The first initial draft of the Eanes ISD 2020-21 academic calendar was presented to the board of trustees Nov. 19 by Deputy Superintendent Jeff Arnett.
The calendar draft, which was unanimously approved by the district leadership team days prior, was developed with the community’s input in mind, according to Arnett, who said surveys were distributed to residents and EISD staff members.
Several objectives were highlighted within the draft, including beginning the school year on a Wednesday, maintaining a weeklong Thanksgiving break, ending the school year before Memorial Day and improving the district’s observance of religious holidays.
The district is also taking a closer look at school day minutes as a result of House Bill 2610, which passed in 2015, Arnett said. The bill changed the required time students spend in school from 180 days to 75,600 annual minutes. He noted because EISD is a District of Innovation, it has the capability to claim an exemption from this law.
School minutes include any time a child spends in school from the first morning bell to the last dismissal bell. According to Arnett, this includes intermissions, such as recess and transition time between classes. The district is considering using this time to gather more school day minutes, ultimately providing the flexibility to add two inclement weather days if needed.
Within the calendar proposal was the addition of a daily transition bell that would signify the time in which elementary school students transition from their final period class to their transportation home. Including this time as a designated school minute would allow the district to add ten more minutes to a school day, bringing in 860 annual minutes.
However, this decision would have no effect on parents, staff or students and would not change school pickup times, Arnett said, adding the bell would only signify a transition time that is already in place.
According to the calendar draft, the 2020-21 school year would begin Aug. 19 and end with a half day May 26. Staff development days would consistently fall on Thursdays, and parent-teacher conferences were moved to the final week of October.
The winter break would run from Dec. 21-Jan. 5, spring break would take place from Mar. 15-19.
The district also increased its no-homework nights from six days to ten, which would aid in the efforts to honor residents' religious holidays.
Action on the official calendar will be tentatively scheduled during a Dec. 10 board meeting, Arnett said.