Policy IC/ICA – School Year/School Calendar/Instruction Time

File: IC/ICA

School Year/School Calendar/Instruction Time

Prior to the end of the school year, the Board must determine the length of time during which district schools must be in session during the next school year. The number of hours/days of planned teacher-student instruction and of teacher-student contact must be consistent with the Board’s definition of “actively engaged in the educational process,” must meet or exceed the requirements of state law, and must include a sufficient number of days to allow the superintendent flexibility in preparing a calendar that supports the district’s educational objectives.

The Board defines “actively engaged in the educational process” as time when students are working toward achieving educational objectives under the supervision of a licensed teacher, including:

  • classroom instruction time either in person learning or remote electronic learning
  • individual student work time while at school, including study hall and library research
  • school-related field trips
  • independent study insofar as such study is allowed under district policy
  • assemblies
  • passing periods between classes

NOTE: For the 2020-2021 school year, the Colorado Department of Education has provided flexibility for districts in school schedules and attendance

policies as needed to provide instruction during the pandemic. To access this flexibility, local boards must utilize a governance document (e.g., board policy or resolution) if the board wishes to use a form of remote learning for the 2020-21 academic year. Local boards do not need to adopt multiple governance documents and should be cognizant of the way in which they authorize changes for the 2020-2021 school year, as the changes outlined by the Colorado Department of Education are only applicable for the upcoming school year. If a local board decides to amend board policies for the 2020-2021 school year, the board will need to update board policy again prior to the start of the 2021-2022 school year to remove the language specific to the 2020-2021 school year. If the board elects to incorporate language in board policy, the following sample language may be used and inserted in the policy. If the board determines to authorize this flexibility in a board resolution, this language is not necessary in board policy.

For the 2020-2021 school year, the definition of “actively engaged in the educational process” includes all of the above and instruction delivered electronically and/or the use of other types of independent, remote work time for students provided under the supervision of a certified or licensed teacher. Remote learning days may include use of: [existing district online school or program, services provided with Colorado Digital Learning Solutions, assigned and prepared work packets, pre-recorded classes, or other method(s) utilized by the district]. Teacher-pupil instruction and contact time may be tracked and counted for attendance purposes occur in the following ways:

  1. Presence during in-person instruction;
  2. Assignments completed at home;
  3. Logging into the online learning platform;
  4. Signing an online form attesting to work completed at home;
  5. Student demonstration of learning;
  6. Responding to teacher emails or communication; or
  7. Or other methods the district will potentially use.

Attendance will be recorded at least once daily for days when instructional hours are provided, meaning a student is “actively engaged in the educational process.”

“Actively engaged in the educational process” does not include:

  • lunch
  • time students spend before school waiting for classes to begin and time after the last class of the day, including waiting for the bus
  • recess time
  • teacher preparation time
NOTE:  For everything except lunch, the Board has discretion when determining what it means to be “actively engaged in the educational process.” For example, the time between two classes or between a class and lunch period known as “passing time” may be included in the definition when the school calendar is developed. If the Board intends to include passing time, then it should include that bulleted point under the definition of “actively engaged in the educational process” in the first set of bullets above and delete it from those activities that are not included in the definition.

Supervision by a licensed teacher must not require that the teacher be in the student’s physical presence at all times, but that the teacher is exercising direction and control over the nature of the student’s activities.

The district calendar for the next school year must be prepared by the superintendent and presented to the Board for approval in the spring of each year. The superintendent must consult with other districts in the area when preparing the calendar.

The Board authorizes the administration in each school building to issue a school calendar based on the district calendar and in accordance with this policy. Administrators are encouraged to examine instruction time and calendar issues in the context of supporting the district’s educational objectives.

Calendars must include the dates for all staff in-service programs scheduled for the upcoming school year. The administration will allow public input from parents and teachers prior to scheduling the dates for staff in-service programs.

A copy of the calendar must be provided to all parents/guardians of students enrolled in district schools. Any change in the calendar except for emergency closings or other unforeseen circumstances must be preceded by adequate and timely notice of no less than 30 days.

Adopted: August 10, 2020

Revised: August 10, 2020

C.R.S. 22-1-112 (school year and national holidays)
C.R.S. 22-32-109 (1)(n) (duty to determine school year and instruction hours)
C.R.S. 22-33-102 (1) (definition of academic year)
C.R.S. 22-33-104 (1) (compulsory attendance law)
C.R.S. 22-44-115.5 (fiscal emergency)
1 CCR 301-39, Rules 2254-R-2.06 (school year and instruction hours; definition of contact/instruction time)

EBCE, School Closings and Cancellations
JH, Student Absences and Excuses

NOTE:  State law establishes the school year as outlined below. The actual hours of teacher-student instruction may be reduced for parent/teacher conferences, staff in-service programs, and closings due to student health, safety, or welfare concerns to 1056 hours for secondary students, 968 hours for elementary students other than kindergartners, 870 hours for full-day kindergarten students, and 435 hours for half-day kindergarten students. In no case may a school schedule fewer than 160 days without specific prior approval of the commissioner of education. [C.R.S. 22-32-109 (1)(n)].

Teacher-Pupil Instruction Minimum Hours/Days

Half-Day Kindergarten 450 hours (can be reduced* to 435 hours) 160 days
Full-Day Kindergarten 900 hours (can be reduced* to 870 hours) 160 days
Elementary (besides kindergarten) 990 hours (can be reduced* to 968 hours) 160 days
Secondary  1,080 hours  (can be reduced* to 1,056 hours) 160 days
*Not more than 24 hours per school year may be used for parent/teacher conference and staff in-service programs.

Huerfano School District Re-1, Walsenburg, Colorado