Plano ISD trustees approve a final calendar for the 2020-21 school year

Plano ISD trustees voted Dec. 10 to approve a final calendar for the 2020-21 school year, with one amendment. (Adobe Stock)
Plano ISD trustees voted Dec. 10 to approve a final calendar for the 2020-21 school year, with one amendment. (Adobe Stock)

Plano ISD trustees voted Dec. 10 to approve a final calendar for the 2020-21 school year, with one amendment. (Adobe Stock)

Plano ISD has a new calendar for the 2020-21 school year, and it includes an additional five minutes at the beginning of the school day for early childhood, elementary and middle school students.

Originally identified as draft A when presented to the board in mid-November, this calendar will begin school on Aug. 12 of next year—a mid-week start—and end on May 27, barring any inclement weather.

The draft was approved Dec. 10 by the PISD board of trustees with an amendment to move the end of the third grading period to the Friday before spring break, March 5. The end of the grading period had previously been placed at the end of the week after spring break.

This change will make the fourth grading period the longest of the year, but board trustees said this will likely be offset by state and AP testing at the end of the year. The heavier weighted fourth semester mirrors that of the 2019-20 school year calendar, said spokesperson Lesley Range-Stanton, who presented the final calendar.

Elementary schools will start school days at 7:40 a.m., while middle schools will begin the day at 8:25 a.m. in the 2020-21 school year. The additional five minutes each day will create two fewer days in class while still meeting total minutes requirements for the year. The two days less will also help the district remain competitive for teacher salaries and benefits, Range-Stanton said.

High school, senior high school and Academy High School students will remain at the same length school days as the year before.

Neighboring Frisco and McKinney ISDs also recently voted to extend their school days for the 2020-21 school year.

In the final calendar, students will receive an additional day off after Labor Day, Sept. 7-8, and will have Oct. 12-13 off for Columbus Day, giving students at least two days off each month, including the weeklong break at Thanksgiving from Nov. 23-27.

Winter break will begin with an early release on Dec. 18, according to the calendar. Students will return to school Jan. 6, and teachers will begin the day before.

In the second semester, students and staff will receive days off on Jan. 18 and Feb. 15, with an additional day off for students Feb. 16. Spring break will take place the week of March 8—the same week as Frisco ISD’s break.

Students and staff will have a long Easter weekend from April 2-5. An inclement weather day is set for April 26.

The school year will end with an early release on May 27 and is followed by a second snow day.

Staff will have 5 total extended planning and professional learning days, as well as two trade days in the 2020-21 school year, according to the calendar.

Following feedback from trustees in mid-November, the three draft options for the 2020-21 school year were vetted by a principal and leadership team and a faculty council. The groups shared their feedback via an online survey and showed a 66% preference for the draft A calendar, Range-Stanton said.

Correction: a previous version of this article incorrectly stated the end date of the 2020-21 school year and incorrectly spelled the name of the PISD spokesperson.
By Liesbeth Powers
Liesbeth graduated from Baylor University with a degree in new media journalism in December 2018. She gained her newspaper experience as a staff writer and multimedia editor at her campus paper, The Baylor Lariat. Liesbeth joined the Community Impact team in August 2019, where she reports on all things Plano, including education and transportation.


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