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Frequently Asked Home School Questions - Public Schools of North Carolina

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Enrolling a home schooled student back in:

Home school laws do not address this subject.  Thus, North Carolina public school laws apply.  Those laws give each local public school principal wide latitude in deciding what he/she will (or will not) accept as transfer credit into the local public school and what will be needed to enroll the student there. 

Call the principal of the school into which the student will be transferring to learn what documents and information will be needed to enroll there and what credits will be transferable into that school.   In most cases, test scores from the previous school year are utilized in assigning the student's grade level in the school.

Also, see "Grade Levels, Assigning Student" and "Student Transcripts & Records."

Grade placement for home schooled 5 & 6 year old students:

G.S. 115C-288(a) empowers public school principals to grade and classify pupils in their respective schools.  

G.S. 115C-364(c) states that the official student entry point into North Carolina's public schools shall be at the kindergarten level.  The law, however, does not mandate how long the student must remain in that kindergarten class. 

The principal may determine through assessment (or upon recommendation of the public school classroom teacher after the first several days/weeks of school) that the child would be better served and challenged in a first or second grade classroom instead of a kindergarten class.

Also, see "Registration, School -- Required for 5/6 year olds?"

How do local conventional schools usually determine unit credits and end-of-year subject grades for formerly home schooled students now seeking enrollment in grades 10, 11 or 12 in a conventional school setting?

There are no state laws addressing this specific question.  Each conventional school principal has the final authority concerning grade placement and unit credit acceptance for students transferring into his/her school. 

In situations of this nature and as a general "rule of thumb," the principal will often review the nationally standardized test results from the most recently concluded school year. 

Provided the nationally standardized test was not administered or scored by the parent/guardian/household occupant or a relative; and provided also the student scored at or above the national norms on the language arts, math, science and social studies sections of the test, the principal will frequently accept one unit credit for each of those four subject areas and then assign a year-end grade of "P" (indicating passed) for each of those subjects. 

Acceptance of unit credit for additional subject areas are sometimes negotiable only if the parent/guardian provides ample documentation detailing what, when and how the student was taught in those subject areas -- including textbook listings, detailed lesson plans, originals of student work, tests/quizzes administered, etc.

Must public school principals require that transfer students from non-public schools take the public school End of Grade or End of Course tests to determine the proper grade placement for the student in his/her school?

No.  Several years ago (in response to non-public school concerns), the North Carolina General Assembly addressed the issue of double testing of students transferring from non-public schools (including home schools) into public schools by adding the second paragraph to G.S. 115C-288(a)

If the test was administered near the end of the most recently completed school year in a legal non-public school; if the parent/guardian or a relative did not administer or score the nationally standardized achievement test; and, if there are no other credibility factors involved, the public school principal will usually accept these non-public school test results without requiring additional testing of the student.

Services to home schooled special needs children -- Are public schools required to provide them?

Not by North Carolina law.  However, as a recipient of federal funding, public schools are required by federal law to provide them in certain (but not all) cases.  Contact your local public school board of education to see what federally funded "special needs" services are being made available locally to non-public school students.  For a US Department of Education publication which discusses these requirements in more detail, click here.

Valedictorian/salutatorian qualification consideration -- When enrolling my home schooled student in a conventional high school, will he/she be eligible for it?

Each school (public and non-public) establishes its own policies about this matter.  Most schools require that the student be enrolled in that conventional school continuously for at least the last three or more consecutive semesters prior to high school graduation.

What are the legal roles of the local public school system and local social workers in inspecting home school records, curriculum, textbooks, etc?

The method of enforcement of the North Carolina compulsory attendance law is described in G.S. 115C-379.  The penalty for conviction of a compulsory attendance law violation is given in G.S. 115C-380

The role of local social workers in enforcing compulsory attendance is defined in G.S. 115C-381.  All compulsory attendance enforcement authority is vested in local authorities. 

The role of local compulsory attendance enforcement authorities is to investigate student absences from the local public schools and reports of children of compulsory attendance age not being enrolled in a legally valid North Carolina school. 

If the investigation finds that the student is now properly enrolled in and regularly attending a legally valid non-public (either a home or a conventional) school, the role of local compulsory attendance enforcement authorities usually ends at that point, unless there are other non-home school related issues also involved.  

Please note, however, that these local authorities may still prosecute for compulsory attendance violations prior to the date of the student's official withdrawal from the local public school and official placement date in to a legally valid non-public (either a home or conventional) school setting. 

The duly authorized representative of the State of North Carolina who may inspect certain non-public (both home and conventional) school records (See G.S. 115C-563(b), 553, & 561) is the North Carolina Division of Non-Public Education.

Determinations as to whether the non-public (home or conventional) school is meeting the state requirements for the operation of such schools are, therefore, made by the North Carolina Division of Non-Public Education (DNPE)

However, be aware:  That social workers also possess the legal authority to investigate cases of suspected child abuse and neglect; that all citizens are required to report suspected child abuse and neglect situations to their local social service office; and, that the North Carolina General Statutes forbid anyone from interfering with a child abuse or neglect investigation

Also, see the next question "Withdrawing a student from".

Withdrawing a student from:

Upon receiving from DNPE a Notice of Intent to Operate a Home School acknowledgment (for your Notice of Intent received by DNPE between July 1st and the following April 30th), show it to the appropriate official in the local school in which the student is currently enrolled.

Allow that official to make a photocopy of it but make certain that you retain the original (it is irreplaceable) and then ask to complete any paperwork necessary to officially withdraw your student effective on a specific date. 

Do not withdraw your child from or stop sending him/her to the local school until you have successfully completed the process of establishing a legal home school with DNPE.  Until that process has been completed, you remain under the legal jurisdiction of the local public school system which has power under state law to prosecute the parent/guardian for violating the state's compulsory attendance law.  G.S. 115C-380 states that any parent, guardian or other person violating the provisions of the compulsory attendance law shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. 

Also, see the next question as well as "What are the legal roles of the local public school system and local social workers in inspecting home school records, curriculum, textbooks, etc.?" in the preceding paragraph; "Registration, School -- Acknowledgment"; and, "Registration, School -- Required for 5/6 year olds?"  

Also, see "Year-Round School Withdrawals."

Withdrawing a student under age 7 from:

First, read the answer to the previous question.  Then, read very carefully the second sentence within the first paragraph of G.S. 115C-378.  Especially note the ending words of that sentence " . . . unless the child has withdrawn from school."  In North Carolina, a student is not required to attend school until he/she has turned age seven. 

If your child will not turn age seven during the current school year (which runs from July 1 through the following June 30), you will not file a Notice of Intent with DNPE for this school term.  At any time, you may simply go by the child's current conventional school; complete/sign the necessary paperwork there to withdraw your child; take him/her home; and, begin home schooling the child without dealing with this or any other government office for the remainder of this school year. 

However, please note that you must officially withdraw the child from the school in which the child is currently enrolled.  Don't simply stop sending the child to school.  Otherwise, the parent/guardian risks possible prosecution for a compulsory attendance violation.  Within 30 days preceding the child's seventh birthday, the home school will need to be registered with DNPE -- by no later than the child's seventh birthday. 

Also, see the earlier question on this web page "Grade Placement for Home Schooled 5 & 6 Year Old Students."

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