WSR 05-13-154

PERMANENT RULES

SUPERINTENDENT OF

PUBLIC INSTRUCTION

[ Filed June 21, 2005, 2:02 p.m. , effective July 22, 2005 ]


Purpose: These rules are being revised in response to a number of developments: A legislative bill requiring the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction to develop rules encompassing digital learning programs; a preliminary report from Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee on the digital learning programs; the rapid growth and diversity of programs operating under these rules; and uncertainty about a school district's oversight role in alternative learning programs.

Citation of Existing Rules Affected by this Order: Amending WAC 392-121-182.

Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 28A.150.290 and SSB 5828.

Adopted under notice filed as WSR 05-09-088 on April 19, 2005.

Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Comply with Federal Statute: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Federal Rules or Standards: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Recently Enacted State Statutes: New 0, Amended 1, Repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted at Request of a Nongovernmental Entity: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted on the Agency's Own Initiative: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Clarify, Streamline, or Reform Agency Procedures: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted Using Negotiated Rule Making: New 0, Amended 1, Repealed 0; Pilot Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Other Alternative Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.

Date Adopted: June 21, 2005.

Marty Daybell

for Dr. Terry Bergeson

Superintendent of

Public Instruction

OTS-8038.2


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending Order 99-01, filed 3/25/99, effective 4/25/99)

WAC 392-121-182   Alternative learning experience requirements.   (1) An alternative learning experience may be counted as a course of study. ((An alternative learning experience is an individualized course of study for a student who is not home-based pursuant to RCW 28A.225.010(4), a private school student pursuant to RCW 28A.225.010 (1)(a), or an adult education student. The alternative learning experience is provided in accordance with a written alternative learning experience plan that is implemented pursuant to the school district board's policy for alternative learning experiences. The school district board policy must have been adopted in a public meeting. The alternative learning experience may be conducted in part outside of the regular classroom. A portion of the alternative learning experience may be provided by the student's parent(s) or guardian under supervision by school staff. As used in this section "school staff" means staff of the school district or a contractor pursuant to WAC 392-121-188. Alternative learning experience may be counted as a course of study pursuant to WAC 392-121-107 if the following requirements are met:

(1) School district board policies for alternative learning experiences -- Effective January 1, 1996, each school district claiming basic education funding for alternative learning experiences shall have written policies on file that:

(a) Require a written plan for each student participating in an alternative learning experience that meets the minimum criteria pursuant to subsection (2) of this section;

(b) Require that all alternative learning experience curriculum and course requirements be approved by the school district;

(c) Describe how student performance will be supervised, evaluated, and recorded by school staff;

(d) Require that each student's educational progress will be reviewed at least once during the first twenty school days and afterwards at least once every forty-five school days and that the results of each evaluation shall be communicated to the student and if the student is in grades K-8, the student's parent or guardian. If the school staff determines that a student is not substantially successful in completing the learning activities described in the written alternative learning experience plan, a revised written plan may be implemented. Any revised written plan shall be designed to enable the student to be substantially successful in completing the learning activities described in the revised written plan within ninety school days from the date that the school staff first determines that the student is not substantially successful in completing the assigned learning activities included in the original written plan. If the school staff determines that the student is still not substantially successful in completing their assigned learning activities after ninety school days from the date that the district first determines that the student is not substantially successful in completing the learning activities included in the original written plan, or sooner at the discretion of the school staff, a plan to remove the student from the alternative program shall be devised. Such plan shall specify that the student shall be removed from the alternative program no later than the end of the current school year for a period of at least one school term. Students removed from the alternative program shall be offered the opportunity to enroll in another course of study as defined in WAC 392-121-107;

(e) A requirement that the alternative learning experience plan for each student and all records of enrollment, attendance, and total hours of participation in educational activities for the student are maintained and available for audit in the appropriate school building; and

(f) At the discretion of the school district board, the policy may describe responsibilities of the student's parent(s) or guardian including, but not limited to:

(i) Approval of the written alternative learning experience plan;

(ii) Responsibility for the parent(s) or guardian to provide or supervise a portion of the student's alternative learning experience if the parent(s) or guardian agrees; and

(iii) Requirements to meet with school staff for purposes of evaluating the student's performance and/or receiving instructions on assisting with the student's alternative learning experience. The school district board may also prescribe requirements for appointing a person to provide or supervise a portion of the student's alternative learning experience in the event the student's parent(s) or guardian will not or can not be a participant in the student's alternative learning experience;

(2) A written alternative learning experience plan is developed -- Effective January 1, 1996, the alternative learning experience plan for a student shall be a written plan of instruction designed to meet the individual needs of the student, and shall be approved by a school official and any other person(s) as required or allowed by school district policy. The written plan shall include, but not be limited to, the following elements:

(a) A schedule of the duration of the program, including beginning and ending dates;

(b) A description of the learning activities the student is expected to successfully complete. Such description shall be sufficient in detail to guide and advise the student of the expectations;

(c) A description of the teaching component(s) of the program, including where and when teaching activities will be conducted by school staff;

(d) A description of the responsibilities of the student including a requirement that if, on average, the student attends school less than five hours a week, the student shall meet one-on-one with qualified school staff for an average minimum of sixty minutes every five school days for instruction, review of the student's assignments, testing, and/or other learning activities. If more than one student meets with a qualified school staff member at one time, the required time is increased proportionately, for example, the requirement becomes one hundred twenty minutes if two 1.0 full-time equivalent students meet with the staff member at one time; and

(e) A reasonably accurate estimate of the average number of hours per month that the student will be engaged in learning activities to meet the requirements of the alternative learning experience plan. This estimate may be used in reporting enrollment in compliance with subsection (3) of this section and must be based upon the criteria in subsection (3)(a)(i) of this section;

(3) Reporting enrollment -- Effective beginning with the 1995-96 school year the full-time equivalency of students enrolled in alternative learning experiences shall be determined based upon both (a) and (b) of this subsection as follows:

(a) Using the definition of a full-time equivalent student in WAC 392-121-122 and the number of hours that each student engages in learning activities as determined by either (a)(i) or (ii) of this subsection as follows:

(i) The total number of hours that the student engages in learning activities pursuant to the written alternative learning experience plan including:

(A) Those hours that meet the criteria in WAC 392-121-107 (1)(a);

(B) Those hours of work based learning calculated in accordance with WAC 392-121-107 (1)(f);

(C) Those hours of learning activity other than those specified in (a)(i)(A), (B) and (D) of this subsection that are provided by the student's parent(s) or guardian, or other person as designated by the written plan, under the direct supervision of the school's qualified instructional staff; and

(D) Those hours that the student participates in learning activities other than those specified in (a)(i)(A), (B) and (C) of this subsection. Such learning activity shall be pursuant to the student's alternative learning experience plan and if the student is in grades K-8, only includes those hours the student is supervised by the student's parent(s) or guardian or other person designated by the written alternative learning experience plan;

(ii) The district may use the estimated average hours per month the student is engaged in learning activities as stated in the alternative learning experience plan which meet the requirements of (a)(i) of this subsection: Provided, That for any count date on which the student has averaged, for the immediate two prior months during the current school year, a number of hours engaged in learning activities that differ by more than five hours a week from the alternative learning experience plan estimate pursuant to subsection (2)(e) of this section, the full-time equivalency of the student for such count date shall be adjusted to the lesser of 1.0 or the full-time equivalency calculated using the two-month average;

(b) The enrollment count shall exclude students meeting the definition of enrollment exclusions in WAC 392-121-108 or students who have not met with appropriate school staff for twenty consecutive school days. Any such student shall not be counted as an enrolled student until the student has met with appropriate school staff and resumed participation in their alternative learning experience or participated in another course of study as defined in WAC 392-121-107;

(4) Documentation required -- Effective with the 1995-96 school year the district shall keep on file in the appropriate school building and have available for audit, documentation of all hours of learning activities used to determine the student's full-time equivalency including documentation of the following:

(a) For students in grades K-8, written statements from the student's parent(s) or guardian or other person as designated by the written alternative learning experience plan. Such statements shall be submitted to the district on a monthly basis or more often at the discretion of the district and shall list those hours that the student has engaged in planned learning activities while not in the presence of school staff. Reported hours shall be used to determine the full-time equivalency of the student pursuant to subsection (3) of this section; and

(b) For students in grades 9-12, the student shall submit written statements on a monthly basis or more often at the discretion of the school staff. Such statements shall list those hours that the student has engaged in planned learning activities while not in the presence of school staff. Reported hours shall be used to determine the full-time equivalency of the student pursuant to subsection (3) of this section;

(5) Effective with the 1995-96 school year the school district shall either:

(a) Maintain a ratio of full-time equivalent certificated instructional staff serving the annual average full-time equivalent students reported for basic education funding pursuant to this section which is at least equal to the district's basic education funding ratio for the grade band of the students being reported for basic education funding pursuant to this section; or

(b) Separately account for, document, and have available for audit, evidence that the district expends during the school year at least seventy percent of the basic education entitlement claimed for students enrolled in alternative learning experiences during the school year. Such expenditures shall be direct expenditures in the following programs as defined in the Accounting Manual for Public School Districts in Washington State for the school year:

(i) Program 01, Basic Education; and/or

(ii) Program 31, Vocational, Basic, State; and/or

(iii) Program 45, Skills Center, Basic, State.)) A school district alternative learning experience may make use of digital and/or on-line curricula, and may be delivered over the internet or using other electronic means. A school district alternative learning experience may also include significant participation by students, parents, and families in the design and implementation of a student's learning experience. This section provides an alternative method of determining full-time equivalent enrollment and claiming state funding for public school learning experiences that are:

(a) Individual courses of study for students who meet the definition for enrollment specified by WAC 392-121-106. Students may enroll part-time in alternative learning experiences. Such enrollment shall be subject to the provisions of RCW 28A.150.350 and chapter 392-134 WAC;

(b) Supervised, monitored, assessed, and evaluated by school staff. As used in this section, "school staff" means certificated instructional staff of the school district according to the provisions of chapter 180-82 WAC, or a contractor pursuant to WAC 392-121-188;

(c) Provided in accordance with a written alternative learning experience plan that is implemented pursuant to the school district board's policy for alternative learning experiences; and

(d) Provided in whole or part, outside the regular classroom setting, including those learning experiences provided digitally via the internet or other electronic means.

This section sets forth the standards, procedures, and requirements for state funded alternative learning experiences. This section is not intended to prevent or limit alternative education programs provided by a school district with federal or local resources.

An alternative learning experience may be counted as a course of study pursuant to WAC 392-121-107 if the following requirements are met:

(2) School district board policies for alternative learning experiences: The board of directors of a school district claiming state funding for alternative learning experiences shall adopt and annually review written policies for each alternative learning experience program and program provider that:

(a) Require a written plan for each student participating in an alternative learning experience that meets the minimum criteria pursuant to subsection (4) of this section;

(b) Require that the overall ratio of certificated instructional staff to full-time equivalent students enrolled in alternative learning experience programs and courses, including those that rely primarily on digital curriculum, be identified and approved by the school district board of directors in a public meeting;

(c) Describe how student performance will be supervised, monitored, assessed, evaluated, and recorded by school staff. Such description shall include methods for periodic grade reporting, if different from existing school district policy;

(d) Require each student enrolled in an alternative learning experience to have direct personal contact with school staff at least weekly, until the student completes the course objectives or the requirements of the learning plan. Direct personal contact shall be for the purposes of instruction, review of assignments, testing, reporting of student progress, or other learning activities. Direct personal contact means a face-to-face meeting with the student and, where appropriate, the student's parent or guardian. In establishing policies for alternative learning experience programs and program providers, the school district board of directors may determine that direct personal contact can be accomplished through the use of telephone, e-mail, instant messaging, interactive video communication, or other means of digital communication, instead of a face-to-face meeting, if in the judgment of the board such contact methods do not compromise educational quality, student health and safety, or the fiscal integrity of the district;

(e) Require that each student's educational progress be reviewed at least monthly and that the results of each review be communicated to the student and if the student is in grades K8, the student's parent or guardian;

(f) At the discretion of the school district board, the policy may describe responsibilities of the student's parent(s) or guardian including, but not limited to:

(i) Approval of the written alternative learning experience plan;

(ii) Responsibility for the parent(s) or guardian to provide or implement a portion of the student's alternative learning experience under the supervision of school staff, if the parent(s) or guardian agrees; and

(iii) Requirements to meet with school staff for purposes of evaluating the student's performance and/or receiving instructions on assisting with the student's alternative learning experience. The school district board may also prescribe requirements for appointing a person to provide or supervise a portion of the student's alternative learning experience in the event the student's parent(s) or guardian will not or cannot be a participant in the student's alternative learning experience;

(g) Designate one or more school district official(s) responsible for approving specific alternative learning experience programs or courses, monitoring compliance with this section, and reporting at least annually to the school district board of directors on the program. This annual report shall include at least the following:

(i) Documentation of alternative learning experience student headcount and full-time equivalent enrollment claimed for basic education funding;

(ii) A description of how certificated and classified staff are assigned program management and instructional responsibilities that maximize student learning, including the ratio of certificated instructional staff to full-time equivalent students;

(iii) A description of how a written student learning plan pursuant to subsection (4) of this section, is developed, and student performance supervised and evaluated, by certificated staff;

(iv) A description of how the program supports the district's overall goals and objectives for student academic achievement; and

(v) Results of any self-evaluations conducted pursuant to subsection (7) of this section;

(h) Satisfy the state board of education's requirements for courses of study and equivalencies (chapter 180-50 WAC);

(i) For alternative learning experience courses offering credit, or for alternative learning experience programs issuing a high school diploma, satisfy the state board of education's high school graduation requirements (chapter 180-51 WAC); and

(j) Identify what, if any, expenditures which are directly related to the written student learning plan and are paid by participants of an alternative learning experience may be subject to reimbursement by the district.

(3) Alternative learning experience implementation standards:

(a) Alternative learning experiences shall be accessible to all students, including those with disabilities. Alternative learning experiences for special education students shall be provided in accordance with chapter 392-172 WAC.

(b) It is the responsibility of the school district or school district contractor to ensure that students have all curricula, course content, instructional materials, and other learning resources essential to successfully complete the requirements of the written student learning plan. Curricula, course content, instructional materials, and other learning resources for alternative learning experiences shall at minimum be consistent in quality with those available to the district's overall student population. Instructional materials shall be provided in accordance with RCW 28A.320.230.

(c) Work-based learning as a component of an alternative learning experience course of study shall be subject to the provisions of WAC 180-50-315 and 392-121-124.

(d) Contracting for alternative learning experiences shall be subject to the provisions of WAC 392-121-188 and RCW 28A.150.305.

(e) A school district that provides one or more alternative learning experiences to a student shall provide the parent(s) or guardian 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 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.

(f) The school district shall institute 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.

(g) State funded public schools or public school programs whose primary purpose is to provide alternative learning experiences using digital or on-line means shall be accredited through the state accreditation program or through the regional accreditation program.

(4) Written student learning plan: Each student enrolled in an alternative learning experience course of study shall have a written student learning plan designed to meet the student's individual educational needs. The written student learning plan may be developed in partnership with the student, the student's parents, and other interested parties, with recognition that school staff has the primary responsibility and accountability for the plan, including supervision and monitoring, and evaluation and assessment of the student's progress. The written student learning plan shall include, but not be limited to, the following elements:

(a) A beginning and ending date for the learning experience;

(b) An estimate of the average number of hours per week that the student will engage in learning activities to meet the requirements of the student learning plan. This estimate may be used in reporting enrollment in compliance with subsection (5) of this section and must be based upon the criteria in subsection (6) of this section;

(c) A description of how weekly contact requirements will be fulfilled;

(d) A description of the specific learning goals and performance objectives of the alternative learning experience. This requirement may be met through the use of course syllabi or other similarly detailed descriptions of learning requirements. The description shall clearly identify the requirements a student must meet to successfully complete the course or program;

(e) Identification of instructional materials essential to successful completion of the learning plan; and

(f) A description of the timelines and methods for evaluating student progress toward the learning goals and performance objectives specified in the learning plan.

The written student learning plan shall identify whether the alternative learning experience meets one or more of the state essential academic learning requirements or any other academic goals, objectives, and learning requirements defined by the school district. For a high school alternative learning experience, the plan shall specify whether the experience meets state and district graduation requirements.

(5) Enrollment reporting: Effective the 200506 school year, the full-time equivalency of students enrolled in alternative learning experience programs shall be determined as follows:

(a) Using the definition of full-time equivalent student in WAC 392-121-122 and the number of hours the student is expected to engage in learning activities as follows:

(i) On the first enrollment count date on or after the start date specified in the written student learning plan, the estimated average weekly hours of learning activity described in the written student learning plan;

(ii) On subsequent monthly count dates, if the student's progress review pursuant to subsection (6) of this section indicates satisfactory progress, the student's full-time equivalent shall be based on the estimated average weekly hours of learning activity identified in the student learning plan;

(iii) If the student's progress review indicates a lack of satisfactory progress, the student's full-time equivalent shall be based on the estimated average weekly hours of learning activity described in the student learning plan, and the actual number of hours the student engages in learning activity pursuant to the written student learning plan shall be documented during the ensuing month. Documented hours shall encompass only time spent on those learning activities intended to accomplish the learning goals and performance objectives identified in the written student learning plan, shall meet the following criteria and shall be verified by district staff:

(A) Those hours of classroom instruction provided by school staff;

(B) Those hours of work based learning calculated in accordance with WAC 392-121-107 (1)(f);

(C) Those hours of learning activity other than those specified in (a)(iii)(A), (B) and (D) of this subsection that are conducted and supervised by the student's parent(s) or guardian, or other person as designated by the written plan; and

(D) Those hours that the student participates in learning activities other than those specified in (a)(iii)(A), (B) and (C) of this subsection. If the student is in grades K8, such learning activity shall be supervised by the student's parent(s) or guardian or other person designated by the written student learning plan;

(iv) On subsequent monthly count dates, if the student's progress review indicates a lack of satisfactory progress, the student's full-time equivalent shall be based on the actual average weekly hours of learning activity documented during the prior month;

(v) Enrollment of part-time students shall be subject to the provisions of RCW 28A.150.350, and shall generate the pro rata share of full-time funding.

(b) The enrollment count shall exclude students meeting the definition of enrollment exclusions in WAC 392-121-108 or students who have not had direct personal contact with school staff for twenty consecutive school days. Any such student shall not be counted as an enrolled student until the student has met with appropriate school staff and resumed participation in their alternative learning experience or participated in another course of study as defined in WAC 392-121-107;

(c) School districts providing alternative learning experiences to nonresident students shall document the district of the student's physical residence, and shall 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.

(6) Accountability for student performance:

(a) At minimum, students enrolled in alternative learning experiences shall have their educational performance evaluated according to the following process and schedule:

(i) Each student's educational progress shall be reviewed at least once per month. The progress review shall be based on the learning goals and performance objectives defined in the written student learning plan.

(ii) The progress review shall be conducted by school staff and shall include direct personal contact with the student. If allowed by district policy, direct personal contact may include the use of telephone, e-mail, instant messaging, interactive video communication, or other means of digital communication. The results of the review shall be communicated to the student and, where possible, the student's parent(s) or guardian.

(iii) Based on the progress review, school staff shall determine and document whether the student is making satisfactory progress in completing the learning activities and reaching the learning goals and performance objectives defined in the written plan.

(iv) If the student fails to make satisfactory progress for no more than two consecutive evaluation periods or if the student fails to follow the written student learning plan, an intervention plan designed to improve student progress shall be developed and implemented. This intervention plan shall be developed by school staff in conjunction with the student and, for students in grades K8, the student's parent(s) or guardian.

(v) If, after no more than three subsequent evaluation periods, the student still is not making satisfactory progress, a plan designed to more appropriately meet the student's educational need shall be developed and implemented by school staff in conjunction with the student and, for students in grades K-8, the student's parent(s) or guardian.

(b) The educational progress of students enrolled in alternative learning experiences shall be assessed 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.

(c) Students enrolled full-time in nonresident alternative learning experience schools, programs, or courses shall have the opportunity to participate in any required annual state assessments at the district of residence, subject to that district's planned testing schedule. It is the responsibility of the enrolling district to facilitate all necessary coordination with the district of residence and with the student and, where appropriate, the student's parent(s) or guardian to fulfill this requirement. Such coordination may include arranging for appropriate assessment booklets, student notification of assessment administration schedules, arrangements for forwarding of completed assessment booklets to the enrolling district for submission for scoring and reporting, and other steps as may be necessary. Assessment results for students assessed according to these provisions shall be included in the enrolling district's accountability measurements, and not in the district of residence's accountability measurements.

(7) Program evaluation: School districts offering alternative learning experiences shall engage in periodic self-evaluation of these learning experiences in a manner designed to objectively measure their effectiveness, including the impact of the experiences on student learning and achievement. Self-evaluation shall follow a continuous improvement model, and may be implemented as part of the school district's school improvement planning efforts.

(8) Annual reporting: Each school district offering alternative learning experiences shall report annually to the superintendent of public instruction on the types of programs and course offerings subject to this section, including student headcount and full-time equivalent enrollment claimed for basic education funding. The report shall identify the ratio of certificated instructional staff to full-time equivalent students enrolled in alternative learning experience courses or programs. The report shall separately identify alternative learning experience enrollment of students provided under contract pursuant to RCW 28A.150.305 and WAC 392-121-188.

(9) Documentation: In accordance with required records retention schedules, a school district claiming state funding for alternative learning experiences shall maintain the following written documentation available for audit:

(a) School board policy for alternative learning experiences pursuant to this section;

(b) Annual reports to the school district board of directors as required by subsection (2)(g) of this section;

(c) Annual reports to the superintendent of public instruction as required by subsection (8) of this section;

(d) The written student learning plans required by subsection (4) of this section, including documentation of required weekly direct personal contact;

(e) Student progress reviews, evaluations, and assessments required by subsection (6) of this section;

(f) Student enrollment detail substantiating full-time equivalent enrollment reported to the state, including estimated total hours of participation in educational activities, and any actual documentation of hours of learning for those students failing to make satisfactory progress; and

(g) Signed parent enrollment disclosure documents required by subsection (3)(e) of this section.

[Statutory Authority: 1997 c 265 6 and RCW 28A.150.290. 99-08-008 (Order 99-01), 392-121-182, filed 3/25/99, effective 4/25/99. Statutory Authority: RCW 28A.150.290. 95-18-097, 392-121-182, filed 9/6/95, effective 10/7/95; 95-01-013, 392-121-182, filed 12/8/94, effective 1/8/95. Statutory Authority: RCW 28A.150.290, 28A.150.250 and 28A.150.260. 91-02-096 (Order 50), 392-121-182, filed 1/2/91, effective 2/2/91. Statutory Authority: RCW 28A.41.055 and 28A.41.170. 88-03-013 (Order 88-8), 392-121-182, filed 1/11/88.]

Washington State Code Reviser's Office