TEA: School districts should consider year-round school

Posted at 3:46 PM, May 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-13 16:46:07-04

The Texas Education Agency is recommending school districts consider making changes to their 2020-2021 school calendar, including possibly implementing year-round learning.

The agency says the 2020-2021 school year is likely to include short-term disruptions to instruction and a number of student absences. Building a calendar that plans for and anticipates these scenarios will help minimize the disruption.

The TEA says school calendars must also consider how to adjust for learning loss as a result of current instructional interruptions.

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The agency has outlined three options they encourage school districts to consider.

The first option involves optional summer classes. The calendar would include the 180-day traditional school calendar and up to 30 days for something additional. The TEA says the goal of this option would be summer enrichment to make up for what was lost during school closures.

The second option is a "intersessional calendar." The 180 learning days would be spread out over the full year, with intermittent breaks for targeted remediation with a subset of students. Meaning, students who are struggling in specific areas would receive targeted instruction during the intermittent breaks.

The changes could include an earlier start date, long winter break and longer other breaks, and a later end date. Students, teachers and staff could also expect built-in remote learning time and staggered in-person treatment. Under this option, there would be a recommended six weeks of intersessional breaks in addition to the regular calendar that can be used for several things, including a resurgence of COVID-19 and bad weather make-up days

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The third option is a full year redesign. It involves a "revamped 7x6-weeks calendar [and] daily schedule changes to increase teacher planning time and student play."

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The TEA says school districts would need to take several steps before implementing such changes, including talking to parents, teachers and staff as well as obtaining school board approval.