Equivalent Instruction

The Yarmouth School Committee acknowledges the provisions for equivalent instruction under Maine law. The School Committee further observes the Legislature’s recognition that the term “equivalent” is intended to mean meeting the state standards for alternate or other instruction and is not intended to mean equal or the same as the education delivered in the public school system.

In addition, it is the intent of the School Committee to cooperate in the home instruction of any student who resides in Yarmouth to the degree that the level of cooperation does not interfere with the responsibilities of the students enrolled in the school department’s regular programs. Furthermore, participation of students in such programs shall be limited to home-schooled students who demonstrate compliance with all state requirements including Maine Department of Education Rules for Equivalent Instruction Programs, Chapter 130. The Superintendent shall maintain a roster of all students eligible to attend school within the school unit who have been excused for equivalent instruction.

In order to maintain an efficient and orderly school program, the School Committee directs the Superintendent to develop procedures, as appropriate, regarding the availability of school system resources and services in support of equivalent instruction programs that have been approved by the Commissioner. The procedures shall be in accord with the following provisions:

A. Provision of Information

At the request of the student or the student’s parent/guardian, Yarmouth will make available to home-schooled students, in a form determined by the school, information regarding access to public school activities and attendance at Yarmouth. This information will include:

  1. Requirements regarding initial health and developmental screening for motor skills, vision, hearing and immunization; and

  2. Criteria for participation of home-schooled students in curricular, co-curricular and extracurricular activities.

Requests to fulfill the compulsory school attendance law through equivalent instruction by home schooling shall be made by the parent to the Department of Education with a copy submitted to the Superintendent. The Superintendent shall submit, on behalf of the School Committee, comments on completeness of the application to the Commissioner of Education within 30 days of the receipt of the application.

B. Permitted Participation

Participation in Regular Classes: A home school student may enroll in specific classes subject to the following conditions:

  1. The student or the student’s parent/guardian, on the student’s behalf, shall apply in writing to and receive written approval from the Superintendent;

  2. The student’s attendance is regular and behavior is appropriate;

  3. The student completes all assignments and tests as required of other students in the class;

  4. The class is deemed to be age/grade appropriate by the building principal;

  5. Prerequisite course requirements are met;

  6. Transportation, other than regularly-scheduled school bus, is provided by the parent/guardian;

  7. Credit is granted only after the successful completion of the course; and

  8. Enrollment will be by the full semester only.

Course Auditing. Home schooled students may audit a course(s) provided the following conditions are met:

  1. The student or student’s parent/guardian, on behalf of the student, shall apply in writing to and receive written approval from the Superintendent to audit a specific course or courses; and

  2. The student agrees to meet established behavioral, disciplinary, attendance and other classroom rules applicable to all students. If a student fails to comply, the school may terminate participation.

C. Special Education Services

Students will be considered eligible for special education services provided the following:

  1. The Yarmouth School Department Pupil Evaluation Team has determined that a special education service is necessary;

  2. An Individual Education Plan (IEP) has been developed for the student that clearly identifies the services needed, the frequency of the service and the service provider(s);

  3. The parent has signed the consent for services form;

  4. The parent agrees to transport the student to/from the school to receive the service.

D. Admission to Regular Program Placement
A student who has been receiving home school instruction and who seeks admission to the regular school program will be placed in a grade commensurate with the level of the student’s academic achievement. Placement must be guided by the following:

  1. Grade level placement is determined by the locally-designated, appropriate school staff based upon but not limited to such factors as the student’s completed curricula and record of achievement, conferencing with the student’s parent/guardian and administration of tests, if determined necessary.

  2. The final grade level placement decision is based upon each school’s procedures. That decision may be appealed to the Superintendent whose decision will be final.

E. Re-admission to the School Program

Placement of home schooled students who wish to be re-admitted to the school program will be determined by the school principal who shall consult with members of the professional staff to the extent appropriate. The principal may direct that a test or tests be administered to help determine grade level. The decision of the principal may be appealed to the Superintendent whose decision will be final.
In addition, the principal is authorized to collect from parents actual samples of coursework (e.g., homework, examinations, etc.) as he/she deems necessary, in order to make the determination that the requisite academic standards have been met.
F. Use of School Textbooks and Library Books
Students may be permitted to use school texts and library books provided:

  1. The use does not disrupt regular student, staff or special program functions;

  2. The text is signed out to the student for a period of not longer than one school year;

  3. Library books are signed out according to the library loan policy; and

  4. The student and parent agree to pay the School Department for all lost, damaged and/or non-returned texts and/or library books.

G. Use of School Facilities and Equipment

Students may use school facilities and equipment on the same basis as regularly enrolled students provided:

  1. The use does not disrupt regular student, staff or special program use;

  2. The use has been approved by the building principal prior to use;

  3. The use will not create additional expense to the School Department;

  4. The use is directly related to the home instruction educational program;

  5. The use does not involve removing furniture or equipment from the school premises;

  6. The use of potentially hazardous areas, such as shops, laboratories and gymnasiums, is supervised by a qualified employee of the school unit, approved and assigned by the Superintendent; and

  7. The home schooling parent will arrange for appropriate supervision.

H. Maine Educational Assessment
If a parent of a student in an equivalent instruction program requests to have the student participate in the MEA, such request must be granted. Participation in such examinations must be in compliance with all rules and procedures governing testing conditions of the Yarmouth School Department.
I. Academic Credit
A student receiving home school instruction must receive academic credit subject to the following requirements:

  1. Academic credit for individual courses must be awarded if the student meets required academic standards applicable to all students enrolled in the same course.

  2. Academic credit must be awarded for successful completion of alternative instruction opportunities sponsored by the school and available to all students.

J. High School Course Credits and Diploma Eligibility

The following standards govern the awarding of course credits and a graduation diploma to a student receiving home school instruction who seeks admission or re-admission to high school.

  1. A student shall earn high school credits for satisfactory completion of courses in the high school pursuant to 20-A MRSA§5001-A.3; Dept. of Ed. Rules Chap. 130 and 125.19-C.

  2. A student may earn credit for course work completed through home school instruction if the principal determines both in advance and upon completion of the course that the course satisfies the requirements for awarding credit. The principal may direct that the student undergo a test or tests to assist in making a determination relative to the awarding of credit.

  3. Requests for transfer credit for equivalent instruction completed at non-approved private schools, at private schools that elect not to meet requirements under 20-A MRSA§5001-A.3, Dept. of Ed. Rules Chap. 130 and 125.19-C, or through other equivalent instruction programs must be evaluated on the merits of the documentation provided. The principal and guidance staff shall conduct these evaluations on request by the student or the student’s parent/guardian.

  4. Awarding of a high school diploma is conditioned upon the student’s demonstration of having satisfied all specific course credits or other requirements established by the School Committee.

  5. Students must earn a minimum of five credits in courses taken at Yarmouth High School and be in residence (full time student) for one full year at Yarmouth High School to be eligible for a Yarmouth High School diploma.

  6. Students receiving credit for home instruction programs will not be included in class rank.

K. Participation in Co-curricular Activities

A home schooled student may participate in co-curricular activities such as field trips, assemblies and academically-related fairs provided prior written permission is obtained from both the parent and the principal, and the student has agreed to abide by the same code of conduct as other participating students. The home schooling parent will be responsible for arranging appropriate supervision.

L. Participation in Extracurricular Activities

A home schooled student may participate in extracurricular activities provided the student meets the equivalent academic requirements, the same physical examination(JHCA), insurance (IGD-E) and age requirements as regularly-enrolled students, the student abides by the same code of behavior as other participating students, the student travels to and from team events with the team, and the student is not enrolled in another school. Documentation of academic course work must be provided when requested by the principal. The documentation may include an assessment of the written education program (provided by the parents) or requesting the student to undergo a test or test in specific subjects in order to determine extra curricular eligibility.

M. Appeals
Appeals from administrative and application of the School Committee policy are heard by the School Committee, whose decision is final and binding. Appeals that question the School Committee policy compliance with legal requirements must be made to the Commissioner, whose decision is final and binding.

Legal Reference: 20-A MRSA§5001-A.3
Dept of Ed Rules Chap. 125.19-C
Adopted: January 13, 1994
Revised: May 22, 1997; ________