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Independent Study Policy

  1. This policy shall apply to all pupils enrolled in Connecting Waters Charter School (CWCS), Connecting Waters Charter School, East Bay (CWEB), and Connecting Waters Charter School, Central Valley (collectively, “the Charter Schools”), independent study charter schools serving pupils in grades TK-12.
  2. Students who attend CWCS, CWEB, or CWCV will be educated through individually designed curricula, which may include, but are not limited to: non- classroom based learning programs, cooperative school programs and classes, apprenticeships, on-the-job training, community-based educational programs, group seminars, distance learning via current technology, and supplemental learning projects.
  3. The Charter Schools shall comply with all state and federal Charter School laws regarding independent study instruction.
  4. Each student’s independent study shall be coordinated, evaluated, and carried out under the general supervision of an assigned certificated employee or employees of the Charter Schools.
  5. The maximum length of time that may elapse between the times an independent study assignment is made and the date by which the student must complete the assigned work shall be no more than twenty (20) school days, for all grade levels and for CWCS, CWEB, or CWCV, or as modified by an assigned credentialed teacher at the time the work is assigned to the pupil.
  6. Students who fail to demonstrate adequate and appropriate monthly progress toward the student standards, as determined by the professional judgment of the credentialed teacher assigned to that student will be subject to dismissal or expulsion in accordance with the terms of the Charter Schools’ Charters and the adopted policies of the Charter Schools.


For all grade levels and for CWCS, CWEB, or CWCV, after one (1) missed assignment a review shall be conducted to determine whether it is in the best interests of the pupil to remain in independent study. A written record of the findings of any review made pursuant to this subdivision shall be maintained in the pupil’s permanent record. The review may consist of some or all of the following:


  • Monthly review of work
  • Annual portfolios
  • Parent, student, and Education Specialist observation
  • Norm - and criterion-referenced tests
  • Student demonstrations
  • Student grades
  • Student work samples
  • Student self-evaluation


The role of the credentialed teacher is critical to the success of charter school independent study students. The teacher’s observations, discussions with parents/guardians and students, and examinations of written work are the key to quality control.

  1. A current written master agreement for each independent study pupil shall be maintained on file for each participating student. Each written master agreement shall be signed and in effect prior to the start of reporting attendance (ADA) pursuant to that agreement. Students must meet all elements of the written master agreement in order to remain enrolled in these Charter Schools. The independent study agreement for the student must formulate a plan that represents the same amount of study that would be required of a student in a classroom, and additionally requires the student to have the ability to complete the study plan assignments in an independent study setting. Written agreements will include subsidiary agreements, such as course contracts and assignments, work records, and testing requirements. Each agreement shall also include the following:


  • The manner, time, frequency, and place for submitting a pupil’s assignments and for reporting his or her progress.
  • The objectives and methods of study for the pupil’s work, and the methods utilized to evaluate that work.
  • The specific resources, including materials and personnel that will be made available to the pupil.
  • A statement of the policies adopted regarding the maximum length of time allowed between the assignment and the completion of a pupil’s assigned work, and the number of missed assignments allowed prior to an evaluation of whether or not the pupil should be allowed to continue in independent study.
  • The duration of the written master agreement, recognizing that no written master agreement shall be valid for any period longer than one school year.
  • A statement of the number of course credits or, for the elementary grades, other measures of academic accomplishment appropriate to the agreement, to be earned by the pupil upon completion.
  • The inclusion of a statement in each written master agreement that attendance at these Charter Schools is an optional educational alternative in which no pupil may be required to participate.
  • Each written master agreement shall be signed, prior to the commencement of independent study, by the pupil; the pupil’s parent, legal guardian, or caregiver, if the pupil is less than 18 years of age; the certificated employee who has been designated as having responsibility for the general supervision of independent study; and all persons who have direct responsibility for providing assistance to the pupil.


If a parent or student knowingly provides any false information on the student application, the student shall be immediately dismissed from the Charter Schools.

  1. The Charter Schools shall not provide any funds, or other things of value, to the pupil or his or her parent or guardian that a school district could not legally provide to a similarly situated pupil of the school district, or to his or her parents or guardian.
  2. CWCS and CWCV may only receive funding for the provision of independent study to pupils who are residents of Stanislaus County or who are residents of a county contiguous to Stanislaus County. CWEB may only receive funding for the provision of independent study pupils who are residence of Alameda County or who are residence of a county contiguous to Alameda County.
  3.  The Charter Schools must comply with Education Code Section 51745.6 and California Code of Regulations Section 11704 regarding teacher to ADA limits.


Each enrolled student will be assigned to a credentialed teacher. Student participates with the credentialed teacher and parents or guardian in the design of an individualized learning plan that incorporates all aspects of his or her educational program and that serves as the student’s learning contract with CWCS, CWEB and, CWCV.

Approved May 22, 2018