1. What is a Home School Assistance Program? A Home School Assistance Program [HSAP] is a program the local school district may offer to families in their district. School districts are not required to provide HSAPs and parents are not required to enroll their homeschooled students in a HSAP, if their district provides one. The Home School Assistance Programs that do exist across the state of Iowa vary widely as to how they operate and the services they offer, but, in general, all HSAPs provide a supervising teacher for HSAP-enrolled students. This supervising teacher is selected and assigned by the public school district. Those school districts that offer Home School Assistance Programs receive state funding for each HSAP-enrolled student. Home School Assistance Programs are allowed to impose any additional requirements on students enrolled in their programs. 2. Do parents of HSAP enrolled students have to file CPI Form A and submit immunization records to the public school?
Yes. Parents who want to enroll their chilldren in a public school HSAP must, file a CPI Form A with, at minimum, Items 1, 3 and 5 completed -- and a school district can condition participation in its HSAP upon the entire form being completed.
3. Does HSAP enrollment grant student access to public school extra-curricular activities, regular district classes, Senior Year Plus programs, special education services, etc.?
No, HSAP enrollement, byitself, does not grant access to these. Rather, access is obtained through dual enrollment. Students can be HSAP enrolled and dual enrolled at the same time. 4. Are HSAP enrolled students in kindergarten through grade three required to submit to mandatory public school screening for reading or reading readiness?
The Department of Education has announced it will apply the phrase "all students enrolled in kindergarten through grade three" in the first full paragraph of Iowa Code section 279.68, to include all students who are dual enrolled and HSAP enrolled. This portion of Iowa law mandates regular screenings for reading or reading readiness for these students throughout the school year. Prescribed responses are included for students identified by the screenings as “at-risk” and/or "having a substantial deficiency" in reading.
In light of the wording of the entire statute, however, both NICHE and HSLDA have expressed doubt that the legislative intent was to apply it to homeschooled students, and have requested that the DE make the application of 279.68 to home educated chldren optional.
On September 22nd, the DE sent out letters to Iowa school districts stating: "While we believe our interpretation of Iowa Code § 279.68 is correct, we also recognize the scope of adjustments this may require in certain situations. Because of the complexity of these issues, we will delay the Department’s monitoring of this statute as it relates to students who are dual enrolled or participating in HSAP programing until our staff can work with districts and HSAP programs regarding the practical implementation of this law. In the interim, districts must still offer universal screening to students who are dual enrolled or enrolled in a HSAP. However, students who are dual enrolled or participating in a HSAP should not be compelled to be screened."
On December 4, the Iowa Department of Education posted new guidance for public schools stating that they mustoffer reading screening and follow-up services to HSAP and dual-enrolled students, but they may not require those families to participate.
We appreciate the Department's willingness to work with us on this issue.
Please keep in mind that Home School Assistance Programs are allowed to impose any requirements they deem necessary upon students enrolled in their programs. If the HSAP in your school district determines that mandatory K-3 reading and reading readiness screenings are required for students enrolled in the HSAP, you will need to comply with this requirement if you want your student to continue to participate in the Home School Assistance Program there.
4. Am I required to participate in an Home School Assistance Program? No. Participation in a Home School Assistance Program is always optional.
Serving Families Homeschooling in Iowa - Since 1992 Network of Iowa Christian Home Educators - firstname.lastname@example.org