Eanes ISD adjusts 2020-21 calendar to provide staff with time for ‘mental health breaks’

Eanes ISD made adjustments to the 2020-21 academic calendar during a Nov. 17 board meeting. (Courtesy Fotolia)
Eanes ISD made adjustments to the 2020-21 academic calendar during a Nov. 17 board meeting. (Courtesy Fotolia)

Eanes ISD made adjustments to the 2020-21 academic calendar during a Nov. 17 board meeting. (Courtesy Fotolia)

In an effort to provide staff and students with additional instruction breaks, Eanes ISD trustees voted during a Nov. 17 meeting to adjust the 2020-21 academic calendar by approving eight early release days.

When the district reviewed the results of its fall 2020 staff survey, a majority of participants expressed to need for extra time amid the challenging school year.

“They indicated on the survey that the thing they would most appreciate, as we’ve all been working through teaching both remotely and in-person, would be more time,” Deputy Superintendent Jeff Arnett said.

In an effort to accommodate teachers’ requests, EISD will implement eight early release days beginning Dec. 10, which will be used as the program’s “pilot,” according to information from the district.

The decision will provide staff with time for mental health breaks and additional planning, which EISD referred to as “thought breaks.”

In ordnance with a recommended provided by EISD’s district leadership team, Feb. 3-4, Mar. 3-4, April 14-15 and May 19-20 will serve as early release dates.

According to Arnett, the break in instructional time will be accomplished by adjusting the first bell scheduled at the elementary school level to 7:40 a.m., a tactic permitted under 2015 House Bill 2610.

By ringing the bell at an earlier time each morning, EISD will add eligible minutes to the Texas Education Agency’s requirement of 75,600 annual minutes, which represents a district's operational time. This will also protect the district from losing any state funding.

However, the decision will not impact when parents drop their children off, according to Arnett, who added the adjustment only acknowledges the time students are already arriving on campus.

“It does not change anything for families or bus routes,” Arnett said. “Children don’t have to arrive earlier than they currently do.”
By Amy Rae Dadamo
Amy Rae Dadamo is the reporter for Lake Travis-Westlake, where her work focuses on city government and education. Originally from New Jersey, Amy Rae relocated to Austin after graduating from Ramapo College of New Jersey in May 2019.


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