Responding to an apparent need for alternative attendance options, the Hutto ISD board of trustees on Thursday night approved implementation of the Optional Flexible School Day Program at the River Horse Academy beginning in the fall.
The Optional Flexible School Day Program is a state-approved plan that allows districts to provide “flexible hours and days of attendance for students,” according to the Texas Education Agency website. The Optional Flexible School Day Program is available for students in grades 9-12.
TEA data shows the program is employed by 74 ISDs, charter schools and academies across the state, including Austin ISD.
“I’ve had students ask to stay later and with this program, we can give them credit [for that time],” River Horse Academy Principal Alexis Campbell said.
HISD’s River Horse Academy offers accelerated curriculum for students to make up coursework required to graduate. According to the HISD website, the campus has been open for more than 10 years and has graduated more than 500 students.
HISD students are eligible for enrollment in the Optional Flexible School Day Program if they meet one of 13 criteria identified by the district, such as homelessness, a student who is a parent or a student who fails to pass an assessment.
Additionally, HISD administrative staff and counselors can identify eligible students by examination of transcripts and reviewing applications, according to Campbell.
Campbell expects the program to increase the number of River Horse Academy students eligible to graduate, increase credits earned, increase the number of successful assessments and increase daily attendance numbers. The River Horse Academy principal also predicted implementation of the program will result in a reduction of drop out rates.
During her presentation Thursday night, Campbell showed that attendance numbers in both River Horse Academy’s morning and afternoon sessions dropped during the 2017-18 school year compared to the 2016-17 school year.