15-901.06. Dropout recovery programs; written learning plan; requirements; annual report; definitions

A. Each school district and charter school that provides instruction to high school pupils may offer a dropout recovery program for eligible pupils.

B. The state board of education shall prescribe standards and achievement testing requirements for dropout recovery programs that attempt to ensure that the programs are compatible with public school education goals and requirements. The standards shall require dropout recovery programs to do all of the following:

1. Provide curricula aligned to the academic standards adopted by the state board of education. The curricula may be delivered online. A provider of Arizona online instruction pursuant to section 15-808 may not also operate a dropout recovery program pursuant to this section.

2. Provide standardized tests required by federal and state law.

3. Make available appropriate and sufficient supports for pupils, including tutoring, career counseling and college counseling.

4. Comply with federal and state laws governing pupils with disabilities.

5. Meet state requirements for high school graduation.

C. Each eligible pupil who is enrolled in a dropout recovery program shall have a written learning plan developed by the pupil's assigned mentor. The written learning plan shall include the following elements:

1. The start date and anticipated end date of the plan.

2. Courses to be completed by the pupil during the academic year.

3. Whether courses will be taken sequentially or concurrently.

4. State competency exams to be taken, as necessary.

5. Expectations for satisfactory monthly progress.

6. Expectations for contact with the pupil's assigned mentor.

D. The monthly participation in a dropout recovery program shall be recorded on or before the tenth school day of each month and shall be reported to the department of education at the same time as other data required pursuant to section 15-1042. Monthly participation calculations shall include:

1. Newly enrolled pupils who have a written learning plan on file on or before the first school day of the previous month.

2. Pupils who met the expectations for satisfactory monthly progress in the previous month.

3. Pupils who did not meet the expectations for satisfactory monthly progress in the previous month but did meet the expectations in the month before the previous month.

4. Pupils who met expectations for program reentry in the revised written learning plan in the previous month.

E. Because dropout recovery pupils are not expected to regularly attend classes at the district facilities, standard procedures for recording pupil attendance cannot be effectively applied to those students.  For pupils participating in a dropout recovery program, an eligible pupil shall be counted as being in attendance in the school's average daily attendance calculations pursuant to subsection F of this section if the pupil meets one of the following conditions:

1. Is in the first month of enrollment in the program and completes the program orientation during that month.

2. Is enrolled in teacher-facilitated courses and meets the expectations for satisfactory monthly progress for the current or previous month.  A pupil who does not meet expectations for monthly progress for two or more consecutive months shall not be reported as being in attendance until the pupil meets the expectations for program reentry.

3. Meets the expectations for program reentry in the revised written learning plan.

F. If a pupil is enrolled in a school district or charter school other than the school district or charter school that participates in the dropout recovery program and also participates in a dropout recovery program in the same fiscal year, the average daily membership as prescribed in section 15-901, subsection A, paragraph 1, subdivisions (a) and (b) for that pupil in the school district or charter school and in a dropout recovery program shall not exceed 1.0, except that if the pupil is enrolled in a dropout recovery program and a career technical education district, the average daily membership provisions of section 15-393 apply.  If the pupil is enrolled in both a school district or charter school and a dropout recovery program in the same fiscal year and the sum of the average daily membership and average daily attendance for that pupil is greater than 1.0 or the amount prescribed in section 15-393 if the pupil is enrolled in a career technical education district, the sum shall be reduced to 1.0 or to the amount specified in section 15-393 if the pupil is enrolled in a career technical education district and shall be apportioned between the school district or charter school and the career technical education district, if applicable, and the dropout recovery program based on the proportionate shares of average daily membership in the school district or charter school and the average daily attendance in the dropout recovery program. The uniform system of financial records shall include guidelines for the apportionment of pupil enrollment and attendance as provided in this subsection.  Pupils in a dropout recovery program do not incur absences for purposes of this subsection and may generate average daily attendance for attendance during any hour of the day, during any day of the week and at any time between July 1 and June 30 of each fiscal year. The average daily attendance of a pupil who participates in a dropout recovery program shall not exceed 1.0 or the amount prescribed in section 15-393 if the pupil is enrolled in a career technical education district, and shall be calculated by fulfilling the requirements of subsection E of this section. Average daily membership shall not be calculated on the one hundredth day of instruction for the purposes of this section.

G. Notwithstanding section 15-901, subsection A, paragraph 1, the average daily membership for pupils enrolled in a dropout recovery program shall equal the average daily attendance of the pupils.

H. School districts and charter schools shall be responsible for tuition charges and fees related to pupil participation in a dropout recovery program, including course materials and access to technology for use with online courses.

I. School districts and charter schools may contract with an educational management organization to provide a dropout recovery program.  If contracting with an educational management organization, the school district or charter school shall ensure that all of the following requirements are met:

1. The educational management organization is accredited by a regional accrediting body.

2. Teachers provided by the educational management organization hold a current teaching license from any state and a valid Arizona fingerprint clearance card pursuant to section 15-534, and teachers of core subjects are highly qualified in the subjects to which they are assigned.

J. Dropout recovery programs shall be classified as alternative schools and shall be subject to the accountability provisions of section 15-241.

K. Entities that are contracted to provide dropout recovery programs may conduct outreach to encourage pupils who are not currently enrolled in a school district or charter school in this state to return to school.  Entities that are contracted to provide dropout recovery programs shall not conduct advertising or marketing campaigns directed at pupils who are currently enrolled in a school district or charter school, or undertake any other activity that encourages pupils who are currently enrolled in a school district or charter school to stop attending school in order to qualify for a dropout recovery program.

L. The department of education shall submit an annual report to the governor, the president of the senate and the speaker of the house of representatives that details the outcomes of dropout recovery programs, including the number of pupils who participate in the programs and the number of pupils who participate in the programs and who graduate from high school. The department shall provide a copy of the annual report to the secretary of state.

M. For the purposes of this section:

1. "Eligible pupil" means a pupil who, if enrolled, would be eligible for placement in an alternative school but who is not currently enrolled in a school district or charter school and who has been withdrawn from a school district or charter school for at least thirty days, unless the district determines that the student is unable to participate in other district programs.

2. "Satisfactory monthly progress" means an amount of progress that is measurable on a monthly basis and that, if continued for twelve months, would result in the same amount of academic credit being awarded to the pupil as would be awarded to a pupil in a traditional education program who completes a full school year.  Satisfactory monthly progress may include a lesser required amount of progress for the first two months that a pupil participates in the program.