At the April Board of Regents meeting, new regulations providing greater flexibility for school calendars were passed. The new regulations become effective July 1, 2018. The revisions eliminate daily instructional hours and instead use an aggregated amount of instructional hours over a minimum of 180 days. The aggregated minimum hours are as follow:
• Half day kindergarten: 450 hours
• Full day kindergarten and grades 1-6: 900 hours
• Grades 7-12: 990 hours
The regulations also allow parent conferences to be counted within superintendent’s conference days. One superintendent’s conference day is defined as 10 hours for half-day kindergarten, 20 hours for full-day kindergarten and grades 1-6, and 22 hours for grades 7-12.
It should be noted that instructional hours are considered the time when students are “receiving instruction from a certified teacher.” Instructional time does not include lunch, recess, or passing time (travel between classes). This clarification caused energetic conversations at the meeting with some members of the Board of Regents expressing concerns that they heard from districts. Under some current contracts, passing time may have been included as instructional time, making meeting the minimum instructional hours difficult. Despite these concerns, the regulations were passed and the commissioner was directed to work with districts impacted by current contracts on this issue.