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WAC 392-121-182

Agency filings affecting this section

Alternative learning experience requirements.

(1) Purposes: The purposes of this section are the following:
(a) To ensure that students enrolled in an alternative learning experience offered by a school district have available to them educational opportunities designed to meet their individual needs;
(b) To provide general program requirements for alternative learning experiences offered by or through school districts;
(c) To provide a method for determining full-time equivalent enrollment and a process school districts must use when claiming state funding for alternative learning experiences.
(2) General requirements: A school district must meet the requirements of this section to count an alternative learning experience as a course of study pursuant to WAC 392-121-107. This section applies solely to school districts claiming state funding pursuant to WAC 392-121-107 for an alternative learning experience. It is not intended to apply to alternative learning experiences funded exclusively with federal or local resources.
(3) Definitions: For the purposes of this section the following definitions apply:
(a)(i) "Alternative learning experience" means a course, or for grades kindergarten through eight, grade-level course work, that is a delivery method for the program of basic education and is:
(A) Provided in whole or in part independently from a regular classroom setting or schedule, but may include some components of direct instruction;
(B) Supervised, monitored, assessed, evaluated, and documented by a certificated teacher employed by the school district or under contract as permitted by applicable rules; and
(C) Provided in accordance with a written student learning plan that is implemented pursuant to the school district's policy and this chapter.
(ii) The categories of alternative learning experience courses are:
(A) "Online course" means an alternative learning experience course that has the same meaning as provided in RCW 28A.250.010.
(B) "Remote course" means an alternative learning experience course or course work that is not an online course where the student has in-person instructional contact time for less than twenty percent of the total weekly time for the course.
(C) "Site-based course" means an alternative learning experience course or course work that is not an online course where the student has in-person instructional contact time for at least twenty percent of the total weekly time for the course.
(b) "Alternative learning experience program" is a school or a program within a school that offers alternative learning experience courses or course work.
(c) "Certificated teacher" means an employee of a school district, or of a school district contractor pursuant to WAC 392-121-188, who is assigned and endorsed according to the provisions of chapter 181-82 WAC;
(d) "Direct personal contact" means a one-to-one meeting between a certificated teacher and the student, or, where appropriate, between the certificated teacher, the student, and the student's parent. Direct personal contact can be accomplished in person or through the use of telephone, e-mail, instant messaging, interactive video communication, or other means of digital communication. Direct personal contact:
(i) Must be for the purposes of instruction, review of assignments, testing, evaluation of student progress, or other learning activities or requirements identified in the written student learning plan;
(ii) Must be related to an alternative learning experience course or course work identified in the written student learning plan; and
(iii) Must at minimum include a two-way exchange of information between a certificated teacher and the student. All required direct personal contact must be documented.
(e) "In-person instructional contact" means face-to-face contact between a certificated teacher and the student in a classroom environment. In-person instructional contact may be accomplished in a group setting between the teacher and multiple students. The in-person instructional contact must be:
(i) For the purposes of actual instruction, review of assignments, testing, evaluation of student progress, or other learning activities or requirements identified in the written student learning plan; and
(ii) Related to an alternative learning experience course identified in the written student learning plan.
(f) "Intervention plan" means a plan designed to improve the progress of students determined to be not making satisfactory progress. An intervention plan must be developed, documented, and implemented by a certificated teacher in conjunction with the student and, for students in grades K-8, the student's parent(s). For students whose written student learning plan includes only online courses, the intervention plan may be developed by the school-based support staff in conjunction with the student and certificated teacher and must be approved by the student's online certificated teacher. At minimum, the intervention plan must include at least one of the following interventions:
(i) Increasing the frequency or duration of contact with a certificated teacher for the purposes of enhancing the ability of the certificated teacher to improve student learning;
(ii) Modifying the manner in which contact with a certificated teacher is accomplished;
(iii) Modifying the student's learning goals or performance objectives;
(iv) Modifying the number of or scope of courses or the content included in the learning plan.
(g) "Parent" has the same definition as "parent" in WAC 392-172A-01125;
(h) "Satisfactory progress" means a determination made in accordance with subsection (4)(c) that a student's progress toward achieving the specific learning goals and performance objectives specified in the written student learning plan is satisfactory;
(i) "School week" means any seven-day calendar period starting with Sunday and continuing through Saturday that includes at least three days when a district's schools are in session;
(j) "School-based support staff" means an employee of a school district, or of a school district contractor pursuant to WAC 392-121-188, who is supporting a student in an online course. The school-based support staff may or may not hold a teaching certificate;
(k) "Substantially similar experiences and services" means that for each purchased or contracted instructional or cocurricular course, lesson, trip, or other experience, service, or activity identified on an alternative learning experience written student learning plan, there is an identical or similar experience, service, or activity made available to students enrolled in the district's regular instructional program:
(i) At a similar grade level;
(ii) At a similar level of frequency, intensity, and duration including, but not limited to, consideration of individual versus group instruction;
(iii) At a similar level of cost to the student with regard to any related club, group, or association memberships; admission, enrollment, registration, rental or other participation fees; or any other expense associated with the experience or service;
(iv) In accordance with district adopted content standards or state defined grade level standards; and
(v) That is supervised, monitored, assessed, evaluated, and documented by a certificated teacher.
(l) "Synchronous digital instructional contact" means real-time communication between a certificated teacher and the student using interactive online, voice, or video communication technology. Synchronous digital instructional contact may be accomplished in a group setting between the teacher and multiple students. The synchronous digital contact must be:
(i) For the purposes of actual instruction, review of assignments, testing, evaluation of student progress, or other learning activities or requirements identified in the written student learning plan; and
(ii) Related to an alternative learning experience course or course work identified in the written student learning plan.
(m) "Total weekly time" means the estimated average hours per school week the student will engage in learning activities to meet the requirements of the written student learning plan.
(n) "Written student learning plan" means a written plan for learning that includes at least the following elements:
(i) A beginning and ending date for the student's alternative learning experience courses;
(ii) An estimate by a certificated teacher of the average number of hours per school week the student will engage in learning activities to meet the requirements of the written student learning plan. This estimate must consider only the time the student will engage in learning activities necessary to accomplish the learning goals and performance objectives specified in the written student learning plan;
(iii) For online courses and remote courses, a description of how weekly contact requirements will be fulfilled;
(iv) A description of each alternative learning experience course or course work included as part of the learning plan, including specific learning goals, performance objectives, and learning activities for each course, written in a manner that facilitates monthly evaluation of student progress. This requirement may be met through the use of individual course syllabi or other similarly detailed descriptions of learning requirements. The description must clearly identify the requirements a student must meet to successfully complete the course or course work. Courses or course work must be identified using course names, codes, and designators specified in the most recent Comprehensive Education Data and Research System data manual published by the office of superintendent of public instruction;
(v) Identification of the certificated teacher responsible for each course or course work included as part of the plan;
(vi) Identification of all instructional materials that will be used to complete the learning plan; and
(vii) A description of the timelines and methods for evaluating student progress toward the learning goals and performance objectives specified in the learning plan;
(viii) Identification of whether each alternative learning experience course or course work meets one or more of the state essential academic learning requirements or grade-level expectations and any other academic goals, objectives, and learning requirements defined by the school district.
(4) Alternative learning experience program requirements:
(a) Each student participating in an alternative learning experience must have a written student learning plan developed and approved by a certificated teacher that is designed to meet the student's individual educational needs. A certificated teacher must have responsibility and accountability for each course specified in the plan, including supervision and monitoring, and evaluation and documentation of the student's progress. The written student learning plan may be developed with assistance from the student, the student's parents, or other interested parties. For students whose written student learning plan includes only online courses, the written student learning plan may be developed and approved by a certificated teacher or a school-based support staff.
(b) Each student enrolled in an alternative learning experience must have one of the following methods of contact with a certificated teacher at least once a school week until the student completes all course objectives or otherwise meets the requirements of the learning plan:
(i) Direct personal contact; or
(ii) In-person instructional contact; or
(iii) Synchronous digital instructional contact.
(c) The educational progress of each student enrolled in an alternative learning experience must be evaluated at least once each calendar month of enrollment by a certificated teacher or, for students whose written student learning plans include only online classes, school-based support staff in accordance with this section. The results of each evaluation must be communicated to the student or, if the student is in grades K-8, both the student and the student's parent. For students whose written student learning plan includes only online courses, a school-based support staff may communicate the progress evaluation to the student. Educational progress must be evaluated according to the following requirements:
(i) Each student's educational progress evaluation must be based on the learning goals and performance objectives defined in the written student learning plan.
(ii) The evaluation of satisfactory progress must be conducted in a manner consistent with school district student evaluation or grading procedures, and be based on the professional judgment of a certificated teacher.
(iii) In the event that the monthly evaluation is not completed within the calendar month being evaluated, the evaluation must be completed within five school days of the end of the month. Districts must not claim funding for the subsequent month for a student who was not evaluated within that time frame.
(iv) The progress evaluation conducted by a certificated teacher must include direct personal contact with the student with the following exceptions:
(A) After an initial month of satisfactory progress, in subsequent months where progress continues to be satisfactory the evaluation may be communicated to the student without direct personal contact.
(B) Direct personal contact is not required as a part of the evaluation conducted in the final month of the school year if the evaluation takes the form of the delivery of final grades to the student.
(v) Based on the progress evaluation, a certificated teacher must determine and document whether the student is making satisfactory progress reaching the learning goals and performance objectives defined in the written student learning plan.
(vi) For students whose written student learning plan includes only online courses, school-based support staff, according to school policy and procedures, may use the student's progress grades in the online course or courses to determine whether a student's progress is satisfactory. School-based support staff, following school policy and procedures, may take into account nonacademic factors or local school expectations to finalize the determination of satisfactory progress. The progress grades posted in the learning management system may serve as the documentation of determining satisfactory progress.
(vii) If it is determined that the student failed to make satisfactory progress or that the student failed to follow the written student learning plan, an intervention plan must be developed for the student. An intervention plan is not required if the evaluation is delivered within the last five school days of the school year.
(viii) If after no more than three consecutive calendar months in which it is determined the student is not making satisfactory progress despite documented intervention efforts, a course of study designed to more appropriately meet the student's educational needs must be developed and implemented by a certificated teacher in conjunction with the student and where possible, the student's parent. This may include removal of the student from the alternative learning experience and enrollment of the student in another educational program offered by the school district.
(5) Required school district board policies for alternative learning experiences: The board of directors of a school district claiming state funding for alternative learning experiences must adopt and annually review written policies authorizing such alternative learning experiences, including each alternative learning experience program and program provider. The policy must designate, by title, one or more school district official(s) responsible for overseeing the district's alternative learning experience courses or programs, including monitoring compliance with this section, and reporting at least annually to the school district board of directors on the program. This annual report shall include at least the following:
(a) Documentation of alternative learning experience student headcount and full-time equivalent enrollment claimed for basic education funding;
(b) Identification of the overall ratio of certificated instructional staff to full-time equivalent students enrolled in each alternative learning experience program;
(c) A description of how the program supports the district's overall goals and objectives for student academic achievement; and
(d) Results of any self-evaluations conducted pursuant to subsection (10) of this section.
(6) Alternative learning experience implementation requirements:
(a) School districts that offer alternative learning experience courses or course work must ensure that they are accessible to all students, including students with disabilities. Alternative learning experience courses or course work for special education students must be provided in accordance with chapter 392-172A WAC.
(b) Contracting for alternative learning experience courses or course work is subject to the provisions of WAC 392-121-188.
(c) It is the responsibility of the school district or school district contractor to ensure that students have all curricula, course content, instructional materials and learning activities that are identified in the alternative learning experience written student learning plan.
(d) School districts must ensure that no student or parent is provided any compensation, reimbursement, gift, reward, or gratuity related to the student's enrollment or participation in, or related to another student's recruitment or enrollment in, an alternative learning experience course or course work unless otherwise required by law. This prohibition includes, but is not limited to, funds provided to parents or students for the purchase of educational materials, supplies, experiences, services, or technological equipment.
(e) School district employees are prohibited from receiving any compensation or payment as an incentive to increase student enrollment of out-of-district students in an alternative learning experience course or course work.
(f) Curricula, course content, instructional materials, learning activities, and other learning resources for alternative learning experience courses or course work must be consistent in quality with those available to the district's overall student population.
(g) Instructional materials used in alternative learning experience courses or course work must be approved pursuant to school board policies adopted in accordance with RCW 28A.320.230.
(h) A district may purchase educational materials, equipment, or other nonconsumable supplies for students' use in alternative learning experience courses or course work if the purchase is consistent with the district's approved instructional materials or curriculum, conforms to applicable laws and rules, and is made in the same manner as such purchases are made for students in the district's regular instructional program. Items so purchased remain the property of the school district upon program completion.
(i) School districts are prohibited from purchasing or contracting for instructional or cocurricular experiences and services that are included in an alternative learning experience written student learning plan including, but not limited to, lessons, trips, and other activities, unless substantially similar experiences or services are also made available to students enrolled in the district's regular instructional program. This prohibition extends to a district's contracted providers of alternative learning experience programs, and each district shall be responsible for monitoring the compliance of its contracted providers. Nothing herein shall:
(i) Prohibit school districts from contracting with school district employees to provide services or experiences to students; or
(ii) Prohibit school districts from contracting with online providers approved by the office of superintendent of public instruction pursuant to chapter 28A.250 RCW; or
(iii) Require school districts that contract with school district employees to provide services or experiences to students, or with online providers approved by the office of superintendent of public instruction pursuant to chapter 28A.250 RCW, to provide substantially similar experiences and services under this subsection.
(j)(i) A school district that provides alternative learning experience courses or course work to a student must provide the parent(s) of the student, prior to the student's enrollment, with a description of the difference between home-based instruction pursuant to chapter 28A.200 RCW and the enrollment option selected by the student. The parent must sign documentation attesting to his or her understanding of the difference. Such documentation must be retained by the district and made available for audit.
(ii) In the event a school district cannot locate a student's parent within three days of a student's request for enrollment in an alternative learning experience, the school district may enroll the student for a conditional period of no longer than thirty calendar days. The student must be disenrolled from the alternative learning experience if the school district does not obtain the documentation required under this subsection before the end of the thirty day conditional enrollment period.
(k) The school district or school district contractor is prohibited from advertising, marketing, and otherwise providing unsolicited information about learning programs offered by the school district including, but not limited to, digital learning programs, part-time enrollment opportunities, and other alternative learning programs, to students and their parents who have filed a declaration of intent to cause a child to receive home-based instruction under RCW 28A.200.010. School districts may respond to requests for information that are initiated by a parent. This prohibition does not apply to general mailings, newsletters, or other general communication distributed by the school district or the school district contractor to all households in the district.
(l) Work-based learning as a component of an alternative learning experience course of study is subject to the provisions of WAC 392-410-315 and 392-121-124.
(m) The school district must institute reliable methods to verify a student is doing his or her own work. The methods may include proctored examinations or projects, including the use of web cams or other technologies. "Proctored" means directly monitored by an adult authorized by the school district.
(n) School districts may accept nonresident students under the school choice enrollment provisions of RCW 28A.225.200 through 28A.225.230 and chapter 392-137 WAC for enrollment in alternative learning experiences. School districts enrolling such students in alternative learning experiences are subject to all school district duties and liabilities pertaining to such students for the full school year, including ensuring the student's compulsory attendance pursuant to chapter 28A.225 RCW, until such time as the student has actually enrolled in another school district, or has otherwise met the mandatory attendance requirements specified by RCW 28A.225.010.
(o) School districts enrolling a nonresident student must inform the resident school district if the student drops out of the alternative learning experience program or is otherwise no longer enrolled.
(p) The alternative learning experience must satisfy the office of superintendent of public instruction's requirements for courses of study and equivalencies as provided in chapter 392-410 WAC.
(q) High school alternative learning experience courses must be offered for high school credit. Courses offering credit or alternative learning experience programs issuing a high school diploma must satisfy the state board of education's high school credit and graduation requirements as provided in chapter 180-51 WAC.
(r) Beginning in the 2013-14 school year and continuing through the 2016-17 school year, school districts offering or contracting to offer alternative learning experience courses must pay costs associated with a biennial measure of student outcomes and financial audit of the district's alternative learning experience courses by the office of the state auditor.
(7) Enrollment reporting procedures: Effective the 2011-12 school year, the full-time equivalency of students enrolled in an alternative learning experience must be determined as follows:
(a) The school district must use the definition of full-time equivalent student in WAC 392-121-122 and the number of hours the student is expected to engage in learning activities as follows:
(i) On the first enrollment count date on or after the start date specified in the written student learning plan, subject to documented evidence of student participation as required by WAC 392-121-106(4), the student's full-time equivalent must be based on the estimated average weekly hours of learning activity described in the student's written student learning plan.
(ii) On any subsequent monthly count date, the student's full-time equivalent must be based on the estimated average weekly hours of learning activity described in the written student learning plan if:
(A) The student's progress evaluation conducted in the prior calendar month pursuant to subsection (4)(c) of this section indicates satisfactory progress; or
(B) The student's progress evaluation conducted in the prior calendar month pursuant to subsection (4)(c) of this section indicates a lack of satisfactory progress, and an intervention plan designed to improve student progress has been developed, documented, and implemented within five school days of the date of the prior month's progress evaluation.
(iii) On any subsequent monthly count date if an intervention plan has not been developed, documented, and implemented within five days of the prior month's progress evaluation, the student's full-time equivalent must not be included by the school district in the subsequent month's enrollment count.
(iv) Enrollment of part-time students is subject to the provisions of RCW 28A.150.350, and generates a pro rata share of full-time funding.
(b) The enrollment count must exclude students meeting the definition of enrollment exclusions in WAC 392-121-108 or students who have not had contact with a certificated teacher for twenty consecutive school days. Any such student must not be counted as an enrolled student until the student has met with a certificated teacher and resumed participation in their alternative learning experience or is participating in another course of study as defined in WAC 392-121-107;
(c) The enrollment count must exclude students who are not residents of Washington state as defined by WAC 392-137-115;
(d) The enrollment count must exclude students who as of the enrollment count date have completed the requirements of the written student learning plan prior to ending date specified in the plan and who have not had a new written student learning plan established with a new beginning and ending date that encompasses the count date;
(e) For alternative learning experience programs that end prior to June 1st, the June enrollment count date may be the last school day in May and include students whose written student learning plan includes an ending date that is the last school day in May.
(f) Graduating alternative learning experience students whose last school day is in May may be included in the June enrollment count if the following conditions are met:
(i) The alternative learning experience program calendar identifies that the last day of school for the graduating students is in May.
(ii) The students' written student learning plan includes an end date that is the last day of school for graduating students in May.
(g) School districts claiming alternative learning experiences students for funding for nonresident students must document the district of the student's physical residence, and shall establish procedures that address, at a minimum, the coordination of student counting for state funding so that no student is counted for more than one full-time equivalent in the aggregate including, but not limited to:
(i) When a resident district and one or more nonresident district(s) will each be claiming basic education funding for a student in the same month or months, the districts shall execute a written agreement that at minimum identifies the maximum aggregate basic education funding each district may claim for the duration of the agreement. A nonresident district may not claim funding for a student until after the effective date of the agreement.
(ii) When a district is providing alternative learning experiences to nonresident students under the school choice enrollment provisions of RCW 28A.225.200 through 28A.225.230 and chapter 392-137 WAC the district may not claim funding for the student until after the release date documented by the resident district.
(8) Assessment requirements:
(a) All students enrolled in alternative learning experience courses or course work must be assessed at least annually, using, for full-time students, the state assessment for the student's grade level and using any other annual assessments required by the school district. Part-time students must also be assessed at least annually. However, part-time students who are either receiving home-based instruction under chapter 28A.200 RCW or who are enrolled in an approved private school under chapter 28A.195 RCW are not required to participate in the assessments required under chapter 28A.655 RCW.
(b) Any student whose alternative learning experience enrollment is claimed as greater than 0.8 full-time equivalent in any one month through the January count date must be included by the school district in any required state or federal accountability reporting for that school year, subject to existing state and federal accountability rules and procedures.
(c) Students enrolled in nonresident alternative learning experience courses or course work who are unable to participate in required annual state assessments at the nonresident district must have the opportunity to participate in such required annual state assessments at the district of physical residence, subject to that district's planned testing schedule. It is the responsibility of the nonresident enrolling district to establish a written agreement with the district of physical residence that facilitates all necessary coordination between the districts and with the student and, where appropriate, the student's parent(s) to fulfill this requirement. Such coordination may include arranging for appropriate assessment materials, notifying the student of assessment administration schedules, arranging for the forwarding of completed assessment materials to the enrolling district for submission for scoring and reporting, arranging for any allowable testing accommodations, and other steps as may be necessary. The agreement may include rates and terms for payment of reasonable fees by the enrolling district to the district of physical residence to cover costs associated with planning for and administering the assessments to students not enrolled in the district of physical residence. Assessment results for students assessed according to these provisions must be included in the enrolling district's accountability measurements, and not in the district of physical residence's accountability measurements.
(9) Reporting requirements:
(a) Each school district offering alternative learning experience courses or course work must report monthly to the superintendent of public instruction accurate monthly headcount and full-time equivalent enrollment for students enrolled in alternative learning experiences as well as information about the resident and serving districts of such students.
(b) Each school district offering alternative learning experience courses or course work must submit an annual report to the superintendent of public instruction detailing the costs and purposes of any expenditure made pursuant to subsection (6)(i) of this section, along with the substantially similar experiences or services made available to students enrolled in the district's regular instructional program.
(c) Each school district offering alternative learning experience courses or course work must annually report the following to the superintendent of public instruction:
(i) The number of certificated instructional staff full-time equivalent assigned to each alternative learning experience program; and
(ii) Separately identify alternative learning experience enrollment of students where instruction is provided entirely under contract pursuant to RCW 28A.150.305 and WAC 392-121-188.
(d) Each school district offering alternative learning experience courses must report all required information to the office of superintendent of public instruction's Comprehensive Education Data and Research System under RCW 28A.300.500. Beginning with the 2013-14 school year, school districts must designate alternative learning experience courses as such when reporting course information to the Comprehensive Education Data and Research System.
(10) Documentation and record retention requirements: School districts claiming state funding for alternative learning experiences must retain all documentation required in this section in accordance with established records retention schedules and must make such documentation available upon request for purposes of state monitoring and audit. School districts must maintain the following written documentation:
(a) School board policy for alternative learning experiences pursuant to this section;
(b) Annual reports to the school district board of directors as required by subsection (5) of this section;
(c) Monthly and annual reports to the superintendent of public instruction as required by subsection (9) of this section;
(d) The written student learning plans required by subsection (4) of this section;
(e) Evidence of weekly contact required by subsection (4) of this section.
(i) For students participating in regularly scheduled classes, including in-person instructional contact and synchronous digital instructional contact, evidence may include classroom attendance records.
(ii) For students who are not participating in regularly scheduled classes, evidence of contact must include the date of the contact, the method of communication by which the contact was accomplished, and documentation to support the subject of the communication.
(f) Student progress evaluations and intervention plans required by subsection (4) of this section;
(g) The results of any assessments required by subsection (9) of this section;
(h) Student enrollment detail substantiating full-time equivalent enrollment reported to the state; and
(i) Signed parent enrollment disclosure documents required by subsection (6)(j) of this section.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 28A.150.290(1). WSR 13-22-076, § 392-121-182, filed 11/5/13, effective 12/6/13. Statutory Authority: RCW 28A.150.305. WSR 12-17-107, § 392-121-182, filed 8/20/12, effective 9/20/12. Statutory Authority: 2011 c 34 § 2(5). WSR 11-17-147, § 392-121-182, filed 8/24/11, effective 9/1/11. Statutory Authority: RCW 28A.150.305. WSR 11-12-022, § 392-121-182, filed 5/24/11, effective 9/1/11. Statutory Authority: RCW 28A.150.290. WSR 09-06-038, § 392-121-182, filed 2/25/09, effective 3/28/09. Statutory Authority: RCW 28A.150.290 and 2005 c 356. WSR 05-13-154, § 392-121-182, filed 6/21/05, effective 7/22/05. Statutory Authority: 1997 c 265 § 6 and RCW 28A.150.290. WSR 99-08-008 (Order 99-01), § 392-121-182, filed 3/25/99, effective 4/25/99. Statutory Authority: RCW 28A.150.290. WSR 95-18-097, § 392-121-182, filed 9/6/95, effective 10/7/95; WSR 95-01-013, § 392-121-182, filed 12/8/94, effective 1/8/95. Statutory Authority: RCW 28A.150.290, 28A.150.250 and 28A.150.260. WSR 91-02-096 (Order 50), § 392-121-182, filed 1/2/91, effective 2/2/91. Statutory Authority: RCW 28A.41.055 and 28A.41.170. WSR 88-03-013 (Order 88-8), § 392-121-182, filed 1/11/88.]