ARIZONA STATE SENATE
Fifty-Fifth Legislature, First Regular Session
schools; instructional time models
Allows school district governing boards (governing boards) and charter school governing bodies (governing bodies) to adopt instructional time models that provide students with required instructional time through modified courses, remote learning and student schedules.
Statute directs the school year to begin on July 1 and end on June 30 of each year and a school month to consist of 20 school days, or 4 weeks of 5 days each, with specified exceptions. A governing board, after at least two public hearings, may offer an educational program based on a 4-day school week or an alternative kindergarten program based on a 3-day school week. The instructional time in an alternative educational program must be equal to the instructional time in an educational program based on a 5-day school week (A.R.S. §§ 15-801 and 15-861).
Under the school finance formula, enrolled students are counted using average daily membership (ADM), which is the total enrollment of fractional and full-time students, minus withdrawals, of each school day through the first 100 days of the school year. Students' ADM, and corresponding funding amounts, are fractionalized based on the number of hours the student is enrolled in an educational program in a 180-day school year (A.R.S. § 15-901).
Common school and high school pupils must meet prescribed daily instructional time requirements to qualify for daily attendance. Attendance requirements are based on student grade level and are as follows: 1) for kindergarten students, at least 0.75 of daily instructional time; 2) for students in grades 1 through 8, more than 0.75 of daily instructional time; and 3) for high school students, at least four subjects that are taught each school day for a minimum of 123 hours a year. Statute prescribes various exemptions to daily attendance requirements (A.R.S. § 15-901).
There is no anticipated fiscal impact to the state General Fund associated with this legislation.
Instructional Time Models
1. Allows a governing board, after at least two public hearings, or a governing body, for one or more schools, to adopt any instructional time models that meet minimum annual instructional time and hour requirements for:
a) determining ADM;
b) determining daily attendance;
c) determining student count; or
d) any other purpose related to instructional time or hours.
2. Specifies that prescribed ADM and daily attendance requirements are satisfied by adopted instructional time models.
3. Requires an adopted instructional time model to provide students with the minimum instructional time or hours for the full school year in any day, week and course length increments adopted by the governing board or governing body.
4. Allows a school district or charter school to deliver the annual required instructional time or hours to students through any combination of:
a) direct instruction;
b) project-based learning;
c) independent learning; and
d) mastery-based learning.
5. Allows mastery-based learning to be delivered in a blended classroom serving multiple grade levels or providing blended grade-level content.
In-Person and Remote Instruction
6. Allows a school district or charter school to define instructional time and hours to include any combination of in-person instruction and remote instruction, as prescribed.
7. Allows a school district or charter school to provide the following percentages of its total instructional time in a remote setting without any impact on the school's funding:
a) up to 50 percent during the 2021-2022 school year; and
b) up to 40 percent beginning in the 2022-2023 school year and each school year thereafter.
8. Directs the Arizona Department of Education (ADE), if a school district or charter school provides remote instructional time beyond the allowable thresholds, to calculate the school's funding as follows:
a) subtract the allowable threshold of remote instructional time from the total percentage of remote instructional time provided; and
b) fund the calculated percentage at 95 percent of the base support level otherwise calculated for the school district or charter school.
9. Requires ADE to provide an annual list of:
a) school districts that provide remote instructional time beyond the allowable threshold to the State Board of Education (SBE); and
b) charter schools that provide remote instructional time beyond the allowable threshold to the Arizona State Board for Charter Schools (ASBCS).
10. Directs the SBE and the ASBCS to determine whether a school district or charter school must apply to become an online school.
Course Time Reallocation and Student Scheduling
11. Permits a school district or charter school to reallocate minimum instructional time or hours required per course to other courses on a per-student basis to allow students to spend more required instructional time or hours on courses that:
a) are of greater depth; or
b) require additional learning time to catch up to grade level or stay on pace.
12. Allows school districts and charter schools to stagger student learning times and schedules.
13. Permits school districts and charter schools to offer courses and other instructional time options on the weekend or in the evenings so that all students are not expected to attend or complete their school day or instructional time at the same time.
14. Directs school districts and charter schools to align attendance policies to reflect instructional time and hour policies adopted under the instructional time model.
15. Defines instructional hours or instructional time as hours or time spent pursuant to an adopted instructional time model.
16. Defines mastery-based learning as a system in which students advance to higher learning levels upon demonstration of concept and skill mastery, regardless of time, place or pace.
17. Repeals statute allowing governing boards to offer a four-day school week, or an alternative kindergarten program based on a three-day week, and related requirements.
18. Makes technical and conforming changes.
19. Becomes effective on the general effective date.
ED 2/16/21 DP 8-2-0-0
3rd Read 3/3/21 46-14-0
Prepared by Senate Research
March 12, 2021