DISD 2013-2014 Calendar Options

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The bitterness of an unusable systemThe 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.

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Posted in Administrative Policies

Spread the word:  Jennifer Sprague has resigned, as reported by Channel 11 6 PM news.  Color me surprised.....wait til the REST comes out!!!  

The Owl Howls
The Owl Howls like.author.displayName 1 Like

Did I miss the part where we make suggestions? Was there a "nonpartisan" group that set the calendar? How in the world can we have a covocation when we are 5 mil in debt?


We cannot afford to 1. pay for a large enough forum  2. miss crucial time from our classrooms (set up)            3. endure another "Power Point" dog and pony show 4. give the impression that we support this regime.


It would be a thousand times more productive to have instruction with students than have early release to look at benchmarks. We can do that on one of our many extended days.


The calendar does not show the extra 25 minutes of instruction that FMM wants to incorporate. Elementary would begin at 8:05 and end at 3:30. I don't mind more time with my students, but we shouldn't have to make up more time at the end of the day. 4:45  teacher release time?

A Real Texan
A Real Texan like.author.displayName 1 Like

I find it incomprehensible that the calendar has another convocation planned. (Especially considering the major fiasco this year's turned out to be.) Since the focus of the district is the success of students, the time and money spent on a district covocation is a poor use of the resources entrusted to DISD by the tax payers. Instead, that time should be spent preparing for the new school year.

Beer in Hand
Beer in Hand like.author.displayName 1 Like

Gpo ahead. They can't fire all of us. Respectfully fill out the choice and give them a few points to ponder: 1. Next time, list who is on the committee and how they were chosen.

2. Notify us when they had meetings to discuss the calendar, so we can sit in on them.

3. Ask them why vote at all? Was it board policy, if so, which one? I mean, if we are going to be asked, is feels more like, "Sir, would you like to be kicked in the teeth or the crotch?" Neither choice is a good one for me.


O Tannenbaum
O Tannenbaum like.author.displayName 1 Like

If this were Highland Park or some other responsible district, the parents would be up in arms.  Really, Miles would NEVER have been hired.  Are the parents of DISD kids so apathetic or unknowledgeable that Miles can take full advantage here?  Is there no requirement for fiscal responsibility for this superintendent?  And the time that is being lost as a result of his utter foolishness.  Unbelievable.   It's criminal, and he should be prosecuted.  Doesn't the TEA have any sanctions against such abuse of power?  The dude is destroying the district and cloning himself in the process.  Wonder how many years the fallout will linger. 

O Tannenbaum
O Tannenbaum like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

I hate early release.  We never get to use it to the students' true advantage.  It's all time-wasting meetings.  Meetings, meetings, meetings, and more meetings.  Ugh. 

Beer in Hand
Beer in Hand

More inane decisions made by people who never taught under high-stakes testing.


I have no idea why the BOT even asks for our opinion. I was once in a training with a woman on the calendar committee. She said that they have the options and ask for teacher and parent input, but the BOT never takes it into consideration in that they have already chosen which one they want.


therandallw like.author.displayName 1 Like

After looking over calendar 1 and 2, I choose 3 (last year's calendar). I'm in agreement with Persona non grata. I refuse to take my eyes off the audit. If we are not careful, the powers that be will try to slip this one by us. Stay vigiilant, this is an opportunity to rid the district of Miles.


Persona non grata
Persona non grata like.author.displayName 1 Like

I'm experiencing great difficulty building any interest in calendars. My interest is consumed by the pending release of the final audit. Hurry, Santa! Mommy wants a truckload of arrogance, fraud and contempt (Oh, my!).

remember the rojas
remember the rojas like.author.displayName 1 Like

 @Persona non grata I wish for the same, but I think we are going to receive a lump of coal.  I am afraid that the final audit will be a whitewashed version of the initial one.  There will be  no more talk of broken policies and fraudulent reimbursements. Everything will be neat and tidy and there will be no improprieties found.  There is too much pressure from the powers that be who want Miles to implement his program. They do not want to be derailed by policies and regulations. 


Sort of like how when the TEA investigated El Paso and found no credible evidence of wrongdoing by the district, yet when the FBI investigated, the superintendent received jail time. 

Persona non grata
Persona non grata

...well, that and the holiday message from a man who "demonstrates" (!) no respect for his employees. LO: I am learning how to feign appreciation. DOL: The student will write a 4-5 sentence holiday message to employees that, on the face of it, expresses wishes of joy and goodwill but that clearly provides inferences of no such thing.

rearview like.author.displayName 1 Like

Merry Xmas Digruntled.......hang in there only 2 more days after today......love reading your posts! 


Why do both calenders have the week of training in August and still have the days of early dismissal?  I thought the early dismissal days replaced those missing days of training.

LaughingStock like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

Why is DISD so backwards? The largest school district in North Texas, yet the biggest screw up and the most useless of practices abound. WE WASTE SO MUCH PRECIOUS TIME just for the sake of killing time, because nothing gets accomplished regardless. Whose idea was it to screw with the calendar? Triple early release days, extended year, extended day, fewer days off, on and on... No wonder there are over 400 vacant positions. And counting! Who's going to flock to apply? Good luck with that.

O Tannenbaum
O Tannenbaum like.author.displayName 1 Like

In order to have school, you need students and you need teachers.  Maybe you need principals.  All these other people are really unnecessary to the process of teaching and learning.  They know it, so they think of ways to justify their existence and fat salaries.  Of course, DISD tends to cut teachers when it's discovered that OOOPS a bunch of money has been wasted.  Dismal managers create instability and hold the teachers responsible.  The problem of Miles?  That is in a league of its own.  He lacks credibility from every perspective.  He needs to get rid of good people, because he looks like CRAP next to them.   How long does DISD have to look stupid for hiring this PHONY? 

Sentinella like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

These early release days are incomprehensible, other than in cases (sounds like Garland is one) in which the teachers are actually given a block of time to complete grading (what a concept!) I am not sure how many of the other high schools have gone from block schedule to 45 minute every-course every-day this year, but in those cases, early release makes for absurdly brief classes. Of course, the current regime loves Short Attention Span Theatre, but that doesn't mean it promotes any kind of useful learning. Earlier in the year, we actually had yet more MRS/DOL "training" in those afternoons. The kids wonder aloud why they even bother attending those days, since it is clear to them that nothing of value is accomplished. I have no credible answer for them.

LaughingStock like.author.displayName 1 Like

@Sentinella DISD "giving" teachers a block of time to finalize grades? NEVER! That would be ideal for early release, so OTHER districts practice early release for that purpose. Dallas "takes" from teachers, they don't "give" us anything but a hard time!

mired by mike
mired by mike like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

 @Sentinella Why are you complaining? 25 minute classes are perfect. Teach the concept for 5 minutes, MRS for 10 minutes, DOL for 10 minutes. perfect, right? 

O Tannenbaum
O Tannenbaum like.author.displayName 1 Like

Ha ha!  Yes, and the students will retain everything and be SO very college-ready.

MrGlen like.author.displayName 1 Like

I have looked at the "options" 1 and 2 for next year's calendar.  There is very little difference between the two calendars. What happened to Thanksgiving?  Why have we lost the Monday and Tuesday of that week? This year we were the only school district around that went to school for the whole week. Anyway, I don't know why Administration seeks our input on the calendar. They don't listen to us anyway.  

Aztec Warrior
Aztec Warrior

Well, thye do give you those 100 characters to comment with. Early release started to coincide with data analysis from benchmarks. Clearly, now that we have time in the afternoons (in fact are required to) to do data analysis, they've outlived their usefulness.


Very disappointing not to see Thanksgiving added back. 



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Foundation for Empowerment (FCE) released 3 papers:

1. Disruptive Change: Mike Miles and the Crisis In Dallas ISD, which has been prepared with consultation by education academics, extensive research, review of data and education literature, and meetings and interviews with people of Dallas holding varying and sometimes conflicting points of view;

2. Digging Into Data and Evidence: Mike Miles, Dallas ISD, and Trickle-Down Education Report, by Dr. Julian Vasquez Helig, Lindsay Redd, M.A. and Dr. Ruth Vail; and

3. The Challenge of Disruptive Leadership in Dallas ISD, by Decoteau J. Irby, Ph.D. and Matthew Birkhold, M.A.

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