UPDATE: Language was added to House Bill 2711 (Governor's education bill) during the 2017 regular session of the Legislature that is positive for teachers across the state. New language in state code now says:
"Educators shall receive uninterrupted time for planning periods each day. Administrators may not require a teacher to use the planning period time allotted to complete duties beyond instructional planning, including, but not limited to, administrative tasks and meetings."
WVEA worked with Senate Education and House Education leadership and Gov. Justice to include this language about planning periods in the final version of House Bill 2711.
For more details about the new language in code, see the link at right.
WVEA has long advocated for teachers' planning periods to be protected and strengthened.
WVEA's Legislative Agenda includes this priority:
"Planning periods for all full-time classroom teachers should consist of no less than 60 continuous minutes of uninterrupted and duty-free time to be used at the discretion of the individual teacher."
Planning periods are important for teachers. It is the only time of the day in which you are without students and have time to prepare for instruction. It's time to use the copier, double check technology, prepare labs, grade papers, and review lessons.
The initial planning period statute was created in 1982. In part it reads: “Every teacher … shall be provided at least one planning period within each school day to be used to complete necessary preparations for the instruction of pupils. ... No teacher may be assigned any responsibilities during this period.” The statute also stipulates that planning periods are to be no less than 40 minutes.
The intent of this statute is clear. The intended use of the planning period is not so a teacher can cover someone’s class when a sub is not called out or be required to help answer phones in the office. The intent is not to have half of it taken each day for a mini principals’ meeting or a required book reading.
Planning periods are not for county training. Specific days are built into the calendar for those purposes. Planning time is not meant to replace a CE or ISE day.
This year, the language included in HB 2711 above was intended to strengthen the planning period statute and make clear that an administrator cannot ask you to use your planning time for duties beyond instructional planning.