Private School Regulation
Registration/Licensing/Accreditation: The Commissioner
of Education will accredit parochial or private schools on a voluntary
basis if the building, equipment, curriculum and teaching personnel have "efficiency
substantially equal" to public schools of like grade. The Commissioner
will not issue a certificate of accreditation unless the Commissioner has
conducted a qualitative review and assessment, and approved each program
or course of study of the school; and, the school has submitted data on
its facilities, financial resources, administrative capabilities and faculty
to afford and require of students the completion of an educational program.
Accredited schools are subject to annual inspections by the Commissioner
to determine whether the school's standards have been maintained. Accredited
schools must display the certificate of accreditation in a conspicuous
place. The Commissioner may recognize a certificate of accreditation issued
from recognized regional accrediting agencies. V.I. Code Ann. tit. 17, §§ 192,
No nonpublic school may operate in the Virgin Islands without a certificate
of operation. The criteria for operation need not be as high as those that
qualify a school for a certificate of accreditation. The Department of
Education will review all applications to operate nonpublic schools and
issue the Certificate of Operation if the school satisfies the rules and
regulations of the Virgin Islands Board of Education regarding: 1) the
quality and content of educational courses proposed; 2) adequate space,
equipment, instructional material, and personnel; 3) enrollment that is
within reason; 4) instructors that hold credentials of their profession;
5) administrators, owners, and directors are of good and moral reputation
and demonstrate professional character; 6) school compliance with local
and federal regulations; 7) school records that show student attendance,
progress and financial stability; 8) a course outline given to students
upon enrollment; 9) a written copy of course outline, schedule of tuition,
fees, and enrollment information. V.I. Code Ann. tit. 17, § 194.
Recordkeeping/Reports: Private, denominational and parochial
schools must report the name, age, and grade of every child enrolled and
other requested information to the Department of Education at the opening
of school and at other times when directed by the Commissioner. V.I. Code
Ann. tit. 17, § 96.
Length of School Year/Day: The school year begins no
earlier than the first Tuesday after the first Monday in August and ends
not later than the last Friday in May, provided that the school calendar
includes no less than 1080 hours of pupil instruction. Act No. 5961, April
Students attending parochial, denominational or private schools regularly
and punctually and enrolled in the appropriate grade are exempt from attendance
in public schools. V.I. Code Ann. tit. 17, § 85.
Discrimination: Under the Virgin Islands' nondiscrimination
statute, parochial and denominational schools may modify tuition expenses
and give preference in admission to members of the religious body maintaining
the school. V.I. Code Ann. tit. 10, § 5.
Teacher Certification: All persons teaching in nonpublic
schools must be licensed by the Virgin Islands Board of Education. V.I.
Code Ann. tit. 17, § 126.
Special Education: The Department of Education may contract
with private schools to provide services to children with disabilities
when the Department is unable to provide services. V.I. Code Ann. tit.
17, § 288.
Health: Health services, i.e., medical and dental
health appraisals, vaccinations and immunizations, are provided to private
and parochial school students prior to entrance into kindergarten or 1st
grade, 5th grade and 9th grade, or upon entrance to the school if that
pupil has not been previously examined at another school. V.I. Code Ann.
tit. 17, §111. Parents may provide health services at their own expense
and furnish the physician's report to the Department of Education. V.I.
Code Ann. 17, § 114 (c).
Safety: Individuals apprehended for the distribution
of a controlled substance within 1000 feet of a private or parochial school
will be sentenced an additional minimum sentence of at least two years
confinement. V.I. Code Ann. tit. 19, § 604.
Transportation: It is the policy of the Virgin Islands
to provide free transportation to school for school-age children residing
within and without the urban areas of the Virgin Islands. V.I. Code Ann.
tit. 17, §1; V.I. R. & Regs, tit. 17, § 101-1 et seq.
Home Schooling: Parents must file with the Commissioner
of Education a Notice of Intent Home Instruction of Student At Home form.
A Notice of Intent will be effective for up to one school year. The filing
of the Notice of Intent must occur within 10 days of the start of the home
instruction program. A completed form is one that provides basic program
information, including the name of teacher, subjects to be taught, days
of instruction, and teacher's method of assessment. The Department of Education
will conduct a semi-annual Portfolio Review. By filing the Notice of Intent,
the parent acknowledges full responsibility for the education of his/her
child, but in no way constitutes approval by the school district of the
program of home instruction. The school district shall provide whatever
reasonable assistance it can to ensure that children instructed at home
benefit appropriately from home instruction, including but not limited
to, Promotional/Retention Policies, grade level standards, and sample portfolios.
V.I. Code Ann. tit. 17, § 84.
Public Aid for Private Schools/Private School Students: Government
subsidies may be granted to nonpublic schools for strictly educational
purposes, but not to denominational or sectarian schools. V.I. Code Ann.
tit. 17, § 191.
Seniors attending accredited private or parochial high schools may apply
for partial grants for educational or cultural class trips abroad. V.I.
Code Ann. tit. 17, § 371.
Graduates from parochial high schools are eligible to apply for scholarships
in nursing and related medical fields that are awarded by the Commissioner
of Health. V.I Code Ann. tit. 17, § 180
Miscellaneous: Private elementary and secondary schools
are subject to an annual license fee of $200. V.I. Code Ann. tit. 27, § 302.
The Commissioner of Education is responsible for disseminating materials
to private and parochial school for the celebration of John P. Scott Day,
Melvin H. Evans Day, Rothschild Francis Day, and Cyril Emmanuel King Day.
V.I. Code Ann. tit. 1, §§ 180, 186-188.
Nonpublic school libraries may participate in the Virgin Islands Library
Network, a cooperative, coordinated, multitype network of libraries located
on the Virgin Islands. V.I. Code Ann. tit. 3, § 28d. In addition,
private and parochial school libraries can access public government documents
through depository libraries maintained by the Territorial Librarian. V.I
Code Ann. tit. 3, § 883.
The Commissioner of Education has a statutory duty to promulgate rules
and regulations to implement the Federal Family Educational and Privacy
Rights Act as applicable to private schools to ensure privacy and confidentiality
of student educational records. V.I. Code Ann. tit. 17, § 98.