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 less than the hour and day requirements established in the Massachusetts Student Learning Time Regulations (603 CMR 27.00).
Under 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 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 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 (detailed information is included in 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.
2016-2017 Student Learning Time Waiver Application and Review Process Timeline Suggested Timeline
|October 31, 2016||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 email@example.com (please include "SLT Waiver" in the subject line)|
|November 15, 2016||Department anticipates responding to letters of intent, indicating whether or not a waiver application is needed to implement proposed innovative programming|
|December 5, 2016||District deadline for submission* of an optional draft waiver application to receive Department feedback|
|December 19, 2016||Department anticipates providing feedback to districts that submitted draft waiver applications|
|January 25, 2017||District deadline for submission of final waiver application|
|March 8, 2017||Department anticipates providing waiver application authorization|
2016-2017 Student Learning Time Waiver Application and Review Process Timeline No Dates
|District submits 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)||Submission Date|
|Department anticipates responding to letters of intent, indicating whether or not a waiver application is needed to implement proposed innovative programming||2 weeks from letter of intent submission date|
|District submits an optional draft waiver application to receive Department feedback||Within 3 weeks from letter of intent submission date|
|Department anticipates providing feedback to districts that submitted draft waiver applications||Within 2 weeks from draft waiver submission date|
|District submits final waiver application||Within 5 to 6 weeks from Department feedback date|
|Department anticipates providing waiver application authorization||Within 5 to 6 weeks from final waiver application submission date|
*A complete waiver application that includes a signed assurances page must be submitted in order to have the waiver application reviewed. Please submit an electronic version of the completed waiver applications to the Department's Office of Charter Schools and School Redesign at: email@example.com (please include "SLT Waiver" in the subject line). The signed assurances page may be either scanned and sent electronically or faxed to (781) 338-3220.
2016-2017 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.