Calendar Parameters and Considerations
Texas Education Code
- 75,600 minutes of instruction (changed from 180 days of instruction by the 85th Legislature).
- 75,600 minutes was derived by multiplying 420 minutes (7-hour day) by 180 as there used to be a requirement that a school day lasted at least 7 hours.
- A school district may not begin instruction for students before the fourth Monday in August (GISD is exempt from this through District of Innovation).
- A district may not schedule the last day of instruction before May 15.
Texas Education Agency
- The Texas Education Agency will accept a staff development waiver that reduces the number of instructional minutes by 2,100 minutes.
- When the minimum days of instruction was 180 days, GISD filed a staff development waiver to reduce student days to 175 in lieu of five additional staff development days.
- Students must be in class 4 hours to get a full day of funding, students must be in class 2 hours to get a half-day of funding.
- Teacher and many professional staff contract calendars consist of 187 days.
- Policy EB (Legal) is aligned with state statutes.
- In addition to soliciting feedback from families and community members, the calendar is vetted by the District Performance Council.
- Calendar recommendations are presented to the school board for approval.
District of Innovation
- Exempts GISD from state start date requirements within certain parameters as outlined in the District of Innovation Plan.
- The district will design and adopt a calendar with a start date that begins on or after the second Wednesday of August and ends no later than the first week in June.
- Through the recommendation of the District Performance Council, the district shall determine locally, on an annual basis, the upcoming school year(s) calendar.
Past Expectations from Community and Staff
- Graduation as early as possible, preferred before Memorial Day
- Labor Day off (September)
- Full week off at Thanksgiving (November)
- Two consecutive weeks off at Christmas
- Full week off for Spring Break (March)
- Martin Luther King Day off (January)
- Good Friday off (usually in April)
- Memorial Day off (May)
- School ends as close to the end of May as possible
- First semester ends before Christmas break
- First and second semesters are as balanced as possible
- Staff development days are important and should space appropriately, and
- School days don't start before 7:45 a.m. and end before or as close to 4:00 p.m. as possible at all levels.
Things to Consider
- When we add or subtract student days from the calendar, we have to adjust contract days, which impacts the salary of some of our employees (food services staff, custodial staff, transportation staff, etc.)
- When bell times change, the city has to change school zone signs in town. (There is a cost associated with re-programming school zone systems.)
- The capacity of our transportation department depends on the start and end-time gaps between elementary, middle school, and high school.
- The state recommends that we build at least two bad weather days into our minutes.
- We must balance the needs of the community for childcare with the needs of our staff for professional time and professional learning. We believe that the quality of learning for students is dependent upon the quality of learning for adults.