dallas isd

Two Alternate School Calendars Approved by Dallas ISD School Board

The two calendars are aimed at helping mitigate learning loss during the pandemic

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The Dallas ISD school board unanimously approved two alternate calendars to add days to the next two school years.

It's an effort that aims to combat what's being called the "pandemic slide” and help students who’ve fallen behind their classmates during the pandemic.

Despite teachers’ tireless efforts to keep students learning during a pandemic, Dallas ISD said 50% of students are worse in math, and 30% are worse in reading now compared to before the pandemic.

“So that obviously compels us to try to find every way possible to support our students to recover from that impact,” said Derek Little, Deputy Chief Academic Officer for the Dallas ISD.

Thursday night, parents sounded off on the district's plan to get students back on track during a DISD board meeting.

“I feel like this change is pulling the rug out from under us and changing the rules in the middle of the game,” one parent said.

The plan adds two new calendar options at some schools, in addition to the regular calendar.

The first option, called an intersession calendar, could affect about 1 in 3 schools and gives students who've fallen behind five extra weeks of instruction per year.

The second option, called a calendar redesign, affects only a handful of the worst-performing elementary and middle schools and all kids would get the extra five weeks of learning.

Both calendars start the school year earlier and end later for the next two years, leaving just five weeks for summer break.

“Kids need this time off from schoolwork, they need this time for socialization,” one parent said. “I fully expect to see parents taking their students out of DISD if there is an overhaul.”

But not all parents are against the ideas.

Lorena Torres's kids attend Gooch Elementary in Northwest Dallas, a school that could see a calendar redesign.

“I think it’s a good option for those who did virtual and need to recover,” Torres said.

The calendars would apply to the next two school years.

Schools interested could opt-in to the plans aimed at gaining ground on learning loss.

Teachers, staff and parents are being urged to fill out a survey about which calendar they want.

The school board meets again Feb. 11.

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