West Virginia Homeschool Law
AN ACT to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new section, designated §18-8-6; to amend and reenact §18-8-1, §18-8-1a and §18-8-4 of said code; to amend and reenact §18-9A-21 of said code; and to amend and reenact §62-15-4 of said code, all relating to improving student participation, success and high school graduation rates; increasing the minimum age for ending compulsory school attendance; reducing the number of days of unexcused absences at which proceedings to enforce attendance begin; establishing the "High School Graduation Improvement Act"; establishing legislative findings and intent; requiring county board of education plan for improving student retention and increasing graduation rate; requiring state board of education to develop, expand and assist certain programs; requiring certain state superintendent reports to Legislative Oversight Commission on Education Accountability; increasing funding for alternative education programs; and authorizing establishment of additional juvenile drug courts.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new section, designated §18-8-6; that §18-8-1, §18-8-1a and §18-8-4 of said code be amended and reenacted; that §18-9A-21 of said code be amended and reenacted; and that §62-15-4 of said code be amended and reenacted, all to read as follows:

ARTICLE 8. COMPULSORY SCHOOL ATTENDANCE.
§18-8-1. Compulsory school attendance; exemptions.
(a) Exemption from the requirements of compulsory public school attendance established in section one-a of this article shall be made on behalf of any child for the causes or conditions set forth in this section. Each cause or condition set forth in this section is subject to confirmation by the attendance authority of the county.

(b) A child is exempt from the compulsory school attendance requirement set forth in section one-a of this article if the requirements of this subsection, relating to instruction in a private, parochial or other approved school, are met. The instruction shall be in a school approved by the county board and for a time equal to the instructional term set forth in section forty-five, article five of this chapter. In all private, parochial or other schools approved pursuant to this subsection it is the duty of the principal or other person in control, upon the request of the county superintendent, to furnish to the county board such information and records as may be required with respect to attendance, instruction and progress of students enrolled.


(c) A child is exempt from the compulsory school attendance requirement set forth in section one-a of this article if the requirements of either subdivision (1) or subdivision (2) of this subsection, both relating to home instruction, are met.

(1) The instruction shall be in the home of the child or children or at some other place approved by the county board and for a time equal to the instructional term set forth in section forty-five, article five of this chapter. If the request for home instruction is denied by the county board, good and reasonable justification for the denial shall be furnished in writing to the applicant by the county board. The instruction shall be conducted by a person or persons who, in the judgment of the county superintendent and county board, are qualified to give instruction in subjects required to be taught in public elementary schools in the state. The person or persons providing the instruction, upon request of the county superintendent, shall furnish to the county board information and records as may be required periodically with respect to attendance, instruction and progress of students receiving the instruction. The state board shall develop guidelines for the home schooling of special education students including alternative assessment measures to assure that satisfactory academic progress is achieved.
(2) The child meets the requirements set forth in this subdivision: Provided, That the county superintendent may seek from the circuit court of the county an order denying home instruction of the child. The order may be granted upon a showing of clear and convincing evidence that the child will suffer neglect in his or her education or that there are other compelling reasons to deny home instruction.

(A) Annually, the person or persons providing home instruction shall present to the county superintendent or county board a notice of intent to provide home instruction and the name, address, age and grade level of any child of compulsory school age to be instructed: Provided, That if a child is enrolled in a public school, notice of intent to provide home instruction shall be given at least two weeks prior to withdrawing the child from public school;

(B) The person or persons providing home instruction shall submit satisfactory evidence of a high school diploma or equivalent;

(C) The person or persons providing home instruction shall outline a plan of instruction for the ensuing school year; and

(D) On or before June 30 annually, the person or persons providing home instruction shall obtain an academic assessment of the child for the previous school year and submit the results to the county superintendent. When the academic assessment takes place outside of a public school, the parent or legal guardian shall pay the cost. The requirement of an academic assessment is satisfied in one of the following ways:

(i) The child receiving home instruction takes a nationally normed standardized achievement test to be administered under
standardized conditions as set forth by the published instructions of the selected test in the subjects of reading, language,
mathematics, science and social studies. The child's parent or legal guardian may not administer the test in any event. The
publication date of the chosen test may not be more than ten years from the date the test is administered. The child is
considered to have made acceptable progress when the mean of the child's test results in the required subject areas for
any single year meets or exceeds the fiftieth percentile or, if below the fiftieth percentile, shows improvement from the
previous year's results;

(ii) The child participates in the testing program currently in use in the state's public schools. The test shall be administered
to the child at a public school in the county of residence. Determination of acceptable progress shall be based on current
guidelines of the state testing program;

(iii) The county superintendent is provided with a written narrative indicating that a portfolio of samples of the child's work
has been reviewed and that the child's academic progress for the year is in accordance with the child's abilities. If the
narrative indicates that the child's academic progress for the year is in accordance with the child's abilities, the child is
considered to have made acceptable progress. This narrative shall be prepared by a certified teacher whose certification
number shall be provided. The narrative shall include a statement about the child's progress in the areas of reading,
language, mathematics, science and social studies and shall note any areas which, in the professional opinion of the
reviewer, show need for improvement or remediation; or

(iv) The child completes an alternative academic assessment of proficiency that is mutually agreed upon by the parent or
legal guardian and the county superintendent. Criteria for acceptable progress shall be mutually agreed upon by the same
parties; and

(E) When the annual assessment fails to show acceptable progress as defined under the appropriate assessment option set forth in paragraph (D) of this subdivision, the person or persons providing home instruction shall initiate a remedial program to foster acceptable progress. The county board shall notify the parents or legal guardian of the child, in writing, of the services available to assist in the assessment of the child's eligibility for special education services. Identification of a disability does not preclude the continuation of home schooling. In the event that the child does not achieve acceptable progress as defined under the appropriate assessment option set forth in paragraph (D) of this subdivision for a second consecutive year, the person or persons providing instruction shall submit to the county superintendent additional evidence that appropriate instruction is being provided.

(3) This subdivision applies to both home instruction exemptions set forth in subdivisions (1) and (2) of this subsection. The county superintendent or a designee shall offer such assistance, including textbooks, other teaching materials and available resources, all subject to availability, as may assist the person or persons providing home instruction. Any child receiving home instruction may upon approval of the county board exercise the option to attend any class offered by the county board as the person or persons providing home instruction may consider appropriate subject to normal registration and attendance requirements.

(d) A child is exempt from the compulsory school attendance requirement set forth in section one-a of this article if the requirements of this subsection, relating to physical or mental incapacity, are met. Physical or mental incapacity consists of incapacity for school attendance and the performance of school work. In all cases of prolonged absence from school due to incapacity of the child to attend, the written statement of a licensed physician or authorized school nurse is required., Incapacity shall be narrowly defined and in any case the provisions of this article may not allow for the exclusion of the mentally, physically, emotionally or behaviorally handicapped child otherwise entitled to a free appropriate education.

(e) A child is exempt from the compulsory school attendance requirement set forth in section one-a of this article if conditions rendering school attendance impossible or hazardous to the life, health or safety of the child exist.

(f) A child is exempt from the compulsory school attendance requirement set forth in section one-a of this article upon regular graduation from a standard senior high school or alternate secondary program completion as determined by the state board.

(g) A child is exempt from the compulsory school attendance requirement set forth in section one-a of this article if the child is granted a work permit pursuant to the subsection. After due investigation the county superintendent may grant work permits to youths under the termination age designated in section one-a of this article, subject to state and federal labor laws and regulations. A work permit may not be granted on behalf of any youth who has not completed the eighth grade of school.

(h) A child is exempt from the compulsory school attendance requirement set forth in section one-a of this article if a serious illness or death in the immediate family of the child has occurred. It is expected that the county attendance director will ascertain the facts in all cases of such absences about which information is inadequate and report the facts to the county superintendent.

(i) A child is exempt from the compulsory school attendance requirement set forth in section one-a of this article if the requirements of this subsection, relating to destitution in the home, are met. Exemption based on a condition of extreme destitution in the home may be granted only upon the written recommendation of the county attendance director to the county superintendent following careful investigation of the case. A copy of the report confirming the condition and school exemption shall be placed with the county director of public assistance. This enactment contemplates every reasonable effort that may properly be taken on the part of both school and public assistance authorities for the relief of home conditions officially recognized as being so destitute as to deprive children of the privilege of school attendance. Exemption for this cause is not allowed when the destitution is relieved through public or private means.

(j) A child is exempt from the compulsory school attendance requirement set forth in section one-a of this article if the requirements of this subsection, relating to church ordinances and observances of regular church ordinances, are met. The county board may approve exemption for religious instruction upon written request of the person having legal or actual charge of a child or children. This exemption is subject to the rules prescribed by the county superintendent and approved by the county board.

(k) A child is exempt from the compulsory school attendance requirement set forth in section one-a of this article if the requirements of this subsection, relating to alternative private, parochial, church or religious school instruction, are met. Exemption shall be made for any child attending any private school, parochial school, church school, school operated by a religious order or other nonpublic school which elects to comply with the provisions of article twenty-eight of this chapter.
(l) Completion of the eighth grade does not exempt any child under the termination age designated in section one-a of this article from the compulsory attendance provision of this article.

§18-8-1a. Commencement and termination of compulsory school attendance; public school entrance requirements; exceptions.

(a) Notwithstanding the provisions of section one of this article, compulsory school attendance begins with the school year in which the sixth birthday is reached prior to September 1 of such year or upon enrolling in a publicly supported kindergarten program and, subject to subdivision (3) of this subsection, continues to the sixteenth birthday or for as long as the student continues to be enrolled in a school system after the sixteenth birthday.

(1) A child may be removed from such kindergarten program when the principal, teacher and parent or guardian concur that the best interest of the child would not be served by requiring further attendance: Provided, That the principal shall make the final determination with regard to compulsory school attendance in a publicly supported kindergarten program.

(2) The compulsory school attendance provision of this article shall be enforced against a person eighteen years of age or older for as long as the person continues to be enrolled in a school system, and may not be enforced against the parent, guardian, or custodian of the person.

(3) Beginning with the 2011-2012 high school freshman cohort class of students, and notwithstanding the provisions of section one of this article, compulsory school attendance begins with the school year in which the sixth birthday is reached prior to September 1 of such year or upon enrolling in a publicly supported kindergarten program and continues to the seventeenth birthday or for as long as the student continues to be enrolled in a school system after the seventeenth birthday
.
(4) Beginning with the December 2010 interim meeting period, and semiannually thereafter, the state superintendent shall report to the Legislative Oversight Commission on Education Accountability on the impact of the increased age requirement of subdivision (3) of this subsection, and the progress of the state board and the county boards in implementing the requirements of section six of this article.

(b) Attendance at a state-approved or Montessori kindergarten, as provided in section eighteen, article five of this chapter, is deemed school attendance for purposes of this section. Prior to entrance into the first grade in accordance with section five, article two of this chapter, each child must have either:

(1) Successfully completed such publicly or privately supported, state-approved kindergarten program or Montessori kindergarten program; or

(2) Successfully completed an entrance test of basic readiness skills approved by the county in which the school is located. The test may be administered in lieu of kindergarten attendance only under extraordinary circumstances to be determined by the county board.

(c) Notwithstanding the provisions of this section and of section five, article two of this chapter and section eighteen, article five of this chapter, a county board may provide for advanced entrance or placement under policies adopted by said board for any child who has demonstrated sufficient mental and physical competency for such entrance or placement.

(d) This section does not prevent a student from another state from enrolling in the same grade in a public school in West Virginia as the student was enrolled at the school from which the student transferred.
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Please also note 18-8-1-a at the end of this portion of the law for recent changes in the compulsory law.

The recommended option for homeschoolers in West Virginia is in bold.  This is the notice option (c)2.  The approval option is not recommended.
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