Duty-Free Planning and prep time

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The Texas Education Code reads as follows:

§ 21.404. Planning and Preparation Time

Each classroom teacher is entitled to at least 450 minutes within each two-week period for instructional preparation, including parent-teacher conferences, evaluating students’ work, and planning. A planning and preparation period under this section may not be less than 45 minutes within the instructional day. During a planning and preparation period, a classroom teacher may not be required to participate in any other activity.

It is important to note that planning and preparation periods are duty time. In other words, this is not a free time when employees could leave campus or engage in non-school related activities. This period of time is to be used at the discretion of the teacher and may not be hijacked by administrators without the consent of the teacher.

The Attorney General of Texas ruled that during the preparation and planning period it is unlawful to mandate attendance at group sessions. The Commissioner went on to say that this law does not prohibit a teacher from volunteering to participate in a meeting or planning session during their planning period.

Because your planning and preparation period must consist of 450 minutes delivered every 10 days, it is also important to understand a few more facets of time allocation. You must have at least 45 minutes consecutively on any day you are given a prep period; it cannot be divided up throughout the day. In addition, if you receive more than 450 minutes of planning and preparation per two week period, you may be required to attend a group planning meeting or a departmental meeting. For example if your preparation period is 50 minutes every day, over the course of two weeks you have 500 minutes of prep period and could therefore be required to attend a staff meeting of some kind once every two weeks during your prep period.