REVISED QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
ON HOME INSTRUCTION
1. May a district require parents to register their child in the public school they plan to provide home instruction?
No. Parents are not required to register their child in the public school if they plan to provide home instruction. However, the parent, if requested, must demonstrate that the child resides within the school district and is of compulsory age.
2. Are parents required to meet with school officials?
No. School officials may request a meeting with parents to discuss the process of home schooling, but they may not deny parents the right to home instruct if the parents decline such a meeting.
3. Must a district respond to a letter of intent?
Yes. The district is obligated to reply within 10 business days of receiving the notice of intent by sending to the parents a copy of C.R. 100.10 and a form on which to submit an IHIP.
4. May parents engage a tutor to provide home instruction?
Yes. Parents may engage the services of a tutor to provide instruction for all or a portion of the home instruction program.
5. May groups of parents provide home instruction collectively by engaging the services of a tutor to provide group instruction to their children?
Parents providing home instruction to their children may arrange to have their children instructed in a group situation for particular subjects but not for a majority of the home instruction program. Where groups of parents organize to provide group instruction by a tutor for a majority of the instructional program, they are operating a nonpublic school and are no longer providing home instruction. Substantial equivalency of a nonpublic school program is not determined pursuant to Section 100.10 of the Regulations of the Commissioner.
6. Must parents file a health inspection report or fire inspection report? No. This is not required in the case of home instruction.
7. Must home instruction take place on days and during the times of day when school is in session?
Instruction at home is usually given within the general time-frame of the normal school day, but greater flexibility in scheduling is possible. For example, parents may choose to provide instruction on weekends or in the evening. The total amount of instructional time per week should be generally comparable to that of the public school.
8. May a district require parents or tutors to produce credentials for home instruction?
No. State law does not require any specific credentials for the person(s) providing home instruction.
9. What is a Home Instruction Worksheet?
The Worksheet is provided as a model to assist districts in maintaining and keeping records on home instruction. Although the worksheet is an internal district document completed by school officials, it may be filled out in consultation with the parents, if appropriate. Some of the information on the Worksheet will be derived from the quarterly reports and the annual evaluation.
10. Must the Home Instruction Worksheet be filled out by parents?
No The Worksheet is for internal district use.
11. May students instructed at home by their parents take part in non-credit-bearing organized school activities such as clubs, sports, and intramural?
Commissioner's Regulation 135.4(c) (7) directs that a participant in interscholastic sports must be enrolled in the public school; however, children educated other than at the public school may participate in intramural and other school-sponsored club activities. It is recommended that each board of education establish a policy to this effect. 3
12. May a student instructed at home participate in the school band and/or receive music lessons?
If the district considers these activities to be extracurricular, such a student may participate in the band and/or receive music lessons. It is recommended that the board of education establish a policy regarding participation in these activities.
13. May students instructed at home be allowed to use school facilities such as the library, career information center and gymnasium?
Yes. Students may be allowed to use such school facilities provided that there is mutual agreement on the part of all involved parties.
14. Must students instructed at home meet immunization requirements for in-school students?
The provisions of Public Health Law Section 2164 which require parents to submit proof of immunization prior to admission of their children to a school do not apply to students being educated at home. If the Commissioner of Health notifies school officials of the outbreak of a disease for which immunization is required, however, parents of children on home instruction who seek to participate in testing or other activities on the premises of a public or nonpublic school must produce proof of immunization or the children must be denied access to the school building.
15. May parents or students on home instruction borrow instructional items from the public school such as library books, microscopes and movie projectors?
Yes. Although a public school is not obligated by law to lend such items, it may allow parents or students to borrow available materials.
16. Is 4 student instructed at home entitled to benefit from the loan programs (textbooks, library materials and computer software) available to students enrolled in nonpublic schools?
A student instructed at home is not enrolled in a nonpublic school and, therefore, the district is not obligated to loan those items which a district is required to provide, by statute, to children attending nonpublic schools. Although not required, a school district may offer such loans to the extent available.
17. Is the school district required to furnish health services to students on home instruction?
No. The district is not required to furnish health services.
18. Is the district responsible for providing remedial programs for students instructed at home?
No. The district is not responsible for providing remedial programs for these students.
19. May a student instructed at home participate in the instructional program of the school district?
The legislature has not authorized part-time attendance and, therefore, a student instructed at home may not participate in the instructional program of the school district except for dual enrollment opportunities the district may make available under Section 3602-c of the Education Law and for special education programs and services the district is required to make available.
20. May a district provide dual enrollment services under Section 3602.c to students instructed at home?
While a district is not required to make occupational and vocational education programs and programs for the gifted available, the board of education may, at its discretion, allow such students to participate in these programs. A board of education must offer a student with disabilities the special education services and/or programs as recommended on the Individualized Education Program by the Committee on Special Education. The district may claim State aid for the provision of dual enrollment
services in district-operated programs. Services provided through BOCES, while generating BOCES aid, do not generate dual enrollment aid.
21. Does a school district obtain State aid for students instructed at home by their parents?
School districts cannot claim State aid for students instructed at home, except for those students counted as dually-enrolled in gifted and occupational education programs or receiving programs and services for students with special educational needs.
22. How should school officials deal with the grade placement of a student who has been instructed at home and subsequently enters the public school?
As with any other transfer, the principal of the school determines the appropriate grade placement of the student.
23. Does a home instructed student earn high school credits for completing the course work specified in the IHIP?
Credit is given only by schools. It is recommended that when a home-instructed student transfers from a high school program into a school that the principal of the school award credit on the basis of assessment or evidence that the student has successfully completed the course work.
24. May a student instructed at home be awarded a local or Regents diploma?
No. A high school diploma may only be awarded only to a student enrolled in a registered secondary school who has completed all program requirements set by the Regents, the school or the district.
25. Is a K - 8 school district responsible for a high school student on home instruction?
Yes. The district of residence retains responsibility for the student's education but is encouraged to consult with the receiving high school on the adequacy of the IHIP, quarterly reports and the annual assessment.
26. Is a student instructed at home eligible to participate in summer school programs operated by the public school district?
Yes. Summer school programs are open to all residents of the district.
27. May a superintendent apply for a variance under Commissioner's Regulation 100.2(n) to enable a parent to implement a program designed to provide excellence in education?
Yes. A superintendent may apply for a variance for a home instruction program.
28. Under what circumstances is a home instruction program placed on probation?
As described below, the circumstances depend upon the option selected by the parents for complying with the annual assessment requirement of subdivision (h) of Section 100.10 of the Regulations of the Commissioner.
a. If parents submit test scores for an achievement test, the program will be placed on probation only if the composite score of the student is below the thirty-third percentile on national norms or the score fails to reflect one academic year of growth when compared to a prior test. The student's score on individual test subscores should not be considered in determining whether the program should be placed on probation.
b. If parents submit a written narrative, the program will be placed on probation only if the evaluator certifies that the student has not made adequate academic progress.
29. Under what circumstances may a school district require home visits?
A school district may require home visits, upon three days' written notice to the parents, only when the home instruction program is on probation. Under any other circumstances, a school official may request a home visit but a parent would not be required to consent to the request.
7 30. If parents provide instruction at home to more than one child and the program for one child is placed on probation, must the programs for other children in the family be placed on probation?
No. Each child's achievement is evaluated separately. A situation may arise where one child's program is on probation, and yet one or more other children in the same family are making adequate progress so that their programs would not be placed on probation.
31. How should a district maintain records on students instructed at home?
It is recommended that the district complete a Worksheet for each student to place in the student's file along with the current IHIP, quarterly reports and annual evaluation information. A notation on the student's permanent record card should indicate the period during which the student is on home instruction.
32. How long should a district retain records on a home instructed student?
There is no legal obligation specified in this matter. To the extent that records are kept, it is recommended that an annual Worksheet for each student be kept until six years after the student would have graduated from high school.
33. Should parents maintain records on students instructed at home?
Parents are required to keep attendance records for each student, but there is no legal obligation for them to maintain any other records. It is recommended that parents keep evidence of their programs and their children's achievement and correspondence with the school district.
34. If a student instructed at home is unable to read adequately or find employment following completion of educational requirements as defined within the compulsory education laws, can the school district be held liable?
No. As a matter of public policy, the highest court in New York State has
declined to recognize a cause of action for educational malpractice. Where the
board of education and superintendent of schools make good faith efforts to
implement the requirements of Section 100.10 of the Regulations, there should
not be a basis for liability under current law.