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Updated: Oregon dropped hours requirement for individual classes

 The recent round of winter storms has also triggered an avalanche of confusion about Oregon requirements for instructional time.

The latest version of Oregon Administrative Rule 581-022-1131 no longer requires 130 hours of instruction time for each class, making it easier for districts to adjust their calendars for lost days.

The passage, updated in 2015, says a student can earn a credit by demonstrating “defined levels of proficiency or mastery of recognized standards.” The statute offers five ways of demonstrating proficiency. None of them includes a time requirement. 

Oregon Administrative Rule 581-022-1620 requires 900 hours for K-8, 990 hours for grades 9-11 and 966 hours for grade 12 per school year. The statute allows a district, with the approval of its school board, to count toward its minimum hours of instructional time up to 30 hours for staff professional development and up to 30 hours for parent teacher conferences. Districts can count up to 60 hours of recess for K-3 (30 hour for half-time K) toward instructional time. Schools can also include online instructional time if it is supervised by a teacher and includes homework.

For the 2015-16 school year, the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) allowed districts to count up to 14 hours for emergency school closures, and the ODE is looking at what is possible this year.

“We are reviewing the instructional time rules, considering options and exploring potential solutions with the State Board of Education within the parameters of state rules and law,” wrote Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction Salam A. Noor in an email to superintendents. ODE provided a list of the relevant rules to superintendents.

School districts can also petition for a waiver of instructional time standards. A request for a waiver must be made in writing to the deputy superintendent of public instruction. The request must specify the reason the district is seeking the waiver and other relevant information. Email requests to Noor (salam.noor@state.or.us) and State Board Administrator Jessica Nguyen-Ventura (Jessica.nguyen-ventura@ode.state.or.us).