Why did we need to request a waiver? Ohio law requires school to be in session for 182 days but also specifies that up to 4 half days (or two full days) can be used for PTA conferences and record keeping, thus reducing the minimum to 180 days. The ORC further specifies that an additional 2 days can be used for teacher's professional development, thus reducing the minimum under Ohio law to 178 days.
The contract with the Worthington Education Association specifies that the teacher work year is "no more than 185 days". It further specifies the following time where classes are not in session:
2 days at the beginning of the year for district and building activities and teacher planning
2 days (one each) at the end of the 2nd and 4th reporting periods
There are 3 additional days that are not accounted for in the contract, one for professional development and two for PTA conferences. That leaves the minimum 178 days for student contact time.
The argument made by the middle school principals is that the 7 days already included in the teacher contract but without classes being in session were not sufficient for the specific professional development activities required to assure the success of our middle school restructure. They further stated that they could not request the teachers attend sessions outside of the contract year (even if we paid them) and therefore, the only alternative was to request the waiver and provide an eighth day under the contract without student contact.
At the meeting, I asked if teachers could possibly use the Professional Collaboration Time that is already specified in the contract for this purpose, but again, that time was already spoken for.
I made the comment that American kids spend less time in school than most other developed countries. Here is the data: