CHARLESTON, W.Va. — County school systems in West Virginia will be required to provide at least 180 days of instruction for students each school year, but would also have more flexibility to meet that mark, with a proposed policy from the state Board of Education.
“School systems were handcuffed by all of the particular mandates and requirements that didn’t ensure that 180 days of instruction was delivered to every student,” he said.
This new policy, Phares said, will change that by requiring counties to guarantee 180 days, no matter the weather. With it, local officials will decide what schedule works best for their schools.
“We don’t see any reason why they can’t meet this particular mandate,” he said on Friday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”
Changes to the school calendar are part of the education reform law. This BOE policy deals with how those calendar changes will be specifically implemented in each of West Virginia’s counties.
In addition to opening up the scheduling window for staff members from 43 weeks to 48 weeks, the proposal also eliminates the calendar days for school trips and teacher training that have counted as instructional time in the past.
Phares defines “instructional time” as “when students are in class.” He said time spent, at work in classrooms, leads to better student achievement. “To believe that the two are separate and don’t go hand in hand together is probably more of a myth than it is a reality,” he said. “They do go together.”
With the proposed policy, county school systems would be required to hold at least two public hearings before adopting a school calendar each year.
The state Board will take comments on the proposed policy for the next 30 days. If approved, it could take effect in time for the 2014-2015 school year.