MTSS » Short Term Independent Study Program

Short Term Independent Study Program

Dr. Wendy Molina-Solis, Director of MTSS
Kimberly Carrillo, Executive Secretary
Independent Study | Substack
AUSD strongly encourages families and guardians to ensure their children's consistent attendance at school.  As such, we kindly request that families and guardians refrain from scheduling travel or other unexcused absences while school is in session.  Take advantage of the weekends, pupil free days or district vacation days for these events.  It is important to remember that each student holds a great value as an active participant within our school community.  Our shared goal is to support your child's achievements academically, social-emotionally and behaviorally. 
AUSD also understands that some events, non-school athletic competitions, or work opportunities may occur during the school academic school year. The California Education Code does not excuse an absence for vacation or family travel, competitions, or work related absences but does provide an option for a Short Term Independent Study Program.  To reiterate, as a district, AUSD highly encourages families to take vacations and schedule any non-excused absences during our district's scheduled vacations to avoid loss of instructional time and possibly incur truancy notices.  However, as a courtesy for parents and guardians, the district offers parents short-term independent study following the guidelines from AB 130 and AB 167.  Please note, Independent Study is not offered for the months of August, May and after April 20th.  Unexcused absences in late April, all of May and August will be allocated as unexcused, no exceptions.  Depending upon the number of days absent and whether or not a student will return prior to the conclusion of the school year, an unexcused extended absence taken at the end of the school  year may result in disenrollment.  
What is Short Term ISP?  The Short Term Independent Student Program (ST-ISP) is a voluntary program which school districts may offer as a courtesy which provides parents/guardians an opportunity for their children to practice reinforcement skills in core academic areas when students are away from school for up to 14 days. Parents may request ST-ISP for unexcused absences of  3 to 14 school days.  The ST-ISP master agreement provides links to virtual, asynchronous basic academic review and reinforcement of grade level standards per content area. The school provides students with Chromebooks, however it is the family's responsibility to ensure student accesses work while away.
Can a student with an IEP participate in ST-ISP?
Yes, ST-ISP can be an option for students with an IEP, provided that the student's IEP team has met to evaluate the student's needs and has determined that a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) can be provided with support in ST-ISP. As such, a student must have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) that specifically provides for participation in short term independent study prior to participation in ST-ISP per CA Ed Code 57145(c).
How does ISP work? Parents must request ST-ISP through the child's school office. Parents are asked to notify the school office, at least 3 school days in advance. The parent and student must communicate with your school office to sign the online ST-ISP Master Agreement using DocuSign and be informed of how your child may access the work during their time away (via an email link, Seesaw, Google Classroom, etc). The work must be returned to the ST-ISP district administrator or classroom teacher/s within five school days after returning to school. Master Agreements must be signed by all law mandated parties, teacher, parent, administrator, and student, before a student goes on ST-ISP. (Education Code 51747; 5 CCR 117000, 11702) Master Agreements may not be signed after a student leaves for any of the identified reasons or upon returning. If a master agreement is not signed prior to the student leaving for any of the specified reasons above, the student's absences will not be covered under ST-ISP and will be considered unexcused. It is the parents'/guardians' responsibility to ensure their student completes the work and is able to access the work virtually. All students have a Chromebook by which work may be accessed virtually. If a family anticipates no or limited internet accessibility due to the visiting country's regulations or type of vacation (cruise), ST-ISP may not be a viable option. Student, with the support of their parents, must submit work as indicated, this responsibility does not lie on the school site.
What happens if parents do not request ISP for family travel, student competitions or work? ST-ISP is not a requirement and is at the discretion of the family to enroll in this program. However, do note that absences due to travel, competitions or student work are considered "unexcused.” Students with three unexcused absences in one school year are considered truants. Parents of truant students are subject to truancy enforcement and possible prosecution for failure to comply with California laws regarding compulsory education.
What happens if students do not complete the work? It is the parents'/guardians' responsibility to ensure that the assigned work is completed and returned within 5 school days after returning to school. Work not completed and returned on time will be considered “unexcused.” For example, if the student will be gone for 8 days and only returns assignments equivalent to 5 days per teacher’s discretion, the student will be marked "N" which equates to an "unexcused” absence for 3 days. See the paragraph above regarding unexcused absences and truancy enforcement.
Am I required to place my child on ST-ISP?
No, ST-ISP is completely voluntary and at the discretion of the parent/guardian. This is a courtesy the district may offer to accommodate unexcused absences, but it is not mandatory. However, please make sure you understand the impact your child's absences may have regarding truancy notices. (please read above: What happens if parents do not request ISP for Family Travel, etc.).
May I request ISP for my child at any time? A parent/guardian may request for ST-ISP at any point in the school year except for August, May and the end of April. Absences due to travel or any other unexcused reason will be "unexcused" if taken in August, May or after April 20th. Families may contact their child's school for next steps in completing a request for ST-ISP.
Where can I get more information about ISP? If after speaking with your school office assistant or principal of the school and parents still need more information, you may contact Kimberly Carrillo, Executive Secretary of MTSS or Dr. Wendy Molina-Solis, Director of MTSS at (626) 943-3530.
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