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Independent Study


While public schools in California are expected to open to in-person instruction, for the 2021-2022 school year, Santa Maria-Bonita School District is required to offer an independent study option to students and families for students whose health would be put at risk by in-person instruction, as determined by the parent or guardian.  

The state of California’s recently enacted Senate Bill 130 (SB 130) requires us to inform you of your option to enroll your student in an Independent Study Program instead of in-person instruction.  From these options, you may choose the one that best suits your child.

Interested parents/guardians are invited to attend a general information session via Zoom to learn about the SMBSD Independent Study Program for the 2021-2022 school year. Spanish translation will be provided. If you are interested in attending an information session on Independent Study, please contact your student’s school site for more information. 

It is your right to request a parent-teacher conference prior to enrolling your student in Independent Study in order to inform your decision and ensure that it is appropriate for your student.  Requests for a conference may be made to your student’s school.


Once you have determined that you would like to pursue Independent Study, you can begin the enrollment process.   

Enrollment in the 2021-2022 Independent Study Program may be completed through the SMBSD Pupil Personnel Services Department or your student’s home school site. If you are ready to enroll your student in Independent Study, please contact your student’s school.

Students with IEPs should contact the Office of Special Education at 805-361-8186, directly to request their child’s IEP team consider Independent Study as a program option.


A student who participates in SMBSD’s Independent Study Program will primarily receive instruction from the parent/guardian and work independently through assignments, following the provided learning plan, utilizing provided materials and activities, assigned weekly by an Independent Study Facilitator. Students in Independent Study will be required to follow the same curriculum standards, as well as expectations for work completion and expected academic progress, as our in-person instructional program. 

  • The Independent Study Facilitator will supervise the student’s learning plan, which will be provided by an online learning partner, evaluate the student’s work and learning progress, provide the opportunity to engage in daily synchronous instructional sessions, and monitor engagement and participation in the Program. 

  • Parent/Guardian (The Learning Coach) will be required to provide the daily instruction in English, following the weekly learning plan, feedback through informal assessment, and support their student in attending daily synchronous learning, and in submitting all completed assignments by the expected deadline. 

  • Students will be required to submit the assigned work at least weekly via the online platform and participate in synchronous instruction daily. 

  • K-3 students will meet daily with their Virtual Instructor. This meeting serves as a wellness check. 

  • 4-8 students will meet weekly with their Virtual Instructor. This meeting serves as a wellness check. 

  • Additional synchronous instructional sessions or parent meetings, with the Virtual Instructor, may be required based on the student’s learning needs and progress on academic goals. Students and parents can also schedule, by appointment, as many live sessions needed to support their student’s learning. Parents and students may also access support through 

  • Some instructional sessions may be organized in a multi-grade format. 

  • Instructional material and assignments will be conducted and submitted through online platforms. Textbooks, instructional materials, and a SMBSD technology device will be issued to those students who have not already received a device, through a distribution at one of SMBSD’s schools, at a school location to be determined. 

  • The parent/guardian (The Learning Coach) will be held responsible for all District issued materials. 

  • The Independent Study Program students will not be considered part of an in-person school program or school community, but instead will receive access to resources directly through the Independent Study Program. 

  • Students will receive a report card and learning credit equivalent to our in-person instructional program. 

  • A written learning agreement will be completed and signed prior to beginning the program each trimester. 

  • Continued participation in the Independent Study Program is dependent on maintaining adequate participation and learning progress. As per SB 130, students who fail to maintain either adequate participation or learning progress will be disenrolled from the Independent Study Program and re enrolled to in-person instruction at the appropriate SMBSD school. 

  • For students with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), parents should contact the Office of Special Education to set up an IEP meeting to review whether an Independent Study Program request is appropriate.

  • Breakfast/lunch will be available for pickup once a week at the following locations:

    • Souza Center

      • Monday- 9:00-10:00 a.m.

      • Monday- 4:00-5:00 p.m.

    • El Camino Junior High School

      • Monday- 7:00-8:00 a.m.

    • If Monday is a holiday, food will be served at the same time, on the following Tuesday



If you or your child are having difficulty with the online platform, or wish to contact a teacher or tutor, they may utilize the following contact information:



Contact Us

Dr. Brian Zimmerman
Director of Pupil Services

Jennifer Ellsworth