Is Independent Study for Me?

Frequently Asked Questions about Indpendent Study

What is Independent Study?

Independent Study is an alternative program offered by Alameda Unified School District. Instead of attending classes at school, students meet with a teacher 60-90 minutes each week, then complete all assigned work at home.

How does Independent Study work?

  • Independent Study is on the quarter system. Each student takes 3 classes per quarter.
  • For each class there is about 10 hours of work each week.
  • Students must attend their weekly meetings with their teachers.
  • Students must complete all assigned work. Students who miss appointments or assignments will be dropped from Independent Study.
  • Students may request to take a class at their home school if it is not offered through Independent Study.
  • Independent students must attend CAHSEE and STAR testing on campus.

Who can enroll in Independent Study?

Students in grades nine through twelve who live in Alameda may apply to IS. Students must…

  • be able to read independently at the 9th grade level.
  • be motivated to work on their own.
  • be able to attend all assigned weekly meetings in the Independent Study Office.

How do students enroll?

If you currently live in Alameda and attend an AUSD high school (AHS, EHS, IHS or ASTI):

  • Submit an application signed by student, parent, and counselor.
  • Counselors will attach a current transcript and test score report.

If you currently live in Alameda but attend a charter or private school (including ACLC, NEA, and BASE):

  • Contact AUSD Student Services office to(re-)enroll in the district. They can be reached at 337-7086 or online at
  • Tell them you want to enroll in Independent Studies.

How do I get an application?

  • Current AUSD students should see their counselor.
  • Out of district students and summer applicants can click here.

What happens after I apply?

  • Good candidates will be contacted before the quarter begins and invited to an orientation. Parent and student must attend together!
  • After orientation, students are on the waiting list for a space in Independent Study.Students are accepted once a quarter.
  • Once accepted, students will check out of classes at their current school and be scheduled for weekly meetings at Independent Study.

How do students get instruction in Independent Study?

There is no direct instruction in independent study.   IS relies upon the student being able to read and understand information, solve problems and apply their learning.  The teacher will assist and coach, but does not give a lesson before the student begins an assignment.  If students need assistance, they must be able to explain what it is they do not understand.  Independent study is not the appropriate placement if a student needs daily instruction.


Do courses meet State and District Standards?

All core academic courses are designed to meet California Content Standards.  In most cases, Independent Study uses the same textbook and course outlines as the traditional high school.  In order to meet the standards, additional work besides the text is often required. 


Do Courses meet the a-g requirements?

Most academic classes meet the UC a-g requirements, however we are not currenlty able to offer laboratory sciences.


Does Independent Study offer all High School subjects?

Independent Study offers all classes required to graduate from AUSD, but does not offer all the optional classes offered at the larger high schools.


Can I take classes at other schools?

Independent Study students can enroll concurrently in classes at a Community College. Students may also request to take a class at their home school if that class is not offered in Independent Study.


Can Independent Study students attend school events?

Independent Study is not its own school. Students getting instruction through the IS program are still students at their home school (usually AHS or EHS) and can generally participate in events at that school, like sports, dances, and graduation so long as they remain in good standing.


Can students earn a high school diploma on Independent Study?

Yes!  Students must complete all graduation requirements. They earn a diploma from their home school and can participate in the graduation ceremony at either their home school or with alternative programs.


Can Special Education Students Enroll?

An IEP at the student’s current school must convene to determine if IS is the placement which will best meet this student’s needs. The IS Principal or designee must be a member of the IEP team.