McKinney-area school districts shorten school year by lengthening days

Image description
Image description
Many McKinney-area public school students will start summer 2021 sooner as school districts shift to longer school days.

The longer days will allow an entire week to be trimmed off of the end of the school year, meaning a longer summer break for students.

McKinney ISD was not the only district to do this. MISD and Frisco ISD will both have extended days next year. MISD approved a seven-minute extension and FISD approved a 10-minute extension during November school board meetings.

MISD and Frisco ISD, two of four school districts with schools in McKinney, will both have extended days next school year. Plano ISD is also looking into this.

MISD approved a seven-minute extension, and FISD approved a 10-minute extension during their respective November school board meetings.

“How [the minutes are] used for social and emotional learning, intervention and enrichment will be something that happens across the board,” said Clarence Williams, FISD executive director for support services.

These longer school days will start in August 2020, officials said.

As long as a district offers at least 75,600 instructional minutes each school year, it may allocate those minutes however it chooses, said Cody Cunningham, MISD’s chief communications and support services officer, during the November meeting.

Leaders from both districts said the 2020-21 calendar was created in response to community feedback.

Parents and staff had expressed interest in ending the year, before Memorial Day, according to district officials. Typically, the year ends the week of the holiday, meaning students are out for an extra day during the last week of school.

Going forward, the newly approved calendars will end the school year nearly a week earlier. The last day for both districts next school year will be May 21, 2021.

Calendar changes

Instead of ending in the first week of June as usual, this seven-minute extension will allow the MISD to wrap up each school year in mid- to late May—before Memorial Day, which falls on May 31 in 2021.

The last week of school has arguably not been the most effective as it stands, Cunningham said during a Nov. 19 board of trustees meeting. Having students out for the holiday just decreases productivity the rest of the week, he added.

“By [making] a slight increase in the day, you’re really able to knock off a whole week at the end of school, and some might argue that that is not the most productive week of the school year,” Cunningham said during the meeting. “We will end a week before Memorial Day, which will be great.”

It should be easy for campuses to incorporate the additional seven minutes and make it beneficial to students, Cunningham said. In addition, he said the district is opting to add the extra seven minutes to the end of the school day, so it will be an easier transition for students and parents.

Other districts

Allen and Prosper ISDs, which serve portions of McKinney, were among the first districts to make these calendar changes. AISD has been ending its school year prior to Memorial Day since last year, and PISD will end earlier than the holiday for the first time this May.

Plano ISD is also looking to lengthen its school days by a few minutes in certain grade levels, according to calendar drafts presented at the school board’s Nov. 19 work session. The district will make a decision during its Dec. 10 board meeting.

Parents, students and teachers have expressed mixed emotions about these changes. Parents on social media said they are concerned about arranging for an extra week of child care during the summer. Others said they look forward to having their children out of school a week earlier.
By Emily Davis
Emily graduated from Sam Houston State University with a degree in multi-platform journalism and a minor in criminal justice in Spring 2018. During her studies, Emily worked as an editor and reporter at The Houstonian, SHSU's local newspaper. Upon graduation, she began an editorial internship at Community Impact Newspaper in DFW, where she was then hired as Community Impact's first McKinney reporter in August 2018.


McKinney P&Z commissioners are allowing for more shared parking in downtown McKinney and east of Hwy. 5. (Community Impact Newspaper file photo)
McKinney P&Z commissioners OK changes to shared parking in downtown, Hwy. 5 district

The McKinney Planning and Zoning Commission approved a change to parking requirements for businesses in the McKinney Town District, an area that includes downtown McKinney and east of Hwy. 5.

54th Street Grill opened in McKinney in August. (Courtesy 54th Street Grill)
54th Street Grill opens in McKinney and more DFW-area news

Read the latest community and business news from the DFW area.

In this layout, Tract A will be allocated for townhomes, and Tract B along James M. Pitts Drive will be developed with multifamily units. (Courtesy city of McKinney)
McKinney City Council approves rezoning request near Community Avenue and James M. Pitts Drive

With the revision, about 16 acres would be allocated for townhomes, and 12.24 acres would be zoned for multifamily units.

Vitality Bowls set an opening date for Aug. 14 in McKinney. (Courtesy Vitality Bowls)
Vitality Bowls in McKinney sets August opening date

In addition to acai bowls, the restaurant will also offer smoothies, juices, paninis and salads in a cafe atmosphere.

Richardson Bike Mart has about 11,000 bicycles on back order. (File photo/Community Impact Newspaper)
Richardson shop has 11,000 bicycles on back order and more DFW news

Read the latest Dallas-Fort Worth business and community news.

CourMed is expanding its headquarters in McKinney. (Courtesy CourMed)
McKinney software and delivery company CourMed expands with city grant

The business provides delivery services from health care providers to patients' homes or offices.

Thirteen drive-thru grocery stores operated by the Salvation Army of North Texas are offering backpacks filled with supplies. (Courtesy Salvation Army)
Salvation Army expands North Texas grocery service locations to include school supplies, protective equipment

Backpacks filled with school supplies, personal protective equipment, financial assistance resources and U.S. Census forms will be available at the 13 existing locations.

Collin County has reported 1,031 new COVID-19 cases since July 31. (Community Impact staff)
DATA: ZIP code 75069 reports 60 new cases of COVID-19; active cases in McKinney increase week over week

In McKinney, there were 132 new cases of the novel coronavirus between July 31-Aug. 7.

Cottonwood Creek Trail features platforms for viewing wildlife and fishing in Cottonwood Creek. (Courtesy Visit Frisco)
Trails system in Frisco expands and more DFW-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the DFW area.

A pilot program with the McKinney Fire Department is offering free telemedicine to people who live and work in McKinney. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Telemedicine pilot program offers free health visits to McKinney

These visits are free during the seven-day pilot period spanning from Aug. 4-11.

Crews work to add lanes onto Sam Rayburn Tollway. (Gavin Pugh/Community Impact Newspaper)
Sam Rayburn Tollway $200M expansion on track, work progresses at McKinney intersections

The North Texas Tollway Authority’s Sam Rayburn Tollway widening project began in January 2019 and will add a fourth lane in both directions from Denton Tap Road in Coppell to US 75 in McKinney.