Houston ISD considering longer school day, year-round schedule, virtual learning for 2020-21

Houston ISD interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan said she is exploring multiple options for the 2020-21 school year. (Screnshot via HISD TV)
Houston ISD interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan said she is exploring multiple options for the 2020-21 school year. (Screnshot via HISD TV)

Houston ISD interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan said she is exploring multiple options for the 2020-21 school year. (Screnshot via HISD TV)

Houston ISD is prepared to continue virtual learning throughout the 2020-21 school year, but it is also looking at extended school days, block scheduling, a year-round calendar and other options, interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan told reporters May 15.

A decision could be shared within the next four weeks, Lathan said.

The district's decision hinges in part on guidance from the Texas Education Agency, Lathan said, particularly with regard to how districts would count attendance in a hybrid or virtual model moving forward.

"If we were to make a recommendation to become a year-round district, the board would need to accept that," Lathan said. "We are starting to engage our stakeholders ... around the option of not only a possible a year-round designation, but extending the school day 30 minutes next school year beginning in August."

If the district ends up not pursuing an extended calendar, Lathan said an academic boot camp would be held starting Aug. 1 for students targeted for additional support.


For the 2020-21 school year, the district is evaluating a possible A/B block day scheduling and allowing parents the option to keep their children at home for part or all of the year.

The school year begins the fourth Monday in August, a set date that it cannot change unless it adopts a year-round designation or becomes a district of innovation, or DOI, a process that was endorsed May 14 by the board of trustees, though the DOI status would not take effect until 2021.

Summer school will be held virtually from June 8-July 2, with 45,000 expected to attend, Lathan said.


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