The State of Montana recognizes education in a variety of forms, not just public. Private schools and home schools are recognized within the State as agents who provide education for Montana's children. The Office of Public Instruction has provided a Montana Home School Information packet on its website:
This packet also includes all of the information listed below.
Included here is a summary of the critical parts of that packet and what is required by Montana law.
Private and Home Schools
Private and home schools are governed under Montana code 20-5-109. This statute - Nonpublic school requirement for compulsory enrollment exemption. To qualify its students, a nonpublic school shall:
- Maintain records on pupil attendance and disease immunization and make the records available to the county superintendent of schools on request;
- Provide at least 180 days of pupil instruction or the equivalent in accordance with 20-1-301, and 302 MCA;
- Be housed in a building that complies with applicable local health and safety regulations; and,
- Provide an organized course of study that includes instruction in the subjects required of public schools as a basic instructional program pursuant to 20-7-111 MCA.
There are two private schools in Ravalli County who enroll students in K-8 grades.
Home schools are required to follow ALL of the 20-5-109 MCA. (quoted above). Home school parents must ALSO notify the county superintendent of schools, of the county in which the home school is located, in each school fiscal year of the student's attendance at the school. To facilitate that notice, the Ravalli County Superintendent has established the Home School Notification Form to facilitate that notification.
The decision to home school is a personal one. However, there are certain responsibilities the State has established, under 20-5-111 MCA, for those parents who wish to home school their children.
Once having notified the county superintendent that a child is home schooled, the parent has the authority to instruct that child(ren), step child(ren), or ward in a home school and is solely responsible for:
- The educational philosophy of the home school;
- The selection of instructional materials, curriculum, and textbooks;
- The time, place, and method of instruction; and,
- The evaluation of the home school instruction.
Public school responsibility
Should a student who has been home schooled seek to be admitted to a public school, public schools are governed by 20-5-110 MCA. This statute requires each public school district to:
- Adopt a district policy on assessment for placement of any child who enrolls in a school of the district and whose previous place of instruction was a nonpublic school that is not accredited;
- Include in the adopted policy the following provisions:
- The specific assessment for placement to be administered to any child subject to the provisions of section 1;
- A procedure for grade or program placement of the child based on results of the assessment for placement, including considerations for the age and identified abilities of the child; and
- A hearing process before the board of trustees of the district if the parent or guardian of a child is not in agreement with the placement of the child and requests a hearing before the board; and
- Administer the adopted policy required in section 1 above in a uniform and fair manner.
Last updated 7/11/2011 6:06:06 PM by Frohlich, Joe