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School Redesign

Current Flexibilities under the Student Learning Time Regulations

The Student Learning Time Regulations are flexible and options such as independent study, structured contextual learning (e.g., work- or service-based learning), a competency-based program of study, credit recovery, and online coursework are allowable options to fulfill the structured learning time requirement. A waiver is not required to implement these opportunities as long as all courses and opportunities that are counting towards structured learning time must be approved by the district's school committee and documented as legitimate options for students, and the total amount of student learning time is a minimum of 900/990 hours and 180 days. The structured learning time hours are not "seat time" hours — students learning may take place in a variety of settings. Students may be accelerated as necessary to meet their individual needs.

In addition, the regulations do not include hour requirements for specific content areas (e.g., there are not a minimum number of math instructional hours required by the regulations). Finally, the regulations allow for part-time students on a case-by-case basis.

The intent of this waiver process is to enable innovative programs and schedules that will benefit students educationally and improve student learning. This waiver process is not intended for emergency cases or extraordinary circumstances (e.g., natural disaster) that force the closing of one or more of the district's schools. The innovative programs under this waiver application should be focused on addressing an unmet student need in the district. Waivers may be granted for innovative schedules that focus on quality programming that is supported by a sound educational rationale and accountability for results. Waivers will be granted for a three-year time period, subject to annual review by the Department that indicates constructive results.

Programs approved for the waiver will be reviewed on an annual basis to determine whether they are providing a quality, innovative education for students that justifies maintaining the waiver. The annual review will include the district's evaluation plan of the school (as outlined in Appendix B of the waiver application) results, as well as additional data determined by the Department. The Department reserves the right to rescind a waiver application approval based on this review.



Last Updated: July 28, 2016
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