Student Learning Time Waiver Process
In April 2013 the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education granted the Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education authority to approve waivers for innovative programs that are expecting to operate for fewer than the required hours and/or days established in the Massachusetts Student Learning Time Regulations (603 CMR 27.00).
Pursuant to the regulations, school committees are required to schedule a school year that includes at least 185 days at each school, and must operate the schools for at least 180 school days in a school year. In addition, schools must ensure that students are scheduled to receive a minimum of 900 hours of structured learning time per school year for elementary school students and a minimum of 990 hours of structured learning time (defined by the regulations, 27.02) per school year for secondary school students. Kindergarten students must receive a minimum of 425 hours of structured learning time per school year.
About the Waiver Process
The intent of this waiver is to enable innovative programs and schedules that will benefit students educationally and improve student learning but do not meet structured learning time requirements. This waiver is not intended for emergency cases or extraordinary circumstances that force the closing of one or more of the district's schools (e.g., natural disaster). The innovative program proposed by this waiver should focus on addressing unmet student needs in the district, and may include innovative schedules. To be successful, applicants must demonstrate that their innovative program, including innovative schedules, is supported by a sound educational rationale and includes accountability for results.
Waivers will be granted for a three-year cycle, and will be reviewed on an annual basis by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (Department) to determine whether the innovative program is providing a quality, innovative education for students that justifies maintaining the waiver. The annual review will include the district's evaluation plan (detailed information is included in the waiver application), results of the stated objectives, and any relevant additional data determined by the Department. The Department reserves the right to rescind a waiver at any time.
2015-2016 Student Learning Time Waiver Application Timeline
|October 30, 2015||District deadline for submitting a non-binding letter of intent to apply that includes a short (less than one page) summary of proposed waiver request to firstname.lastname@example.org (please include "SLT Waiver" in the subject line)|
|November 13, 2015||Department anticipates responding to letters of intent, indicating whether or not a waiver application is needed to implement proposed innovative programming|
|December 4, 2015||District deadline for submission* of an optional draft waiver application to receive Department feedback|
|December 18, 2015||Department anticipates providing feedback to districts that submitted draft waiver applications|
|January 25-29, 2016||District deadline for submission of final waiver application|
|March 7, 2016||Department anticipates providing waiver application authorization|
While the Department strongly encourages applicants to adhere to the timeline posted, waiver applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.
Submission Instructions: waiver applications must be submitted via email to email@example.com (please include "SLT Waiver" in the subject line). The signed assurance form can be submitted electronically or faxed to (781) 338-3220.
2015-2016 Student Learning Time Waiver Application
Current Flexibilities under the Student Learning Time Regulations
Evaluation Plan Guidance
For questions related to the Student Learning Time Waiver Process, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.