Student Services » Independent Study Program

Independent Study Program


Independent Study Program Options

The Independent Study Program (ISP) is an alternative to a regular classroom program of instruction when it appears to be in a student’s best interest (e.g., student is traveling, has a long-term illness has a health risk from in-person instruction, or an emergency situation). For the 2021–22 school year only, all California school districts are required to notify parents/guardians (“parent”) of their options to enroll in either in-person instruction or independent study. Prior to enrollment, parents have the right to request a student-parent-educator conference or other school meeting during which the student, parent, and, if requested by the student or parent, an education advocate, may ask questions about the educational options, including which curriculum offerings and nonacademic supports will be available to the student in independent study, before making the decision about enrollment or disenrollment in the various options for learning. This conference may be held via telephone, videoconference, or in-person.


Each student participating in ISP must have a signed, written learning agreement on file with BCSD prior to beginning ISP. The learning agreement must be signed by the student, the student’s parent, the independent study teacher and any others with direct responsibility for providing assistance to the student. Failure to abide by the conditions in the learning agreement may result in the student being returned to in-person instruction or having to enroll in a different ISP program. A student with a disability receiving special education services may participate in the ISP only through a recommendation by the student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) Team.


A student qualifying for accommodations under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 may participate in accordance with the student’s 504 plan.


Short Term ISP

ISP Homework Packets for Travel/Family Emergency and Short-Term Illness (longer than 2 school days, but shorter than 21 school days) are available at all elementary and junior high/middle schools. Staff at the school sites assist with short-term ISP. Once a request is made by a parent, a teacher will meet with the parent and student and go over the assignments. Upon completion of the short-term ISP, the student must return all the completed work to the teacher for evaluation before attendance and instructional credit can be given. For details, contact your school’s office.


Course-Based ISP

Course-Based ISP is a virtual course which requires a student to attend a full school day online to receive daily synchronous instruction. Courses are taught under the general supervision of certificated employees who hold the appropriate subject matter credential. All courses are annually certified by the BCSD Board to be of the same rigor, educational quality, and intellectual challenge substantially equivalent to in-person instruction and equivalent classroom-based courses, and shall be aligned to all relevant local and state content standards.


Specialized programs (e.g., Dual Immersion, Gifted and Talented Education (GATE), Extended Learning Programs, Project Lead the Way (PLTW), etc.) are not offered through Course-Based ISP. Questions about specialized programs available at BCSD schools should be directed to the school’s office. A signed learning agreement must be completed and on file prior to beginning class. Failure to abide by the conditions in the learning agreement will result in the student being returned to in-person instruction.


Students enrolled in Course Based ISP shall receive instruction as follows:

  • Daily synchronous (live) instruction for an entire school day. This means students attend school virtually for the entire school day as follows:
    • TK/Kindergarten - 240 minutes
    • Grade 1 to Grade 3 - 293 minutes
    • Grades 4 to Grade 8 - 313 minutes
  • Asynchronous minutes as assigned.
  • Additional interaction and support provided virtually as needed within the school day.

Student Rights for Enrollment, Disenrollment, and Re-enrollment

To enroll a student in an ISP program, parents may contact their student’s school office to schedule a student-educator-parent conference. The purpose of the conference is to determine which ISP option will best meet the needs of the student. Actual date of ISP enrollment shall be determined based upon the signed contract/learning agreement.


A parent may disenroll a student and return to in-person instruction within five (5) school days. Students maintain their rights to enroll in their school of residence at any time. To disenroll a student parents/guardians may contact the Student Services Department at 631-4627 or re-enroll at the student’s school of residence. Once a parent disenrolls a student from a Course-Based ISP, the student may not re-enroll in a Course-Based ISP until the following semester. For questions regarding enrollment, disenrollment, or re-enrollment call the Student Services Department 631-4627.


Education Code 44865, 46300 - 46330, 51745 - 51749.5, 56026; Board Policy 604.9

Home/Hospital Instruction
Home/Hospital Instruction (HHI) provides the opportunity for a student to continue his/her current educational program while under a temporary disability that makes attendance in regular day class or an alternative education program impossible or inadvisable.  A temporary disability does not include a disability for which a student has been identified as an individual with exceptional needs (i.e. student is receiving special education pursuant to Education Code 48206.3).  HHI is a service, not a school.  All students need to be enrolled in a Bakersfield City School District (B.C.S.D.) school to receive HHI.
For assistance with Home/Hospital Instruction, please contact Student Services at (661) 631-4627.