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Instructio​nal Time

24 P.S. §1-133
24 P.S. §15-1504

Date of Issue: September 1, 1997
Date of Review: March 19, 2009, January 2, 2008, July 1, 2001
Date of Revision: March 13, 2024


This BEC outlines requirements for instructional time.

Basic Requirements

Beginning with the 2023-2024 school year and continuing each school year thereafter, school districts, career and technology centers, and intermediate units (“local educational agencies" or “LEA") must provide a minimum of either 180 days of instruction for pupils, or 450 hours of instruction for half-time pre-kindergarten and kindergarten, 900 hours of instruction for full-time pre-kindergarten and kindergarten and elementary (grades 1-6), and 990 hours of instruction for secondary (grades 7-12).​

An LEA may vary instructional time models by school building and/or grade level.

While the law provides LEAs with the discretion to configure a school year based on instructional days or hours, LEAs must continue to meet all state academic standards and continue to meet the instructional needs of all students including students with disabilities.

Prior to adjusting current or future school calendars, LEAs are advised to consider how changes may impact the following:

  • Special education programs and requirements;
  • Career and technical education program requirements and access to career and technical education programs;
  • Transportation;
  • Student access to meals and other services provided in or by schools;
  • Before- and after-school programming and tutoring;
  • Collective bargaining agreements; and
  • Contractual services and agreements.

The above list represents only some of the factors that should be considered. LEAs are strongly advised to seek input from their school communities when determining whether to use instructional days or instructional hours to define a school year.​​


LEAs shall report the number of instructional days and hours annually to the Department of Education via the Pennsylvania Information Management System (PIMS) as part of the end-of-year child accounting data collection. The Department will use the data submitted by LEAs to ensure they are meeting the minimum number of instructional days or hours.

The Department will calculate average daily membership (ADM) based on the data reported to PIMS via the School Calendar and Student Calendar Fact templates.

Instructional Time

State Board of Education Regulations [22 Pa. Code §11.2 (relating to a school day)] defines instructional time for pupils as time in the school day devoted to instruction and instructional activities provided as an integral part of the school program under the direction of certified school employees.

No school shall be kept open on any Saturday for the purpose of ordinary instruction, except when Monday is fixed by the board of school directors as the weekly holiday (which would require that school be scheduled Tuesday through Saturday for the entire school term).

22 Pa. Code §11.27 provides pupils in graduating classes up to three days for graduation preparation under the supervision of certificated school employees. The Secretary of Education has determined that graduation practice days must be scheduled within 60 calendar days of the commencement ceremony and that graduation practice can be scheduled on a regular instruction day or on a Saturday. Since no other instructional activities can be conducted on Saturday, only the hours for the graduation practice can be counted as pupil instructional time.

For the purposes of determining if an activity, other than instruction of curriculum, conducted during school hours can be counted as instructional time in lieu of ordinary instruction, the Department has defined the following:

Activities that may be counted as pupil instruction time

  1. Pupil personnel services, such as guidance and counseling services, psychological services, speech pathology and audiology services, and pupil health services conducted during school hours;
  2. Opening exercises, including circle time in pre-K and kindergarten, homeroom periods, supervised study halls and time when students are eating breakfast during the regularly scheduled homeroom periods or during classroom instruction;
  3. Assemblies, clubs, student councils, and similar activities conducted during school hours;
  4. School, group or class educational trips, to which admission is not charged to students or parents, if accompanied by a certificated school employee;
  5. Civil defense, fire, and other similar drills;
  6. Pre-K and kindergarten orientation activities, snack time and play time if they are an integral part of the pre-K and kindergarten curriculum as long as they take place under the direction of a certified teacher and are used for students learning experiences. (note: "recess" time conducted with the same parameters as primary grade recess is not counted as instructional time);
  7. For pupils in graduating classes, up to three days for graduation preparation within 60 days of the commencement ceremony under the supervision of certified school employees. Graduation preparation may be held on Saturdays; and
  8. Early dismissal and delayed opening due to inclement weather.

Activities that may not be counted as pupil instruction time

  1. Lunch period. However, an exception is made for:
    1. Students with disabilities when their individualized education program (IEP) includes specially designed instruction to occur during lunch time. Examples of social or motor skill development include use of utensils or reciprocal conversing;
    2. Pre-K students if lunch is an integral part of the pre-K curriculum, takes place under the direction of a certified teacher and is used for student learning experiences;
  2. Recess and time for passing from class to class;
  3. Early dismissal or delayed opening for reasons other than inclement weather;
  4. Teacher meetings dealing with routine matters, such as record-keeping responsibilities, and other similar activities;
  5. Transportation of pupils (for example, time spent transporting students to career and technology centers);
  6. Celebrating, picnicking, hunting, fishing, or harvesting crops;
  7. Any activity for which admission is charged to students or parents; and
  8. Viewing or reviewing material that has as its purpose the marketing of commercial products.

Act 80 Exceptions

Prior to the 2023-2024 school year, LEAs seeking an exception to the 180-day instructional requirement or to the daily schedule were required to apply to the Secretary of Education for an exception. Section 1504, as amended by Act 80 of 1969 (Act 80), authorizes the Secretary to grant an exception to the 180-day instructional requirement or to the daily schedule "when in his opinion a meritorious educational program warrants."

Beginning July 1, 2023, school districts, career and technology centers, and intermediate units will only apply for an Act 80 exception if the LEA configures its school calendar based on instructional days instead of hours and/or an LEA's collective bargaining agreement necessitates the request. LEAs granted an exception must still meet the minimum instructional hours for the school year.

Instructions for submission of an Act 80 exception request are available at Act 80 Electronic Request Instructions. ​


Purdon's St​atutes

24 P.S. §1-133
24 P.S. §5-503
24 P.S. §15-1502
24 P.S. §15-1503
24 P.S. §15-1504​

State Board of Education Regulations

22 Pa. Code § 11.2
22 Pa. Code § 11.3
22 Pa. Code 11.27​

Bureau/Office Contact

Division of Subsidy Administration
Bureau of Budget and Fiscal Management
Pennsylvania Department of Education
607 South Drive
Harrisburg, PA 17120
Phone: 717-787-5423

Work Stoppage:
School Services Office
Office of Elementary and Secondary Education
Pennsylvania Department of Education
607 South Drive
Harrisburg, PA 17120
Phone: 717-787-4860
Fax: 717-214-​4389