HARRISBURG – Legislation sponsored by Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-York) to give school districts in Pennsylvania the option to implement flexible instructional days received the unanimous approval of the House Education Committee on Monday.
The Pennsylvania Department of Education will soon end a three-year pilot program including a dozen school districts that use flexible instructional days. Without legislative action, the program is set to expire this year.
Phillips-Hill’s Senate Bill 440 would codify this program in state law and allow all schools throughout the state to implement this program as they see fit in the future.
“The pilot program on flexible instructional days has been extremely popular and successful for school districts, so it makes good sense to provide these options to every school district in Pennsylvania to address unplanned closures that force students to stay home,” Phillips-Hill said.
The House Education Committee also added an amendment that would allow all non-public schools to utilize the program, as they deem necessary.
A flexible instructional day would be utilized to cover necessary coursework, including English, math, social studies and science. School districts would have the option to use technology for purposes of fulfilling the coursework. A flexible instructional day could be used when there are building and infrastructure problems, weather-related closures or threats made against schools and students. School districts would be limited to five flexible instructional days per year.
“We need a 21st century educational model that helps us adapt and use the tools that are available,” Phillips-Hill said. “This will provide another option for school districts to address today’s challenges and ensure students’ continuum of learning is met with the least number of interruptions.”
The legislation moves to the full House of Representatives for its consideration.