The Pearland ISD board of trustees approved of the 2023-24 school year instructional calendar at a Feb. 7 meeting after receiving criticism of the plan from teachers and parents.

In the passed calendar:
  • The first day of school for students will be Aug. 15.
  • The fall semester will finish as an early dismissal day Dec. 20.
  • The winter break will last 14 days, one day longer than the 2022-23 winter break.
  • The last instructional day for students will be an early dismissal day May 23, 2024.
  • Graduation will take place May 24, 2024.
The calendar passed 5-1, with Trustee Kristofer Schoeffler dissenting and Board President Sean Murphy absent.

The approved 2023-24 calendar was criticized for its winter break schedule, particularly its length and return date, Superintendent Larry Berger said. In it, the break would last from Dec. 21 to Jan. 5, with teachers returning Monday, Jan. 8, and students returning Wednesday, Jan. 10.

“I think parents’ biggest concern is the length of the winter holiday and the fact that it extends further in January than is typical,” Trustee Crystal Carbone said. “There have been comments saying that it’s too much time, especially for kids that need any kind of extra help, that they may fall behind.”

La’Kesha Henson-Vaughn, who served as a nonvoting member of the District Advisory Calendar Committee, or DACC, said committee members had concerns about winter break ending too early in January. She said members wanted to give parents enough time to recuperate after the holidays.

The margin in which the proposed calendar passed the DACC was not a significant margin, according to board members. Berger said that both of the calendars that were voted on by the committee had the same winter break schedule, which the board says is the most contentious element of the passed calendar.

Four calendars were created by the DACC and sent to campuses for voting. The calendar that won the vote and was passed by the board was calendar “B.” The DACC consists of one or two staff members representing each campus alongside two principals and eight parent representatives.

The board expressed interest in making adjustments to the procedure for selecting an instructional calendar in future years, mentioning potential community opinion polls.

“We’re not going to make everyone happy,” Vaughn said. “Even if we were to come up with another calendar, then there will be someone else that may not be happy with that change.”