Board talks HSAP

OSKALOOSA —A homeschooling assistance program (HSAP) was again the focal point of the Oskaloosa Community School District Board of Directors meeting on Jan. 10.

OCSD Superintendent Russ Reiter shared again information regarding the types of homeschooling programs such as independent and competent
private instruction, the differences between the options and the rules and regulations that apply to each.

There are also varying levels of assessment, accountability and monitoring within homeschool programs. Some are eligible for dual-enrolling their students in a school district, some aren’t.

“I wanted to give you some information, answer some questions. Probably the number one thing that, as I continue to look into the homeschool program, every time you think you know something, you find out that you know a little,” he said. “And you get more knowledge all the time, but it’s just amazing how much information is out there.”

Districts are not required to have a HSAP, Reiter said, and the Oskaloosa Community School District has not had one. In order to have a HSAP, a
qualified person must be hired.

“We’ve let students homeschool, we’ve allowed students to dualenroll and come as they please. We’ve not actually had a HSAP because we’ve never had that licensed individual,” he said. “If you decide to start a program – which I do recommend that we do—the big key really is we’ll have to hire one individual who will then be able to work with families in our community and in our district and with parents who have in the past homeschooled their own children and/or who have open-enrolled out to other districts because they actually have the HSAP.”

Reiter said with a HSAP, the teacher is required to have contact with students four times a quarter, with at least two face to face visits per quarter. The
district is also to provide instructional materials. Additionally, the teacher is to be supportive but not directive or intrusive.

“After my conversation with some of the parents who are currently homeschooling, as well as conversations with four or five superintendents and their programs that they do, one of the biggest things is whoever we hire as a teacher, that person is going to need to be supportive,” he said. “A lot of
parents who are homeschooling their parents at home, for whatever reason that may be, they want very little interference from the school but they’re looking for something. And what is that something? Well that’s for that teacher to find out.”

Reiter said he thinks the Oskaloosa school district can hire a qualified person and have a very successful HSAP.

“The program may cost us a little money in the first couple years,” he said. “From everything I’ve been told as you get more and more students and families, those dollars start to arrive and a lot of school districts even have a surplus.”

The decision was made to delay any decisions regarding the homeschool program until the February meeting in order to gain more information.

In an interview on Jan. 6, Reiter shared his thoughts on having a homeschooling program.

“It’s a way of reaching out, whether it be academic or activity, if we can help in some way to help you help your children. Ultimately, whether it’s
private or public, most educators — myself included — ask how do we help kids, how do we pepare them for after school,” he said. “The bottom line, whether it’s public, private or homeschool, we want to see successful kids and we’re all in that together.”

Story provided by the Oskaloosa Herald

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