604.1 Competent Private Instruction

COMPETENT PRIVATE INSTRUCTION

In the event a child of compulsory attendance age, over age six and under age sixteen, does not attend public school or an accredited nonpublic school the child must receive competent private instruction. 

A parent choosing competent private instruction for a student must notify the school district prior to the first day of school on forms provided by the school district.  The forms are available in the central administration office.  One copy of the completed forms will be kept by the school district and another copy will be forwarded to the Loess Hills Area Education Agency. 

The superintendent will determine whether the completed form is in compliance with the law.  Specifically, the superintendent will determine whether the individual providing the instruction is either the student’s parent, guardian, legal custodian or an Iowa licensed practitioner; whether the licensed practitioner’s license is appropriate for the age and grade level of the student; that the student is being instructed a minimum of one hundred and forty-eight days per year; that immunization evidence is provided for students placed under competent private instruction for the first time and that the report is timely filed. 

The school district shall report noncompliance with the reporting, immunization, attendance, instructor qualifications, and assessment requirements of the compulsory attendance law to the county attorney of the county of residence of the student’s parent, guardian or custodian. 

Students receiving competent private instruction are eligible to request open enrollment to another school district.  Prior to the request for open enrollment, the student shall request dual enrollment in the resident district.  The receiving district shall not bill the resident district unless the receiving district complies with the reporting requirements.  If the parent, guardian or custodian fails to comply with the compulsory attendance requirements, the receiving district shall notify the resident district.  The resident district shall then report the noncompliance to the county attorney of the county of residence of the parent, guardian or custodian. 

Students receiving competent private instruction from a parent, guardian or legal custodian must be evaluated annually by May 1.  The parent, guardian or legal custodian may choose either a standardized test approved by the Iowa Department of Education or a portfolio evaluation.  If the parent, guardian or legal custodian chooses standardized test and the student is dual enrolled, the school district shall pay for the cost of the standardized test and the administration of the standardized test.  If the student is not dual enrolled the parent, guardian or legal custodian shall reimburse the school district for the cost of the standardized test and the administration of the standardized test.  If a parent, guardian or legal custodian of a student receiving competent private instruction chooses portfolio assessment as the means of annual assessment, the portfolio evaluator must be approved by the superintendent.  Portfolio evaluators must verify that they have received portfolio training.  Portfolio evaluators must hold a valid Iowa practitioner license or teacher certificate appropriate to the ages and grade levels of the children whose portfolios are being assessed.  No annual evaluation is required for students receiving competent private instruction from an appropriately licensed or certified Iowa practitioner. 

Upon the request of a parent, guardian or legal custodian of a student receiving competent private instruction or upon referral of a licensed practitioner who provides instruction or instructional supervision of a student under competent private instruction, the school district shall refer a student who may require special education to the Loess Hills Area Education Agency, Division of Special Education, for evaluation. 

Students in competent private instruction must make adequate progress.  Adequate progress includes scoring at the thirtieth percentile on a standardized test or a report by the portfolio evaluator indicating adequate progress.  Students who fail to make adequate progress under competent private instruction provided by the student’s parent, guardian or legal custodian shall attend an accredited public or nonpublic school beginning the next school year.  The parent, guardian or legal custodian of a student who fails to make adequate progress may apply to the director of the Department of Education for approval of continued competent private instruction under a remediation plan. 

The remediation plans shall be for no more than one year.  Before the beginning of the school year, the student may be re-tested and if the student achieves adequate progress the student may remain in competent private instruction.