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INDIANA AREA: Wording change opens ICTC enrollment

by on October 30, 2013 10:59 AM

It soon should be easier for home-schooled students in the Indiana Area School District to enroll in courses at Indiana County Technology Center.

Indiana school board members agreed Monday to change the wording of a proposed district policy governing homeschoolers, which has been under discussion by the Personnel and Policy Committee.

The policy would reduce barriers for home-schooled students who want to enroll in specialized courses that cannot be duplicated at home, and the change adopted Monday would place the same qualification for students to attend the technology center as for students to wish to take art and music classes in the Indiana schools. District resident Denise Botsford encouraged a change in the language suggested at the committee meeting, “A student may attend the ICTC under the sponsorship of the school district provided they are making adequate progress toward graduation and with the approval of the superintendent.”

Botsford said the phrase “‘making adequate progress toward graduation’ is vague and general and could inadvertently create loopholes that are open to interpretation in the future,” and recommended that the policy should say “The child may attend … provided his education is in compliance with the Pennsylvania home school law.”

High school teacher Jason Rummel said he believes home-school students have little trouble transitioning to the structure of a classroom.

He endorsed the change, telling the board that students educated at home have done well in his music instruction classes. “Home-schooled students have integrated seamlessly with the rest of the class, have demonstrated high achievement and have proven to be valuable contributors to our success in ensemble performance,” Rummel said.

“I understand the concern that home-school students would not adjust well to the classroom setting. Not only is that idea reflective of outdated stereotypes, but it also demonstrates a lack of understanding of the modern homeschooler. … they work hard, excel in academics and learn from participating every day. They are smart, kind, well-behaved — sometimes misbehaved — diligent, and just like any other kid, they can drive you crazy one minute and make you so proud the next.”

Directors voted to have the committee incorporate the language Botsford suggested, and the revised policy will be presented later for the board’s final approval.

Chauncey Ross is the Gazette’s fixture at Indiana Area and Homer-Center school board meetings, has been seen with pen and notepad in area police stations and courts, and is something of an Open Records Act and Sunshine Law advocate. He also manages the Gazette’s websites and answers your questions about them.
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