How to Homeschool Legally in Washington DC
*This is not intended to be legal advice and is distributed for information purposes only. Check for updates at the Washington D.C. Department of Education website for Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment for Home Schools.
Compulsory attendance – Grades K through 12 for minors from the ages of 5 through 18.
The District of Columbia has a statutory responsibility to assure that children between the ages of five through eighteen, residing in the District of Columbia, receive an education. The final regulations seek to balance this mandate with a choice for parents and legal guardians to provide a thorough and regular education in a home schooling program. The final regulations provide a framework to differentiate bona fide home schooling programs from instances where a child may not be receiving a regular and thorough education.
NOTICE OF FINAL RULEMAKING
The State Superintendent of Education, pursuant to the authority set forth in section 3(b)(11) of the State Education Office Establishment Act of 2000, effective October 21, 2000 (D.C. Law 13- 176; D.C. Official Code ~ 38-2602(b)(11)) (2007 Supp) (SEOE Act), and Article II, Sections 1 and 4 of An Act to provide for compulsory school attendance, and for the taking of a school census in the District of Columbia, and for other purposes, approved February 4, 1925 (43 Stat. 806; D.C. Official Code ~~ 38-202 and 38-205) (2001), hereby gives notice of the adoption of regulations adding a new Chapter 52 of Title 5 of the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations (DCMR), entitled District of Columbia Home Schooling. The purpose of the new chapter is to establish procedural rules for home schooling for District of Columbia residents from age 5 until a child reaches the age of 18 years.
The notice of proposed Home Schooling regulations was published in the D.C. Register, 55 DCR 7125 (June 27, 2008). The proposed Home Schooling regulations were first issued for public comment in the DC Register at 55 DCR 5281(May 2, 2008), with public comment ending on June 2, 2008. The proposed rules were the subject of testimony presented at a State Board of Education (SBOE) public hearing held on, March 5, 2008; and were discussed at two public working sessions in June 2008, focusing on comments and possible revisions. Over 2800 emails and written comments and 400 phone calls were received from across the United States as well as from District of Columbia residents. Following a review of all the comments and other input received from the public, the State Board of Education approved the proposed rules as final, at a public meeting held on July 16, 2008.
The final regulations are the same as the proposed rules published in June, including the administrative procedures available to parents and legal guardians to resolve differences with regard to home schooling compliance. In the event of a dispute, the final regulations include an administrative appeal process giving parents and legal guardians an opportunity to appeal in writing to the State Superintendent of Education.
Pursuant to section 6(a) of the District of Columbia Administrative Procedures Act, approved October 21, 1968 (82 Stat. 1204; D.C. Official Code ~ 2-505(a))(2001), the State Superintendent of Education has determined that in view of the public comments received, the public meetings of the SBOE on these rules, and the need to ensure that a regulatory framework for the benefit and well being of the District’s children is in place for the 2008 – 2009 school year, the rule making will become effective upon publication in the D.C. Register. This final regulations and related information are also available on the OSSE website at osse.dc.gov.
CHAPTER 52 DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
- 5200 General Provisions
- 5201 Home Schooling Office
- 5202 Written Notification
- 5203 Annual Verification and Discontinuation
- 5204 Home Schooling Program
- 5205 Educational Materials
- 5206 Review of Educational Materials
- 5207 Parent or Legal Guardian Qualifications
- 5208 Compliance, Review, and Final Resolution
- 5209 Voluntary Participation in Standardized Testing
- 5210 Enrollment in District of Columbia Public Schools
- 5299 Definitions
5200 GENERAL PROVISIONS
5200.1 The provisions of this chapter are issued pursuant to Section 3(b)(11) of the State Education Office Establishment Act of 2000, effective October 21, 2000 (D.C. Law 13-176, D.C. Official Code § 38-2601. et seq.) (2007 Supp.) (SEOE Act), and Article II, sections 1 and 4 of an Act to provide for compulsory school attendance, for the taking of a school census in the District of Columbia, and for other purposes, approved February 4, 1925 (43 Stat. 806; D.C. Official Code §§ 38-202 and 38-205) (2001).
5200.2 Student records, documents, correspondence, and other materials received in accordance with the provisions of this chapter shall be reviewed pursuant to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, 20 U.S.C. §1232g; the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 34 CFR Part 99, and any other applicable District or federal confidentiality laws or regulations.
5200.3 The purpose of this chapter is to establish procedures for home schooling in accordance with the District of Columbia’s school attendance and reporting laws and the SEOE Act, to ensure that children participating in a home schooling program receive thorough, regular education that will enable them to function as productive members of society in the 21st century.
5201 HOME SCHOOLING ADMINISTRATION
5201 The Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) shall administer and implement the District of Columbia’s Home Schooling regulations set forth in this chapter.
5202 WRITTEN NOTIFICATION
5202.1 A parent or legal guardian who chooses to provide home schooling in the District of Columbia shall provide written notification on an official form developed by the OSSE which:
(a) Indicates consent to the requirements in this chapter; and
(b) Shall be submitted to the OSSE at least 15 days, not including Saturdays, Sundays, or District holidays, prior to the first date of home instruction.
5203 ANNUAL VERIFICATION AND DISCONTINUATION
5203.1 For each year in which a home schooling program continues, the parent or legal guardian shall file a Home Schooling Notification Form identifying each child being home schooled, no later than August 15th of each year,
5203.2 A parent or legal guardian shall immediately notify the OSSE in writing of any discontinuation of home schooling for any reason 15 days, not including Saturdays, Sundays, or District holidays, prior to discontinuation of home schooling.
5204 HOME SCHOOLING PROGRAM
5204.1 The home schooling program shall:
(a) Provide thorough, regular instruction of sufficient duration to implement the home school program; and
5204.2 Nothing in this chapter shall be interpreted to require that home schooling should include programs or methods used by the District’s public schools. Nor shall any home schooling program be required to adhere to specific curricular frameworks or any other program of instruction adopted by the District’s public schools.
5205 EDUCATIONAL MATERIALS
5205.1 A parent or legal guardian who chooses to administer a home schooling program shall maintain a portfolio of home schooling materials for each child which includes evidence of the child’s current work, such as examples of the child’s writings, worksheets, workbooks, creative materials, assessments, or any other materials that demonstrate that the child is engaged in thorough, regular educational activities in a range of subjects.
5205.2 The portfolio should be maintained for at least one year and made available for review by the OSSE upon written request.
5206 REVIEW OF EDUCATIONAL MATERIALS
5206.1 The OSSE may, at its discretion, request to review the portfolio of home schooling materials described in Section 5205, provided that the following requirements are met:
(a) The request is made in writing;
(b) The review is held at a time and place mutually agreeable to the representative of the OSSE and the parent or legal guardian;
(c) There are not more than two (2) reviews conducted during a school year; and
(d) The purpose of the review is to ensure that the child is receiving thorough, regular home schooling instruction, consistent with this chapter.
5207 PARENT OR LEGAL GUARDIAN QUALIFICATIONS
5207.1 Parents or legal guardians who wish to be their children’s instructors must have a high school diploma or its equivalent.
5207.2 A parent or legal guardian who wishes to provide home schooling instruction and does not have a high school diploma or its equivalent may petition the OSSE for a waiver of section 5207.1. Such petition must provide evidence of the petitioner’s ability to provide thorough, regular education.
5208 COMPLIANCE, REVIEW, AND FINAL RESOLUTION
5208.1 If upon review of the home instruction portfolio, the OSSE determines that a student is not receiving thorough, regular education consistent with the requirements set forth in this chapter, the OSSE shall provide a written Notification of Deficiencies to the parent or legal guardian, within 30 days of the review, not including Saturdays, Sundays, or District holidays.
5208.2 A parent or legal guardian must respond in writing to the written Notification of Deficiencies no later than 30 days, not including Saturdays, Sundays, or District holidays, after the date of the written Notification of Deficiencies; and provide the OSSE with a Corrective Action Plan with evidence that each deficiency has been or is being corrected. The parent or legal guardian may request a meeting with the OSSE before the Corrective Action Plan is due, to present evidence of compliance or otherwise discuss the deficiencies identified by the OSSE.
5208.3 The OSSE shall notify the parent or legal guardian in writing of the acceptance of the Corrective Action Plan with evidence that a deficiency has been corrected, or the need for further modification consistent with this chapter:
a. The OSSE shall respond within 15 days of the date of the Plan, not including Saturdays, Sundays, or District holidays;
b. The parent or legal guardian may request and the OSSE shall grant a meeting to discuss the OSSE response to the Plan; and
c. The parent or legal guardian shall implement the Plan as approved by the OSSE.
5208.4 In the event the Corrective Action Plan fails to correct deficiencies, and the home schooling program therefore does not conform to the requirements of this chapter, the OSSE shall issue a Letter of Non-Compliance, which shall state the basis for its determination of non-compliance. Each Letter shall include a statement about the parent’s or legal guardian’s ability to seek review of the Letter with an appeal in writing to the State Superintendent of Education and the right to judicial review of a final decision by the State Superintendent of Education.
5208.5 An appeal to the State Superintendent of Education involving the Letter of Non- Compliance must be filed with the OSSE within 15 calendar days of the date of the Letter.
5208.6 A final decision issued by the State Superintendent of Education shall include a statement that the final decision may be appealed by the parent or legal guardian, to the Superior Court of the District of Columbia pursuant to D.C. Official. Code § 11-921 (a)(6).
5208.7 Within 45 days of the date of a final decision issued by the State Superintendent of Education, requiring the parent or legal guardian to enroll the child or children in a public or non public school, the parent or legal guardian shall enroll the child or children in a public or non public school, unless the action is stayed by court order.
5209 VOLUNTARY PARTICIPATION IN STANDARDIZED TESTING
5209.1 A child receiving home schooling may participate free of charge in the regularly scheduled standardized testing programs that are administered in the public school the child is eligible to attend.
5210 ENROLLMENT IN A DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA PUBLIC SCHOOL
5210.1 Upon application of a child to enroll in a District of Columbia public school froma home schooling program, placement of the child and any credits to be awardedtoward high school graduation shall be determined by evaluation. The evaluationmay include administration of standardized tests, other examinations, andinterviews with the child.
For the purposes of this sub-chapter, the term:
“Home Schooling Program” means a program conducted, in compliance with this chapter, by the Parent or Legal Guardian;
“OSSE” means the Office of the State Superintendent of Education, including any authorized OSSE designee.
“Parent or Legal Guardian” means such person having legal custody of the child or children.
“Public School” means a District of Columbia public school, including public charter schools.
Additional Resources to Help you Homeschool Legally in Washington DC
State Superintendent of Education: Home Schooling
Notice of Final Rule Making: The notice of proposed Home Schooling regulations was published in the D.C. Register, 55 DCR7125 (June 27, 2008). The proposed Home Schooling regulations were first issued for publiccomment in the DC Register at 55 DCR 5281(May 2, 2008), with public comment ending onJune 2, 2008. The proposed rules were the subject of testimony presented at a State Board ofEducation (SBOE) public hearing held on, March 5, 2008; and were discussed at two publicworking sessions in June 2008, focusing on comments and possible revisions. Over 2800 emailsand written comments and 400 phone calls were received from across the United States as wellas from District of Columbia residents. Following a review of all the comments and other inputreceived from the public, the State Board of Education approved the proposed rules as final, at apublic meeting held on July 16, 2008.
Attendance Code of Washington DC
It would appear that a homeschool would be considered an “independent” or “private” school. In order to homeschool, a parent need send a letter of intent to the school board, with the name, address, sex, and date of birth of each child. Additional requirements outlined here.
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Home Schooling
From the Office of the State Superintendent of Education.
Portfolio Reviews Are Here
August 25, 2015. For quite a few years now Stephanie Thomas has been the person at OSSE responsible for managing relations with the homeschool community. If you receive a request, she wants to see a sample of the work you’ve done in every subject over the past three months. Stephanie will actually do the review herself. We should be able to give a reasonable defense that our schooling is thorough, regular, and of sufficient duration. The goal of our education should be to “ensure that children participating in a home schooling program receive thorough, regular education that will enable them to function as productive members of society in the 21st century.”
State Superintendent of Education: Homeschooling
The Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) seeks to offer parents and legal guardians a choice to provide a thorough and regular education in a home schooling program.