Most school districts follow the school calendar as defined in NDCC 15.1-06. However, there are situations when a district may request a waiver to alter their instructional days and/or time. The North Dakota Department of Public Instruction accepts submissions of two types of waivers for this purpose - Reconfiguration of Instructional Days Waiver and High School Unit Instructional Time Waiver.
- Initial waiver applications are due by March 1 of every year;
- Waiver extension applications are due by July 1 of every year.
North Dakota Century Code states if a school district intends to operate under a school calendar that consists of four days of instruction per week, the school district shall apply and be approved for a waiver by the superintendent of public instruction (SFN 58170).
A four-day school week includes a calendar that consistently has four student contact days a week over an interval of several months. This can be traditional four-day weeks in which the entire yearly calendar is comprised of four student contact days per week, or a hybrid four-day school week which consists of four student contact days a week in a chosen semester, or over a season such as winter. In addition, a district that implements a four-day school week will most likely have eight to nine hours of student contact time during the day within the four-day school week. Districts that implement a four-day school week must still create a contingency plan to care for students and families that are burdened by the four-day school week, such as provide breakfast and lunch.
Regardless of the when the four-day school week is implemented, schools still must adhere to the minimum hourly requirement. This requirement is 962.5 hours a year at the elementary school and 1,050 hours of instruction at the high school.
A Waiver of High School Unit Instructional Time (SFN 58169) is required if:
- Reconfiguring the school day drops the hours of required unit time of a course (120 hours of student engagement per calendar in general coursework; 150 hours of student engagement per school calendar in Science and CTE courses).
*Note: A school/district may need both waivers if altering their school calendar significantly impacts high school instructional time.