2017 Tennessee Code
Title 49 - Education
Chapter 6 - Elementary and Secondary Education
Part 30 - Attendance
§ 49-6-3004. School term.
- (a) Each public school system shall maintain a term of no less than two hundred (200) days, divided as follows:
- (1) One hundred eighty (180) days for classroom instruction;
- (2) Ten (10) days for vacation with pay for a two hundred-day term, eleven (11) days for vacation with pay for a two hundred twenty-day term, and twelve (12) days for vacation with pay for a two hundred forty-day term;
- (3) Five (5) days for in-service education;
- (4) One (1) day for teacher-parent conferences;
- (5) Four (4) other days as designated by the local board of education upon the recommendation of the director of schools; and
- (6) In the event of a natural disaster or serious outbreaks of illness affecting or endangering students or staff during a school year, the commissioner of education may waive for that school year the requirement under subdivision (a)(1) of one hundred eighty (180) days of classroom instruction, if a request is submitted to the commissioner by the director of schools. The waiver request may be for the entire LEA or for individual schools within the LEA.
- (b) Vacation days shall be in accordance with policies recommended by the local director of schools and adopted by the local board of education.
- (1) In-service days shall be used according to a plan recommended by the local director of schools in accordance with this section and other applicable statutes and adopted by the local board of education, a copy of which plan shall be filed with the commissioner of education on or before June 1 of the preceding school year and approved by the commissioner. The commissioner shall require that in-service training include the teaching of the components of the Juvenile Offender Act, compiled in title 55, chapter 10, part 7, to all teachers and principals in grades seven through twelve (7-12). The commissioner shall require that in-service training include at least two (2) hours of suicide prevention education for all teachers and principals each school year. This education may be accomplished through self-review of suitable suicide prevention materials. The commissioner shall also encourage the use of two (2) of the in-service training days to provide training to teachers, principals and other school personnel, and, to the extent possible, school board members, on issues of prevention and intervention strategies for students in the area of behavioral/emotional disorders. The training shall place an emphasis on understanding the warning signs of early-onset mental illness in children and adolescents and may be conducted by school counseling personnel, such as psychologists, social workers, guidance counselors or health faculty, by mental health clinicians or by approved personnel from mental health advocacy organizations using curricula approved by the departments of education and mental health and substance abuse services. In addition to other training and resources authorized by this chapter, the department of education shall, within available resources, collaborate with institutions of higher education to formally address dyslexia and similar reading disorders by providing kindergarten through twelfth grade (K-12) educators and teachers web-based or in-person training providing effective instruction for teaching students with dyslexia using appropriate scientific research and brain-based multisensory intervention methods and strategies.
- (2) The needs of apprentice teachers shall be given priority in the planning of in-service activities. Apprentice teachers shall be assisted by supervising teachers in the development of competencies required by the local board of education.
- (3) The plan shall also give priority to staff development activities. Staff development activities shall include an assessment of teacher and administrator evaluations made previously by the local school system. Career level III teachers and career level III supervisors shall be assigned to aid those teachers seeking to improve teaching competencies.
- (d) The state board of education shall develop a policy governing professional development activities during in-service education within the guidelines adopted by the general assembly.
- (1) A local board of education or private or church-related school that exceeds the full six and one half (61/2) hours instructional time required by law by one half (1/2) hour daily for the full academic year shall be credited with the additional instructional time. The excess instructional time shall be accumulated in amounts up to, but not exceeding, thirteen (13) instructional days each year, and applied toward meeting instructional time requirements missed due to dangerous or extreme weather conditions. Upon approval by the commissioner, the excess instructional time may be used in case of natural disaster, serious outbreaks of illness affecting or endangering students or staff or dangerous structural or environmental conditions rendering a school unsafe for use. This excess accumulated instructional time may be used for early student dismissal for faculty professional development under rules promulgated by the board of education. Such time may be used in whole day (six and one half (61/2) hour) increments and may be used for faculty professional development, M-team meetings, S-team meetings, parent-teacher conferences or other similar meetings. The board shall consult with the commissioner in developing the rules. All proposals for use of excess time for professional development shall be approved by the commissioner. Additionally, the commissioner is authorized to approve directly proportional variations from the one-half-hour extension of the school day and the corresponding accumulation of thirteen (13) days of adjustments to the instructional time requirements.
- (2) Any unused accumulated days for excess instructional time shall not carry over to a school year other than the year in which the time was accumulated.
- (f) Beginning with the 2010-2011 school year and every year thereafter, LEAs shall commence the school year no earlier than August 1 unless the LEA's board of education votes by a majority of its membership to establish a year-round or alternative calendar for all or any of the schools within its jurisdiction in accordance with department of education attendance policies.
- (g) The length of term selected by a local board, and the length of the school day corresponding to that term, shall not affect either the amount or timing of payments made to the LEA under the basic education program (BEP) or otherwise, if the LEA operates for the full chosen term. Equally, the length of term and the length of day shall not affect the compensation of any teacher employed for the length of that term.
- (h) Any LEA operating a virtual school or virtual education program shall make available the same length of time for learning opportunities per academic year as required under this section to any student participating in its program. The LEA shall, however, also permit a student to move at the student's own pace. The student shall demonstrate mastery, competency and completion of a course or subject area to be given credit for the course or subject area. If a student successfully completes a course or grade level more than thirty (30) days before the end of the term, the student shall begin work in the next appropriate course or grade. The academic program shall continue until the end of the academic year.
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