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Hours of Instruction for Public Schools - Questions and Answers

Questions and Answers

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1. What constitutes a school day?

Any day in which pupil instruction occurs is considered a school day. A school day that contains fewer instructional hours than a full schedule is considered a school day; however, only those hours in which instruction is provided to all students/grades may be counted toward meeting the required hours of instruction (half-day kindergarten - 437 hours; full day kindergarten-grade 6 - 1,050 hours; grades 7-12 - 1,137 hours). (Worksheet to calculate the hours of instruction.)

2. How are the hours of a school day computed?

A school day is determined from the start to the close of each student's daily instructional schedule. Scheduled hours include up to 30 minutes per day of recess but does not include the lunch period.

3. The first bell for a particular school rings at 8:15 a.m. The next bell rings at 8:25, at which time all students are expected to be in the building and on their way to classes. The last bell rings at 8:30 and all students are required to be in a classroom. When does instruction begin?

Instructional time is counted from 8:30 a.m.

4. The last bell prior to the lunch period rings five minutes prior to the time the students are eating lunch (secondary level). Because passing time between classes can count as instructional time, can the five minutes prior to the beginning of the lunch period be counted as passing time?

If there is a passing time before lunch starts and after lunch ends, then you need to subtract one passing time. If you do not have passing times before and after lunch, you do not need to subtract one, as you are rolling it into the lunch hour, which is already subtracted from the instructional time. Passing time between classes can be counted as instructional time.

5. Can the lunch break be considered recess?

Time for lunch cannot be added into the total number of hours of instruction. Time scheduled in addition to lunch may count as recess time if all students participate in the activity. If the period of time scheduled is only for students to take a mid-day meal, it may not be added to the total minutes of recess. The maximum recess time counted as instructional time may not exceed 30 minutes per day.

6. If a district has an ACT testing day for the junior class with the freshmen, sophomores, and seniors not in attendance, how are the instructional hours calculated?

Only the junior class would accumulate any instructional hours on that day as the other grades are not in attendance.

7. Some districts have staggered starting and ending daily schedules for students. Is this permissible?

Yes, so long as each student's instructional schedule meets the required number of hours for that grade level.

8. In some districts, students in lower grade levels may be picked up ten minutes earlier than the usual dismissal time so that they can be moved to another location for transportation purposes. Would these 10 minutes count as instructional time in meeting the standard?

No, the minutes do not qualify as instructional time.

9. Can parent-teacher conferences be counted as instructional time?

No, the minutes do not qualify as instructional time. 

Questions about the School Calendar Report can be directed to the School Financial Services team:

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For questions about this information, contact Laura Roeker (608) 266-3560