Morgan County — Pam Mann writes that her son Robbie, who is enrolled in a distance-learning high school program, wanted to supplement his home studies with three classes at the local high school (Spanish II, Biology, and Chorus). Because the class times were hours apart, he wanted to fill in the time between classes with two other classes. The high school’s policy, detailed in its handbook, is that taking six classes makes a student full-time, so the Manns thought Robbie could sign up for five classes and retain his homeschool status.
County Attendance Director Linda McGraw would not approve Robbie’s class schedule. It was her understanding that homeschool students were limited to one class at the local school. The law reads:
Any child receiving home instruction may upon approval of the county board exercise the option to attend any class offered by the county board as the person or persons providing home instruction may consider appropriate subject to normal registration and attendance requirements.
Ms. McGraw consulted the state Dept. of Education, which said that each county determines how many classes a homeschool student can take.
The Morgan County School Board then decided that part-time students can take no more than three classes.
Ms. McGraw explained that if Robbie wanted to take five classes, he must register as a full-time student, and he will need an exemption from the school board to take fewer than a full day’s worth of classes.
In an appeal to Morgan Co. Schools Superintendent David Banks, Pam requested an exemption for her son, explaining that since he is not a full-time student and will not be graduating from the high school, he shouldn't be subject to full-time requirements. The request was denied, so Robbie dropped two of the classes and is auditing one.
Morgan County — WVHEA Board member Pam Mann reported that the county’s new homeschool coordinator was enacting new homeschool policies that were not supported by the law. The coordinator a) requested the type of assessment homeschool families planned to use; b) would not accept portfolio evaluations from teachers without WV certification; and c) refused to accept portfolio evaluations from homeschool parents who are certified teachers. The coordinator developed these new policies after consulting with the WVDE’s Karen Larry.
The coordinator met with a group of county homeschoolers in early September to discuss the new policies and during the discussion agreed to accept evaluations from teachers certified out of state, provided the evaluators supplied the information necessary to verify their certification.
In an email to WVHEA, Karen Larry supported the county coordinator’s interpretation of the law. WVHEA responded, explaining our understanding of the law and promising to inform the evaluators it knows of regarding the portfolio assessment requirements.
Meanwhile, Morgan County homeschool families plan to continue to monitor the situation.