Skip To Main Content

Independent Studies

Independent Studies

Independent Study is an educational option available to students in the San Mateo Union High School District who require an alternative setting to the traditional in-person high school.

Enrollment and Process

Students currently enrolled in the District may apply for Independent Studies through their high school counselor. The school counselor, in consultation with the school administration and parent/guardian, will determine if the student will benefit from this educational option.

If approved, the counselor will complete a request form for the student. Upon approval, the student will dis-enroll from their current classes at their resident school and enroll into Independent Studies classes. The student’s cumulative records will remain with the school. Counselors will monitor students to ensure academic progress. Parents and counselors will be informed of their student’s progress on a weekly basis.

Students new to the District may request Independent Studies through the Office of Student Services. This request will be forwarded to the Director of Student Services. If approved, the student will enroll directly in Independent Studies through the Office of Student Services; however, the student’s cumulative record will be maintained by the resident school or school of assignment.

The student and parent/guardian will complete all additional Independent Studies forms during their first appointment.

Typical Independent Study Student

  • Students who are capable of participating in an independent program while pursuing a full time outside-of-school obligation;
  • Must be able to meet weekly in-person or virtually;
  • Students coming to SMUHSD from a similar alternative school placement, who are in a need of a smaller, more individualized educational setting, but able to work efficiently and independently; and,
  • Pupil whose health would be put at risk by in-person instruction, as determined by the parent or guardian of the pupil.


  • Independent study students meet with the Independent Studies Coordinator for a minimum of one hour each week to receive and review assignments. Students will work with tutors and graders of assignments.
  • The Independent Studies Coordinator is available to meet in person by appointment at school sites, libraries, or CSM
  • The Independent Studies curriculum is aligned to District and state standards. SMUHSD uses Edgenuity course platform.
  • Students who are successful in Independent Studies are self-motivated and willing to work with minimal supervision in order to complete the coursework.
  • Counseling Services Available: Guidance counseling at the student’s previous school, Wellness support services, and Independent Study Coordinator are all available to students.
  • Ratio 1:1 student appointment times take place at College of San Mateo or on virtual meeting platform as agreed to with the Independent Studies Coordinator
  • Access to College of San Mateo and San Mateo Community College District (SMCCD) courses may be available. See the Independent Studies Coordinator for details.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How or where do we meet for my Independent Study sessions?

A: Students may opt to meet in-person at CSM or Zoom remotely into meeting sessions. Students are required to meet a minimum of one-hour per week, but may be asked to meet more frequently if they are not meeting academic goals.


Q: What programs are offered through Independent Studies?

A: Programs and supports are available at the student’s previous school or CSM. Additional pathways are available; such as GED preparation, CHSPE preparation, CSM courses, and Pathways to College.


Q: Is Independent Studies a year-long commitment?

A: No, students can enter and exit each semester, or within five days of informing the coordinator of the transition. Students must be approved each semester they are enrolled.


Q: How does a student exit from Independent Studies?

A: The student or parent/guardian may request a classroom option at any time. This request may come from the student, parent/guardian, or school administration. The student may be placed in an alternative placement at the discretion of the Director of Student Services. Transfers to in-person instruction will take place within five days.