I mentioned in my previous blog post that beginning in the 2014-2015 school year, the Ohio Department of Education would be moving from a required number of days of instruction for Ohio’s school districts to a required number of hours. This decision will have an impact on what has been on everyone’s mind lately: Calamity days.
For next school year, public school districts like Little Miami, joint vocational school districts and chartered nonpublic schools will be required to be open for instruction for a minimum of:
- 455 hours for students in half-day kindergarten;
- 910 hours for students in full-day kindergarten through Grade 6; and
- 1,001 hours for students in Grades 7-12.
According to the ODE directive, districts that change to an hour-based schedule will no longer have calamity days. Instead, schools may schedule “excess” hours above the minimum number. Hours missed above the minimum do not have to be made up. However, if a school closes enough that it will fall below the minimum number of hours, the school must extend its scheduled year.
For once, it seems, a state directive has not negatively impacted our district. Little Miami significantly exceeds the state minimum hours of instruction by about 17 days, giving us some flexibility in the schedule should we have a repeat of this year’s record-breaking winter weather. As we move close to the start of the 2014-15 school year, we are sure there will be further regulatory guidance from ODE. As we have experienced with the many recent changes coming out of Columbus, there always seems to be more to the story.
More information on this subject can be found at the Ohio Dept. of Education website.
Update: Additional Calamity Days for 2013-2014
In light of this year’s severe winter weather, Ohio Gov. John Kasich said in January that he would support permitting an additional four calamity days for Ohio’s school districts this year.
Legislation was quickly written and fast-tracked through committees for a vote in both the Ohio House of Representatives and Senate. Action on the measure was stalled for some time, but now it appears the bill is back on track.
The House approved the bill with an 80-16 vote on Wednesday and it will now go to the Senate for a vote. Stay tuned for updates!
There was additional positive news out of Columbus related to the winter weather last week. The Ohio Dept. of Education announced that it would extend the window to complete the Ohio Achievement Assessment by one week. These statewide assessments will be now given from Apr. 21-May 16. This expanded testing window does not extend to the Ohio Graduation Test, which will be given Mar. 10-23.
The Little Miami Board of Education and I will continue to monitor the situation in Columbus and will communicate any new information and/or schedule changes to you as we learn them.
Until then, here’s wishing for an early spring!