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 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.

Why would I enroll in an umbrella school?

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:

Do I need to submit a notice of intent to homeschool (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 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 I enroll my children in a publicly funded homeschool enrichment program if they are enrolled in an umbrella school?

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.

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.