, and number of students participating;
     (4) Requiring completion of a program self-evaluation;
     (5) Requiring documentation of the district of the student's physical residence;
     (6) Requiring that supervision, monitoring, assessment, and evaluation of the digital program be provided by certificated instructional staff;
     (7) Requiring each school district offering courses or programs to identify the ratio of certificated instructional staff to full-time equivalent students enrolled in such courses or programs, and to include a description of their ratio as part of the reports required under subsections (2) and (3) of this section;
     (8) Requiring reliable methods to verify a student is doing his or her own work; the methods may include proctored examinations or projects, including the use of web cams or other technologies. "Proctored" means directly monitored by an adult authorized by the school district;
     (9) Requiring, for each student receiving instruction in a digital program, a learning plan that includes a description of course objectives and information on the requirements a student must meet to successfully complete the program or courses. The rules shall allow course syllabi and other additional information to be used to meet the requirement for a learning plan;
     (10) Requiring that the district assess the educational progress of enrolled students at least annually, using, for full-time students, the state assessment for the student's grade level and using any other annual assessments required by the school district. Part-time students shall also be assessed at least annually. However, part-time students who are either receiving home-based instruction under chapter 28A.200 RCW or who are enrolled in an approved private school under chapter 28A.195 RCW are not required to participate in the assessments required under chapter 28A.655 RCW. The rules shall address how students who reside outside the geographic service area of the school district are to be assessed;
     (11) Requiring that each student enrolled in the program have direct personal contact with certificated instructional staff at least weekly until the student completes the course objectives or the requirements in the learning plan. Direct personal contact is for the purposes of instruction, review of assignments, testing, evaluation of student progress, or other learning activities. Direct personal contact may include the use of telephone, e-mail, instant messaging, interactive video communication, or other means of digital communication;
     (12) Requiring state-funded public schools or public school programs whose primary purpose is to provide digital learning programs to receive accreditation through the ((state accreditation program or through the regional accreditation program)) northwest association of accredited schools, a national accreditation program, or an accreditation program listed by the office of the superintendent of public instruction with the endorsement of the Washington coalition for online learning;
     (13) Requiring state-funded public schools or public school programs whose primary purpose is to provide digital learning to provide information to students and parents on whether or not the courses or programs: Cover one or more of the school district's learning goals or of the state's essential academic learning requirements or whether they permit the student to meet one or more of the state's or district's graduation requirements; and
     (14) Requiring that a school district that provides one or more digital courses to a student provide the parent or guardian of the student, prior to the student's enrollment, with a description of any difference between home-based education as described in chapter 28A.200 RCW and the enrollment option selected by the student. The parent or guardian shall sign documentation attesting to his or her understanding of the difference and the documentation shall be retained by the district and made available for audit.

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