Iowa school districts now have the option to count a school year in hours rather than days. Previously, school districts were required to complete 180 days of instruction during a school year. A change in the law, which took effect July 1, 2014, allows a school district to instead follow a calendar of 1,080 instructional hours.
The Cedar Rapids Community School District opted for an hours-based calendar to provide more flexibility, especially in recovering any instructional time lost to weather-related delays and cancellations. “Having served as Superintendent in states that use the hours system, it was easy for me to recommend counting hours instead of counting days,” said Dr. Dave Benson, Superintendent. “Hours provides flexibility for unforeseen events and inclement weather issues.”
The actual District school-year calendar looks no different. However, if there is delay or cancellation for weather or because of another unexpected event, the lost instructional time can now be recovered either by adding small increments of time to existing school days or with a full make-up day. Decisions would be based on the amount of instructional time that was lost.
Nearly 300 of Iowa’s 338 school districts switched from days- to hours-based calendars for the 2014-15 school year.