Compulsory attendance is required for children ages 7 through 18.
Solely for purposes of compulsory attendance in a nonpublic school, a child who participates in a home study program approved by the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education shall be considered in attendance at a day school. A home study program shall be approved if it offers a sustained curriculum of a quality at least equal to that offered by public schools at the same grade level. La. R.S. Ann. §236.
A home study plan is a program in which an approved curriculum can be implemented under the direction and control of a parent or a tutor. Any child eligible to attend an elementary or secondary school in Louisiana is eligible to participate in a home study plan. Home study regulations are found at La. R.S. Ann. §17:236, §17:236.1.
A home school educational program may operate by registering as a nonpublic school not seeking state approval in accordance with Louisiana's compulsory attendance law. An official, signed letter must be submitted annually to register (by the thirtieth day after the school session begins) and it must include: the school year, name of school, contact information, and the total number of students enrolled La. R.S. §17:232 (C) and (D).
The State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (SBESE) may approve home study programs. To be approved by the SBESE, a home study program must offer a sustained curriculum of a quality at least equal to that offered by the public schools, consist of an adequate physical plant, and operate a minimum session of no fewer than 180 days. La. R.S. Ann. §17:221.3, §17:232 (C) and (D), and §17:236, §17:236.1, and §17:236.2.
An initial application must be made within 15 days of beginning a program of home instruction. It must include a completed application and certified copy of the birth certificate for the child. A short-form birth certification card is acceptable as a certified copy of the birth certificate. La. R.S. Ann. §17:236.1.
A renewal application must be made by October 1 of the school year, or within 12 months of the approval of the initial application, whichever is later. A renewal application is accepted upon presentation of satisfactory evidence that the program offered a sustained curriculum of a quality at least equal to that of the public schools at the same grade level. The sustained curriculum can be substantiated in several ways, including presentation of test results on which the student scored at or above his or her grade level, or description and substantiating documents detailing the contents of the instructional program. La. R.S. Ann. §17:236.1.
State Board policy requires local school systems to provide textbooks to students participating in SBESE-approved home study programs when extra copies are available. Local school systems may charge a deposit fee for each book borrowed by a home study parent, but the deposit is refunded when the book(s) is/are returned. La. R.S. Ann. §17:351.
State assessment is not required. A student in an SBESE-approved home study program may request the local school board or state superintendent to administer the iLEAP, LEAP, or GEE tests. It is the parent's responsibility to contact the testing coordinator in early February to arrange the student's participation in state testing. A fee of no more than $35 for administering, scoring, and reporting may be charged. La. R.S. Ann. §17:236.1.
Completion of a home study program does not entitle the student to a regular high school diploma. Only public and approved nonpublic schools that meet state requirements may issue a state diploma. The state board can award the General Equivalency Diploma (GED), provided the student passes the GED examination. La. R.S. Ann. §17:11.
Effective August 2010 and thereafter, high school diplomas awarded through home study programs approved by the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education are now recognized by all public postsecondary educational institutions, all state departments, agencies, boards, and commissions, and all other state and local government entities to have all of the rights and privileges as those awarded by a state-approved nonpublic school. La. R.S. Ann. §17:236.1.G.
Home study program diplomas are not awarded by the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education or by the Louisiana Department of Education. Therefore, depiction, reproduction, or duplication of state seals or wording that implies implementation of the prescribed course of study required for public schools is unauthorized.
If a child is 11 years of age and participating in an approved home study program (La. R.S. §17:236.1), Louisiana state law requires parents to provide proof of immunization against meningococcal disease. Parents have the right to submit waivers for religious, medical, or personal reasons to the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education in lieu of immunization evidence. La. R.S. §17:170.4(A)(1)(c).
Home study students have the opportunity to participate on a public school sports team with the approval of the school's principal. La. R.S. §17.236.3.
If a nonpublic school chooses not to seek state approval, the school must register with the state each school year in order to comply with Louisiana's statute, La. R.S. Ann. §17:232 (C) and (D). Nonpublic registered schools (not seeking state approval) may include 1) educational programs or 2) traditional schools with a physical plant that make the choice, based on a variety of reasons, not to obtain state approval. One example of the latter is a school whose staff do not all meet minimum qualifications.
The Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education approves any private elementary, secondary, or proprietary school upon application, if the school meets and maintains a sustained curriculum or specialized course of study of a quality at least equal to that prescribed for similar public schools. La. Const. Art. VIII, § 4; La. R.S. Ann. §17:11.
All certificates and diplomas issued by an approved private school shall carry the same privileges as one issued by a state public school. La. R.S. Ann. §17:11 (C). Louisiana Department of Education Bulletin 741: Handbook for School Administrators §2111 (D). All certificates and diplomas issued by an approved private school shall carry the same privileges as one issued by a state public school. La. R.S. Ann. §17:11 (C). Louisiana Department of Education Bulletin 741: Handbook for School Administrators §2111 (D).
To be classified as a school under the General School Law provisions, the institution must operate a minimum session of 180 days. La. R.S. Ann. §17:236.
For grades 1–12, the minimum school day shall include 330 minutes of instruction time exclusive of recess, lunch, and planning periods. For kindergarten, the minimum instructional day for a full-day program shall be 330 minutes and for a one-half day program, 165 minutes. Louisiana Department of Education (Nonpublic) Bulletin 741: Louisiana Handbook for Nonpublic School Administrators §705.
State approval of a nonpublic school is dependent on whether the school meets and maintains a sustained curriculum or specialized course of study of quality at least equal to that prescribed for similar public schools. La. R.S. Ann. §17:11.
A minimum of 23 credits is required for incoming freshmen prior to 2009–10. The requirements are four units of English, three units each of mathematics, science, and social studies, two units of health and physical education, and eight units of electives (a maximum of four credits in religion). Specific details of these requirements can be found in Louisiana Department of Education (Nonpublic) Bulletin 741: Louisiana Handbook for Nonpublic School Administrators §2109.
A minimum of 24 credits is required for incoming freshmen beginning in 2009–10, who will complete the Louisiana Core 4 Curriculum. The minimum course requirements are four units of English, mathematics, science, and social studies, two units of health and physical education, two units of foreign language or speech, one unit of art, and three units of electives. Specific details of these requirements can be found in Louisiana Department of Education (Nonpublic) Bulletin 741: Louisiana Handbook for Nonpublic School Administrators §2109.
Effective August 2011, prekindergarten programs may be operated as part of an approved elementary school program in conjunction with other grades or may be operated solely as an approved prekindergarten program. Prekindergarten includes developmental programs for children ages 3–4, with a minimum age of 3 by September 30 of the year the child enters prekindergarten. Children in prekindergarten programs are eligible to enter kindergarten at the established age requirement for these programs. Nonpublic schools are not required to offer prekindergarten programs nor are children required to attend these programs. Any other program that operates in a school as a childcare program shall follow the day care standards as prescribed by the appropriate agency. 2011 Legislative Session HB 373 (Act 102).
No more than 35 students can be enrolled in one class except for certain activity classes such as physical education, art, music, etc. Louisiana Department of Education (Nonpublic) Bulletin 741: Louisiana Handbook for Nonpublic School Administrators §707.
Nonpublic schools must keep registration and attendance records of students, and maintain a current permanent record of the student's individual data and academic progress through school. Louisiana Department of Education (Nonpublic) Bulletin 741: Louisiana Handbook for Nonpublic School Administrators, §505.
Nonpublic schools must maintain a health record for each student from pre-kindergarten to grade 12. Louisiana Department of Education (Nonpublic) Bulletin 741: Louisiana Handbook for Nonpublic School Administrators §519.
A nonpublic school is required to submit an annual school report to the State Department of Education by October 15. Louisiana Department of Education (Nonpublic) Bulletin 741: Louisiana Handbook for Nonpublic School Administrators §527.
Upon entering a private school for the first time, all children must present a copy of their official birth record to the school principal. Children born in Louisiana will be given a 15-day grace period to secure a copy of their birth record. Children born out of this state will be given a 30-day grace period in which to produce a copy of their birth record. If birth certificates or birth verification cannot be obtained, the school principal may accept whatever positive proof of age, race, and parentage is available. It is left to the discretion of the parish or city superintendent of schools, subject to the authority of the school board, as to whether or not a child shall continue in school upon failure to comply. La. R.S. Ann. §§17:167, 222.
All schools in Louisiana must respond to the request of a city or parish public school system as to whether an individual student is enrolled in the school and fulfilling the compulsory attendance requirements. La. R.S. Ann. §17.232.D.
Assessment of nonpublic school students is optional.
Any nonpublic school that opts to participate in the state Exit Testing Program shall follow the rules and regulations set by the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.
Any state-approved nonpublic school that does not choose to participate in the state Exit Testing Program may grant a school diploma, which denotes the state's minimum graduation requirements have been met. This school diploma carries the same privileges as one issued by a public school.
Louisiana Department of Education
1201 North Third
P.O. Box 94064
Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9064
Louisiana Families may choose to independently provide an excellent education to their children from their home. Louisiana families typically provide this independent education through a Board of Elementary and Secondary Education approved home study program or a nonpublic school (not seeking state approval.
To comply with state attendance laws, parents who want to educate their children in a home study program must apply and be approved annually by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.
Families may now use a simple, user-friendly online application system to Submit a Louisiana Home Study Application. This new system will allow families to easily complete and submit applications online, as well as receive automatic e-mails once the Department both receives and approves the application. A similar system is also available for Nonpublic Schools (Not Seeking State Approval).
Families without internet access will still be able to submit a paper application. The paper application may be found in the Louisiana Home Study Guidelines PDF.
Parents who enroll their child in a home study program are solely responsible for deciding the curriculum and providing instruction. Louisiana does not provide funding or resources for home study programs.
A child enrolled in an approved home study program is considered in attendance at school.
Students in a home study program are not required to take state assessments.
Students in a home study program may participate in interscholastic athletic activities.
Diplomas awarded through an approved home study program are recognized by all post-secondary educational institutions.
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