In the United States, there are typically 35 to 36 weeks in a school year (this is based on a 5-day school week) and 175 to 180 days/ year. However, the requirement varies by state, district, grade level, and type of school (ex. charter vs public).
Actual weeks in a school year
Due to classes only being held a few days out of some weeks (and school closures), the actual number of weeks in a year that the school term covers is different.
For example, a district in South Florida has a 20/21 school year from Aug 19th to June 9th which covers 43 weeks out of the 52 weeks in a full year. However, 4 full weeks and a total of 31 days are closed due to holidays and teacher planning days. In total, there are 39 weeks the schools are open for a total to 180 instruction days.
How many school days are in a year?
According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), there are typically about 160 to 185 school days in a year with an average of 175-180 days. Again, this number fluctuates per state, district, etc. Some schools also have the option to meet a minimum number of instructional hours per school term instead of days.
Using the South Florida school as an example again, the school term covered 211 weekdays from Aug. 19th 2020 to June 9th 2021. Of those days, the school is closed on 31 of them leaving 180 instructional days.
On the other hand, Houston, Texas has a school term that covers 40 weeks out of the year and is open for 36 of them. It starts on Sept. 8th 2020 and ends on June 11th 2020 for a total of 199 weekdays. After accounting for 28 days of holidays and teacher planning, the school term in Houston is only 171 days of instructional time.
Required School Days by State
This chart shows the 2020 school day requirements of different states based on data from the Education Commission of the States.
|State||Minimum Amount of Days In School Year|
|Delaware||Only a requirement for hours|
|District of Columbia||180 days|
|Idaho||Varies by district|
|Kansas||Grades 1-11: 186 days|
Grade 12: 181 days
|Minnesota||Grades 1-11: 165 days|
|Missouri||Only a requirement for hours|
|Montana||Varies by district|
|Nebraska||Only a requirement for hours|
|New Hampshire||180 days|
|New Jersey||180 days|
|New Mexico||Only a requirement for hours|
|New York||180 days|
|North Carolina||185 days|
|North Dakota||Only a requirement for hours|
|Ohio||Varies by district|
|Oregon||Only a requirement for hours|
|Rhode Island||180 days|
|South Carolina||180 days|
|South Dakota||Varies by district|
|Texas||Only a requirement for hours|
|West Virginia||180 days|
|Wisconsin||Only a requirement for hours|
In summation, there is an average of 35-36 weeks, 175-180 days, and about 9 months in a school year.
Based on that average of 180 days, we spend 2,340 days in school in our lifetime of grades K-12; that’s 6.4 years!