§ 4.4. General policies.

 (a)  It is the policy of the Board that the local curriculum be designed by school entities to achieve the academic standards under §  4.12 (relating to academic standards) and additional academic standards designated in strategic plans under §  4.13 (relating to strategic plans).

 (b)  It is the policy of the Board that local school entities have the greatest possible flexibility in curriculum planning consistent with providing quality education and in compliance with the School Code, including requirements for courses to be taught (24 P. S. § §  15-1501 and 16-1605); subjects to be taught in the English language (24 P. S. §  15-1511); courses adapted to the age, development and needs of the pupils (24 P. S. §  15-1512); minimum school year of 180 days and minimum of 900 hours of instruction at the elementary level and 990 hours of instruction at the secondary level (24 P. S. § §  15-1501 and 15-1504); employment of sufficient numbers of qualified professional employees (24 P. S. §  11-1106) and superintendents to enforce the curriculum requirements of State law (24 P. S. §  10-1005); and this part.

 (c)  Access to educational programs shall be provided without discrimination on the basis of a student’s race, sex, color, religion, disability, sexual orientation or national origin.

 (d)  School entities shall adopt policies to assure that parents or guardians have the following:

   (1)  Access to information about the curriculum, including academic standards to be achieved, instructional materials and assessment techniques.

   (2)  A process for the review of instructional materials.

   (3)  The right to have their children excused from specific instruction that conflicts with their religious beliefs, upon receipt by the school entity of a written request from the parent or guardians.

   (4)  The right of the parent or guardian to review the State assessments in the school entity, at least 2 weeks prior to their administration, during convenient hours for parents and guardians. Necessary security requirements to maintain the validity of the assessment shall be taken in accordance with the State assessment administration instructions.

   (5)  If upon inspection of State assessments parents or guardians find the assessment in conflict with their religious belief and wish their students to be excused from the assessment, the right of the parents or guardians will not be denied upon written request to the applicable school district superintendent, charter school chief executive officer or AVTS director.

   (6)  Opportunity for involvement in the strategic planning process under §  4.13.

   (7)  The right to have their children excluded from research studies or surveys conducted by entities other than a school entity unless prior written consent has been obtained.

 (e)  The Department will provide support to school districts and AVTSs in developing educational programs that enable students to attain academic standards under §  4.12. Department support will include:

   (1)  Establishment of a voluntary model curriculum and diagnostic supports aligned with State academic standards in each of the content areas assessed by the Keystone Exams under §  4.51(f) (relating to State assessment system).

   (2)  Assistance in the development of effective student tutoring, remediation and extended instructional time programs.

   (3)  Opportunities for continuing professional education designed to improve instruction in each of the content areas assessed by the Keystone Exams under §  4.51(f).

   (4)  Technical guidance to school districts and AVTSs (including charter schools) in developing local assessments that meet the requirements of §  4.24(b)(1)(iv)(B), upon request.

Authority

   The provisions of this §  4.4 amended under sections 2603-B and 2604-B of the Public School Code of 1949 (24 P. S. § §  26-2603-B and 2604-B).

Source

   The provisions of this §  4.4 amended February 15, 2008, effective February 16, 2008, 38 Pa.B. 872; amended January 8, 2010, effective January 9, 2010, 40 Pa.B. 240. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (332261) to (332262).

Cross Refenences

   This section cited in 22 Pa. Code §  11.7 (relating to religious objections).



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