Recognizing the significant impact of inclement weather on various districts across the state, resulting in the loss of recent instructional days, and following the communication to superintendents sent Friday, January 19th, this guidance aims to provide clarity and additional information on how schools may make up the time missed and best address the instructional needs of students through in-person instruction.
Each public school district and open-enrollment public charter school that is receiving funding to meet the minimum salary increase, is required to provide in-person instruction a minimum of either:
(1) One hundred seventy-eight (178) days; or
(2) One thousand sixty-eight (1,068) hours (Alternate Calendar).
Annually, districts are required to adopt a school calendar that incorporates either five (5) make-up days or, for those utilizing an alternate calendar, a minimum of thirty (30) make-up hours. Districts should adhere to their adopted calendar and may use the scheduled make-up days to meet minimum requirements. Districts may also utilize scheduled PD days as student instructional days to make-up missed days. However, legislation does allow for some flexibility in making up missed days before or after the regular school schedule.
For districts on a traditional 178-day calendar, if the superintendent cancels a regularly scheduled school day due to exceptional or emergency circumstances, such as a contagious disease outbreak, inclement weather, or other acts of nature, the superintendent can make up the missed school days by adding a minimum of sixty (60) minutes to the beginning or ending of a regular school day. This does not require PPC or board approval.
Districts revising their existing calendars, altering student instructional days or hours, must obtain PPC and board approval and notate the change in eSchool. Districts may contact their standards support specialist with questions.
Districts who are on a traditional 178-day calendar may request to change to an alternate calendar, which requires 1,068 hours, the equivalent of 6 hours of instructional time for 178 days. If a district chooses to change from a traditional calendar to an alternate calendar, a waiver of Arkansas Code § 6-10-106, which requires calendar notification to DESE by July 1, will be required. Districts are also required to follow local policy and should work with the PPC to make proposed calendar changes for presentation to the local board. The PPC must vote for immediate implementation after local board approval. The revised calendar should indicate the number of instructional hours each day for the entire school year to show that the 1,068 hour requirement is met. Transitioning to an alternate calendar also requires the district to update their calendar option in the LEA Profile module of ADE SIS.
Requests to transition to an alternate calendar and therefore, a waiver of Arkansas Code § 6-10-106, must be submitted on the attached form, with a copy of the revised calendar, to: email@example.com.
Districts should direct all questions regarding calendar revisions to their assigned DESE standards support specialist. Please contact the Standards and Systems Support Unit at 501-683-5300.
Additional setup in the eSchoolPlus software will be required for districts making revisions or transitioning to an alternate calendar. The district’s APSCN administrator/trainer should contact their ADE APSCN student field representative for assistance with the setup.
Additional information regarding instructional requirements may be found in the RULES GOVERNING STANDARDS FOR ACCREDITATION OF ARKANSAS PUBLIC SCHOOLS AND SCHOOL DISTRICTS.