|What are the Texas state laws governing school calendar development?|
Texas Education Code (TEC) 25.081 states that:
- School calendars must include 75,600 minutes of instruction. Full day minutes for elementary campuses, prekindergarten through 5th grade, are 450 minutes. Elementary classes’ first bell will ring at 8:00 a.m. and the end of day bell will be 3:30 p.m. Tardy bell rings at 8:10 a.m.
- The state does not allow school districts to start any earlier than the 4th Monday in August.
- Breaks and federal holidays are also included in the calendar.
o Labor Day (September)
o Thanksgiving Break (November)
o Christmas Break (End of December – First of January)
o President’s Day (February)
o Spring Break (March)
o Memorial Day (May)
HB 2610 Notes:
- Plainview ISD school calendar must include two snow days that are scheduled in April or May.
- Plainview ISD typically ends the school year in May. This allows seniors or staff to attend summer school. Most universities and colleges start the first week in June.
House Bill (HB) 2610, passed by the 84th Texas Legislature, amends Texas Education Code (TEC) §25.081, by striking language requiring 180 days of instruction and replacing this language with language requiring districts to provide at least 75,600 minutes of instruction.
Intermission and recess count toward meeting the 75,600 minute requirement. Lunch is considered an intermission and will be counted toward meeting this requirement.
Teachers are still employed under a 10 month contract of 187 days of service.
Districts must ensure that alternative education programs meet the requirement of HB 2610 for funding purposes.
How does the state testing schedule impact the school calendar?
Testing schedules that are set at the state level impact where vacation days can be located. Since most state testing dates are scheduled for the spring months, the instructional time available during the spring semester is reduced unless additional days are added to the second semester. At this point, the TEA has finalized the testing calendar for the 2016-17 school year. Summer STAAR EOCs have been moved to June instead of July (at the same time as 5th and 8th grade retesting).
What are professional development days for teachers?
Professional Development describes the time educators use to enhance their knowledge and skills so they can improve the delivery and quality of an instructional program. It also includes teachers meeting together to plan lessons and units and to examine student work and assessment data. Professional Development may be referred to as staff development, in-service, workshops, or training.
In Texas, some professional educators are required by state regulations to accrue 150 hours of Professional Development over a five-year period. Teachers often attend professional development classes during the summer. Plainview ISD frequently offers professional development for teachers during the summer. However, teachers and administrators feel strongly that additional professional development days need to be spread throughout the year. Plainview ISD also recognizes that professional development days during the school year create hardships for parents needing day care. Therefore, the days selected for professional development for staff are selected carefully and kept to a minimum.
What are bad weather days (often referred to as snow days)?
The state requires that all school calendars include two holidays that can be used as student instructional days should inclement weather force school closings. The days must be scheduled late enough in the year that the greatest threat of bad weather has passed. In West Texas, the most frequent reason for schools to be closed is due to snow and ice. Therefore, the Plainview ISD school calendar will always include two holidays in late March, April, and/or May that are designated as bad weather make-up days.
How is spring break determined?
Plainview ISD recognizes that many families have connections with other area school districts and universities. Therefore, the district strives to coordinate spring break with Lubbock and Amarillo ISD, Texas Tech University, Wayland Baptist University, and West Texas A&M University. Although the district cannot always coordinate spring break with every educational institution, we strive to make this a high priority.
What is the 2016-2017 Calendar Development Process for Plainview ISD?
The school calendar development process encompasses several steps to insure input from teachers, parents, administrators and the Plainview ISD community. The steps are as follows:
1. Several district groups are charged with the responsibility of giving formal school calendar development input. These are as follows:
o Plainview ISD Educational Improvement Council (EIC). Membership includes: parents, community members, teachers, and administrators.
o Plainview ISD campus principals
o Plainview ISD central administrators
2. Draft options are presented to each group. All suggestions and feedback are recorded and considered.
3. The draft calendar options will be offered for public review through our district website. The public may provide feedback to the district by telephone, email, or fax. All public input will be recorded, considered, and shared with the central office administrators and the Plainview ISD Board of Trustees.
4. Electronic voting between calendar options will be available on January 18th and close at noon on January 29th.
5. On February 18, 2016, the EIC recommendations and community comments will be presented to the Plainview ISD Board of Trustees. If approved by the Board, Plainview ISD will publish the school calendar on the district website no later than February 22, 2016.
Where can I get additional information or provide comments?
If you need additional information or would like to provide feedback or comments on the calendar options, contact Patti Hutto at 293-6143 or firstname.lastname@example.org .