2017-18 FISD school calendar aligns new school times across district

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A new calendar was approved in a vote of 6-1 by FISD Board of Trustees at their regular March 6 meeting. It is similar to calendars of past years in that there is a full week break at Thanksgiving, two weeks for a Winter Break and one week for Spring Break. Other traditional holidays are also maintained. There are also the same early dismissal days in the past for secondary and elementary.

It has 174 student school days with six embedded Professional Learning Communities or PLC days. The last day of school will be May 31.

The calendar has a mid-week school start date (Aug. 16) as well as additional professional development days that are spread throughout the year to allow teaching staff to meet in their PLCs.

The adjustments to the previous calendar were made based on feedback from the District of Innovation Committee as well as campus site based committees. The chosen calendar includes four staff development waiver days.

HB 2610, which was passed by the Texas Legislature in 2015, changed the calculation of a school year from 180 days to 75,600 minutes. Districts have the flexibility to increase the length of a school day to cover potential missed days (e.g. bad weather, utility problems, widespread illness) or have fewer student days to allow for additional professional development days as teacher contracts remained at 187 days a year.

Five minutes to the school day was added for a new daily total of 425 minutes.

The calendar required adjustments to the current school times to meet minute requirements, professional learning needs and the ability to offer traditional holidays. Because the professional learning time would be built into the calendar, the weekly late arrival days at the high school were no longer needed.

The process of adding minutes to the school day and removing the high school late arrival day, provided the opportunity to align school times across the district. New transportation models allowed for later school start times at Cline Elementary and the high school.

These two changes should allow Cline students and parents more time in the morning to prepare for school and high school staff to hold team planning sessions prior to school starting each day, according to FISD officials.

Cline Elementary, Westwood Elementary, and Bales Intermediate will all have the same times: 8 a.m. to 3:05 p.m. Windsong Intermediate hours will be 8:15 a.m. to 3:20 p.m.

The Junior High and the high school will both run from 8:45 a.m. to 3:50 p.m.

The new 2017-2018 calendar will be posted on the school website at myfisd.com.

Story by Karolyn Gephart

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