1. Do I have to have a supervising teacher to homeschool in Iowa?
No, you do not. Only homeschooling families who are using Competent Private Instruction (CPI) Option 1 must use the services of a homeschool superivising teacher. (For more information about Iowa homeschooling options, click here.)
If you are using CPI Option 2 or the Independent Private Instruction (IPI) Option, the information on this page does not apply to your situation.
2. What is the difference between a privately-retained supervising teacher and a Home School Assistance Program (HSAP) teacher?
A privately-retained supervising teacher is selected and hired privately by the homeschooled student's parent. A HSAP supervising teacher is selected, hired, and assigned by the public school providing the Home School Assistance Program. In order to access the services of a HSAP supervising teacher, the parent must enroll the homeschooled student in the Home School Assistance Program. Privately-retained supervising teachers must meet with the student and parent at least twice every 45 days of instruction (one out of every two visits must be face-to-face). Home School Assistance Program supervising teachers must meet with the student and parent at least four times every 45 days of instruction (one out of every two visits must be face-to-face). Privately-retained supervising teachers can supervise no more than 25 families or 50 children, unless under special circumstances. Home School Assistance Program supervising teachers can supervise no more than 20 families or 40 children, unless under special circumstances.
3. What type of license should my supervising teacher have? Your supervising teacher must have a valid Iowa teaching certificate or practitioner license appropriate to the grade level of the student. This includes an Iowa substitute teaching license. A person with a substitute authorization may serve as privately-retained supervising teacher -- but not as a Home School Assistance Program supervising teacher.
4. What are the responsibilities of a supervising teacher? A homeschool supervising teacher must:
consult with and advise the student's parent.
provide formal and informal assessments of the student's progress to the student and the student's parent, guardian, or legal or actual custodian.
maintain a diary, record, or log of visits and assistance provided.
refer to the child's district of residence for evaluation a child who the practitioner has reason to believe may be in need of special education.
5. When do I have to select a privately-retained supervising teacher? You will need to have the name and folder number of your privately-retained supervising teacher before you complete your Competent Private Instruction Report form. The CPI form must be submitted by September 1.
If you need help finding a supervising teacher, complete and submit the referral request form on our website.
6. Do I need a different supervising teacher for each child I homeschool? As long as your supervising teacher's license is appropriate for the grade levels of each of your homeschooled children, you will need only one supervising teacher. Please note that some Iowa teacher licenses are limited to specific grade levels (e.g. K-6, K-8, 5-12, etc.) Be sure to ask your selected teacher if his or her license is appropriate to provide supervision for all of your children of compulsory school attendance age (6-16).
7. NICHE has a Supervising Teacher Contract. Is that necessary? If you privately-retain a supervising teacher, this contract can help clarify what you and your teacher are to expect from the arrangement. The Supervising Teacher Contract is an optional tool to be used by those who want their agreement in writing. It also serves as a legal contract, protecting the privacy of all parties involved.
8. What is the Substitute Authorization? The Substitute Authorization is a designation created a number of years ago that allows a person with a baccalaureate degree (or a paraprofessional certificate) to substitute teach in a middle school, junior high or high school for a maximum of 5 days per assignment. Although it would seem at first that this does not relate to home educators, it does indeed, as we have verified that the Department of Education approves the use of a substitute authorization in place of a regular teacher's license (either initial, standard, master's, or substitute) in privately-funded home schools. To put it simply, if you have a four-year college degree, and you are willing to "jump through the required hoops" to obtain a substitute authorization, you can serve as a supervising teacher for your own child -- or for other homeschooled children. This is true for privately-retained supervising teachers -- not those employed by Home School Assistance Programs.
9. What is the difference between a Substitute License and a Substitute Authorization? A person holding a substitute teaching license must have completed a teacher education program. A substitute teaching license authorizes the person to substitute teach in any area, on any level, K-12, for a maximum of 90 days per assignment. A person holding a substitute authorization must have a baccalaureate degree (or a paraprofessional certificate) and complete a substitute training program (described later). A substitute authorization allows the person to substitute in the middle school, junior high or high school for a maximum of 5 days per assignment. (Note that the substitute authorization is only valid for grades 5-12.) According to the Department of Education, either a substitute license folder number or a substitute authorization folder number will be accepted as a licensed supervising teacher folder number in privately-funded home schools.
10. How can someone obtain a Substitute Authorization? The Substitute Authorization may be issued to an individual who:
has successfully completed all the requirements of the approved Substitute Authorization course.
has achieved at least one of the following:
holds a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution, or
has completed an approved Para-educator Certification Program and holds a Para-educator Certificate.
has attained a minimum age of 21 years.
has successfully completed an Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation background check.
has successfully completed a national criminal history background check.
The Substitute Authorization Course
The Substitute Authorization Course has been developed and offered in several of the Area Education Agencies in the state of Iowa. A quick search online reveals information about courses offered at AEA 8, AEA 10, AEA 11, and AEA 13. To find out if your local AEA offers the Substitute Authorization Course, contact the Staff Development Coordinator at the AEA. A list of all the Iowa Area Education Agencies, and their contact information, is available at http://www.iowa.gov/boee/AEAs.html.
The Substitute Authorization Course must, according to state law, cover the following four components:
1. Classroom Management - Participants will develop an understanding of individual and group motivation and behavior that will enable them to create a learning environment that encourages positive social interaction, active engagement in learning, and self motivation. 2. Strategies for Learning - Participants will develop skills to use a variety of learning strategies that encourage student development of critical thinking, problem solving, and performance skills. 3. Diversity - Participants will develop an understanding of how students differ in their approaches to learning, will be able to create learning opportunities that are equitable and are adaptable to diverse learners, and will develop an understanding of the diversity within the classroom. 4. Ethics - Participants will develop an understanding of how to foster relationships with parents, school colleagues, and organizations in the larger community to support student learning and development and become aware of the Board's Rules of Professional Practice and Code of Ethics.
11. Can someone with a Substitute Authorization be my child's supervising teacher? Yes. The Department of Education will accept a valid Substitute Authorization folder number in the same way they would accept a valid Iowa teaching license folder number -- as long as the student is in grades 5-12 and the holder of the Substitute Authorization is using it for privately-funded home education.
13. How can I find a privately-retained supervising teacher? NICHE maintains a list of teachers who are willing to accept referrals of homeschooled students, however, our list is not exhaustive. You may also find a teacher through your local support group. It is important that you find a supervising teacher with an educational philosophy similar to that of your own. It might be helpful to you to read an article on working with supervising teachers, written by Terri Miller, a homeschooling mother and supervising teacher: "Using the Supervising Teacher Option."
Please visit our Find a Teacher page to request a list of supervising teachers in your area.
Serving Families Homeschooling in Iowa - Since 1992 Network of Iowa Christian Home Educators - firstname.lastname@example.org - (515) 830-1614 - (800) 723-0438 in Iowa