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School employees approve of ‘extended’ day

By Jill Penley

Public schools in Tennessee are required to have an instructional day of at least 6.5 hours. In districts with a 7-hour instructional day, the state allows for “stockpiling” of the additional time to allow districts to build in snow days and additional teacher workdays beyond the five required in-service days.
The 30 additional minutes of daily instructional time add up to a total of 13 stockpiled days during any given year.
“We do an extended day survey of all of our employees every year in January,” explained Dr. Mischelle Simcox, Director of Schools. “This survey is asking whether they want to continue the extended day which allows for the 13 stockpiled days or stop the extended day,” Simcox reports an overwhelming majority, 99 percent of staff, support continuation of the extended day schedule per the survey results.
To date, Johnson County schools have missed 12 days this school year due to inclement weather. In addition to the 13 stockpiled days, the 2018-2019 school calendar includes five additional snow days. “The law authorizes school districts to extend the school day by 30 minutes beyond the mandated 6.5 hours to stockpile up to 13 days to be applied toward meeting instructional time requirements missed due to dangerous or extreme weather conditions,” said Simcox. “It is basically like an insurance policy. In years with moderate winters, the stockpiled days keep
districts from having to amend calendars to make up days missed for inclement weather.”
The teacher workday has been 7.5 hours for decades, long before stockpiling was achieved by extending the
elementary student day in 1998.
At last week’s monthly meeting, the board of education approved the school calendar for the upcoming 2019-2020 school
year, which has students returning to the classroom after the summer break Wednesday, August 7,
for registration and a half
day of instruction. The recently approved calendar provides 88 expected days of instruction before December 20, to end of the first semester.
While certain holidays are scheduled as “no school” days, Martin Luther King Day, President’s Day, and Memorial Day may be used as instructional days if needed. Additional days may be used as instructional days as determined by the Johnson County Board of Education.
For more information, visit http://www.johnsoncntyschs.tn.schools.bz/