In his letter to a Sherman parent, Michael George, Director of Content and Learning Team wrote:
“The requirements for regular instruction in 121.02(1)(L) are to be scheduled within the regular school day which is defined as “the period from the start to the close of each pupil’s daily instructional schedule.” Times of the day or week during which student attendance is optional are not considered part of the regular school day.”
In May Sherman principal Ann Yehle sent a letter to Sherman parents telling them band, orchestra and vocal music classes would be offered in an optional 8th hour. Parents wrote to DPI for clarification of the state law regarding regarding regular school day.
There will still be an optional 8th hour class with some form of music, but the newest proposal is to offer orchestra, band and vocal music education courses as pull-out classes, pulling students from other classes who want to study band, orchestra or vocal music. I’m left to wonder why students who want to study band, orchestra or vocal music continously have to “double up” their studies – seems like they are being penalized. Why wouldn’t this put additional and, perhaps, unnecessary, pressure on these students.
The entire content of the DPI letter follows:
June 15, 2005
Dear [Sherman Parent – name and address omitted for personal privacy],
I’m writing in response to inquiries from you and others at Sherman Middle School regarding course offerings and scheduling. I’m aware of the considerable planning and collaboration that has already taken place. As you know, staff, parents and students have also contacted this department about proposed changes.
The following excerpts from Wisconsin school law are the most applicable to the questions about middle level course offerings and definition of the school day.
Wisconsin Statute 121.02 (1) (L) and related Administrative Rule
In grades 5 to 8, provide regular instruction in reading, language arts, social studies, mathematics, science, health, physical education, art and music. The school board shall also provide pupils with an introduction to career exploration and planning… In grades 7 and 8 provide regular instruction in foreign language.
Regular instruction means instruction each week for the entire school term in sufficient frequency and length to achieve the objectives and allocation of instructional time identified in the curriculum plans.
Wisconsin Statute 121.02 (1) (F) and related Administrative Rule
Annually schedule … at least 1,050 hours of direct pupil instruction in grades 1 to 6 and at least 1,137 hours of direct pupil instruction in grades 7 to 12. Scheduled hours under this subdivision include recess and time for pupils to transfer between classes but do not include the lunch period. The school hours are computed as the period from the start to the close of each pupil’s daily instructional schedule. No more than 30 minutes per day may be counted for recess…
…Music instruction including general music, vocal music, and instrumental music shall be available to all pupils in grades 7 through 12 and shall be taught by a licensed music teacher.
Text of the Wisconsin Statutes and related Administrative Code as referenced above can be found on the DPI Web site at http://www.dpi.state.wi.us/dpi/dlsis/cal/calmidle.html and
The requirements for regular instruction in 121.02(1)(L) are to be scheduled within the regular school day which is defined as “the period from the start to the close of each pupil’s daily instructional schedule.” Times of the day or week during which student attendance is optional are not considered part of the regular school day.
You also asked about mirroring some electives during both the regular school day and your optional 8th hour. As long as instruction offered during the regular school day meets the requirements in Wisconsin school laws, additional electives offered after school are a local decision.
As you examine schedule options for the future, it is important to verify that your school will continue to meet the minimum annual hours of instruction referenced above: at least 1,050 hours
of direct pupil instruction in grades 1 to 6 and at least 1,137 hours of direct pupil instruction in
grades 7 to 12. In calculating hours of instruction, time for lunch is excluded and you must factor in early release days as well as other days that do not qualify for calculating hours of instruction.
I’m confident your planning team will develop ways to sustain a balanced curriculum and meaningful opportunities for the students at Sherman Middle School while also meeting the basic requirements in Wisconsin school laws.
Michael G. George, Director
Content & Learning Team
cc Ann Yehle, Principal, Sherman Middle School
Tony Evers, Deputy State Superintendent, DPI