Private schools operating in Maryland are subject to the authority of the State Department of Education ("Department"). However, they are not bound by all of the laws and regulations that public schools are. The Maryland State Board of Education sets the requirements for the issuance of diplomas for both public and private schools.
Except for schools operated by a "bona fide church organization," private schools must get a "Certificate of Approval" from the Department to operate in Maryland. To get a Certificate of Approval, the school must show that its programs, instruction, student entrance standards, and performance standards are suitable to what it will teach and to the diplomas or certificates it will give to students. The Certificate of Approval cannot be transferred from one school to another. Information about the application process for private schools is available on the Department's website.
In addition, private schools must allow inspections by the Department, must file certain reports with the Department, meet specific personnel requirements (e.g., administrative heads, teachers), maintain student records, and maintain instructional materials and equipment that is required to implement the school's curriculum. These requirements do not apply to colleges, job apprenticeship programs, tutoring, or classes in areas such as art, music, dance, drama, sports, crafts, or photography.
If the State Board of Education finds that a private school is not meeting the requirements, the Board can force the private school to comply or to stop operating. A list of approved nonpublic schools is available on the Department's website.
If a private school, including a school operated by a church organization, stops operating in Maryland, it has to file with the State Superintendent of Schools copies of the academic records of every student who was in grades 9 through 12. The records must include all the academic information usually required for college admissions.
Read the law: Md. Code, Education § 2-206; § 2-304
Read the regulations: Code of Md. Regulations, Title 13A, Subtitle 9