DOCUMENTATION THAT NONPUBLIC SCHOOLS APPROVED UNDER COMAR 13A.09.09 MUST PROVIDE ANNUALLY TO PARENTS AND LEGAL GUARDIANS OF PROSPECTIVE AND ENROLLED STUDENTS
COMAR 13A.09.09 Educational Programs in Nonpublic Schools are the regulations that govern the operation of educational programs in nonpublic schools in Maryland that hold a Certificate of Approval from the Maryland State Board of Education. Ongoing compliance with COMAR 13A.09.09 is required for a school to retain its Certificate of Approval to operate. COMAR 13A.09.09 requires every approved nonpublic school in Maryland to provide specific written information annually to the parents or legal guardians of prospective and enrolled students with information that will help them make appropriate decisions regarding the education of their child.
A school must, as applicable, develop and annually distribute to parents and legal guardians of prospective and enrolled students the documents described below.
Statement of Purposes ( COMAR 13A.09.09.05)
A school is required to provide annually a written statement of purposes to the parents and legal guardians of prospective and enrolled students. A school's statement of purposes is the written description of the goals and philosophy of the educational program. It is the single most important document in identifying the school as a distinctive educational program. A school's statement of purposes must accurately reflect the school's educational program for which the school holds a Certificate of Approval to operate.
Statement of Teacher Qualifications (COMAR 13A.09.09.06C)
A school must provide annually a written statement of teacher qualifications to the parents and legal guardians of prospective and enrolled students. The teacher qualification statement is the school's assurance that the teachers who provide instruction in English language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, courses for which secondary school credit is granted, and Montessori areas of instruction, hold, at a minimum, a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution of higher education, 120 semester hours of college credit from an accredited institution of higher education, or a bachelor's degree equivalence. A bachelor's degree equivalence must be determined by an independent agency authorized to evaluate foreign credentials as designated by the Maryland State Department of Education.
A teacher in a Montessori school must hold a Montessori teacher credential appropriate for the level of assignment in addition to the minimum teacher requirements referenced above.
The teacher qualifications statement may be a specifed statement of the credentials for each teacher in the school or may be a general statement that specifies the credential held by all staff at the school. A school may establish teacher qualifications that exceed the minimum requirements as stated in the regulations. In such instances, the school's statement of qualifications must reflect this.
Ratio of Students to Teachers or Average Class Size (COMAR 13A.09.09.07D)
A school is required to provide annually a written statement of the ratio of students to teachers or average class size to parents and legal guardians of prospective and enrolled students. Teacher aides and assistants may not be counted when determining the ratio of students to teachers.
Policy Regarding Credits Required for Secondary School Graduation (COMAR 13A.09.09.09B.)
A school must provide annually its written statement regarding the number of credits required for secondary school graduation to parents and legal guardians of prospective and enrolled students. Beginning with the 2004-2005 school year and thereafter, a student entering grade 9 must earn a minimum of 21 credits for graduation from a nonpublic secondary school. A nonpublic school may, however, require more than 21 credits required by the nonpublic school regulations.
Definition of a Unit of Credit (COMAR 13A.09.09.09C)
A school must have a written statement that defines a unit of credit and any partial unit of credit granted by the school. Annually, the school must provide this statement to parents and legal guardians of prospective and enrlled students. A school's policy on the credits required for secondary school graduation (COMAR 13A.09.09.09B) and its statement defining the requirements for earning a unit of credit or partial unit of credit (COMAR 13A.09.09.09C) may be combined in the same document.
Schedule of the School Day (COMAR 13A.09.09.10A)
A school is required to provide annually a written schedule that states the beginning and end of the school day to parents or legal guardians of prospective and enrolled students. This written schedule must include specific time periods during the school day when the required areas of instruction are implemented.
Before and/or after school child care services and/or extended day and enrichment programs are not part of the approved educational program and may not be described as part of the school day.
In a nursery school program for ages 3 and/or 4, the length of a school day may not exceed 6 hours. This requirement also applies to a school that holds a Certificate of Approval to provide a nursery school educational program for age 2 as of March 29, 2004.
Calendar of the School Year (COMAR 13A.09.09.10B)
When a student enrolls and annually thereafter, a school is required to provide a written calendar that states the specific days for the implementation of the school's educational program to the student's parents or legal guardians. A school's calendar for kindergarten, elementary, and/or secondary school shall provide for at least 170 days for the implementation of its educational program. A school is required to include 3 to 5 additional school days in its school calendar, based on local weather patterns, to ensure that the 170-day school year requirement is met.
Child care, summer school, enrichment programs, summer camp, recreational programs, staff in-service days, and tutoring programs are not part of the approved educational program and may not be included as part of the school year.
Admissions (COMAR 13A.09.09.10C)
A school is required to provide its written policy regarding the school's criteria for admission to the school to parents and legal guardians of prospective students. This policy, at a minimum, must be consistent with the age of eligibility for admission to nursery school and/or kindergarten if the school is approved to offer these levels of instruction.
By the 2006-2007 school year and thereafter, a child who will be 5 years old or older on September 1 of a school year is age-eligible for enrollment in a kindergarten program. The admissions policy of a school must be consistent with this kindergarten age-of-eligibility requirement.
A nonpublic school may develop a plan to phase in the September 1, 2006 kindergarten age-of-eligibility date or the school may institute the September 1 date before the 2006-2007 school year.