**Last Updated: 3/7/2022

Frequently Asked Questions

What is AB-130? How can I get more info on it?  

Assembly Bill (AB) 130 was signed into law on July 9, 2021. AB 130 makes significant changes to independent study (IS) and, for the 2021–22 school year only, requires school districts and county offices of education to offer independent study as an educational option (California Education Code Section 51745). 

What is different about independent study this year, versus IS programs we have run in the past?  

Traditional Independent Study (TIS) and Course-Based Independent Study (CBIS) have been educational options for several years. What is NEW this year is the requirement that ALL school districts MUST offer Independent Study to ANY parent/guardian who requests it for their student. Districts will need to outline specific requirements for daily and/or weekly interactions. See the links above for more information.

What can my district do now to prepare for AB130?  

Add codes to separate Student Attendance Programs.  This can be complete in the Update COD Table.  

  • STU.SP to break down the ADA for CBIS versus TIS
  • Or the STU.SP could be only setting the Independent Study, then an additional layer of AP1 codes breaking the CBIS and TIS Students 

Instead, an additional school could be setup making note of a proper CDS code.  This new school would hold the TIS and CBIS students and their data for collecting only Independent Study Attendance et. al.

Do I need a new CDS Code for my Independent Study Program?  

You do not need a new CDS code, but if you already have a CDS code for a school that handles Traditional Independent Study for your district, continue to use that CDS code.  If a new CDS code is desired, districts should apply for one as soon as possible.

Do I need to create a new Special Program (PGM) code for Independent Study students?  

At this time, there is no need to track Independent Study Students in the Special Programs (PGM) area of Aeries or to report Independent Study information to CALPADS any differently than in the past. *However, see the note below regarding quarantined students; you should create a PGM code to track those students. 

How should Course-Based Independent Study Attendance be handled in Aeries?  

Period Attendance should be maintained in schools doing Course Based Independent Study (CBIS).  A manual evaluation of student progress across all courses should be performed to determine All-Day Code Population for ADA while a student is on CBIS Instruction.  This means Attendance codes to track the Attendance Earned and Not Earned based upon Educational Progress as well as completion of Assignments.

How to handle attendance/enrollment programs for Independent Study Students in a traditional school?  

At a minimum, the STU.SP field must be populated with a specific code for Independent Study and updated to the Attendance Enrollment data in Aeries, to separate the Independent Study students' attendance from the In-Person population.  There may be two codes added; one for TIS and another for CBIS.  Another option would be to track one Independent Student Code in the STU.SP; then break that set of student further with AP1 codes differentiating TIS from CBIS.

Can Aeries assist in communicating with students and parents about educational opportunities and meetings?  

Aeries Communications, powered by ParentSquare, or any existing community communication platform used by the district can be used for this purpose.  Aeries is not specifically adding any additional features to address the requirement to notify students and parents of educational options or to provide conferences and meetings.

Is there anything available in Aeries to address the needs for additional school and board policies?  

Aeries is not specifically addressing with any additional features, the requirements defined by AB 130 for additional school and board policies.

What is available in Aeries to track and monitor Tiered Reengagement Plans for students not making satisfactory course progress and in Independent Study?  

Tiered Reengagement Plans can be placed in the Aeries Interventions page and be monitored with existing features and functionality.   

No additional changes or enhancements to this area of Aeries are anticipated at this time.

Can Aeries help identify students not making adequate or satisfactory course progress in Independent Study?  

Existing Attendance reports and Aeries Analytics can be used to evaluate attendance codes and attendance notes in order to identify students not making adequate or satisfactory course progress.  Analytics will also be able to track Gradebook Final Marks to find students who are falling behind. No additional changes or enhancements to this area of Aeries are anticipated at this time.

Can Aeries assist in calculating and monitoring the “Independent Study Ratio” requirements?  

As this is not a new requirement for independent study, Aeries is not specifically addressing with any additional features to calculate the Independent Study Ratio requirements.

How can Aeries be used to collect and maintain student work product examples?  

The Student Backpack and Student Documents can be used to upload student work product examples. No additional changes or enhancements to this area of Aeries are anticipated at this time.

Can Independent Study programs and traditional, in-person instruction co-exist within the same Aeries school?  

An upcoming enhancement to Aeries will allow specific sections in a Comprehensive school to use Alt Ed Scheduling while leaving the remaining sections to use traditional scheduling.  This enhancement should be available in Aeries by the end of August, 2021.

We recommend the use of “Alt Ed Scheduling” for Independent Study sections. This allows the use of placeholder courses in the master schedule, and then track which specific course the students complete during the year, without having to have each individual course section in the Master Schedule.  

How to manage Independent Study Agreements (aka Contracts or Master Agreements) in Aeries?  

Upcoming enhancements to Aeries will include a comprehensive Independent Study Agreements Manager.  This new system will provide online digital signatures, status management, agreement text management, work product completion tracking, and ADA management.  **Elements of this enhancement are have already been released, with the actual IS Agreements Management page in testing now.

How will this affect STAS reporting of student attendance?  

CALPADS is currently drafting changes to the STAS extract to collect data specific to Course-Based Independent Study. Once they have the required information from the CDE and make any changes to the STAS file, Aeries will incorporate them into our process. **See new item below regarding changes to STAS**

How to handle teachers instructing Independent Study Students from multiple campuses?  

A virtual Independent Study campus can be created. There are several options as far as the setup:

  • A new CDS code specifically for this independent school 
  • Sharing a CDS with a regular secondary school
  • No CDS code, utilizing the Home Reporting school feature to report the students from their home campuses.

We are still working on best use case scenarios for the different options, but some of the areas to consider:

  • Section Staff - would need to be implemented in order to allow teachers to take attendance across different schools.
  • Manually change Schools - Can change to Section Staff, but will lose contiguous Attendance Log

How do we assign teachers to classes that are being taken through programs like Edgenuity?  

Generally, we support assigning those sections to whichever teacher/staff they want.  It is not our place to interpret the laws for Independent Study as they pertain to 3rd party instructional services like Edgenuity and the impact to CALPADS

CDE FAQ: When is it appropriate to use a generic SEID of 9999999999 on a course section?\

CALPADS has general instructions to report the teacher that is monitoring the student's progress/attendance, but indicate their function as it pertains to the actual instruction? We are working with CALPADS for further clarification n this area.

CDE FAQ: How should LEAs report courses taught remotely as an online course in CALPADS?

How do I handle tracking Synchronous Instruction for Independent Study Students?  

Daily attendance schools MUST use Attendance Notes or Supplemental Attendance, as the All Day code is used for ADA tracking.  Period Attendance Schools can use Period Attendance Codes, Attendance Notes, or Supplemental Attendance to track student participation in synchronous instruction. The supervising Teacher or office staff could then analyze the overall participation in the day to determine if the student has met the local threshold for awarding attendance on that day.

  • Schools may also choose to use Class Calendars to indicate on which days during the school year, classes offer synchronous instruction.

  • Unlike in 2020-2021, no teacher certification is required for this data collection at this time.  However, we are asking CDE for more information in this area. 

How are we providing the capability of Synchronous versus Live Interaction?  

Different Attendance Codes and/or Attendance notes can be used to differentiate the type of student participation, similar to how Synchronous/Asynchronous Remote Instruction was handled during the pandemic year. 

Are there any templates available for IS Agreements or Board Policies?  

The CDE has just sent out a set of templates via the Independent Study Listserve. They are attached here, however they had this note from CDE attached: Please note these are not intended to be comprehensive and have not been vetted through the CDE legal team. The LEA shall be responsible to ensure compliance with legal requirements.

How should schools handle quarantined students?  

In early September, 2021, the legal division at CDE released an opinion that LEAs could not ADA for quarantined students by enrolling them in Independent Study. However, on September 15, 2021, the legislature passed AB-167 which contained cleanup language for changes made by AB130 for Independent Study regarding ADA: 

  • Clarifying that local educational agencies can earn apportionment for students participating in independent study because of COVID-19-related quarantine, beginning day one of the quarantine.

There are other changes in the bill (AB-167 Education finance: education omnibus budget trailer bill). That being said, the guidance from Aeries given on 9/2/2021 is still valid. 

  1. Schools should track Quarantine Date Ranges with a Special Programs (PGM) record for the student.
    • A locally-created code can be created and applied to each student affected.
    • No need to differentiate the reason why the student is quarantined (tests, symptoms, contact, etc.)
  2. Schools should create an Absence Code for: Quarantine w/o Instruction
    • ADA - Set to “No”
    • Type - “Excused Absence - Verified”
    • Independent Study flags are not needed
  3. Schools should strive to place quarantined students on Independent Study (IS) Contracts and track work completion through a standard method of IS Incomplete and IS Complete codes.  If there are days where IS work was not assigned while in quarantine, use the aforementioned "Quarantine w/o Instruction" absence code.
    • This could happen if there is a lag time between when a student is out via quarantine and an IS teacher is assigned and begins providing instruction

CALPADS is adding two new fields to the STAS file to help report attendance for Independent Study due to changes from AB130/167. Do I need to make changes to how I am collecting attendance data for these students?  

We have analyzed the changes to the STAS file proposed by CALPADS, and at this time, none of the required changes to the extract will require any customer interaction. The information they are seeking is already collected inside of Aeries by the normal Independent Study Attendance process, so we will handle any changes necessary and release an update when CALPADS informs us that the new file layout will be moved to their production side. **These changes to the STAS extract were included in the 2/2/22 update. 

Do I need to use different Program Codes for Short Term vs Long Term IS?  

No, AB130 does not make a distinction, other than the requirements for synchronous instruction are not necessary for durations of less than 15 days.

How do I handle a student that is doing both IS and On-site instruction?  

They are tracked by where they spend the majority of the time:

  • Majority of day in In-Person instruction - Use regular attendance method. Indicate which sections are taught via Independent Study and Distance Learning type (if applicable).
  • Majority of day in IS - Must use IS attendance method (IS Assign/Complete). Indicate which sections are taught via Independent Study and Distance Learning type (if applicable).