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Table 1.1. Minimum number of instructional days and hours in the school year, minimum number of hours per school day, and school start/finish dates, by state: 2020

State   Minimum amount of instructional times per school year
(by grade, if applicable)
  Minimum number of hours per school day   School
In days   In hours
Alabama   180 1 1,080 1 6.0 hours
(excludes lunch and recess)
  District option  
Alaska   180 1,2 Kindergarten-grade 3=740
Grades 4-12=900
1 Grades 1-3=4.0 hours
Grades 4-12=5.0 hours
(excludes intermissions)
  District option  
Arizona   180 1 Grades 1-3=712
Grades 4-8=890
Grades 9-12=720
(includes lunch)
Arkansas   Set by the Standards for Accreditation of Arkansas     6.0 hours/day, 30.0 hours/week
(At least 40 minutes of recess must be included for elementary schools)
  Start on or after the Monday of the week in which 8/19 falls; no earlier than 8/14 and no later than 8/26  
California   180 3 Kindergarten=600
Grades 1-3=840
Grades 4-8=900
Grades 9-12=1,080
4 Kindergarten=3.0 hours
Grades 1-3=3.8 hours
Grades 4-12=4.0 hours
(excludes noon intermissions for kindergarten-grade 8; excludes recess except for in kindergarten)
4,5 District option  
Colorado   160 2 Half-day kindergarten=450
Full-day kindergarten=900
Grades 1-5=990
Grades 6-12=1,080
    District option  
Connecticut   180   Half-day kindergarten=450
Full-day kindergarten=900
Grades 1-12=900
  6 District option  
Delaware     Kindergarten-grade 11=1,060
Grade 12=1,032
  3.5 hours
(excludes lunch)
  District option  
District of Columbia   180     5.0 hours   District option (single district)  
Florida   180 1 Kindergarten-grade 3=720
Grades 4-12=900
1   District option  
Georgia   180 2   Kindergarten-grade 3=4.5 hours
Grades 4-5=5.0 hours
Grades 6-12=5.5 hours
Hawaii 7 180 8 1,080     District option (single district)  
Idaho   Set by the board of trustees of each school district 2 Kindergarten=450
Grades 1-3=810
Grades 4-8=900
Grades 9-12=990
(excludes recess, lunch, and passing periods)
  Set by the board of trustees of each school district   District option  
Illinois   185     Half-day kindergarten=2.0 hours
Full-day kindergarten-grade 1=4.0 hours
Grades 2-12=5.0 hours
  District option  
Indiana   180     Grades 1-6=5.0 hours
Grades 7-12=6.0 hours
(excludes recess and lunch)
Iowa   180 2 1,080   Grades 1-12=6.0 hours/day or 30.0 hours/week
(excludes lunch, includes passing periods)
  Start no sooner than 8/23 and no later than the first Monday in December  
Kansas   Grades 1-11=186
Grade 12=181
Grades 1-11=1,116
Grade 12=1,086
  5.0 hours   District option  
Kentucky   170 8 1,062   6.0 hours 9 District option  
Louisiana   177 1 1,062 1,4 Grades 1-12=6.0 hours
(excludes recess)
4 District option  
Maine   180 2,10   Kindergarten=2.5 hours
Grades 1-12=5.0 hours
11 District option  
Maryland   180   1,080
1,170 for public high schools
  3.0 hours   Start no earlier than the Tuesday immediately following Labor Day. Finish no later than 6/15 12
Massachusetts   180 13 Kindergarten=425
Grades 1-5=900
Grades 6-12=990
(excludes lunch, recess, passing periods, homeroom, non-directed study periods and time spent receiving school services or participating in optional school programs)
    District option  
Michigan   180   1,098     Start after Labor Day  
Minnesota   Grades 1-11=165   Kindergarten=425
Full-day kindergarten=850
Grades 1-6=935
Grades 7-12=1,020
    Start after Labor Day  
Mississippi   180     5.5 hours   District option  
Missouri     Kindergarten=522
Grades 1-12=1,044
  3.0 hours   Start no earlier than 14 days prior to the first Monday in September 14
Montana   Set by the trustees of a school district 8 Half-day kindergarten=360
Full-day kindergarten=720
Grades 1-3=720
Grades 4-12=1,080
15 Set by the trustees of a school district    
Nebraska     Kindergarten=400
Grades 1-8=1,032
Grades 9-12=1,080
  Set by the State Board of Education   Set by the State Board of Education  
Nevada   180 2,16   Kindergarten=2.0 hours
Grades 1-2=4.0 hours
Grades 3-6=5.0 hours
Grades 7-12=5.5 hours
(includes recess and time between lessons, excludes lunch)
4 District option  
New Hampshire   180 1,10 Kindergarten=450
Elementary schools=945
Middle and high schools=990
1 17 District option  
New Jersey   180     Full-day kindergarten=2.5 hours
Grades 1-12=4.0 hours
  District option  
New Mexico   2 Half-day kindergarten=450
Full-day kindergarten=990
Grades 1-6=990
Grades 7-12=1,080
(excludes lunch)
18 Half-day kindergarten=2.5 hours
Full-day kindergarten=5.5 hours
Grades 1-6=5.5 hours
Grades 7-12=6.0 hours
(excludes lunch)
  District option  
New York   180   Half-day kindergarten=450
Full-day kindergarten=900
Grades 1-6=900
Grades 7-12=990
  Half-day kindergarten=2.5 hours
Full-day kindergarten=5.0 hours
Grades 1-6=5.0 hours
Grades 7-12=5.5 hours
(excludes lunch for grades 7-12)
  District option  
North Carolina   185 1 1,025 1 Set by the local school board   Start on the Monday closest to 8/26. Finish no later than the Friday closest to 6/11.  
North Dakota   2 Half-day kindergarten=481
Full-day kindergarten=962
Grades 1-5=962
Grades 6-12=1,050
(excludes lunch and breaks)
19 Half-day kindergarten=2.8 hours
Full-day kindergarten=5.5 hours
Elementary schools=5.5 hours
High schools=6.0 hours
5 District option  
Ohio   Set by the board of education of each city 2 Half-day kindergarten=450
Full-day kindergarten=910
Grades 1-6=910
Grades 7-12=1,001
(excludes lunch, includes recess for kindergarten-grade 6)
    District option  
Oklahoma   180 1,2 1,080 1,20 6.0 hours   District option  
Oregon   2 Half-day kindergarten=450
Full-day kindergarten=900
Grades 1-8=900
Grades 9-11=990
Grade 12=966
(includes recess for kindergarten-grade 3)
  21 District option  
Pennsylvania   180 1 Kindergarten=450
Grades 1-6=900
Grades 7-12=990
1 Kindergarten=2.5 hours
Grades 1-8=5.0 hours
Grades 9-12=5.5 hours
  District option  
Rhode Island   180 1 1,080 1 Kindergarten=5.5 hours
Grades 1-12=6.0 hours
  Start no later than the first Thursday following the first Monday in September  
South Carolina   180 8   6.0 hours
(includes lunch for elementary school)
  Start no earlier than third Monday in August  
South Dakota   Set by the local school board 2 Kindergarten=438
Grades 1-5=875
Grades 6-12=963
(excludes intermissions)
22 Set by the local school board   Start on or after the first Tuesday following the first Monday in September  
Tennessee   180 8   Kindergarten=4.0 hours
Grades 1-12=6.5 hours
  Start no earlier than 8/1  
Texas     1,260 hours
(includes intermission and recess)
4 7.0 hours 4 Start after the fourth Monday in August. Finish after 5/15  
Utah   180 2 990
(excludes lunch and passing periods)
  Kindergarten=2.0 hours
Grades 1-12=4.0 hours
  District option  
Vermont   175 8   Set by the State Board of Education   District option  
Virginia   180 1 Kindergarten=540
Grades 1-12=990
1 Kindergarten=3.0 hours
Grades 1-12=5.5 hours
(excludes lunch, includes passing periods, and includes recess for elementary schools)
  Start no earlier than 14 days before Labor Day  
Washington   180   Kindergarten=450
Grades 1-8=1,000
Grades 9-12=1,080
West Virginia   180     Kindergarten-grade 5=5.3 hours
Grades 6-8=5.5 hours
Grades 9-12=5.8 hours
Wisconsin     Kindergarten=437
Grades 1-6=1,050
Grades 7-12=1,137
(includes recess and passing periods, excludes lunch)
    Start no earlier than 9/1  
Wyoming   175   Kindergarten=450
Grades 1-5=900
Grades 6-8=1,050
Grades 9-12=1,100
  Set by the trustees of each school district    
† Not applicable. State does not have a requirement in this category.
1 Districts have the option to meet either minimum hours per school year or days per school year.
2 The minimum number of instructional days may include in-service professional development days, staff development, parent-teacher conferences, planning, or similar activities.
3 In California, charter schools and select districts are required 175 days. More details may be found at:
4 Specifies instructional time in minutes.
5 The minimum number of hours per school day are rounded.
6 In Connecticut, districts may count up to 7 hours/day toward the total required for the year.
7 In Hawaii, the minimum amount of instructional time does not apply to charter and multi-track schools.
8 The minimum number of instructional days may exclude professional development days, in-service education, planning, parent-teacher conferences, and similar activities.
9 In Kentucky, kindergarten programs may operate for less than 6 hours with state board approval.
10 In Maine and New Hampshire, students in grade 12 may be allowed up to graduate five days prior to the end of the regular school year.
11 In Maine, the minimum length of a day is 3 hours, but the average over a 2-week period must be at least 5 hours.
12 In Maryland, a county board may extend the length of the school year for up to 5 days beyond June 15 without approval from the State Board.
13 In Massachusetts, schools must schedule at least 185 days. Students in grade 12 may graduate up to 12 days early.
14 In Missouri, starting in the 2020–21 school year, schools may start earlier if they give appropriate public notice.
15 In Montana, graduating students in grade 12 are only required to attend 1,050 hours.
16 In Nevada, alternative schedules can be approved in certain circumstances if they provide equal to or greater than the number of minutes of instruction that would be provided on a 180 day schedule.
17 New Hampshire sets maximum rather than minimum hours of instructional time per day: elementary schools=5.75 hours; middle and high schools=6 hours. Lunch, home room periods, passing time, and breaks do not count toward instructional time. Recess may count up to 30 minutes per day for elementary school students.
18 In New Mexico, some hours may be used for home visits or for parent-teacher conferences, depending on grade level.
19 In North Dakota, minimum number of hours for half-day kindergarten rounded to 481 hours from 481.25 hours. Minimum hours for full-day kindergarten and grades 1-5 rounded down to 962 hours from 962.5 hours to convey that the required hours for these grades are double the hours required for half-day kindergarten.
20 In Oklahoma, beginning in the 2021–22 school year, the minimum hours must be met within 165 days of instruction.
21 Oregon sets maximum, rather than minimum, hours/day: kindergarten-grade 8=8.0 hours; grades 9-12=8.5 hours.
22 In South Dakota, school boards may release students in grade 12 prior to the end of the school year. Additionally, minimum number of hours for kindergarten students rounded to 438 from 437.5, and minimum number of hours for grades 6-2 rounded to 963 from 962.5.
NOTE: There are many exceptions to instructional time requirements across states and not all of them are indicated here. Unless otherwise indicated, states that have hours per year and days per year require both.
SOURCE: Education Commission of the States, 50 State Comparison: Instructional Time Policies, retrieved November 19, 2020 from Data Source.