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Running Start

In June of 2004, members of WHO formed the Running Start Task Force (RSTF). This group was formed in response to calls and e-mails to our office from parents who were unable to access the Running Start program, due to federal reporting requirements of the “No Child Left Behind” mandate. Running Start is a public school program that allows high school 11th and 12th graders to attend community or technical college. Credits earned in the community or technical college count as college credit, as well as high school credit, which may, but aren't required to, fulfill graduation requirements for a public high school diploma. The state pays the college tuition and parents are responsible for books, fees, and transportation.

The RSTF began meetings with key players from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) in February 2005. Discussions centered on a document that could be created to simplify the Running Start application process for home-based students.  While this was being worked on the following Bill was passed on July 24th, 2005.  Senate Bill 5289 clarifies that home-based instruction students accessing institutions of higher education are exempt from state and federal accountability reporting. Further, home-based students are not required to meet public school student learning goals, not obligated to obtain a certificate of academic achievement or to master the essential academic learning requirements.

Summary of Senate Bill 5289 - April 21, 2005
"A student receiving home-based instruction enrolling in a public high school for the sole purpose of participating in courses or programs offered by institutions of higher education shall not be counted by the school district in any required state or federal accountability reporting if the student's parents or guardians filed a declaration of intent to provide home-based instruction and the student received home-based instruction during the school year before the school year in which the student intends to participate in courses or programs offered by the institution of higher education. Students receiving home-based instruction under chapter 28A.200 RCW and students attending private schools approved under chapter 28A.195 RCW shall not be required to meet the student learning goals, obtain a certificate of academic achievement or a certificate of individual achievement to graduate from high school, or to master the essential academic learning requirements. "  (This Bill is now found in RCW 28A.600.310.)

However, it was agreed upon between OSPI, WHO, and CHNOW (Christian Homeschool Network of Washington) that a document was still needed to clarify the process for HBI students, school districts, and the institutions of higher education participating in Running Start.  So OSPI, with input from these two homeschool organizations, distributed “Bulletin No. 086-05 Student Support and Operations” and its accompanying form “Running Start Enrollment Request, Home-Based Instruction Students Only”. These were released to the school district superintendents on September 9, 2005.

Then on October 25, 2007, OSPI sent out new Bulletin 098-07. It rescinded the original September 9, 2005 bulletin and its accompanying enrollment form for homeschoolers. Justification for this was because the original bulletin  “…erroneously identified or implied new procedures school districts must follow when enrolling home-based education students in Running Start, which has created ongoing confusion…”  Currently, the people at OSPI’s stance is that if you are full time (15 credits or above), you are no longer a homeschooled student and must follow the district policies and procedures.  This is against RCW 28A.600.310.

Recommendations:

  1. Read through the Running Start and Home-Based Instruction Law below, to know the requirements of the state, public school district, and you.

  2. Ask others who have been utilizing Running Start as homeschoolers for their experiences with your district and public high school(s).

  3. Go to the college and take the Compass or Asset Test for entrance into Running Start.  If student passes, take last year’s Declaration of Intent and the test results to your district superintendent’s office and ask to enroll in Running Start as a home-based student.  It is up to the discretion of the district as to how enrollment is carried out.  However…
  4. If the district directs you to go through their Public School Alternative Learning Program, we recommend that you avoid doing so.  OSPI’s Bulletin 098-07 states, “School districts have authority to establish policies and procedures requiring such students to enroll in Running Start via enrollment in a high school within the district.”  Enrollment is through a district or possibly a local high school, not through a district’s Public School Alternative Learning Program.

  5. If the district or high school wants to verify your student’s home-based classes, level of learning, or transcript, they should be shown RCW 28A.600.310 which states, “…Students receiving home-based instruction…shall not be required to meet the student learning goals, obtain a certificate of academic achievement or a certificate of individual achievement to graduate from high school, or to master the essential academic learning requirements…”  As a home-based student, you are not desiring a diploma from the district.  Thus, there is no good purpose in their desire to ask for such documentation.

  6. If you experience difficulty enrolling in Running Start, and the concerns on behalf of  the district is establishing grade placement, credits, transcripts, diploma, etc., use the “ Home-Based Instruction Running Start Student Assurances” form. If necessary, you  may want to have the form notarized by a notary public.

  7. If the district is requiring more of you than is required by law, stand up for yourself. Look to the statutes for clarification and point them out to the school official.

Running Start Homeschoolers' Eligibility Issue Cleared Up 

Senate Bill 5289, passed April 21, 2005, clarifies that home-based instruction students accessing institutions of higher education (Running Start) are exempt from state and federal accountability reporting. Further, home-based students are not required to meet public school student learning goals, not obligated to obtain a certificate of academic achievement or to master the essential academic learning requirements. This bill is found in law at RCW 28A.600.310. It's titled: High school students' options — Enrollment in institutions of higher education — Transmittal of funds. It reads:

"A student receiving home-based instruction enrolling in a public high school for the sole purpose of participating in courses or programs offered by institutions of higher education shall not be counted by the school district in any required state or federal accountability reporting if the student's parents or guardians filed a declaration of intent to provide home-based instruction and the student received home-based instruction during the school year before the school year in which the student intends to participate in courses or programs offered by the institution of higher education. Students receiving home-based instruction under chapter 28A.200 RCW and students attending private schools approved under chapter 28A.195 RCW shall not be required to meet the student learning goals, obtain a certificate of academic achievement or a certificate of individual achievement to graduate from high school, or to master the essential academic learning requirements. "

The issue at hand is the statement highlighted, italicized and typed in bold above. For many of us this statement was interpreted as an obligation to meet in order to be eligible for Running Start. That's not the case. It's not an eligibility obligation. The requirement is just for state and federal reporting requirements. Or, as the law states, it's for counting purposes.

In order to confirm that this is the case, we contacted the State Board of Community and Technical Colleges. Here is a portion of our correspondence with staff at SBCTC: 

Question: 

“Re: eligibility: Does a homeschool parent have to provide proof that their student was homeschooled by providing a copy of the Declaration of Intent to Provide Home-Based Instruction for the year prior to enrolling in Running Start?  

Answer, in part:

No, only for the current year that the home school student wishes to enroll in Running Start. This can be done through the district office.

The sole purpose of the change to RCW 28A.600.310 in 2005 was to release school districts from the requirement to include students who had a Declaration of Intent on file from the year prior to their enrolling in Running Start from state and federal reporting requirements. It does not establish a student's eligibility to participate in Running Start.

Eligibility requirements for participation in Running Start were established in 1995 in WAC 392-169-020. There is no requirement for homeschoolers to show proof of homeschooling the year prior to enrolling in Running Start.” 

For the Homeschoolers of WA 
Janice M. Hedin
WHO Running Start Task Committee

Laws/Statutes

Running Start Law (Revised Code of Washington, RCW) RCW 28A.600.300 to RCW 28A.600.400 found on the web at http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?Cite=28A

Running Start Administrative Code (Washington Administrative Code, WAC) WAC 392-169-005 to WAC 392-169-125 found on the web at http://apps.leg.wa.gov/wac/default.aspx?cite=392

Substitute House Bill 1758 - Expanding options for students to earn high school diplomas

This legislation, effective July 26, 2009, authorizes community and technical colleges to issue state high school diplomas.  The State Board of Education is the state agency responsible for adopting the rules that implement this college-issued diploma. We know that students who are juniors and seniors in high school (homeschool, public or private) earn both high school and college credit simultaneously by enrolling in a community or technical college through the Running Start program. To pay the college tuition, school districts redirect basic education funds to the college.  Colleges may now issue a state high school diploma to two types of students:

  1. Those who have earned an associates degree of any type through Running Start.
  2. Adults over 21 who enroll in the college with the goal of obtaining an associates degree and who complete the degree.

Just like public schools and private schools, homeschool parents already have the authority to issue credits, grant diplomas, etc. to their graduates. This college-issued, state high school diploma is an option for all students in Washington.
To learn more, go the State Board of Education’s website:
http://www.sbctc.ctc.edu/college/studentsvcs/20091204_hs_diploma_clarification-shb1758.pdf

Washington Homeschool Organization
Advocacy Committee

We hope this will help you in your educational endeavors. Please contact WHO with any questions.

 
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