From the HSLDA E-lert Service:


8/8/2006 4:52:35 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Maryland--Meetings not Required for Portfolio Review

From the HSLDA E-lert Service...

August 8, 2006

Maryland--Meetings not Required for Portfolio Review

Dear HSLDA Members,

Some Baltimore homeschool families have received a letter from an
Executive Assistant in Elementary Area 4 of Baltimore City Public
Schools asking them to come in for a face-to-face portfolio review and
suggesting that they fill out a two-page form before their review.

Regulation 13A.10.01.01.F ("regulation F") prohibits every local
school system from imposing any requirements in addition to what is
imposed under state regulations.

State regulations do not require a face-to-face meeting for a
portfolio review. Any school system that insists on a face-to-face
portfolio review is in violation of regulation F. While you may attend
a face-to-face meeting if you wish, it is not mandatory.

A sheet attached to the Executive Assistant's letter says, "Students
are welcomed to accompany the parents/guardians to the review
meeting." There is no legitimate need for children to attend a
portfolio review, and we strongly advise against it.

The letter clearly explains that the two-page form is optional.
Although you may fill out the form if you wish, we recommend against
it. Many items on the form call for information that is not required
under law.

Bear in mind that a portfolio is simple. It is merely a collection of
materials that shows your child has received regular, thorough
instruction in the required subjects of English, math, science, social
studies, art, music, health, and physical education. Some of these
subject areas naturally produce papers you could include in a
portfolio; others do not.

For example, when a student is working on music or art or physical
education, he may not use a workbook or text, and may have no
paperwork to show for his efforts. In this case, a simple outline of
what the child did should suffice.

Souvenirs can be useful additions. For example, if a student's art
program has consisted exclusively of going to art museums, you may
have a brochure from the museum you can include. If the child's music
program is primarily singing in church, you may be able to include a
church bulletin that lists the hymns, or even a photocopy of one or
two of the hymns.

Most forms of physical education will not produce any paperwork
whatsoever. In that case, a brief description of the physical
education program you provided for your children should suffice.

Some of the information the form seeks, but which is not required
under state regulations, is hours per day in each area, information
about foreign language instruction, information about literature
("English" is required as a subject, but not "literature"), and a
description of field trips or special projects.

The information sheet attached to the form says a portfolio must
include a lesson plan or schedule. This is not correct. The
regulations do not include lesson plans and schedules as examples of
materials for inclusion in a portfolio.

The information sheet asks you to use a tabbed notebook or pocket
portfolio. This is optional.

It asks you to use a composition or spiral notebook for each subject.
This is optional.

The sheet says that work samples should coincide with the lesson plan
and schedule. This is unnecessary since lesson plans and schedules are
not required to be included in the portfolio.

Regulation 13A.10.10.10.E(1) says that the portfolio review must be at
a time and place mutually agreeable to the school system and parent.
If the school system simply notified you of a time and date for a
portfolio review without consulting with you in advance, you should
feel free to reschedule if the appointment they set up is problematic
for you.

The sheet calls for "sample assessment tools" that document mastery of
instruction. If you gave your child assessments in a particular
subject, it would be appropriate to include those in the portfolio.
You are not required to do any assessing at all, however, so you may
have no assessments to include in the portfolio. In that case, work
samples or other written materials should suffice. Furthermore, the
regulations do not require your child to have "mastery" of any

The purpose of regulation F is to protect families from overzealous
school officials who want to impose requirements beyond those
specified in the regulations. HSLDA is ready to assist you if any
official goes out of bounds

Sincerely yours,
Scott E. Woodruff, Esq.

-> Is customer service an art or a science?

For us, good customer service is both an art and a science
-it should appeal to our members and be effective. Consider what
our members say about us:

The freedom HSLDA allows me to have as I homeschool is wonderful!
They handle the law and I get to dedicate the time to my daughter.
- National City, CA

HSLDA members since 1993, our membership is just as important to
us as our children's curriculum. Thank you HSLDA for all you do on
our behalf! - West Valley, NY

More reasons to join HSLDA...

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