The 2013-2014 calendar options are posted on the Dallas ISD website. The district is asking for stakeholders to choose between the two options and make comments.
Fair Days, holidays, and start dates aside, what puzzles me is the inclusion of 6 early release days in each calendar, the only difference being their placement in either the fall semester or in both spring and fall.
This seems to be a scheduling option whose popularity ebbs and flows with education reformers. Some advocates say it provides needed professional development time while some argue it cannibalizes quality instructional time. Many schools schedule regular early release, every Friday for example, but have longer days the rest of the week. Dallas ISD schools abbreviate schedules on early release days, and make no other adjustments.
A quick look at districts in the area finds that Richardson ISD has no early release days, Frisco ISD has none, Plano has early release at elementary schools only, and Garland ISD has several, but all are at the end of a grading period before Thanksgiving, Winter Break and end of school.
Teachers have already commented on the instructional time lost to testing, pep rallies, fire drills, career days, etc. To focus reform efforts on improving instruction while at the same time gutting the hours available seems to make no sense.
So, good or bad? What do you think? The deadline to put in your two cents is Thursday, December 19. And yes, we’ve heard the joke.