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Private Tutoring Programs

The law allows for a student to be privately tutored and the school district's approval is not required (22 Pa. Code § 11.31(b)(1)); however, the student must be reported by the tutor as participating in a private tutoring program (24 P.S. § 13-1332) in fulfillment of compulsory attendance laws (24 P.S. § 13-1327). A private tutoring program is not homeschooling.

The following laws and regulations apply:

  1. 24 P.S. § 1-111(e): Background checks
  2. 24 P.S. § 12-1205.1. (e): Act 48 status not required
  3. 24 P.S. § 13-1303: Immunizations
  4. 24 P.S. § 13-1327(a): Definition of a private tutor and filing requirements
  5. 24 P.S. § 13-1332: Reports of enrollments; attendance and withdraws
  6. 24 P.S. § 13-1333: Truancy
  7. Article XIV: Record of health services to be kept by the school district
  8. 22 Pa. Code Chapter 4: Curriculum suggestions
  9. 22 Pa. Code § 11.31: Private tutoring requirements, curriculum and documentation
  10. 22 Pa. Code § 11.33: Dual enrollment
  11. Act 34 of 1985 (Printer's number 1956)
  12. Act 151 of 1994 (Printer's number 4353)
  13. Act 114 of 2006 (Printer's number 4517)
  14. Act 24 of 2011 (Printer's number 2227)
  15. Act 82 of 2011 (Printer's number 3885)
  16. Act 153 of 2014: See Synopsis (Printer's number 4225)
  17. Act 4 of 2016: Frequency of updates to background checks (Printer's number 1997)

Parental Responsibility

Although the parent of a privately tutored student does not submit the yearly affidavit to begin a private tutoring program or the yearly written evaluation due by June 30 to the superintendent of schools that is required of a home education program, they instead provide a written assurance to the superintendent that the instructional requirements listed in the regulation has been met (Pa. Code § 11.31 (b)(2)). This must be provided even in the case where the parent is the private tutor.

Either the private tutor or the parent must keep portfolio-like documentation in case of an investigation initiated by the superintendent in response to a complaint regarding the private tutoring program (Pa. Code § 11.31 (b)(3)-(b)(5)).

Parents must submit the immunization, and health and medical services records for their children to the school district (24 P.S. §§ 13-1303, 14-1401, 1402).

Although not specifically required by law, a parent may verify with the school district that the private tutor has registered the children as privately tutored students. This may avoid truancy charges later if the tutor failed to register the students.

Private Tutor Responsibilities

As with all schools or institutions, the private tutor is to report to the school district of the student's residence the list of the names and residences of all children between six (6) and eighteen (18) years of age that they are tutoring, report as soon as they cease to tutor these students, and notify the district of any such child who has been absent three (3) days, or their equivalent, during the term of compulsory attendance, without lawful excuse (24 P.S. § 13-1332).

Tutoring must be to a single family at a time, not a quasi-school where students from different families gather for instruction. Private tutors provide the majority of the instruction to their students for which they receive a fee or other consideration for their instructional services (24 P.S. § 13-1327(a)).

Superintendent Responsibilities

If a superintendent receives a complaint that a privately tutored student in their district is not being provided instruction for the time prescribed or that a student is not making satisfactory progress in the tutoring program, the superintendent may request evidence of student academic progress and documentation that instruction is provided for the required number of days or hours (Pa. Code § 11.31(b)(3)).

Superintendents are to ensure private tutors have valid PA teaching certificates and have passed all required background checks.

Curriculum

Regulation for private tutoring defines what must be taught and the amount of time that must be spent in instruction. These are similar to the requirements of home education programs (22 Pa. Code § 11.31).

Elementary level students (grades K-6) must include: English, including spelling, reading and writing; arithmetic; geography; the history of the United States and Pennsylvania; science; civics, including loyalty to the State and National government; safety education, including regular and continuous instruction in the dangers and prevention of fires; health, including physical education and physiology; music; and art. Either 180 days or 900 hours of instruction are required.

Secondary school level students (grades 7-12) must include: art; English; health; mathematics; music; physical education; science; and social studies, including civics, world history, United States and Pennsylvania history. Either 180 days or 990 hours of instruction are required.

Secondary school level students (grades 7-12) may include, at the discretion of the tutor: economics, biology, chemistry, foreign languages, trigonometry or other age-appropriate planned instruction as contained in Chapter 4 of the regulations (relating to academic standards and assessment).

Dual Enrollment of Privately Tutored Students

A school district may allow students that are homeschooled or being privately tutored to attend classes in the district's schools or a career and technical educational program. (22 Pa. Code §11.33). This provision of services is at the discretion of the school district of residence and not mandated. Review your local school district's policy or contact your local school district home education coordinator for additional information.

Credits that are taken by dual enrollment count toward curriculum requirements for the privately tutored student.

Students taking a class with the school district by dual enrollment will be assigned a PAsecureID so that they can be counted in the Pennsylvania Information Management System (PIMS).

Diplomas for Privately Tutored Students

There is no direct path to a state-recognized diploma through a private tutoring program; hence, there are no graduation requirements (22 Pa. Code § 11.31(a)). Students who are privately tutored may obtain a Commonwealth Secondary School Diploma.

Another option may be to privately tutor students through eleventh grade and then homeschool in twelfth grade in order to obtain a supervisor-issued home education high school diploma. In order to obtain a home education high school diploma, documentation of work completed in the private tutoring program in grades nine through eleven would be required.

Qualifications of a Private Tutor

Private tutors must be PA certified teachers and submit background checks to any school district for which they privately tutor students (24 P.S. § 13-1327(a)).

Certification

A private tutor must be certified by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to teach in the public schools of Pennsylvania.

Act 48 Professional Development Requirements

The law specifically exempts evaluators and private tutors from having to maintain an active status for Act 48 Continuing Professional Development. This means a private tutor does not have to maintain Act 48 hours (24 P.S. § 12-1205.1). However, a teacher may check their Act 48 status at the Professional Education Record Management System (PERMS) webpage.

If a teacher does not know their Professional Personal ID (PPID), it can be obtained from the PERMS system using their Social Security number.

Verification of Teaching Credentials

Official verification of a credential/certificate now is completed via the Internet through the Teacher Information Management System (TIMS) using either the teacher's PPID or name; paper documents no longer are an official source for verification. The private tutor must verify their Pennsylvania certification with the superintendent of the student's district of residence (24 P.S. § 13-1327(a)).

Many states have moved to electronic certification verification to prevent manipulation or modification of paper credentials and to provide faster processing of credentials. If a certification is in a disciplinary status, it will be reflected in TIMS; this information is available only when the certification is checked online.

For Credential and Disciplinary Status Categories, see Appendix I.

Background Checks

No person who would be disqualified from school employment by the provisions of 24 P.S. § 1-111(e) may be a private tutor. The private tutor must file a copy of the required criminal history record with the superintendent of the student's district of residence (24 P.S. § 13-1327 (a)).

The law is the same for a private tutor as it is for any other teacher; the same laws cover all scenarios, including for parents who act as private tutors for their own children only. Here are the three clearances and how they are reported:

  1. PA State Police (PSP) Request for Criminal Records Check (Act 34 of 1985 and Act 114 of 2006): go to the ePatch website and complete the Pennsylvania Access To Criminal History (PATCH) check (use the link "Submit a New Record Check (requires a credit card)"). As long as the check does not go into review, the results can be printed immediately. Multiple copies can be printed.
  2. Department of Human Services Child Abuse History Clearance (Act 151 of 1994): select the accompanying link, complete the form electronically, and then print and mail to the indicated address. The results will be sent to the teacher (or private tutor) and the original results must be presented to the school district. The school district will make a copy for their files. The teacher (or private tutor) is not allowed to make the copies.
  3. Federal Criminal History Record Information (CHRI) (Act 24 of 2011): see the https://uenroll.identogo.com/ website to register using service code 1KG6XN on this fingerprint-based criminal history submitted through the PA State Police or its authorized agent (FBI). Fingerprinting cannot be completed online, and you must pre-register (online or call 1-844-321-2101). The teacher (or private tutor) submits the UEID https://uenroll.identogo.com/ to the school district and the district will check the results online.

Teachers (or private tutors) must provide the school district administrator or designee with written notice, utilizing the Arrest/Conviction Report and Certification form (PDE-6004), for any arrest or conviction for an offense enumerated under 24 PS 1-111(e) provided for in clause 24 PS 1-111(j)(1) not later than seventy-two (72) hours after an arrest or conviction.