With the approval of the DOI plan, the board was able to choose between calendars with an earlier start date in mid-August and a more traditional start to the school year, as well as account for more holidays through the strategic placement of staff development days.
The 2022-23 calendar has an earlier start on Aug. 17, with the school year ending on May 25. Similarly, the 2023-24 school year will have an early start Aug. 15 and ends on May 23.
District staff stated that community input through a survey shared at the end of January shaped the alignment of staff development days with additional holidays celebrated by RRISD families.
The 2022-23 calendar has been adapted to include a staff development day/student holiday that aligns with Diwali on Oct. 24, 2022. According to the district, this was not possible for the 2023-24 calendars. Professional development days/student holidays in September were shifted for Rosh Hashanah in 2022 and Yom Kippur in 2023. Both calendars have a March staff development day/student holiday shifted to April for Eid.
Public commenters praised these additions to the calendar, with one district parent reading a statement from another parent, Sthea Mason-Kapoor, at the lectern, saying that her family is bicultural and celebrates holidays that were not previously on the calendar.
"My bicultural family celebrates both Christmas and Diwali," her statement read. "I want to say a huge thank you to the committee that has added several non-Christian holidays, to the school calendar for next year. This is huge. It feels like we are not invisible."
Both calendars include seven dedicated teacher workdays before school starts. For 2022-23, student holidays in addition to regular holidays and the shifted staff development days are Oct. 10, Dec. 16, Jan. 2-3 and Feb. 20. In 2023-24, additional student holidays are Oct. 9, Nov. 10, Dec. 15, Jan. 2-3 and Feb. 19.
Other commenters requested that the calendar be shifted to accommodate a student holiday for April 8, 2024, to allow students to take time to view a full eclipse on that day. Central Texas will be in the apex path of that eclipse. The board ultimately decided to approve the calendars as they were presented and will revisit the eclipse date as a student holiday at a later time.