May 22, 2003
Robert W. Minney, Counselor
East Fairmont Junior High School
1 Orion Lane
Fairmont, WV 26554
Dear Mr. Minney:
I am in receipt of your request for a Superintendent?s Interpretation, dated May 15,
2003, regarding use of planning periods. Specifically, you ask whether teachers can
request that planning periods be scheduled so that they have the opportunity ?to take
coaching jobs at other schools, to run personal errands, to go home to feed animals/family, or to take personal classes at college.?
West Virginia Code ?18A-4-14(2) provides that:
?Every teacher who is regularly employed for a period of time more than one-half
the class periods of the regular school day shall be provided at least one planning
period within each school instructional day to be used to complete necessary
preparations for the instruction of pupils. Such planning period shall be the length
of the usual class period in the school to which such teacher is assigned, and shall
be not less than thirty minutes. No teacher shall be assigned any responsibilities
during this period, and no county shall increase the number of hours to be worked
by a teacher as a result of such teacher being granted a planning period
subsequent to the adoption of this section (March 13, 1982).?
According to the language of this statute, the planning period is part of the
?instructional day.? The ?instructional day? is defined by West Virginia Board of Education
Policy 2510, Assuring the Quality of Education: Regulations for Education Programs, as
?[t]ime allocated within the school day for the teaching and mastery of content standards
and objectives.? Code ?18A-4-14(2) further clarifies that the purpose of the planning period is to complete necessary preparations for the instruction of pupils.
Thus, it is clear that the planning period is part of the instructional day during which
a teacher is compensated for being actively engaged in preparation activities which are
necessary to effectively teach the prescribed content standards and objectives to students.
While the specific methods by which this preparation is to be completed are not set forth
in law or policy, it is certain that they do not include coaching at other schools, running
personal errands, going home to feed animals and family members, or taking college
Hoping that I have been of service, I am
State Superintendent of Schools