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Missing Paperwork Leads to Portfolio Review Meeting
After her husband died, Mrs. Napier (name changed to protect privacy) contacted Lee County school officials to discuss the possibility of having her youngest child take Florida Virtual School classes. Unfortunately, Mrs. Napier discovered that her husband had not filed the paperwork for their home education program as she had thought. Since no annual assessment had been filed either, the district requested a portfolio review.
Knowing she needed help and concerned about her right to continue homeschooling, Mrs. Napier contacted Home School Legal Defense Association. Staff attorney Thomas Schmidt immediately went to work bringing together a team to help the family prepare for the portfolio review meeting. While the loss of Mr. Napier—their husband, father, and main breadwinner—had set their home education program back, the family was eager to continue homeschooling and wanted to work with the school district.
Local homeschool leaders from Christian Home Educators of the Sunshine State (CHESS) and Florida Parent Educators Association (FPEA) conferred with HSLDA and set up a pre-portfolio meeting to help Mrs. Napier prepare. HSLDA also obtained the assistance of a local attorney and homeschooling father, Jim Stewart, to represent Mrs. Napier at the portfolio review meeting. While school officials had assured us that they only wanted Mrs. Napier to “come into compliance,” we wanted to be sure that the family's home education program was protected.
After the meeting, the school officials gave Mrs. Napier an excellent review. With one more follow-up meeting scheduled, we expect no further difficulties.
—by Thomas J. Schmidt