Prior to last week, I had never heard any administrators in Fairfax County Public Schools argue that Fairfax does not need to meet the requirements in the state standard for the school day. As another bit of proof that Fairfax administrators once assumed (I think rightly) that Fairfax schools should meet the requirement for the hours in the standard school day, there is a document entitled Elementary School Day that is posted on the webpage with the 2008 Transportation Study.
The report states that in 2007 “Schools that were in session less than 4 hours on Monday had their schedule adjusted to meet state standards, and then a minimum of 5 minutes was added to the daily schedules of all schools to meet the instructional requirements.”
The report misleadingly says, “In summer, 2007, additional time was added to the bell schedules of all elementary schools so that the time students were in school totaled at least 5.5 hours for instruction, .5 hours for lunch, and an additional 10 minutes (minimum) for recess.”
What does the word minimum mean in this sentence? The administrators only added enough time to the elementary school week to allow a maximum of 10 minutes per day for recess while also meeting the stand standards for instructional time.
So, this report shows how, on paper, Fairfax schools attempted to meet the requirements in the Standards of Accreditation for the hours in the school day. It is true that there was very little effort made to enforce a 10-minute limit on recess. In fact, it is falsely insinuated that this 10-minute period is somehow a minimum. But at least there was some lip service being paid to the concept that Fairfax has a responsibility to meet the requirements in the Standards of Accreditation for the standard school day.
Now there is no effort being made either to enforce a 10-minute limit on recess or to provide additional time in the school week by ending the policy of dismissing all elementary school students two hours early on Mondays. Last week Deputy Superintendent Richard Moniuszko said that since Fairfax County calculates its school year on the basis of 180 days, it does not need to meet the requirements in 8 VAC 20-131-150 on the standard school day.