Last night at the school board meeting with the exception of those students who were receiving awards from their respective high schools (New Caney and Porter). There were only 2 (non-district working) parents in attendance to the meeting that discussed the changes in the school calendar for 2019-2020. As the school board discussed the calendar with the superintendent, the concerns that were brought to their attention were addressed. With short answers and pre-planned thoughts in the sense that although parents’ input was requested the school board, administrators, staff and teachers in the district had already decided that the ‘proposed’ calendar was already passed. This is a school district where the majority of the students are Hispanic, the majority of the students are economically disadvantaged whereas the teachers and the board members are not. This information becomes pertinent because in order to know others struggles you have to be close enough to them to understand.
A couple of weeks ago, I asked where are the parents. Well, most of them will become aware of the school change when they actually enroll their children in school for 2019-2020. Based on the Board and the district: there is no legitimate concern regarding transportation during those weeks off when students may be expected to be at the school, there are no enrichment programs that will be available during those weeks in October and February and for those currently paying for daycare, it will not be a financial strain because school will be starting earlier and so that daycare money can be used for those weeks off during school.
The purpose of the calender change according to the district is to allow for the teachers and students to have more time off. Given the current stressors of teaching, this is fair and reasonable. Yet, to have 2 separate calendars within one district and then to move the Spring Break for the majority of the students to the end of March does not seem reasonable. When the majority of all the other students in other districts and local colleges are out on Spring Break, our children will not be able to participate in the group excursions that are often offered. However, the Infinity Early College High School will be able to do so. Because instead of 2 weeks off, their calendar has them with a 4-day week schedule with Fridays off. Please note that Fridays are already their volunteer days so technically their schedule follows what they already do.
Hopefully, this calendar change will not result in the district’s accountability scores becoming even more lower. When the elementary start time changed from 8:30am to 7:30am several years ago (another major change for parents and students), their state scores begin worsening overall.