Letter to the Editor

Requirements for school days

Friday, December 3, 2004

To the editor:

I am a parent of a student in the Cape Girardeau School District and try to be informed about attendance requirements.

It is my understanding that public schools in Missouri are currently required to be in attendance for 174 days and a minimum of 1,044 hours (522 hours for pupils in kindergarten) to meet state requirements and receive state funding. According to the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, a school day is considered a minimum of three hours, and a maximum of eight hours. Six hours of instruction is considered a full day. The Cape Girardeau district has a planned calendar of 179 days, which includes eight half-days for teacher in-service training and parent-teacher conferences to meet both the minimum daily and hourly attendance requirement.

Although the in-service training and conference days are sometimes inconvenient for parents, I understand the district's need to schedule them.

If you are concerned about the quality of instruction or the substance of the curriculum for your child, I would encourage you to discuss it with your child's teacher or administrator. My experience has been that they are more than willing to share this information with you and are grateful for your participation. If this fails you, please give feedback to the school board. You can't know what is happening in the classroom unless you are involved.

TONY SMEE, Cape Girardeau