North Carolina Board of Education approves waiver polilcy for 185-day instructional year

On June 24, the The North Carolina State Board of Education  approved a policy outlining the process for local school districts and charter schools to apply for waivers to the new 185-day instructional calendar for the 2011-12 school year. A press release from the State Board of Education explained the policy:

The General Assembly recently approved legislation that requires local school districts to increase instructional time for students to 185 days and 1,025 hours per year. This is an increase from the 180 days and 1,000 instructional hours requirement that has been in place for many years.

In the waiver process, the State Board granted authority to the State Superintendent to approve waivers in cases where local school districts or charter schools have submitted a plan to use up to five instructional days as teacher workdays for professional development on the new essential standards and Common Core. The new essential standards and Common Core standards are scheduled for classroom implementation in the 2012-13 school year.

Waiver requests for purposes other than professional development on the essential standards and Common Core will be considered at the State Board of Education’s July 7 and Aug. 4 meetings. Most school districts begin their school year for students on Aug. 25. The deadlines for local district or charter waiver submissions are July 5 and July 28 respectively.

“The Board has long advocated increasing the instructional calendar year for students and the recently passed legislation is a positive step in this direction,” State Board of Education Chairman Bill Harrison said. “However, the reality is that school districts and charter schools have already adopted their instructional calendars for 2011-12 and this waiver policy provides the needed sensitivity to that fact.”

The State Superintendent has authority to act on waiver requests to use up to five days of their instructional days for professional development on the essential standards and Common Core standards. These requests are to be submitted in writing to the NC Department of Public Instruction Director of School Business and should show how the waived instructional days will be used for professional development on the new essential standards and Common Core. If the school district or charter school has this professional development outlined in its Detailed Scope of Work of its federal Race to the Top plan that will serve as justification. If the charter school or district does not have this included in their Detailed Scope of Work, they will need to submit a detailed plan showing how these waived instructional days will be used for professional development on the essential standards and the Common Core.

NC Department of Public Instruction officials say that requests will be processed in a timely manner so that local school districts can make key decisions about their 2011-12 school calendar and professional development calendar.

via press release: http://www.dpi.state.nc.us/newsroom/news/2010-11/20110624-01

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