Made possible through two Texas Education Agency grants—the Additional Day School Year grant and the School Action Fund grant—the board will consider approving an extended 2021-22 school year for Clark Primary and Clark Intermediate schools, and extended school day schedules for Bammel Elementary, Bammel Middle, Eickenroht Elementary and Major Elementary schools. The recommended revised calendars and schedules for these schools were presented to the board at its April 8 workshop and will be up for consideration during the April 13 regular board meeting.
According to the TEA, both grant programs aim to improve historically low-performing schools by providing additional instruction to address summer and COVID-19 learning loss, which can have a profound effect on students, particularly from low-income backgrounds. According to the 2018-19 TEA accountability ratings, each of the SISD campuses selected for grant participation—with the exception of Clark Primary School which was not rated—received a D or F rating, meaning they are "in need of improvement" or had "unacceptable performance."
"There is work to be done," said Natasha Watson, assistant superintendent of administration for the grant schools, during the April 8 workshop. "Yes, we do have a heavy lift, but we know that our kids deserve whatever it takes."
Through the ADSY grant, eligible campuses can choose to implement a voluntary summer learning program, an intersessional calendar—which SISD officials previously considered for the 2020-21 school year—or a full-year redesign, which would add 30 days of instruction to the typical 180-day school year calendar. Under the full-year redesign option recommended for Clark Primary and Clark Elementary schools, the 2021-22 school year calendar would run July 19-June 22. By comparison, the 2021-22 school calendar previously approved for the rest of SISD campuses runs Aug. 11-May 26. According to SISD officials, Clark Primary and Clark Elementary community members, including parents and teachers, were involved in the calendar recommendation process.
"As a parent, it was great to be able to have a voice," said Nakita Atkinson, a Clark Primary School parent who was involved in the focus group. "This is a big decision, and it affects families greatly, so I'm glad that we are able to have a say-so and voice our concerns."
Dates of note included in the proposed revised 2021-22 calendar for Clark Primary and Clark Intermediate schools are as follows:
- July 19: First day of school
- Sept. 6: Labor Day (no classes)
- Oct. 11: Fall holiday
- Nov. 2: Election Day (no classes)
- Nov. 22-26: Thanksgiving break
- Dec. 20-Jan. 3: Winter break
- Jan. 17: Martin Luther King Jr. Day (no classes)
- Feb. 21: Presidents Day (no classes)
- March 14-18: Spring break
- April 15: Spring holiday
- June 22: Last day of school
Similarly, the SAF grant is eligible for D- and F-rated schools and aims to either restart a struggling school, create a new school, reassign to higher-performing schools or redesign a school. Through the SAF grant, campuses must implement the following components as part of their school action model: an Effective Schools Framework-aligned school model; high-quality curriculum and plans to deliver that curriculum asynchronously, if needed; student diagnostic assessments; high-dosage tutoring; and an extended day or year.
SISD campuses under the SAF grant include Bammel Elementary, Bammel Middle, Eickenroht Elementary and Major Elementary schools. While each of these schools will follow the previously approved districtwide 2021-22 instructional calendar, which runs Aug. 11-May 26, they will extend their school day as opposed to extending the school year.
Details about the extended school day schedule have not yet been announced as of April 9.