Frequently Asked Questions

Feel free to Contact PRS if you can’t find the answers you need.

Umbrella Schools

What is an umbrella school?

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 come with certain legal requirements, with the private school requirements being less restrictive than those for homeschool.  When the wording of the private school exception changed from “attending” to “enrolled in” private school, it became possible to enroll but never physically attend a private school to avoid compulsory attendance.  What that means is that if you choose to enroll your child in an umbrella school, the child is technically considered to be a private school student and you are no longer obligated to meet the requirements of the homeschool law. Instead, you need to meet the requirements of the school.

Do I need to submit a notice of intent (NOI) to the school district if I enroll with an umbrella school?

No and you should not submit one.

Students enrolled in an umbrella school are not subject to the 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.

I submitted a notice of intent (NOI) to the school district and want to enroll in an umbrella school. What should I do?

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.

My child went to public school last year. Do I need to notify the school that I am enrolling in an umbrella school this year?

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.

Can my children enroll in a publicly funded homeschool enrichment program if they are enrolled in an umbrella school?

Yes, but it’s best to check with the district ahead of time.

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.

My own children and others enrolled in PRS attend publicly funded enrichment programs with no issues. However, it is important to know that individual school districts may have different policies and may not understand what an umbrella school is. The best approach is to ask the district and work out any issues before enrolling. Please contact PRS if you need assistance.

My children are enrolled in a publicly funded homeschool enrichment program and the district is asking me for a notice of intent. What do I do?

Submit a statement of enrollment instead.

My own children attend an Options program while enrolled in PRS and I have had 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 individual school districts may have different policies and may not understand what an umbrella school is. The best approach is to ask the district and work out any issues before enrolling. Please contact PRS if you need assistance.

Why do you keep referring to private school law? We are homeschoolers!

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.


Poudre River School – New Families

Who can enroll in Poudre River School?

Enrollment is open to any homeschool family. However, PRS enrollment may not satsify legal requirements outside of Colorado. Review your state’s homeschool laws on the HSLDA legal page.

When is enrollment open?

Enrollment is open July 15th through April 30th each year.

I read that PRS doesn’t require testing or evaluation. Is this true? How do we satisfy the Colorado law that requires homeschoolers to test?

Yes, that is true. PRS does not require any testing or evaluation.

Children enrolled in an umbrella school are not considered homeschool 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.

Does PRS offer enrichment programs or classes?

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.

Some umbrella schools offer in-person classes, social activities, testing services, etc. If you are interested in these services, I am happy to refer you to schools that offer them.

Does annual tuition cover a calendar year or a school year?

Annual tuition applies to the PRS school year, which is July 1st through June 30th.

Tuition is not pro-rated regardless of when you enroll. For example, whether you enroll in August or January, your annual tuition will apply through June 30th.

Does PRS require grades? What about unschoolers and others who don’t grade their children?

Semester reporting, consisting of grades or a semester summary, is required to protect the school and all enrolled students legally.

The purposes of this reporting are:

  1. To demonstrate to PRS that you are providing the instruction required by law.
    PRS is required by law to provide a “Basic academic education” which “means the sequential program of instruction provided by an independent or parochial school. Such program shall include, but not be limited to, communication skills of reading, writing, and speaking, mathematics, history, civics, literature, and science.” (ref. C.R.S. 22-33-104)
    If for any reason, the legal operation of the school is questioned, it is possible that I would need to show these records as proof that the requirements are being met.
  2. To provide any future school with records as needed, if you should transfer the kids to another school.
  3. To provide records for any personal legal reasons, such as any charge of educational neglect, etc.

See Required Reporting for more information.

Why does PRS require attendance? What about unschoolers?

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.

Online attendance forms are set up to make reporting quick and easy. All weekdays are pre-filled for months September through May, so you only need to remove days you don’t want to count. 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.

If I enroll in the middle of the school year, can I report past attendance for this year?

No, only report attendance beginning on the date that you register your child.

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.

Does an IEP or a 504 Transfer to PRS?

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 that 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.


Poudre River School – Enrolled Families

How do I submit grades?

Grades are entered using online forms on the PRS website, following the steps below:

  1. Log into your account.
  2. On your account page, click on “Student Records” in the left menu or “Open Records” next to your child’s name.
  3. Select your student’s name from the drop-down at the top of the page if needed.
  4. On the “Grades” tab, click on the blue “Enter New Grades” button to open the form.
  5. You will enter all grades for the semester before submitting your entry. You may save one entry at a time as a draft to continue later if needed.
  6. Check the box to verify that your child receives the instruction in topics required by law.
  7. If your high school student has not completed a course when reporting is due, select “In Progress” for the grade and enter the course credits for approval, You may edit the grade when the course is complete.
  8. If you have entered high school credits outside of the typical range of 2.0 – 4.0 for a semester, you will see a warning. If the credits you entered are correct, check the box to acknowledge this.
  9. Finally, click the “Submit for Review” button.
  10. If you have submitted high school credits, you will receive confirmation of approval via email. Approval is typically completed within 2 days, but this may take up to a week close to the reporting deadline due to the volume of submissions.
Note: You may edit grades for the current year at any time through June 30th. If you need to make changes after that date, please contact PRS.

Free free to contact PRS for assistance if needed..

How do I submit a semester summary?

Semester summaries are submitted using an online form on the PRS website, following the steps below:

  1. Log into your account.
  2. On your account page, click on “Student Records” in the left menu or “Open Records” next to your child’s name.
  3. Select your student’s name from the drop-down at the top of the page if needed.
  4. On the “Semester Summaries” tab, click on the blue “Add New Summary” button to open the form.
  5. Choose the reporting period from the drop-down and enter your summary in the text box. It is recommended that you type your summary in a separate file and paste the text into the form in case there is any problem with saving your submission. You may save one draft entry at a time to continue later if needed.
  6. Check the box to verify that your child receives the instruction in topics required by law.
  7. Finally, click the submit button.
Note: You may edit summaries for the current year at any time through June 30th. If you need to make changes after that date, please contact PRS.

Free free to contact PRS for assistance if needed..

Do the course names I enter for grades need to match the list of subjects in required instruction?

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.


Poudre River School – High School

What is the difference between standard and cover only enrollment?

Standard enrollment 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.

How do I assign high school credits for courses?

In traditional public schools, 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.

Can credits earned in 8th grade be included on my child’s PRS transcript?

Yes, a maximum of 2 early high school credits will be accepted during 8th grade.

When registering your 8th grader, simply select the option to enter high school credits in 8th grade when you register or renew your student. These credits will be shown on the high school transcript under 9th grade with a note indicating that they were earned during 8th grade. Standard high school enrollment is required to submit credits during 8th grade.

Does PRS have requirements or provide guidelines for high school credits?

Yes. Click to view 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.

The Enrollment Agreement says that PRS may not approve all submitted credits. How do I know if my child’s credits will be accepted?

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 them the way they wish to future colleges or employers and to allow PRS to confidently issue an official transcript and diploma with PRS administrator’s signature.

Credits are almost always approved as submitted, but there may be rare circumstances where they are not. For more info, see High School Credits Approval Process.

Can non-credit courses be listed on a high school transcript?

Yes, they can.  

All high school (grade 9-12) courses are included on the transcript.  To enter non-credit high school course, select “.00” under credits.  This course will now be included on the transcript with no credits and will not affect GPA calculations.

How do I view and print my child’s high school transcript?

You may access all of your student’s records from your account page, including high school transcripts.

  1. Click on the “Records/Reporting” link in the menu or next to your student’s name on your account page.
  2. Select the “Transcript & Graduation” tab.
  3. Click on the “View/Print Transcript” below the High School Credit Summary Table.
  4. Click on the print/PDF icon in the upper right of the page to print or save a PDF copy of the transcript.
Is my high school student required to earn a PRS diploma?

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 require approval from PRS and 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.

How are dual enrollment or dual credit college courses recorded for a high school student?

For college classes, select the high school credit category and then check the “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. College credits will be transferred to a future college based on your child’s college transcript and should not be included on the PRS high school transcript. Remember to select “College” for the course weight.

The following example shows how to enter the course name in the Semester Grades form. In this example, the course was taken through Front Range Community College (FRCC), the course number is ELE480, and the course name is Financial Literacy:

FRCC ELE480 FINANCIAL LITERACY

Does PRS offer a subject-based high school transcript?

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.

Does PRS have a school code for the ACT or SAT test?

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.

Homeschool codes:
ACT: 969999
PLAN (pre-ACT test): 999-999
SAT: 970000
SAT Subject Tests: 970-000
PSAT/NMSQT: Not applicable