The following is a March 17, 2009, press release from the Indiana Department of Education. Wawasee Community Schools will need to work on options to respond to this new directive, which may cause a change in our board adopted 2009-2010 corporation calendar.
"(Indianapolis) – Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Tony Bennett announced changes in Department of Education policies designed to ensure students receive at least 180 days of instructional time each year, the minimum number required by state law.
“As President Obama said last week in unveiling his education agenda, ‘the challenges of a new century demand more time in the classroom,’ and I couldn’t agree more,” Bennett said. “The academic achievement of students is an urgent state priority and we should begin by ensuring students are in class at least the full number of days required by state law.”
Bennett announced a change in the way the Department of Education will handle waivers of the financial penalty for canceled instructional days due to severe weather. Last week the Department of Education adopted an emergency policy establishing guidelines for school corporations to apply for waivers of the financial penalty for canceled instructional days during the 2008 – 2009 school year only.
However, beginning in the 2009 – 2010 school year, the Department of Education does not intend to adopt such emergency policies.
“In the past, the Department of Education has occasionally allowed school corporations not to make up all the days that were canceled due to weather,” Bennett said. “Going forward, we believe this practice does not meet the needs of Indiana’s students. School corporations have it in their power to create academic schedules that build in the necessary flexibility that will allow them to ensure their students receive at least the minimum number of instructional days. The Department of Education stands ready to assist schools in planning their calendars and seeking creative solutions to guarantee students receive the 180 days of classroom instruction.”
After comprehensive review of the statutory language authorizing the waiver of a financial penalty by the Department’s legal staff and independent experts, the Department concluded that the practice of allowing eligible schools to schedule up to six half-days professional development during the school day was outside the scope of the waiver statute that authorizes the Department of Education to grant waivers only when instructional days are “canceled” due to “extraordinary circumstances.”
Beginning in the 2009 – 2010 school year, the Department of Education will no longer permit schools to use half-days for professional development activities within the 180 full instructional day requirement.
Additionally, parent-teacher conferences must be conducted outside of the 180 day requirement. A one or two hour delay due to weather-related conditions will still be considered an extraordinary circumstance. The school day will still be counted as an instructional day with this type of delay.
The Wawascene was created by Dr. Mark Stock, former Superintendent of the Wawasee Community School Corporation. Due to its local popularity, Dr. Stock has left the blog site to future Wawasee administrators.
Comments should be respectful and pertain to the topic posted. Comments about personnel matters should be made directly to the administrators responsible. Blog moderators reserve the right to remove any comment determined not in keeping with these guidelines.