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FAQs for Independent Study (IS)


Q: Is there a binder of Independent Studies from which I can choose an IS course?

A: No. However, there are certain teachers who consistently mentor students for specific IS courses. If you are interested in completing an IS, please consult your potential mentor teacher and ISSP Coordinator ASAP, preferably the semester before.

Q: Can my English teacher mentor an Independent Study in Sociology?

A: No, not unless they are also certified in high school Social Studies or History. All IS Mentor Teachers must be Connecticut state-certified in the relevant high school subject area AND be employed by the New Haven Board of Education.

Q: My mom’s friend is a native speaker of French. Can she mentor my IS?

A: No, not unless she is also Connecticut state-certified in high school French and a New Haven Public Schools employee. All IS Mentor Teachers must be both appropriately certified AND employed by the New Haven Board of Education.

Q: I do not like the teacher and/or period of a course on my high school schedule. Can I take the class as an IS instead?  

A: No, and no.

Q: What if I need to take an AP course as an IS? Can I still take the exam and get AP credit?

A: AP Courses MUST be taken in a regular class, per NHPS policy. Any Independent Study modeled on AP course curricula will be called IS ADV Course Name, e.g. IS ADV French Literature, and will earn Honors level GPA points, NOT AP level. If you decide to prepare for and take the AP Exam for your course, you must do so outside of New Haven Public, making your own arrangements with another school, and paying for the exam yourself (~$100).

Q: If there is no teacher available at my school to mentor the IS I want, can I take that IS with a teacher at another NHPS building?

A: Although it is extremely rare, students have occasionally taken an IS with a teacher in another building, e.g. to complete a World Languages sequence in a language no longer being offered at their high school, particularly if that teacher is already mentoring the IS course for their own students. Please remember that teachers are not paid, nor compensated in any other way, for mentoring Independent Studies, and so you should consult your ISSP Coordinator immediately upon finding yourself in this type of exceptional circumstance.

Q: What if I want to take a course as an IS not offered in my school?  Do I have to go to another school to complete it, or can I get a teacher in my high school to mentor that course?

A: Courses offered at other NHPS high schools can be taken as Independent Studies, provided that you can arrange for an appropriately certified teacher in your building to mentor you, e.g. an IS in Python or C++ would need to be mentored by a certified Technology or Math teacher with a background in computer programming, even if they don’t usually teach it as a classroom course. Consult your ISSP Coordinator.

Q: I asked a teacher to mentor my IS course, and she refused, even though I know she has mentored this IS course in the past. How can I convince her to help me?

A: You can’t. Teachers are not paid, nor compensated in any other way, for mentoring Independent Studies; therefore, they have total discretion regarding this role. Many will agree to mentor again, but if they decide not to, you will need to look for another mentor and/or IS topic. Also, IS students must be counted as part of their overall 125-student limit, per the teacher contract, so some teachers may not be available to mentor ANY IS students.

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