TEA suggests extending 20-21 School year
The Texas Education Agency recently released the PowerPoint presentation “Adjusting Your School Calendar for COVID 19 Response” on its website, citing that the 2020-2021 school year will likely be disrupted and that school districts should proactively take precautions.
The presentation highlights three options for school districts looking to minimize the instructional and learning losses that are expected statewide due to the unexpected COVID-19 disruptions during the current school year.IIt also notes that there may be high rates of absenteeism while school is in regular session, with some students being consistently physically absent from school.
The idea is that extending the school calendar anticipates these kinds of scenarios, thus increasing educational opportunities for students, but maintains all changes and options must be considered and adopted by each school board with the specific needs of their students in mind.
Considerations listed in the proposal include a traditional academic calendar with additional intersession weeks attached to current breaks like Thanksgiving, winter and spring breaks. This option gives COVID interruption and remediation opportunities for those students who need it.
TEA says that this will benefit by providing larger breaks in winter months in case of COVID 19 resurgence, ability to use breaks as remediation days if not needed for COVID-19, and flexible use of intercessions gives greater capacity for mid-year learning gap adjustments.
Also highlighted in the proposal are calendar redesign options with additional days.
Option 1 is called “Optional Summer Learning,” with the purpose of summer enrichment. Think “180-day traditional calendar and up to 30 days for something additional.”
Option 2 is called an “Intersessional Calendar,” with the purpose of targeted remediation. This would be the traditional 180 day calendar, but spaced out over the full year, with intermittent breaks for targeted remediation with a subset of students.
Option 3 is a “Full Year Redesign”, with the purpose of rethinking the school day. Each district has their own options for doing so, but the idea would be a seven by six weeks calendar with daily schedule changes “to increase teacher planning time and student play.”
The proposal states that each district has the freedom to adjust the example plans as needed and gives the next steps as to how districts can move forward to put these plans in place.
As of yet, Marlin ISD has not made any decisions on how to move forward, but will continue operations as normal until Dr. Daryl Henson’s induction as Superintendent.
Though the School Board has the ultimate decision, it is expected that district officials will want his input before changing any of the current systems in place. A meeting is scheduled for May 20 to discuss contracts for the educator, along with a number of other positions within the district.
The full extended school year proposal can be found at this link: https://tea.texas.gov/sites/default/files/Adjusting_School_Calendars.pptx
Stay up to date with Marlin ISD’s plans by going to Marlinisd.org.