Lesley Range-Stanton, Plano ISD executive director of communications, and chief operating officer, Theresa Williams presented on Monday to the Plano ISD school board three calendar drafts for the 2021-22 school year.
Each draft presented different start and end dates, different arrangements of holidays and professional learning days, and different grading periods for the academic school year.
“The calendar drafts were developed sometime this summer during our busy time,” Range-Stanton, said. “Four versions of the calendar were vetted by various groups including the cabinet, the Plano Leadership Executive Committee, the Student Advisory Council, the Faculty Advisory Council and the principals and assistant principals. Tonight, we're bringing you versions of that calendar that have been slightly fine-tuned as a result of that feedback. With your feedback, we can hopefully have some finals for our meeting next month for your approval.”
Plano ISD used a comprehensive calendar survey to learn about community preferences. Some areas of considerations included balanced semesters as possible, adhering to the required 75,600 instructional minutes, revisiting the exam and testing calendar for the state and district and alignment with dual credit and Collin College based on previous years’ calendars. Other considerations were spring break dates of surrounding school districts, placement and duration of breaks throughout the year and student activities and graduation.
Calendar drafts A and C propose that the first day of school take place on Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2021. However, draft B proposes that school should start on Monday, Aug. 9. Starting on the Monday provides two more student/teacher holidays than the other two drafts.
Winter break, as proposed in drafts A and C is scheduled to be two weeks. Calendar B gives a week and a half of break before starting up midweek.
"We floated the days on spring break,” Stanton said. “We pulled from our surrounding districts and learned that Dallas County schools lined theirs up with Dallas community colleges. Theirs is later. Our Collin County neighbors line up with Collin College. Even though they haven't finalized their calendars, they did let us know when they planned their spring break, and that's based on Collin College and UNT Frisco."
Stanton said that staff across Plano schools showed preference to the midweek start. Staff, students and parents prefer two weeks of winter break, which is three full weekends. Students and staff like breaks throughout the year including the extended weekend that Calendar B offers in October.
Teachers like having professional learning spaced throughout the year, and preferences across all audiences lean toward a later spring break. If the district were to match Collin College, it would be March 7 through March 11.
The drafts will be finalized before approval in their December meeting.