- Associated Press - Thursday, December 11, 2014

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - The state Board of Education has unanimouysly approved a pilot program that will give some school districts more flexibility in scheduling instructional days.

Schools chosen for the pilot will still be required by law to have at least 180 instructional days, according to the Charleston Gazette (https://bit.ly/1sgkq9o ). However, there won’t be a requirement on how long those days are or where the instruction occurs.

Current state policy requires daily instructional time of 315 minutes for elementary schools, 330 for middle schools and 340 for high schools.

Betty Jordan, executive assistant to the state schools superintendent, told the board Wednesday that all 55 districts may apply. Districts chosen for the pilot will be able to shorten instructional periods and count out-of-classroom teaching, like online instruction during a snow day.

“It would be like a virtual day,” Jordan said. “Really capturing the power of technology.”

Officials noted that schools in some areas that get a lot of snow have a difficult time meeting the 180-day requirement.

Jordan said private schools already have permission to only have 300 minutes, or five hours, of instruction each day. That’s an average, meaning they just have to divide their total instructional time by 180 days and come up with at least five hours a day.

Jordan said the state will monitor how students perform in the pilot districts over two or three school years to ensure positive innovation instead of, for example, teachers just having students fill out electronic worksheets on snow days. There will also be certain requirements, like an eight-hour work day for teachers.

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Information from: The Charleston Gazette, https://www.wvgazette.com


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