Standards of Accreditation and the school day and school year

It seems clear to me that Virginia has a standard for the school day that applies to all public schools and it doesn’t matter whether the schools calculate the standard school year as 990 hours or 180 days. Here are some citations from the Standards of Accreditation:

“Standard school day” means a calendar day that averages at least five and one-half instructional hours for students in grades 1 through 12, excluding breaks for meals and recess, and a minimum of three instructional hours for students in kindergarten. (p. 4).

“Standard school year” means a school year of at least 180 teaching days or a total of at least 990 teaching hours per year. (p. 4)

8 VAC 20-131-150. Standard school year and school day.

A. The standard school year shall be 180 instructional days. The standard school day for students in grades 1 through 12 shall average at least 5-1/2 instructional hours, excluding breaks for meals and recess, and a minimum of three hours for kindergarten.

B. All students in grades 1 through 12 shall maintain a full day schedule of classes (5-1/2 hours), unless a waiver is granted in accordance with policies defined by the local school board. (p. 35)

Here is an excerpt from the Guidance Document Governing Certain Provisions of the Regulations Establishing Standards for Accrediting Public Schools in  Virginia 8 VAC 20-131:

STANDARD: 8 VAC 20-131-150. Standard School Year and School Day (ADOPTED: October 26, 2006)

  1. A.  The standard school year shall be 180 instructional days. The standard school day for students in grades 1 through 12 shall average at least 5-1/2 instructional hours, excluding breaks for meals and recess, and a minimum of three hours for kindergarten.

Guidance

Section 22.1-79.1 of the Code of Virginia states the following: “C. Individual schools may propose, and local school boards may approve, pursuant to guidelines developed by the Board of Education, alternative school schedule plans providing for the operation of schools on a four-day weekly calendar, so long as a minimum of 990 hours of instructional time is provided for grades one through twelve and 540 hours for kindergarten. No alternative plan that reduces the instructional time in the core academics of English, mathematics, social studies, and science shall be approved.”

The Board of Education is not required to approve an alternative schedule.  Local school boards shall ensure that the minimum instructional day shall be at least five and one half instructional hours for grades one through twelve and a minimum instructional day of three hours for kindergarten. In addition, the instructional hour requirements in the four academic areas as outlined in 8 VAC 20-131-80, 8 VAC 20-131-90 and 8 VAC 20-131-110 must be met. (p. 24)

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