Rockbrook Elementary School and Lewisville Elementary School would be the first to roll out this pilot approach next summer if Lewisville ISD decides to move forward with the extended year. The program could add up to 30 additional instructional days at the beginning of next school year.
Lewisville ISD has hired a project manager and is expected to work with a contractor to plan the design and possible implementation of the program at the two schools, according to a Sept. 8 staff presentation to trustees. The project manager’s salary and other planning expenses are being funded by $200,000 in grant money the district received in June.
The extended school year itself has yet to be approved, and details are still subject to change. But under the current outline, students at Rockbrook and Lewisville elementaries would maintain the same teacher for the entire school year.
Potential benefits of the approach, from the district’s perspective, would include additional time for clubs and brain breaks for students; more time for professional learning and collaboration for teachers; and benefits to culture at the schools.
If the program is successful at Rockbrook and Lewisville elementaries, it could potentially be expanded to other schools in the district, project manager Susan Heintzman told trustees.
But Superintendent Kevin Rogers said that the district would not extend next school year if the proposal doesn’t end up with the support of parents and teachers at the two campuses. He said district staff would also have to come up with satisfactory answers to a number of questions about implementation.
“If a parent at Rockbrook doesn’t want their child to be part of that 210-day [school year], what are the options for that parent?” Rogers said. “Those are the kind of things that [Heintzman] and the group will have to work through.”
If implemented, half of the cost of the new school days would be covered by the state under a school finance law passed in 2019. The district would have to find a way to cover the rest of the costs, Rogers said.