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Monday, June 7, 2010

Instruction days on district calendar

Question: The 2010-11 adopted calendar claims 186 "instructional" days. However, I am able to count only 174 (at best), not including Regents days. There are, again, five half days for professional development and another five half days for conferences, depending on which school your child is in. There are another three superintendent conference days that it is unclear if school is in session or not. In the past, it appears that the students don't receive much, if any, instructional class time on these days (based on what my children tell me). I am to understand that activities such as the "town meeting" or some other assembly may occur on the half day. How and why are they considered as part of the total "instructional" days?

Answer: Let me begin by saying that, although they seem simple, school calendars can be very complicated because of the state education laws that govern them. For instance, state education law states that school districts can have shortened sessions for staff development up to eight times a year, four times a semester.

Looking at each type of day you bring up in your question, I can tell you:
  • Regents days count as instructional days;
  • Half days for professional development count as instructional days;
  • Half days for conferences count as instructional days; and
  • Superintendents conference days count as instructional days (although students do not attend school on those days, faculty is in attendance for professional development).
As for some of the activities that take place on half days, keep in mind that ALL assemblies are part of the district's instructional program (see a previous answer about Morning Program, for instance). Many assemblies help the district fulfill state education requirements for character eduction or address important age-appropriate topics, such as bullying or health and wellness.

As I said, the laws governing school district calendars can be complicated, so if you have any additional questions about the district calendar, please feel free to call my office at 954-2500, or stop by the district office at 20 Pine Street to talk with me in person.
- answered by Stephen Tomlinson, District Superintendent

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