FAQ #1 5/22/2020

  • ROWUSD Home Choice and Independent Study FAQ

    We have read about the home choice program for K-6 students for 20-21?  How will this be staffed? 
    A brochure and interest survey went out to ROWUSD families on Friday, May 15th to provide information to our families and to gather possible interest.  Over the weekend, we had a list of 150 parents/students interested in the program. 

    The actual number of students enrolled in the program will be determined by the number of completed applications and class size maximums as stated in the certificated bargaining agreement. The program will be staffed by credentialed teachers to provide parents the curriculum and teaching strategies to support parents who want the flexibility of educating their child at home.
    Once the number of students enrolled is verified, the district personnel office will work with the coordinator of alternative education to proceed with the hiring process. Current ROWUSD teachers could apply for a transfer.

    Why is the district starting a K-6 Home Choice program right now?
    This program has been in the design phase all year as we have been looking at ways to address the district’s declining enrollment by providing more options for our families on the mountain.  The district’s budget committee for 19/20 also recognized Home Choice as a preferred and viable option for families looking for a home-schooling solution, and our teachers’ union has supported this program for the last few years as well. A Coordinator of Alternative Programs was hired in February and began in March 2020 prior to the COVID closure.  David Nygren is that coordinator and will oversee this program. 

    What is a home choice program exactly?  What is the difference between home choice and independent study? 
    A Home Choice program is where the parent becomes the teacher for their child, which has traditionally been called homeschooling.  The parent and child will meet with a ROWUSD credentialed teacher on a regular basis, usually weekly or biweekly, in person or online, who will go over lesson plans and assessments.  
    Independent study is when it is assumed that the child is doing most of the learning on their own, either using an online instructional program with a teacher or by completing work packets and turning them in.

    If home choice is not offered for 7-12, what program do you offer for these students? 
    We have offered full-time independent study for a number of years using the Odysseyware online learning program.  We will continue this program as an Independent Study option.  Students with computer and internet access who traditionally have a 2.0 GPA and can learn independently tend to thrive in this program.  Students can work at their own pace and receive help from a ROWUSD credentialed teacher in that subject area. 
    Unfortunately, a Home Choice program is much more complicated for secondary students because subjects like Chemistry and higher-level Math, etc, are harder for some parents to teach and require a credentialed teacher. 

    How is attendance calculated in home choice and independent study programs?
    The parent and student are required to meet with the teacher on average of an hour a week, turn in assignments, and take district and state assessments.  Appointments are scheduled on a mutually agreed upon time and missing an appointment means the student is absent for two weeks.  Home Choice follows the elementary school calendar. 

    What would attract someone to a Home Choice or Independent Study programs?
    Many parents enjoy teaching their child and sharing the learning experience, bonding, flexible scheduling, personalizing the learning, and scheduling their own field trips.  Some students have immunity conditions or other medical or mental health conditions that prevent them from being around others.  Some parents have philosophical or religious beliefs that are not promoted in public education that they would like to introduce with the lessons.

    What kind of supports are provided in the Home Choice program?
    Parents will be provided books, charts, manipulatives, curriculum, lesson planning, and materials needed to complete the lesson working side by side with a credentialed teacher who is a resource available by phone and email during normal work hours (dependent on the program and number of students).  Library books would be available for check out. Students can also participate in elective programs offered at their home school, such as music.  The curriculum that will be provided will be in sync with district and state adopted materials. 

    Who are these programs designed for? 
    The Home Choice program is designed for parents who want to teach their child, following the Master Agreement working alongside the Home Choice teacher. The Independent Study program is for students who are independent learners who are currently at or close to grade level proficiency.  Parents are to provide transportation to and from the appointments when required in person, although some meetings can be done online.  Students with good attendance and are willing to participate in their learning do well in these programs.