Access to FCPS Programs for Home-Schooled Students

Maryland law states that a child participating in a home instruction (home schooling) program does not have a legal right to participate in extracurricular/sports programs because they are not enrolled in a local public-school system.  Also, there may be liability risks as non-enrolled students are generally not covered under liability insurance.  Finally, attendance regulations and grade eligibility also present administrative and legal challenges.  The Maryland State Board of Education and Maryland courts have addressed this matter through case law.  The Maryland Attorney General’s Office issued an advice of counsel letter in 1999 stating that “a student enrolled in a non-public school is not permitted to attend a public school on a part-time basis.”

For these reasons, FCPS does not allow home-schooled students to participate in sports, extracurricular activities or academic programs at public schools but we welcome full time enrollment of students.

Exception for JROTC Programs for Home-Schooled Students

The National Defense Authorization Act  is a federal law which includes a measure to ensure homeschoolers aren’t rejected from joining JROTC programs at local public and private high schools.

Each public secondary educational institution that maintains a unit under this section shall permit membership in the unit to homeschooled students residing in the area served by the institution who are qualified for membership in the unit (but for lack of enrollment in the institution).”

  • If they are part of the JROTC program, they must fulfill all the requirements of the JROTC program.
  • They still must follow all home school regulations.
  • They must be qualified for membership in the class, like everyone else.
  • Students do not have to be enrolled in the school (“who are qualified for membership in the unit but for lack of enrollment in the institution).

Pathways to Participation

There are two ways that a home-schooled student can access participation in the NJROTC program at Governor Thomas Johnson High School in Frederick County Public Schools.

A student interested in participating in the NJROTC program must first complete the application/interest form found on Governor Thomas Johnson High School’s web page.

Full-time Enrollment

Full-time enrollment is encouraged as the best way for students to experience and benefit from the NJROTC program.  An interested student must enroll full-time with Frederick County Public Schools at the high school where the student resides.  This is the student’s home school.

The student then submits an Out of District Request to attend GTJHS to participate in the NJROTC program.  This request is approved by the Pupil Personnel Worker at GTJHS and the Student Services Department.

Students who are enrolled full-time with FCPS are working toward a high school diploma by meeting state and local requirements and would be identified as a Career and Technical Education (CTE) completer.  The student could also be a University of Maryland completer (or dual completer) by fulfilling the requisite credit requirements.

As part of the enrollment process, a home-schooled student’s academic records must be evaluated to determine credits and progress toward graduation per FCPS Regulation 400-49:  Home Instruction for Students.

Pathway for Students Receiving Home Instruction

An alternative pathway is available for a student enrolled in home instruction who would be approved to attend class and participate in the extracurricular activities designated specifically as part of the JROTC program.

A student requesting the alternate pathway would be required to complete the program application form and must qualify for acceptance.  If accepted (as space allows) the student would be granted visitor status and access to the program as noted above.

The student involved in the alternative pathway would not receive a grade or transcript credit toward MSDE/Frederick County diploma.  Upon successful completion of the program, the student would receive a certificate acknowledging their participation in the program. 

The student and their parent or guardian signatures on the application form serve as acknowledgement of this limited access as a visitor and their agreement to follow all expectations related to participation in the program.