603 Alternative Programs

603.1 Compulsory Education; Competent Private Instruction; Dual Enrollment

Code No. 603.1



Compulsory Enrollment.  Any child at least six years of age and under sixteen years of age by September 15 who is a resident of the District must enroll in the District schools unless:

            a.         The child is enrolled in another accredited public or private school; or

            b.         The child has completed the requirements for graduation in an accredited school or has obtained a high school equivalency diploma; or

            c.         The child is excused for sufficient reason by a court of record or judge; or

            d.         The child is attending religious services or receiving religious instruction; or

            e.         The child is attending a private accredited college preparatory school; or

            f.          The child is exempted by the Director of the Iowa Department of Education based on religious beliefs and principles of the child's parents or guardians; or

            g.         The child is receiving competent private instruction in accordance with state law and the rules of the Department of Education, either from a licensed teacher, or from a parent, guardian or custodian; or

            h.         The child is physically or mentally unable to attend school or the child’s presence would be injurious to the health of other students, proven as required by law.

Responsibility.  It shall be the primary responsibility of the parents, guardians, and custodians to cause students to attend school regularly and in accordance with District policies or to demonstrate that the child is exempt from such requirement.

Attendance for Entire Time.    The Board of Directors requires attendance of all regularly enrolled students for the entire time when schools are in session which shall be either 180 days or 1080 hours each school year, provided that students may be excused pursuant to the District's excused absence policy, and provided that seniors may be dismissed early.  Students who are dually enrolled in the District by enrollment in a course(s) in the District and in competent private instruction shall be required to attend for the entire time when the course is in session, unless the child is excused under the same terms as full-time enrolled students.  The Board of Directors requires instruction for 148 days each school year (July 1 - June 30) for students receiving competent private instruction, with attendance for at least 37 days each school quarter, which results in the student making adequate progress.

Enrollment in Accredited Nonpublic School.  If a nonpublic school located within the District boundaries is accredited by the Iowa Department of Education, the Board secretary shall each school year, request a certificate and report in duplicate of the names, ages and grade levels of the students attending the nonpublic school who are of compulsory attendance age, during the preceding year and from the time of the last preceding report.  The report shall also identify all students of compulsory attendance age who were truant, the number of days of truancy, and the children who dropped out, withdrew from enrollment, or transferred to another Iowa school and the date their attendance ceased at the accredited nonpublic school.  Such certificate and report shall be delivered to the Board secretary within ten days.  The secretary shall retain one report and file one with the secretary of Keystone Area Education Agency.

Competent Private Instruction.  The law recognizes two options for competent private instruction.  The first option is instruction by or under the supervision of a licensed practitioner.  The second option is instruction by a non-licensed person. 

Any parent, guardian or custodian whose child of compulsory attendance age is receiving competent private instruction by or under the supervision of a licensed practitioner, not in an accredited school or home school assistance program operated by an accredited school, shall furnish to the District annually, by September 1 of the year of instruction, a report in duplicate for each child on a form (“Form A”) provided either by the District or otherwise available on the Iowa Department of Education website.  Any parent, guardian or custodian whose child is receiving competent private instruction by a non-licensed person may, but is not required to, submit a report in duplicate for each child on a form (“Form A”) to the District, unless that student is seeking to be dual enrolled, in which case Form A must be completed and submitted to the District by September 1 of the year of instruction. The Board secretary shall file one copy and forward the other copy to the secretary of Keystone Area Education Agency. 

If the child is being placed under competent private instruction for the first time, with or under the supervision of a licensed instructor, the parent, guardian or custodian shall also provide evidence that the child has had required immunizations and a blood lead test if applicable. If the child is receiving competent private instruction for the first time by a non-licensed person, evidence of immunizations may, but are not required to, be provided, unless the student is seeking dual enrollment, in which case evidence of immunization must be provided. A home school assistance program operated by an accredited school shall furnish reports as required.

If a parent, guardian, or custodian decides, after enrolling a child in the District or in an accredited nonpublic school and after the deadline for filing the report, that he/she wishes to provide competent private instruction, the report shall be filed no later than fourteen (14) calendar days after removing the child from school.

A person who provides instruction to or instructional supervision of a student receiving competent private instruction shall be the student's parent, guardian, or legal custodian or a person who possesses a valid Iowa teaching certificate or practitioner license as a classroom teacher which is appropriate to the age and grade level of the student under competent private instruction.

Any parent, guardian, or custodian whose child of compulsory attendance age is receiving competent private instruction by a non-licensed person shall furnish annually by June 30 of each year the results of the child's annual assessment/evaluation (either the results of a standardized test, portfolio assessment or submittal of a report card from an accredited correspondence school) to the Board secretary and to the Department of Education as required by law.  The District shall notify the parent, guardian or legal custodian who has selected the standardized testing form of evaluation of the times and dates when the tests will be administered and of the costs associated with the tests.  If standardized testing is utilized, it will need to be completed by May 1 of each year.  The Board Secretary shall annually report to the Iowa Department of Education by April 1 the names of all resident children who are subject to annual assessment and the form of assessment chosen by the parent, guardian, or custodian. 

The District may provide to children receiving competent private instruction who are not dually enrolled in the District and who are not in a District home school assistance program available texts and supplementary materials on the same basis as provided to enrolled students.  However, the District shall not be obligated to purchase additional materials.

Independent Private Instruction.  Independent private instruction means instruction that meets the following criteria:  (i)  is not accredited, (ii) enrolls not more than four unrelated students, (iii) does not charge tuition, fees, or other remuneration for instruction, (iv) provides, upon written request from the District superintendent in which the independent private instruction is provided, or from the director of the Iowa Department of Education, a report identifying the primary instructor, location, name of the authority responsible for the independent private instruction, and the names of students enrolled, (vii) is not a nonpublic school and does not  provide competent private instruction as defined herein, and (viii) is exempt from all state statutes and administrative rules applicable to a school, a school board, or a school district, except as otherwise provided by law.

No form is required to enroll a child in independent private instruction, however, a parent, guardian or legal or actual custodian choosing independent private instruction is advised to notify the District that it will be choosing this option to meet the compulsory attendance laws. 

Accountability of students’ progress under independent private instruction is the sole responsibility of the instructor and there are no reporting requirements to the District or the Department of Education.

Home School Assistance Program.  The District shall operate a home school assistance program in accordance with rules of the Iowa Department of Education.  The District administration shall establish program guidelines and expectations for participation in the Home School Assistance Program.   Personnel employed to operate the program shall meet licensure requirements for the grade levels and courses taught or supervised.  Students enrolled in the program may also request dual enrollment in accordance with Iowa law and District policy.  The District shall provide available texts and supplemental instructional materials on the same basis as they are provided to regularly enrolled students.

Dual Enrollment.  A parent, guardian, or custodian of a child receiving competent private instruction but not independent private instruction, may submit a request to the District for dual enrollment in accordance with state law and District policy, not later than September 15.  The forms for dual enrollment will be provided by the District.  The child shall be permitted to participate in academic activities and co-curricular activities available to children in the child's grade and group.  All eligibility requirements must be met the same as for full-time enrolled students, and the child shall be subject to all policies and administrative rules applying to the class and/or co-curricular activity.  The District shall provide available texts and supplemental instructional materials when a student is dually-enrolled on the same basis as provided to regularly-enrolled students.  If applicable fees are charged for regularly enrolled students in the class or co-curricular activity, that fee may also be charged to dually-enrolled students on the same basis as they are charged for the regularly enrolled students.  If the child is dually enrolled in the District, the District shall pay the cost of an annual test for purposes of evaluation if the standardized test option has been selected.  Otherwise, the parent, guardian or custodian shall be responsible for the costs of the evaluation.

Special Education.  A child of compulsory attendance age who is identified as requiring special education is eligible for placement under competent private instruction with prior approval of the placement by the Director of Special Education of Keystone Area Education Agency.  A child who is identified as requiring special education who is to be dually enrolled in the District shall be permitted to participate in academic activities and co-curricular activities on the same basis as students with the same level of disability who are enrolled full-time in the District and in accordance with his/her IEP.

Noncompliance.  The Board secretary shall report noncompliance with the reporting, immunization, attendance, instructor qualifications, and assessment requirements of the compulsory attendance law to the county attorney for the county of residence of the child's parent, guardian, or custodian.

Truants.  Students enrolled in the District who are absent without valid excuse shall be disciplined in accordance with District policy and rules and regulations.  In addition, the District shall attempt to find the cause for the child's absence and use every means available to the school to assure the child does attend.  If attempts to have a student attend school regularly are unsuccessful, and the student has been absent without valid excuse for a total of five or more school days during the year, the matter shall be referred to the county attorney for mediation or prosecution if the student is in grades 7-12 or shall be referred to the Attendance Cooperation Process if in grades K-6.  In addition, if required, the Board secretary shall report to the Iowa Department of Education the number of children who are truant or who have accumulated 15 or more unexcused absences during a three-year period and, so far as possible, the causes of the failure to attend.


Date of Review:  April 9, 2018


Date of Revision:

April 9, 2018                            



Legal References:


Chapter 259A, 279.10, 279.11, 280.3, Chapters 299 and 299A, Code of Iowa; 281 I.A.C. 12.3(6), Chapter 31    




603.1E HSAP Program Guidelines

Code No. 603.1E



My goal is to let you know what you can expect from me as your supervising teacher as well as what I need from you to best support your family and to have a successful working relationship. Hopefully this information will be helpful for us as we go forward - here's to a great year!



I am available to:

  • Inform families of HSAP program polices and services on an as-needed basis.

Monthly newsletters and e-mails (HSAP Google Group) are the primary method of communicating our activities and services. From time to time additional information about an event or a change in policy may be conveyed via e-mail, text, an occasional mailing or phone calls.

  • Observe student progress.

I am required to determine that a student has made adequate progress each year.  Adequate progress is evaluated in light of the educational goals set by the parent, not the teacher.

  • Consult with and advise families on issues that arise. I am available to help with a variety of issues that include:

Lesson planning; Textbooks and supplementary materials; Setting educational goals and objectives; Teaching and learning techniques; Forms of assessment and evaluation of student learning; Diagnosing student strengths and weaknesses; Interpretation of test results; Planning; and Record keeping.

  • Provide encouragement to parents as educators.

I will be approachable and encouraging, respecting your decision to homeschool and your particular philosophy of homeschooling.

  • Provide encouragement to children as learners.

Although I serve primarily in an advisory role to the parent, I strive to grow in my relationships with the students I supervise as well.

I am further responsible to:

  • Contact families to set up contacts throughout the year.
  • Keep scheduled appointments
  • Promptly return phone calls, e-mails and letters.

Please keep in mind that I am employed part-time and have other commitments that may delay a response, but I strive to reply within 24 hours if at all possible.



The family will:

  • Determine the educational goals for the child.

Certainly, I can assist in this process, but the responsibility rests with the parent. We will discuss these goals at the first meeting of the school year.

  • Select and acquire educational materials in line with your goals.

Please remember that our public school curriculum and several additional science kits are available for loan, and Keystone AEA has a variety of educational materials as well. In addition, we have a growing library of materials available for loan.  Beyond that, the family has the responsibility for providing these materials.

  • Provide the direct instruction necessary to achieve your educational goals.
  • Inform the supervising teacher of their need for assistance.
  • Monitor the student's progress and provide evidence that demonstrates the progress made

This may include keeping a portfolio of work, utilizing test scores, or any other evidence of learning including daily assignments, notes, written papers, projects, etc.

  • Promptly return phone calls, e-mails, texts, and letters from me and keep scheduled appointments.

Please remember that there are quarterly contact requirements as a part of the HSAP program.




Monthly meetings will cover our quarterly contact requirements. These requirements can be met in several ways:

  • Attending scheduled classes & events

Classes & field trips all count toward contact requirements.

  • Scheduling a regular monthly time to meet

If attending the classes/field trips won't work in your schedule or for your student(s), we will schedule a meeting each month to touch base face-to-face. You may also schedule a meeting at any time if you have questions, need help, or would like to talk about a specific concern.

  • E-mails, phone calls, & texts

These contacts may also count toward our requirements (however, at least half our contacts must be face-to-face).



  • At least one parent must be in attendance and present the entire meeting.

Since my main role is to be an advisor to you as the parent, your presence at our meetings is essential.   Student(s) are encouraged to be there as well, if possible.  It is policy to not meet with a student individually.   This is for everyone's comfort and protection.

  • Share what's working, what's challenging, and how I can help! 

Remember, I'm here to do what I can to help you do the best you can for your individual family!  If

there's anything I can help you find or ways I can encourage you, please don't hesitate to ask.




1. Monthly progress reports - proof of progress must be produced at each meeting and can include reading logs, Reading Eggspress progress, journals, papers, assignments in all subjects, etc.

2. Computer check-in - at any time, the district-issued computer may be requested and must be brought to the specified location for a check-in. All history must be left intact - any erasing of the history will result in the loss of the device. Computers are for school use only and are to be used in compliance with the district's computer use policies.




If a student does not meet requirements for progress, including computer check-in appointments, the family will be given another chance to meet these expectations.  If the family misses another opportunity to show progress and /or required meetings, or fails to stay in communication with the HSAP teacher, the student(s) will be exited from the HSAP program and all district-issued materials (books, laptops and all hardware) will be returned within three days of exiting the program.



I understand and will comply with the above expectations as a part of the HSAP program for my child and all progress requirements.  I also understand that if my child does not meet these requirements, he/she will be exited from the HSAP program.


Parent Signature:                                                                                           Date:  ___________


GRADES 6-12:

I understand and will comply with the above expectations for the HSAP program and all progress requirements.  I also understand that if I do not meet these requirements, I will be exited from the HSAP program.



Student Signature:                                                                                         Date:  ___________


Date of Review:  April 26, 2018


603.2 Foreign Study

Code No. 603.2


Students who wish to take courses outside of the United States for credit towards graduation from the Decorah High School must first obtain approval from the administration. 


Date of Review:  April 9, 2018


Date of Revision:

May 10, 2004                           



Legal References:


279.8, 280.14, Code of Iowa                                       



603.3 Post-Secondary Enrollment Option

Code 603.3

Post-Secondary Enrollment Option


In accordance with this policy, students in grades nine through twelve may receive academic or vocational-technical credits that count toward the graduation requirements set out by the board for courses successfully completed in post-secondary educational institutions.  Students and parents or guardians shall be made aware of the post-secondary instructional opportunities as part of the development of each student’s individual career and academic plan as required by law.  The Superintendent or designee is responsible for developing the appropriate forms and procedures for implementing this policy and the following post-secondary educational opportunities:

Concurrent Enrollment

The board may, in its discretion, enter into a contractual agreement with a post-secondary educational institution to provide courses for eligible students in grades nine through twelve when comparable courses are not offered by the school district.  Notice of the availability of the concurrent enrollment program shall be included in the school district’s registration handbook, and the handbook shall identify which courses, if successfully completed, generate post-secondary credit.  Students shall not be charged tuition for concurrent enrollment courses, and shall not be required to reimburse the school district for tuition if they do not successfully complete a course. Students or their parents or guardians may be required to pay a fee for textbooks and other materials for the concurrent enrollment course to the extent permitted by law.  Students or their parents or guardians may also be required to provide their own transportation to and from concurrent enrollment courses to the extent permitted by law.  However, transportation shall be the responsibility of the school district for any contracted course that is used to meet school district accreditation requirements.

Students who successfully complete a concurrent enrollment course, as determined by the postsecondary institution, shall receive postsecondary credit in accordance with the contractual agreement and high school credit that will be reflected on their high school transcript.  The Superintendent or designee is responsible for determining the number of high school credits that shall be granted to a student who successfully completes a concurrent enrollment course.  

Postsecondary Enrollment Option


Eligible Students. Students enrolled in the Decorah Community School District in the eleventh or twelfth grades are eligible to participate in the postsecondary enrollment option (“PSEO”). Students in the ninth or tenth grade who have been identified by the District as gifted and talented students are also eligible to participate in PSEO. The students must be enrolled only part-time in the postsecondary institution and must continue to be enrolled in courses at the Decorah High School, including physical education (unless properly excused from P.E.).

Eligible Courses. PSEO must meet all of the following conditions to be considered under this policy:

            (a)        The course must be from an institution of higher learning under the control of the Iowa Board of Regents, from an area community college, or from an accredited private institution.

            (b)        The course must be a nonsectarian course.

            (c)        A comparable course must not be available at the Decorah High School. A "comparable course" is one in which the subject matter is substantially similar to a course offered in the District.

            (d)        The course must be a credit-bearing course that can lead to an educational degree at the postsecondary institution and must be taken for credit.

            (e)        The course must be in the discipline area of mathematics (including mathematical sciences, computer science and statistics), science (including astronomy, biology, botany, chemistry, geology, physics and zoology), social sciences (including anthropology, economics, geography, political science, psychology and sociology), or humanities (including literature, foreign language, philosophy, civilizations and history), vocational-technical education, or must be a course in the career options program offered by an area community college.

            (f)        The course must be offered during Decorah's normal school year; summer school courses are not eligible. However, students who have completed eleventh grade but who have not yet graduated may take up to seven (7) college semester hours of credit during the summer at their own expense and receive credit for the hours towards graduation.

            (g)        Courses at a postsecondary institution with which the district has a concurrent enrollment agreement are not eligible for PSEO.

Application. An eligible student wishing to enroll in an eligible PSEO course must submit an approved application form to the District and must apply at the postsecondary institution. The District must approve of the student’s participation, and all applicable requirements of the program must be met, before the provisions of this policy relating to payment of fees and credit are applicable. The student is responsible for applying and enrolling in the postsecondary institution and for informing the institution that enrollment is pursuant to the Postsecondary Enrollment Options Act.

Fees. The District shall pay for each eligible course, directly to the postsecondary institution, the lesser of the actual and customary costs of tuition, textbooks, materials and fees charged by the postsecondary institution or $250. However, if the student fails to complete and receive credit for the course, and the student does not receive a hardship waiver from the District, the student is responsible for the costs of the course.

Credit. Eligible students successfully completing eligible courses pursuant to this policy shall receive credit towards the minimum credits required for graduation using the following equations:

College Semester                      College Quarter                        High School

    Hour Credit                               Hour Credit                                Credit      

      6                                                9                                     2 credits

      2                                                3                                    2/3 credit

Withdrawal from a postsecondary course shall be subject to the same rules as withdrawal from a District course.

Transcript. The grades received from the postsecondary institution will be recorded on the student's transcript, and will be calculated in the student's grade point average.

Transportation. Students and their parents and guardians shall be responsible for transportation. Transportation costs are not reimbursable.


Date of Review:  April 9, 2018


Date of Revision:

April 9, 2018                           



Legal References:


Chapters 258, 261E, 256.11, 279.61, 280.3, 280.14, 282.26, Code of Iowa; 281 I.A.C. Chapters 12, 22   





603.4 Shared-Time Enrollment

Code No. 603.4



Nonpublic School Students.  Upon approval of the Director of the Iowa Department of Education, or otherwise in accordance with law, students enrolled in private schools may be allowed to enroll in the District for specified courses when the courses are not available to them in the private school and provided the students have satisfactorily completed prerequisite courses or shown equivalent competence through testing.  The Board retains its authority to prescribe the terms of the enrollment.

Public School Students.  The Board may, by agreement with one or more other districts, provide for the attendance of District students in the other district(s) for the purpose of taking courses not offered by the Decorah District, or the Board may provide for students of another district(s) to take courses in the Decorah District.


Date of Review:  April 9, 2018

Date of Revision:

     January 10, 2011                 



Legal References:


Chapter 28E, 256.12, 256.13, 257.6, 257.11, 279.8, 280.13A, 280.15, 282.7-.12, Code of Iowa                  




603.5 Correspondence Courses for Classroom Credit

Code No. 603.5


The board recognizes that on-line coursework may be a good alternative for students to not only meet graduation requirements but, also have the opportunity to take advanced or other courses not offered by the school district.

High school students may request enrollment in an on-line course(s) for the following reasons:

  • Credit recovery
  • Under-credited
  • Class reassignment
  • Skill-enhancement
  • Schedule conflict
  • Homebound instruction
  • Expulsion from the regular school setting

Students applying for permission to take an on-line course shall complete prerequisites and provide a counselor recommendation to confirm the student possesses the maturity level needed to function effectively in an on-line learning environment.  In addition, the express approval of the principal or designee shall be obtained before a student enrolls in an on-line course.  The school must receive an official record of the final grade before credit toward graduation will be recognized.

Provided courses are part of the student’s regular school day coursework and within budgetary parameters, the costs for an on-line course, such as textbooks or school supplies, shall be borne by the school district for students enrolled full-time.

It is the responsibility of the superintendent to develop administrative regulations to implement this policy.



Date of Review:  April 9, 2018


Date of Adoption:                                                        Legal References:


April 9, 2018                                                                Iowa Code 279.8 (2013), 281 I.A.C. 15




603.6 Religious-Based Exclusion from School Programs

Code No. 603.6



The Board recognizes the existence of various religious beliefs and acknowledges the American tradition of separation of church and state.  Parents who wish to have their children excluded from a school program or unit of study must inform the principal in writing, stating that the objection is based upon religious beliefs, stating specifically which activities or studies violate their religious beliefs and why, and the parents must propose an alternate supervised activity or study.  The administration shall have discretion to make a determination that an alternate activity is appropriate and that the student should be excused.  The factors to be considered include, but are not necessarily limited to, staff and space availability to supervise students, numbers of students to be excluded, appropriateness of the alternate activities, whether allowing the exclusion places the District in the position of supporting a particular religion, whether the program or activity is required for promotion to the next grade level or for graduation, whether the exclusion is disruptive to the education program or other school operations, and whether the exclusion infringes on a compelling state or educational interest.

Exclusion from physical education, physical activity requirements, health, CPR instruction, and human growth and development instruction shall be granted in accordance with law.


Date of Review:  April 9, 2018


Date of Revision:

April 9, 2018                           





Legal References:


256.11, 279.50, 280.3, Code of Iowa; 281 I.A.C. 12.5(6)