Independent Study Option FAQs


What is the process for enrolling in the Independent Study Program?

If you are interested in signing your student up for the Independent Study Program, please complete the Independent Study Enrollment Form linked above.

A school district representative will reach out with necessary information and paperwork for completing the process, as well as a self-assessment form to initially determine the needs of the student related to independent study. This may include computer devices, internet connectivity, and other supports.


Please note that if you have signed up through the online enrollment form above, this is the first step of the enrollment process for the Independent Study Program. 

Parents/guardians of students who will participate in the Independent Study Program will also need to complete an official enrollment packet (master agreement and attendance card) at the Capital City School Site located at 7222 24th St, Sacramento, CA 95822 between the hours of 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. each weekday, if they have not already taken this step. 

The students currently participating in short-term independent study while they wait for assignment with a teacher at Capital City should be receiving packets and textbooks from their current school sites, or may pick them up at Capital City. Computers and hot spots may also be picked up at the Capital City office at 7222 24th Street, Sacramento, CA 95822. 

Textbooks should be retrieved from your student’s regular school site. 

The district will also provide a consultation upon request to discuss the independent study program and potential challenges or benefits as it relates to your student. This meeting will be scheduled no later than 30 days after the first day of instruction.

Upon enrollment to Cap City, parents will sign a written agreement that includes the following:

  • Guidelines of the program
  • Emotional support and interventions offered
  • Manner, time, frequency and method for communication during the program
  • Information about the academic content the students will receive, which will include grade level content aligned to standards and academic support
  • Information about A-G courses for entry into a California State University or University of California (if applicable based on grade level)

How is this different from Distance Learning?

Students enrolling in Independent Study do not learn concurrently with a class on campus as students did in the 2020-2021 school year. Students will not be associated with an assigned classroom. However, students participating in the Independent Study Program will receive synchronous instruction and support and standards-aligned curriculum with an assigned teacher.

How is this different from “Virtual Academies” I’ve heard about in other districts?

All of these programs are aligned to AB 130 requirements. Our independent study program will include standards-aligned content. Our Independent Study program will focus on the same suggested priority standards and curriculum followed by our teachers during in person learning. 

The curriculum will be the same curriculum offered to students at our school sites.  This is part of the district’s restorative restart as advised by Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE).

What will an instructional day look like for K-3?

Students will receive an opportunity for daily synchronous instruction. Instruction can take place in a traditional classroom style, in small groups, or one-on-one with in-person, via Zoom, or on a telephone.  The goal is to maintain school connectedness and includes wellness checks, progress monitoring, provision of services and instruction. 

What will an instructional day look like for grades 4-8?

Students will receive both daily live interaction and at least weekly synchronous instruction. Interaction between the pupil and classified or certificated staff or peers and can be live, internet-based, or on the phone. The goal is to maintain school connectedness and includes wellness checks, progress monitoring, provision of services and instruction. 

What will an instructional day look like for grades 9-12?

Students will receive opportunities to receive synchronous instruction at least weekly. 

What if my student has an IEP?

Education Code Section 51745 highlights that a student with exceptional needs may not participate in independent study unless the student’s IEP specifically provides for that participation.  As a result, an IEP meeting will take place as part of the initial consultation in order for the IEP Team to determine if Independent Study is an appropriate placement option.  We are continuing to work with labor partners to design our program so that students can remain connected to support providers from their home school. This will provide the best and most seamless opportunity for accelerated student success.

What type of academic support and interventions will be offered to students?

The district will continue to provide services in accordance with 504 plans, IEPs, and English Learner needs. The district will continue to ensure that students are making educational progress, and if these students are not making progress determine what supports are needed in order to succeed in Independent Studies or determine what program is in the best interest of the student.

What if I change my mind?

During any part of the program, parents may choose to return their students to school campuses and the student will be returned within 5 days of the request.

Will my student be able to return to their current school of enrollment after enrolling in the Independent Study program?


If my student is away from the school site due to a quarantine will they transition temporarily to the independent study program?

No. The student will continue to learn with their class, and will receive work at home,  through a short-term independent study agreement.

Is the independent study program a charter school?


Can parents sign their students up for the Independent Study program at any time, or is there a deadline for sign up?

Parents can request to transfer their student to independent study at any time and our district will schedule a consultation as part of the enrollment process. After the program is already underway, capacity may be limited.

If my student isn’t assigned a teacher right away, what will they be doing?

Your student will participate in “short-term” independent study through their school site. This arrangement will be in place for up to 15 days until your student is assigned a “long-term independent study” teacher. 

What is the difference between short-term and long-term independent study?

Short-term independent study is typically used for short periods of time when students are unable to attend school in person (due to illness or urgent travel, for example).  Students may attend short-term independent study for up to 15 days.  This is also how the district will address quarantines for students who cannot attend school in a modified quarantine scenario.

Long-term independent study lasts longer than 15 days, even for the entire school year. The student will be assigned to a teacher from Capital City School, our district’s existing Independent Study Program. 

When will I have my 30-day meeting?

Within 30 days of the first day of school (not within 30 days of completing the interest form). 

What does it mean that I have five school days to return to school at any time?

At any time during independent study, you can choose to return back to your school site in-person

Can I choose independent study after the school year has begun?

Yes, if there is an available spot in a class we will place your student with an available and existing teacher. Otherwise, your student will participate in “short-term” independent study until a teacher is assigned. 

How many teachers are needed for the program?

Teachers are assigned based on student number and grade level. There is a maximum student-teacher ratio. Depending on how many students sign up officially, that will inform how many teachers are needed.

Is Capital City an in-person school site? Is it the same as “Independent Study” 

Yes, the Independent Study Program and Capital City are the same, and you will hear them used interchangeably. Capital City is an existing independent study program within Sacramento City Unified that has been expanded. It is not a charter school and students do not need to come to the school site for instruction. 

What if my student is a strong student and completes an entire year of curriculum before the school year ends?

Your student will not be provided an entire year’s work at one time. The content and curriculum is paced to match closely with what is happening at our in-person school sites.

Where are you going to get all the teachers needed?

Teachers must agree to be placed at an independent study school. There are a number of teachers who have already applied to transfer from within SCUSD to begin working at Capital City, and a number of teachers were already assigned to the school site. 

Who is responsible for materials?

Students should go to their current school as normal and collect their textbooks and materials.  They will use these materials during the 2021-22 school year while enrolled in independent study.  These materials will also transition back to the home school with the student if/when they determine they want to return to in person instruction.  The school site will provide your students with learning materials such as books and a Chromebook. School supplies (pencils, paper, etc) may not be provided by the school site and will be the responsibility of the parent/guardian. Our district does offer assistance in this area if needed. Please contact the attendance and engagement office should you need help with school supplies.

Why did this process take so long?

The law was not signed until mid-July and we also have an obligation to discuss some items related to this matter with our labor partner.  We sincerely apologize for any delay in communication and information which has been provided to families.

Will my student be denied the opportunity for Independent Study if they have an IEP?

No. However, the IEP team must work with the student and family to determine whether the program is right for them. Until this can be determined, the student will be placed on short-term independent study for up to 15 days.

Who will be on the IEP Team? 

It will be a collaborative team with members of the students’ current IEP team at their home school and a team from Cap City. We will reach out to you to begin this process within the first 15 days.