An umbrella school is a private school that allows parents to educate their children at home.
There are two exceptions to compulsory attendance at a public school in Colorado: homeschool and private school. Each of those exceptions comes with certain legal requirements, with the private school requirements being slightly less restrictive than those for homeschool.
If you choose to enroll your child in an umbrella school, the child is technically a private school student and reports to the school rather than the public school district and must meet the requirements of the school rather than the homeschool law.
The choice to enroll in an umbrella school is primarily one of personal preference. Colorado homeschool regulations are simple to follow without an umbrella, but many families enjoy benefits from enrollment. The reasons that families enroll in PRS are shown below:
No, and you should not submit one.
Students enrolled in an umbrella school are not subject to homeschool law. They are considered private school students, so a notice of intent is not required. When you submit an NOI, you are obligated to follow the homeschool law, which includes providing test or evaluation results on odd years starting with 3rd grade. If you have already submitted an NOI and then enroll in an umbrella school, it is recommended that you notify the district that you have enrolled in a private school.
This is common and easy to correct by notifying the district.
There is no legal requirement to notify the school district when you enroll in a private school after submitting an NOI. However, if you have already submitted an NOI prior to enrolling with an umbrella school, it is recommended that you notify the district that you have enrolled in a private school and are no longer homeschooling under an NOI. This will prevent unnecessary confusion.
Yes, you must withdraw your child from the public school.
If your child completed the previous school year in a public school and is considered enrolled for the upcoming year, you must formally withdraw your child from the school BEFORE the new school year begins (or as soon as possible) so they will not consider your child truant.
Yes, you can.
The law limits enrollment to only one publicly funded program at a time. Since umbrella schools are not publicly funded, this isn’t a problem. The district may ask you to submit a notice of intent (NOI) because they will assume you are schooling under the homeschool law. You may submit your PRS Statement of Enrollment instead.
Many children enroll in PRS and attend publicly funded enrichment programs with no issues. Keep in mind that many public schools and districts may not understand what an umbrella school is. Please contact PRS if you need assistance.
Umbrella schools are governed by private school laws.
In practical day-to-day life, you are indeed homeschoolers, but PRS is considered a private school under Colorado Law. Once enrolled, your children are legally considered private school students and you are subject to the requirements of the private school law. For more information, read “What is an Umbrella School?” above.
Enrollment is open July 1st through April 30th each year.
PRS Tuition & Fees are listed below. Note that tuition is charged annually based on the PRS school year, which is July 1st through June 30th, and is not pro-rated regardless of when you enroll or withdraw your student(s). New families also pay a non-refundable, one-time registration fee.
|PRS Tuition & Fees for the 2023-2024 School Year|
|New Family Registration Fee (one time)||$25.00/family|
|Transfer High School Credits to PRS Transcript||$12.00/student|
|Transfer PRS Records to School||free|
|Official High School Transcripts||free|
|PRS Diploma||varies (more info)|
Yes, all homeschoolers are welcome to enroll in PRS regardless of where they live. .
Homeschoolers outside of Colorado enjoy record-keeping, official transcripts, and eligibility for a PRS diploma. Enrollment satisfies reporting requirements for Colorado residents only, so those outside of Colorado are responsible for following their local laws. Review your state’s homeschool laws on the HSLDA legal page.
Yes, you may transfer your student at any time that PRS enrollment is open (through April 30th).
Follow these steps to transfer from public school to PRS:
1. Enroll in Poudre River School.
The student registration form asks if you need to withdraw from a public school. Select “yes” and then enter the public school’s information.
2. Withdraw from the public school.
Tell the current school that you are transferring your student to a private school and need to withdraw. They will usually have a withdrawal form for you to fill out and you’ll list Poudre River School as the new school.
3. Verify that the withdrawal has been completed.
The public school is required to verify that the student has enrolled in another school (or has an NOI on file) before completing the withdrawal. PRS will use the information you enter on the student registration form to send confirmation of enrollment to the school. Please contact the public school to verify that your child’s withdrawal has been completed.
Yes, that is true. PRS does not require any testing or evaluation.
Children enrolled in an umbrella school are not considered homeschooled students under the law. Instead, they are private school students and are subject to private school law. Although some umbrella schools do require testing, private schools are not required to test or evaluate students. If you choose to test your child, you are welcome to upload the results in your child’s files.
No, PRS is a basic records-only program
PRS does not offer any enrichment programs or classes. However, children enrolled with PRS may also enroll in private or publicly funded homeschool enrichment programs.
Total monthly attendance & semester reporting, consisting of grades or a semester summary, are required to protect the school and all enrolled students legally. See Required Reporting for more information.
Note: Fall semester reporting is optional for students enrolled with a start date after November 31st.
Attendance reporting is required to protect the school and all enrolled students legally.
Colorado law requires that private school students receive 172 days of instruction each year. This number is pro-rated for those who enroll in PRS mid-year. To comply with the law, PRS requires that planned attendance is in the system for all students to complete enrollment. If you are an unschooler, it is up to you to determine which days you wish to report as “attendance” days.
The online attendance form is set up to make reporting quick and easy. Simply enter the number of days you plan to complete each month. Once you’ve entered planned attendance for the year during enrollment, you are all set for the year. You will not need to return to the attendance page unless you wish to make changes.
No, you do not.
The law requires that your child receives a minimum of 172 days of instruction per year while enrolled in an umbrella school. You are responsible for providing the required instruction for the number of days reported as planned attendance during enrollment. You do not need to track or report hours.
Homeschooling law requires 172 days of instruction with an average of 4 hours per day. This applies to homeschooling under an NOI and does not apply to umbrella schools.
No, only report attendance from your child’s PRS start date forward.
If your child has accumulated any attendance days for the current year prior to enrolling with PRS, those days will be subtracted from the minimum required attendance days that you must report. Simply enter the number of completed days in the box at the top of the attendance form.
An IEP only applies to services provided by public schools. A 504 is backed by federal law and only applies to federally funded programs, including public schools.
Neither of these has any relevance if you are homeschooling or enrolled in a private school, such as an umbrella school. The GREAT news is that you also don’t need them when you teach your children at home because you can give them whatever adjustments in curriculum and accommodations they need without the red tape!
PRS recommends that you keep a copy of all 504 or IEP records for reference if your child ever returns to public school.
No, PRS does not provide any curriculum.
Enrolled families are free to choose whatever curriculum or other resources that work for their individual children. Cathy Duffy Reviews is a great resource to find curricula based on age, subject, format, and worldview.
Yes, you can.
Because PRS is a private school and does not receive any public funding, there is nothing to prevent enrolling in both. Many children enroll in a homeschool enrichment program while enrolled in PRS with no problem using their statement of enrollment in place of an NOI. You can print or download a copy of your statement of enrollment from your account page. Keep in mind that many public schools and districts may not understand what an umbrella school is. You are welcome to contact PRS if you need assistance.
Yes, the law requires that public schools allow students in private school to participate in extracurricular activities, including sports.
The law regarding participation in extracurricular activities at a public school is the same for homeschoolers and private school students. In either case, there is no specific restriction on which school where they participate, but it does state that it must be in “the student’s school district of attendance or in the student’s school district of residence.” It also allows for participation at a school in a contiguous district if the activity is not offered within their district.
In general, you must choose a single school for all sports that your child participates in, although there may be exceptions. For example, if your child wants to join a swim team, and there is only one school in the district with a pool, they may be able to swim for that school even if they are playing football for their neighborhood school. Be sure to ask your local district about how they handle this kind of situation.
You can read the whole section of the law about this under “Extracurricular Activities” on the Colorado Law page.
Poudre River School opened in July 2016.
Some of the things that make PRS unique are convenient online reporting and records access, no required testing, and quick, personal response by the school owner, a veteran homeschool mom. We also offer an informative monthly newsletter, discounts for enrolled families, and active social media groups where we provide information and resources for homeschooling. We are a small, family-owned business committed to supporting your family by minimizing stress and offering simple legal enrollment with maximum freedom.
Our average enrollment is 750 families and 1300 students.
PRS takes privacy and security very seriously. We only request the minimum information needed to provide enrollment or other services to our families.
We use our own internal database for all family and school information. The database server itself is not accessible from the Internet. Access is strictly via the WordPress platform, which we update as new versions are posted to ensure that we have the latest security features. We have a staff member monitoring security bulletins related to WordPress. This person holds an advanced degree in computer science and is well-versed in website security.
Our host provider scans the site daily for malware and other issues that may compromise the site and provides alerts if there is any problem. Finally, all files uploaded to student records are protected so that they are hidden from search engines and can only be accessed from links on the website by logged-in users with the proper credentials.
Please click to read our terms and conditions.
Submit a statement of enrollment instead.
Many children enroll in a homeschool enrichment program while enrolled in PRS with no problem using their statement of enrollment in place of an NOI. You can print or download a copy of your statement of enrollment from your account page. Keep in mind that many public schools and districts may not understand what an umbrella school is. Please contact PRS if you need assistance.
Semester reporting is submitted using online forms on the PRS website. To submit reporting, log into your PRS account and click on the “Records & Reporting” link by your child’s name. Submit grades on the “Grades” tab or a semester summary on the “Semester Summaries” tab.
Semester Reporting must be submitted no later than January 15th for fall semester* and June 15th for spring semester.
*Fall semester reporting is optional for students enrolled with a start date after November 30th.
|If student’s Start Date is in…||Fall Semester Reporting is…|
|July – November||Required|
|January – June||Do Not Submit|
Semester reporting is verified for each student after the end of each semester. Any families with missing reporting will receive a reminder via email 3 days before the due date. If grades or semester summaries are not in the system on the due date, all students in the family will be automatically disenrolled retroactive to the beginning of the semester with missing information.
PRS does not ever want to disenroll any family but must enforce the reporting requirements to protect the school and all enrolled students legally. If for any reason you are not able to submit the required information on time, please contact PRS before the deadline to make other arrangements.
No, they do not.
You may use any course names that you would like. It is not possible to convey exactly what has been covered by course names alone. When you submit semester grades, you will check a box to verify that your child has received or will receive instruction in the required subjects during the school year. Colorado law requires that private school students receive a “Basic academic education”, which includes instruction in specific subjects. It is entirely up to you to determine how those requirements have been met.
No, families must enroll each year.
Families enrolled at the end of the school year will receive an email invitation to renew for the following year when enrollment opens on July 1st. To renew enrollment, log into your account and click on the renewal link.
How to withdraw a student from PRS:
- Log in to your PRS account.
- On your account page, click on “Records/Reporting” next to your child’s name.
- Click on the “Orders & Requests” tab.
- Click on the blue “Withdraw Student” at the bottom of the page.
- Complete the form and submit.
- You will receive a confirmation of your withdrawal request by email and a confirmation of completed withdrawal by email.
Free free to contact PRS for assistance if needed.
The Diploma Program allows your student to earn credits toward an official PRS transcript and diploma, whereas cover-only enrollment provides legal enrollment only.
See High School Enrollment Options for more details.
PRS uses Carnegie credits, where 1 credit represents 120-180 hours of work, but there are several ways to decide how many credits to assign for each course. See How to Assign High School Credits for more details and links to comprehensive guides and samples.
Yes, high school credits will be accepted during 8th grade based on certain guidelines and limitations.
Select the option to apply for early high school credits when you register or renew your 8th-grade student. You will receive application instructions in your registration confirmation email. Once approved, 8th-grade credits will be shown on the high school transcript under 9th grade with a note indicating that they were earned during 8th grade. Diploma Program enrollment is required to submit credits during 8th grade.
Note: Early credits earned at other schools are accepted for transfer to PRS for students in grades 9-12 without completing an early credits application.
Yes. Click to view High School Information for PRS graduation requirements and course recommendations.
While PRS does not require specific courses or any information about curricula, a certain number of credits in basic categories are required to earn a PRS diploma. It is totally up to you to decide how your child will earn those credits.
The PRS diploma requirements and recommended courses are fairly typical and modeled on what public schools require and what colleges expect to see. However, if your child is interested in attending college, it is a good idea to contact several possible colleges to ask what they look for on a transcript. If not, you should base course choices on what will be best for your child.
PRS has a clear process to follow to make sure that your child’s credits will be accepted.
PRS reviews all high school credits entered each semester. The two reasons for the review and approval are to make sure that your child’s transcript will present their accomplishments future colleges or employers accurately and to allow PRS to confidently issue an official transcript and diploma with PRS administrator’s signature.
No, it is optional.
You are welcome to issue your own transcript and diploma if you prefer. In that case, you would register your student under the “cover only” option, and report a semester summary or unofficial grades without credits. This reporting keeps you in good standing with PRS by providing backup to the statement you will affirm each semester that your child has received a “basic academic education” as required by law.
Unofficial high school grades and semester summaries do not apply toward an official PRS transcript or diploma. To graduate your student, you would “transfer” your child’s grades and credits to your own homeschool transcript and issue a diploma yourself.
You may access all of your student’s records from your account page, including high school transcripts.
- Click on the “Records/Reporting” link in the menu or next to your student’s name on your account page.
- Select the “High School Transcript” tab.
- Click on the “Download Unofficial Transcript” button.
- Click on the PDF icon in the upper right of the page to save a PDF copy of the transcript.
To request an official transcript, visit the “Orders & Requests” tab on your student’s records page. Click on the “Order Official PRS Transcript” button and complete the form. Official transcripts may be sent by email or US Mail to schools. Parents may request paper copies by US Mail only. There is no charge for official high school transcripts.
Yes, they can.
All high school (grade 9-12) courses are included on the transcript. To enter a non-credit high school course, select “0.00” under credits. This course will now be included on the transcript with no credits and will not affect GPA calculations.
A typical 3.00 credit college course should be reported on the PRS grades form as a 1.00 credit high school course. Select the high school credit category and then check “Other” to enter the course name. The name should include the abbreviated college name, the college course number, and the course name. Include high school credits only. Remember to select “College” for the course weight.
The above example shows a course taken through Front Range Community College (FRCC), the course number is ELE480, and the course name is Financial Literacy.
Not at this time.
A subject-based PRS transcript may be made available in the future. Currently, the only format available is semester-based. This format is similar to what most public high schools use to record a student’s high school credits.
PRS acknowledges that by creating a high school transcript in this format, we are sometimes attempting to document a non-traditional education in a traditional format. Although this can benefit students who will need such a document to present themselves to people who are only familiar with traditional schooling, it isn’t the only way to do things.
If you prefer to issue a transcript in a different format, you may register your student under the “cover only” option, and issue your own homeschool transcript and diploma.
No, PRS does not have a code. You should use the homeschool code instead.
School codes for college entry exams determine where the test results are sent. If you use the homeschool code, the results will be sent directly to you. You can then enter test scores to your child’s PRS transcript by entering them under “Student Records & Reporting” on your account page. It is also a good idea to upload a copy of the test results to your child’s files for reference.
PLAN (pre-ACT test): 999-999
SAT Subject Tests: 970-000
PSAT/NMSQT: Not applicable
No. PRS is not authorized to provide work permits.
A work permit applies to employees under 16 working during school hours. PRS cannot provide a work permit because it must be issued by the district superintendent or someone designated by the superintendent. Simply tell the employer that your child is homeschooled. PRS can provide a letter stating that your child is homeschooled through PRS if a potential employer requires verification.
For more details, see Colorado Department of Labor Youth Law
You may transfer credits from another school or your homeschool to PRS. This can be done any time before graduation. There is a small fee for transcription. You will be prompted to pay the fee if you have not already. See detailed instructions below:
To transfer homeschool credits to PRS:
- Click on the “File Uploads” tab on your student’s records page.
- Upload a document containing the course names and credits for each grade level. A template is provided for your convenience (optional).
- Be sure to select “yes” when asked if this file includes credits to be applied to PRS graduation.
- There is a small fee for transcription. You will be prompted to pay the fee if you have not already.
- PRS will transcribe all courses and credits and you will receive an email when they are ready for you to review.
To transfer credits from a previous school:
- Click on the “Orders & Requests” tab on your student’s records page.
- Click on the blue “Transfer Credits to PRS” button under “Transfer High School Credits to PRS”
- There is a small fee for transcription. If you have not yet paid that fee, you will be directed to a payment page and then to a form to enter the school’s information.
- If the fee has already been paid, you will be taken directly to the school information form.
- PRS will request your student’s transcript and transcribe all courses and credits. You will receive an email when they are ready for you to review.