School Calendar Considerations

School year: 

A. The school year is defined in the collective agreement by article D.22.2 and this clause is often referred to as the bookends. “All days in session shall be scheduled between the Tuesday after Labour Day and the last Friday in June.” The maximum number of days in session can be determined by counting all the days in between the bookends that are not Saturdays, Sundays, statutory holidays, winter break and spring break.

  • the 2020-2021 school year has a maximum number of days in session of 188

B. The school year is also defined in the School Act Calendar Regulation by requiring minimum number of hours of instruction at elementary and secondary (which includes middle school in our district). These are known as “ministry minimums.

  • For 2020-2021 school year, the ministry minimums are 878 hours of instruction for elementary and 952 hours for secondary
  • The above values include prep time but do not include lunch, recess, or change periods

Contractual reductions of days in session:

A. Professional Development and Year End Administrative days: Contractual obligations reduce the maximum number of days in session by at least six (6) as there are five (5) professional days (D.22.2.a) and at least one (1) year end administrative day (D.22.2b).

  • Days in session now = 182 (since 188 – 6 = 182)

B. Reporting/Assessment Days: The maximum number of days in session is reduced by reporting/assessment days (D.22.2.c). This is the “lost clause” – it was erroneously left out of several collective agreements, but then found and returned in the current version. The provision calls for one (1) full day for student assessment/evaluation and parent/teacher consultation for each formal reporting period. The Settlement Agreement signed in March 2019 allows for a modification to this clause as the parties recognized that it is difficult to include the entire provision in some years because of the bookends and the ministry minimum hours of instruction.

  • Let’s start with one reporting/assessment day.
  • Days in session is now = 181 (since 182 – 1 = 181)

Non-contractual reductions of days in session:

A. The number of days in session may be reduced by any extensions to spring break. If the proposed two week spring break includes Good Friday, then only four (4) days are subtracted from the number of days in session. Otherwise a subtraction of five (5) days is required.

  • Days in session is now = 176 (since 181 – 5 = 176)

B. Other non-contractual reductions include Staff Development In-Service days. Often incorrectly called “the school based pro d day” although it is district directed rather than teacher directed, this day is not required by the School Act Calendar Regulations and is not a contractual obligation.

Ministry minimums:

Once the number of days in session is determined, then theministry minimums for instructional time can be used to calculate the instructional time per day:

  • Elementary minimum instruction = 878 hours X 60 = 52680 minutes
  • 52680 minutes divided by 176 days and rounded up = 300 minutes/day
  • Secondary/middle minimum instruction = 952 hours X 60 = 57120 minutes
  • 57120 minutes divided by 176 days and rounded up = 325 minutes/day

Ministry minimums + recesses/homerooms/change periods:

The district determines the length of recesses, change periods and homerooms. Since the ministry minimums do not include recess, changes periods or homerooms, we need to add these on to the above daily values. The below values are “ministry minimums + recesses/homerooms/change periods”:

  • Elementary 300 minutes/day + 15 minutes = 315 minutes/day
  • Middle 325 minutes/day + 15 minutes = 340 minutes/day
  • Secondary 325 minutes/day + 12 minutes = 337 minutes/day

Teacher’s weekly hours are defined in article D.23.1 and D.23.2 as maximums with 25 hours for elementary teachers (including prep time and recess) and 27.5 hours for secondary teachers (including prep time, daily recesses, change periods and homerooms). These are known as “teacher maximums.

  • Elementary teacher’s maximum is 25 hours X 60 = 1500 minutes/week = 300 minutes/day
  • Secondary/middle teacher’s maximum is 27.5 hours X 60 = 1650 minutes/week = 330 minutes/day

Comparing Ministry minimums and contractual teacher time:

Now we can compare the values in the above two steps. Notice that the “ministry minimums + recess/homerooms/change periods” are greater than the “teacher maximums”. This indicates that a modification to articles D.23.1 and D.23.2 increasing the teacher’s weekly time would be required to make these parameters work.

The parameters used in the above calculations are for a two week spring break with one reporting and assessment day. So, elementary teacher time would need to be increased to 315 minutes/day, middle teacher time to 340 minutes/day and secondary teacher time would be increased to 337 minutes per day. This is why agreements between the parties have been required to incorporate a two week spring break.

The CTA has been willing to sign a Letter of Understanding (LOU) to modify collective agreement provisions to allow for a two week spring break by adding minutes to the day (to meet School Act Regulations) and by adding some compensation for our TTOCs who are disadvantaged by the two week break. For the 2019-2020 school year, the agreement set the Elementary teacher maximums to 308 minutes/day and Middle/Secondary maximums to 336 minutes per day and provided up to two days pay for TTOCs to attend professional development days.

Let’s run through the calculations for other proposals:

A. One week spring break, no reporting/assessment days:

Step Calculation Result
1 Count days in session Maximum 188 days
2A. Five PD days, 1 admin day 188 – 6 = 182 182 days 
2B. No Reporting/Assessment days 182 – 0 = 182 182 days
3. No spring break extension 182 – 0 = 182 182 days
4A. Elementary daily instructional time 878 X 60= 52680, then 52680 divided by 182. Elem 290 min/day
4B. Secondary/middle daily instructional time 952 X 60 = 57120, then 57120 divided by 182 Sec/middle 314 min/day
5A. Required Elementary daily instructional time 290 + 15 = 305 minutes/day  Elem 305 min/day (5 minutes over teacher maximum)
5B. Required middle daily instructional time 314 + 15 = 329 min/day Middle 329 min/day (1 minute under teacher maximum)
5C. Required secondary daily instructional time 314 + 12 = 326 min/day Sec 326 min/day (4 minutes under teacher maximum)

B. Two week spring break, no reporting/assessment days.

Step Calculation Result
1 Count days in session Maximum 188 days
2A. Five PD days, 1 admin day 188 – 6 = 182 182 days 
2B. No Reporting/Assessment days 182 – 0 = 182 182 days
3. Spring break extension 182 – 5 = 177 177 days
4A. Elementary daily instructional time 878 X 60= 52680, then 52680 divided by 177 Elem 298 min/day
4B. Secondary/middle daily instructional time 952 X 60 = 57120, then 57120 divided by 177 Sec/middle 323 min/day
5A. Required elementary daily instructional time 298 + 15 = 313 minutes/day  Elem 313 min/day (13 minutes over teacher maximum)
5B. Required middle daily instructional time 323 + 15 = 338 min/day Middle 338 min/day (8 minutes over teacher maximum)
5C. Required secondary daily instructional time 323 + 12 = 335 min/day Sec 335 min/day (5  minutes over teacher maximum)