With Dallas ISD students now back in classrooms and some still learning from home, the push continues to find ways to make sure students don’t fall behind.
The district is now looking at possibly changing the school calendar with a few different models including Summer Learning, Intersession and Full-Year Redesign.
Summer Learning would mean the least amount of change if adopted and will focus on students who need extra help.
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Intersession would mean an earlier start date for everyone with 180 standard base days. Targeted students would attend intersession learning days for specialized instruction.
The Full-Year Redesign would mean an entirely new calendar for all students with up to 210 standard base days.
This week, Dallas ISD launched a series of focus groups designed to find a calendar that works best for students, parents and teachers.
“We kicked off this week what is going to be a very intensive and wide-reaching effort to engage as many of our stakeholders and community members as possible around the conversation of should we consider extending the school year as a way to support or students,” DISD Deputy Chief Academic Officer Derek Little said. “We’re asking them to think about the types of possible experiences they would want for students and teachers.”
There will be more than 30 focus groups. The first few have been for principals and supervisors.
“The group was really positive about the idea overall and thought that the intersession and even the redesign model could have merit for us in the district,” Little said. “Parents and students are going to be invited to focus groups. We are also going to reach out to community members in general.”
For those who are not a part of a focus group, the district will also send out a survey.
“We do not want people to think about this as year-round school. We are not going to have school every week, 12 months of the year,” Little said. “Everybody would still have a summer break no matter what model we chose. It just may be a different type of summer break than we’ve had in the past.”
Recommendations will likely get presented the school board in January.
“It should be treated as ways to engage students in innovated and passion projects that advance their learning, but really take hold of what teachers and students want to do but may not have time to do in the normal school year,” Little said.