Categorized | Education

DOE reports on school year and instructional time


The state Department of Education has provided its 2014 report on School Year and Instructional Time before a joint legislative education committee hearing.

Act 167 and Act 52 define student instructional hours as “… student learning time during which students are engaged in learning activities including regularly-scheduled instruction and learning assessments within the curriculum, and does not include lunch, recess, or passing time.”

The amended law (Hawaii Revised Statutes 302A-251) calls for schools to meet 990 hours of “student learning time” per school year, increasing to 1080 hours and 1146 hours in successive years.


All Hawaii public schools must establish school schedules (including teacher work year, teacher schedule, and bell schedules) that comply with student instructional hours and school year requirements under Hawaii Revised Statutes 302A-251 and the 2013-17 HSTA Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Compliance with school schedule requirements is a shared responsibility. School leaders and staff are responsible for developing a school schedule according to the process outlined in the Hawaii State Teachers Association (HSTA) collective bargaining agreement.

Complex Area Superintendents and staff are responsible for supporting schools’ efforts to ensure compliance.

The State Office is responsible for setting clear expectations for compliance, providing information and guidance to support schools’ efforts, monitoring compliance, and reporting annually to the legislature on progress.

“Hawaii’s public education system has made great gains in recent years, in part due to a focus on higher expectations, increased support, and student results,” Deputy Superintendent Ronn Nozoe said. “Equity and balance ensures the quality of the instructional time in our schools. Both are needed for successful scheduling and education improvement.”

In the summer of 2013, the DOE convened a Task Force on School Schedules to develop the required Optional Model Bell Schedules.

The report includes the group’s work and highlights the following findings:

* National research on student learning time indicates Hawaii
policies are near the national average.

* The Department has vastly improved its capacity to support and monitor compliance.

* The Department and its schools have made significant progress and effort to comply with the requirements of Act 167/Act 52.

* The important focus that Act 167/Act 52 have brought to the issue of minimum equity of learning time for students must be balanced with a focus on quality use of time and student results.

* Development of optional model bell schedules for SY2014-15 has highlighted concerns about the feasibility of complying with continuously increasing requirements without unintended negative consequences on teaching and learning.

The report also makes the recommendation that the Legislature reconsider planned increases in minimal instructional hours; clarify the definition of student learning time to eliminate confusion and reduce burden; and provide additional funding to schools.

“I’m confident we will do everything that needs to be done to reach the 990 instructional minutes, but it will be very challenging for schools,” Nozoe said.

Prior to the briefing DOE officials testified before the Senate Education committee on SB 2139, which would require all public secondary schools to implement a school year that includes 990 hours beginning with the 2014-15 school year and repeals the requirement that by the 2016-2018 school years, all public schools implement a school year of 180 days and 1,080 student instructional hours for both elementary and secondary school grade.

The DOE supported this measure.

“It’s about systems of support, contact time with students, and how we collaborate when we’re not with the students that really matter,” said Mililani High School Principal Fred Murphy. “To think about them in isolation is dangerous. It’s about the quality of instructional time.”

The DOE offered comments to SB 2922, which proposes to extend the school year by 10 days from the current 180 to 190 days, beginning with the 2015-16 school year.

The measure also seeks to repeal the minimal instructional-hour requirements beginning with the 2014-15 school year.

In response to the question of cost that SB 2922 would create, State Schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi said, ”Our best estimate is that these additional days would cost the department close to $6 million. That figure includes salary, utility, maintenance and other operational costs.”

Since the 2011-12 School Year, the school calendar has been 180 days. In previous years, it has been between 178 and 180 days, except during state-enacted furloughs in 2009-10, when the school year dipped to 163 days.

Any change, as the bill proposes, would require a change to the current collective bargaining agreement with the HSTA, which runs through 2017.

For the full report, visit:

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