Prince William County Issues Update
February 6, 2010
The Organization of Virginia Homeschoolers held a meeting this past week with Prince William County school division officials Cheryl Hiett, Supervisor of Secondary Counseling and Student Support Services and Dr. Deborah Ransom, Supervisor of Elementary Counseling and Related Services.
The meeting focused on recent reports from parents receiving communications from the school division requesting additional information on their Notice of Intent and erroneously stating that the parents were not in compliance with the compulsory attendance law and/or the home instruction statute. Some of these parents had even received unexpected visits from truancy officers
We are pleased to report that as a result of our meeting, school division staff have said they will work to address these recent issues.
Results of the Meeting
Ms. Hiett and Dr. Ransom said they were appreciative of The Organization of Virginia Homeschoolers bringing these problems to their attention, and expressed concern that homeschoolers might have been unnecessarily alarmed or inconvenienced by administrative errors in the division’s Office of Student Services.
Ms. Hiett and Dr. Ransom said they would work with clerical staff to ensure that proper procedures are followed to prevent unnecessary letters, phone calls and home visits in the future. They expressed a sincere desire to maintain the positive relationship they have worked to develop with homeschoolers in Prince William County and with VaHomeschoolers.
One thing that homeschoolers can do to help ensure the swift and accurate processing of their Notice of Intent (in Prince William as well as in other school divisions) is to state clearly which option in the Virginia homeschooling statutes they are using. The statute provides four options, stating that a parent may provide home instruction if he or she:
- (i) Holds a high school diploma; or
- (ii) Is a teacher of qualifications prescribed by the Board of Education; or
- (iii) Provides a program of study or curriculum which may be delivered through a correspondence course or distance learning program or in any other manner; or
- (iv) Provides evidence that he is able to provide an adequate education for the child.
Another tip for parents is to make sure that your legally required description of curriculum is easy to find and identify in your Notice of Intent. If you opt not to use the NOI forms provided by your school division, this is particularly helpful (some school divisions such as Prince William County do provide forms but it is not required that you use them).
For additional information about Virginia’s homeschooling laws, please visit Virginia Homeschool Laws.
Whether you are in Prince William County or any other school division, you can contact VaHomeschoolers anytime with your questions or concerns about homeschooling in your school division. We are always here to help. Please contact us at School Division Issues or call us toll-free at (866) 513-6173.
The Organization of Virginia Homeschoolers is a non-profit public charity with 501(c)(3) status; your donation is tax-deductible to the extent provided by law. A financial statement is available from the Virginia Division of Consumer Affairs upon request.