Thinking of sending your homeschooled teen to public school for high school this fall? Read this first.
The Virginia Department of Education (DOE) recently revised the Standards of Accreditation (SOA) to clarify transfer credit procedures for private, homeschooled, and out-of-state students who are entering Virginia public schools.The new SOA went into effect on September 7, 2006.
While Virginia law §22.1-253.13: 4 A requires local school divisions to make provision for homeschooled students who are transferring from homeschool to high school, some school divisions have refused to accept homeschool transfer credit, or only accepted certain types of coursework for high school credit. Private school and out-of-state transfer students often encountered similar challenges. The newly revised SOA attempts to address these problems.
The new SOA requires public schools to accept credits toward graduation from schools that are accredited constituent members of the Virginia Council for Private Education (VCPE). So, if a homeschooled student takes a high school level course from a correspondence school or private school which is accredited through VCPE or a VCPE member organization, he or she should automatically receive credit for that course if transferring to a public high school.
According to The Organization of Virginia Homeschoolers’ dialogues with DOE, if a homeschooled student takes courses through any other school or program and then transfers to a public high school, the school division is required to evaluate the coursework to decide whether it generally matches the description of a course offered through the public schools. The school division can not reject the coursework as a matter of policy without reviewing it first.
Across Virginia, most local school divisions need to revise their transfer credit policies to reflect the new statewide SOA regulations. As with any widespread policy changes, we anticipate this will resolve some longstanding problems and raise some new questions and concerns. DOE has promised to provide additional guidance on how the new SOA will be interpreted and implemented across the state. VaHomeschoolers will continue to follow up with DOE and local school divisions to help ensure compliance with the new SOA.
So, what does this mean if your teen is transferring from homeschool to high school this year?
- Read through the new SOA, and learn how they affect your child’s personal situation. (See Helpful High School Transfer Credit Resources) Note that the regulations for transfer students entering after 10th grade often differ from the regulations for younger students.
- Find out your local division policies on transfer credit. (See Helpful High School Transfer Credit Resources). However, keep in mind that most local policies on transfer credit are now out of date and need to be revised to reflect the new statewide regulations. Some guidance counselors and administrators may not yet be up to speed on how the new SOAs affect homeschool transfer credit.
- Check the accreditation status of your curriculum. If your coursework comes from a correspondence, distance learning, or private school that is accredited through VCPE or a VCPE member organization (see Helpful High School Transfer Credit Resources), it will transfer automatically from homeschool to high school. For instance, Seton Home Study is accredited directly through VCPE. Griggs International Academy (formerly Home Study International) is accredited through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), which is a VCPE member organization. So credit from either Seton Home Study or Griggs would automatically transfer under the new regulations.
- Keep careful records of your child’s academic coursework. Make a transcript of the high school work she has completed. Keep records of what resources you used, including textbooks, course syllabi, reports from correspondence schools or teachers, etc. to document what your child has learned and accomplished. This information can then be shared with the school division to help determine grade placement and transfer credit.
- Finish what you started. Complete as much coursework as possible at home before enrolling in public school. If your child cannot complete a particular high school course before the school year begins, talk with the principal about your options as soon as possible. Your child may be able to complete the coursework at home during the school year – but only with the principal’s prior permission.
Still have questions? Contact VaHomeschoolers Government Affairs. Please let us know how the new transfer credit regulations are affecting your family. We look forward to helping you with your questions and concerns about transfer credit and other homeschooling issues.
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.