Length of school day adjusted after finding shortage of hours

Faye Smith

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While reviewing daily logs in September, district officials discovered that the class of 2016 was 12.7 hours short of the 1116 hours of instructional time required for graduation by the state of Kansas. Additionally, it was found that current seniors also would fall short of the necessary hours if the existing school day schedule remained in place.

USD 373 superintendent Deborah Hamm said the shortage of hours arose in part due to an issue concerning teacher collaboration time before school days.
“The teachers were originally supposed to be in collaborative professional development during that time between 7:45 and 8:25 in the morning, allowing us to count 15 minutes of that time towards instruction,” Hamm said. “The teachers were not engaged in that way so we could not count that time, and in order to give the high school back the same number of minutes counting toward instruction, that we would expect in our district, we needed to make some changes.”

While the class of 2016 will not be adversely affected by the scheduling issue, the district could face possible consequences from the state.

“You can’t really make the seniors come back to attend school more, and the school year is already over so their classes are complete. If we were to discover an error such as this and school had not yet been dismissed, it would extend the school year. So in much the same way if we have too many snow days,” Hamm said.

“There will be no consequences to the students, but to the district, we could receive a warning or reprimand from the Kansas State Department of Education, or it could impact our funding.”

District officials caught the mistake when reviewing the high schools daily log of instructional time.

“We corrected them here at district office to reflect what actually occurred last year and so we have placed a revised on top of the log and will supply the auditor with those logs as well as the ones that were submitted by the school,” Hamm said.

In order to correct the amount of instructional time students received this school year, five minutes were added to the end of each school day and adjustments to teacher collaboration time were made.

“It’s the best we can offer this year. We will begin to start looking at schedules from what other schools do around the state who are a similar size as we are. I’ve emailed multiple high school principles that are similar to us and I have a whole stack of schedules I want the teachers to start looking at to figure out what we’re going to do next year,” principal Lisa Moore said.