Messages from Superintendent Dr. Ben Drati

  • July 28, 2021

    SMMUSD Independent Study Academic Program Available for 2021-22 School Year

    Dear Parents, Guardians, Staff and Community Members,

    As we continue our planning for the 2021-22 school year, we wanted to share some essential information with you. Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District is returning to in-person instruction for the 2021-22 school year with health and safety protocols in place as directed by our guiding agencies. The California Department of Education (CDE) has authorized school districts to return to full in-person instruction for the upcoming school year, with an alternative option for independent study.

    We will have an information session to further describe our independent study option on Tuesday, August 3, 2021 at 6 p.m. via Zoom:
    The recording of the session will be posted online on the home page of all school websites on August 4, 2021.

    Senate Bill (SB) 98 permitted virtual/distance learning during the 2020-21 school year only. For this school year, the 2021-22 Enacted Budget, Assembly Bill (AB) 130, allows for only two instructional models: in-person learning and the voluntary alternative model of independent study

    If you prefer to not have your child return to in person instruction the state has created guidance AB 130 which permits all school districts to offer independent study in the 2021-22 school year. This option provides a voluntary alternative instructional model for students whose health may be at risk as determined by the student’s legal guardian by participating in in-person instruction. Independent study is a voluntary program in which students follow a self-paced curriculum from home with parental support.

    We are excited to fully reopen on August 19th for in-person school! If you do not apply for the Independent Study program by (Friday, August 6th at 9 a.m.,) your student will attend regular in-person school, and no further action is required.

    To enroll your child(ren) in SMMUSD’s Independent Study Program, please complete the Independent Study Enrollment Form: (Spanish: no later than Friday, August 6 at 9 a.m. 

    Please see our Independent Study Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document for additional information: (Spanish:

     Independent Study

     *Live interaction means interaction between the student and local educational agency classified or certificated staff, and may include peers, provided for the purpose of maintaining school connectedness, including but not limited to: wellness checks, progress monitoring, provision of services and instruction. This interaction may take place in person or in the form of internet or telephonic communication.

    *Synchronous instruction means classroom-style instruction or designated small group or one-on-one instruction delivered in person, or in the form of internet or telephonic communications and involving live, two-way communication between the teacher and student. Synchronous instruction shall be provided by the teacher of record for that student.

    What are the expectations of an Independent Study student?

    • Daily engagement with curriculum and school work? Distraction free learning environment
    • Assignments completed and submitted on time
    • High standards of academic integrity
    • Daily monitoring of school platforms including email, Aeries, Google Classroom, APEX Learning/Seesaw and textbooks
    • Organization with daily and long-term assignments through use of a list or agenda
    • Communication with teachers and staff to seek clarification and support
    • Respectful communication and collaboration with peers
    • Engage in remote learning with the same commitment as in the “traditional” setting 

    What are the expectations of an Independent Study parent?

    • Active monitoring of student’s courses including assignments, grades and attendance
    • Consistent communication with teachers and staff
    • Support of the student’s distraction free learning environment
    • Establishment of a structured daily routine for completing work
    • Participation in meetings with program staff if requested.
    • Ensure student’s daily monitoring of all school platforms
    • Engaged communication with the teachers and school staff
    • Maintain an active role in my student’s education and provide assistance as needed
    • Provide student opportunities for physical activity and healthy social interactions

    If you have any questions regarding independent study, please join our session on August 3, or watch the recording. You may also reach out to: Mr. Anthony Fuller, Principal Olympic High School at with any further questions.

    We look forward to returning to in-person learning and providing independent study when school begins for the 2021-22 school year on August 19, 2021.


    Dr. Ben Drati, Superintendent
    Mr. Isaac Burgess, Director, Malibu Pathway

    Está disponible el programa académico de estudio independiente SMMUSD para el año escolar 2021-22