The Waller ISD is currently working on the 2017-2018 School Calendar and seeks community input. The District develops an annual calendar from survey responses from the Waller ISD community. The 2017-2018 School Calendar Survey is open to Waller ISD parents, employees and community members. All input is taken into consideration when developing a final recommendation to the District Site-Based Decision Making Committee on February 8, 2017. The school board will adopt a calendar for the 2017-2018 school year on February 13, 2017.
Priority factors are set to develop the school calendar. The instructional calendar will reflect ideal instructional days that are best for students. The instructional calendar will contain elements that best support instruction and academic achievement, and will take into account parent and staff considerations and preferences. The instructional calendar minimizes the number of partial weeks (weeks less than five instructional days) to ensure instructional continuity and to maximize attendance.
Frequently Asked Questions
How is the school calendar developed?
The Waller ISD solicits community input from parents, instructional staff, employees, and community members to develop a district calendar for the upcoming school year. A calendar survey is generated to seek community input for the school day and holiday preferences. The calendar process involves extensive pre-planning involving the collaboration of campus and district administrators and teachers from each campus. Waller ISD participates in the multi-district school calendar meetings hosted by Region IV (Region IV is made up of more than 50 school districts). Once the survey period concludes, the results are collected and analyzed, and a draft calendar is presented to the District Site-Based Decision Making Committee for their review. The District Site-Based Decision Making Committee considers all input in developing the final calendar options for recommendation to the school board’s consideration and approval.
What instructional calendar parameters are used to develop the calendar option(s)?
- Required instructional minutes: 75,600
- Recent changes made to the Texas Education Code will affect the way the school calendar is developed. House Bill 2610, passed by the 84th Legislature, strikes language in the Texas Education Code requiring 180 days of instruction and replaces this with language requiring districts to provide at least 75,600 minutes of instruction. This bill allows districts to add minutes as necessary to compensate for minutes of instruction lost due to school closures caused by inclement weather.
- Teacher contracted days is 187 days
- Previous input from students, staff, and community
- State and district assessment days
- STAAR, End-Of-Course and Advanced Placement
- Conducive to student learning
- The number of days in each semester should be as close in number to each other as possible. This consideration is important for single semester courses. However, the second semester may be longer as all major tests, STAAR, EOC, Advanced Placement, etc. are administered in the spring.
- The timing of exams (before and after winter break) impacts one-semester course, dual credit courses, graduation and college start for December graduates, and grade reporting and transcripts submissions for college applications.
- The start of University summer school sessions is a factor for graduating seniors and teachers who wish to take summer courses. College course work typically begins the first Monday in June.
- Consideration was giving to the timing of summer programs.
- Compatible with surrounding districts
- Other surrounding school districts’ calendars were reviewed for information, examples, and new or different options. Waller ISD participates in Region IV calendar meetings.
- The calendar design takes into account national holidays.
- Each calendar should include the equivalent of two inclement weather makeup days (or 840 minutes).
- The school year cannot end before May 15.
What is Section 25.0811 of the Texas Education Code?
In 2005, the 79th Legislative Special Session passed House Bill 1 which amended the Texas Education Code, Section 25.0811.First Day Of Instruction - (a) A school district may not begin instruction for students for a school year before the fourth Monday in August unless the district operates a year-round system under Section 25.084.
How many instructional days are required?
Recent changes made to the Texas Education Code affects the development of the school calendar. House Bill 2610, passed by the 84th Legislature, strikes language in the Texas Education Code requiring 180 days of instruction and replaces this with language requiring districts to provide at least 75,600 minutes of instruction.
The calendar option is developed on a 440 minute school day with two inclement weather days built into the calendar.
Does the number of instructional minutes affect state funding?
If the district meets the minimum minute’s requirement, the number of instructional days or minutes has no impact on state funding. Average Daily Attendance is based on averaging attendance of all instructional days.
Have teacher contract requirements changed in conjunction with HB 2610?
No, TEC §41.401 still requires that teachers employed under a 10-month contract provide a minimum of 187 days of service. Districts must consider this when creating calendars that are shorter than 180 days. Waller ISD teachers are under contract for 187 days.
Why do teachers have staff development?
Before school starts, teachers need time to develop their instructional plan for the year and to work with grade level and/or content peers. During the school year, occasional professional learning days are utilized to assess how students are doing with the instructional plan and to make adjustments where needed. Also, teachers need time to absorb new instructional techniques and immediately apply the knowledge learned back in their classroom. As Waller ISD continues to develop new instructional curriculum, teachers need time to understand and plan using the new curriculum.
The Waller ISD calendar incorporates half days that are considered a half-day staff development workday for teachers. The half-day staff development provides more professional development time for teachers instead of removing them from the classroom for instructional training during a regular school day, as well as time for teachers to meet with their teams or time for other instructional responsibilities as needed.
Professional development days are strategically set within the calendar to maximize positive impact on instruction, align with the state testing schedule, and spread throughout the school year.
Can there be a difference in the number of minutes per semester and still be considered basically equal?
Yes. Testing days, which affect nearly all students, are scheduled during the second semester, so efforts are made to factor them into the actual number of minutes per semester. An increase of minutes in the second semester over the first semester would effectively “balance” the semesters’ number of instructional minutes.
What are parent conferences?
The district has designated a specific Parent/Teacher Conference Day. The goal is for teachers to set up elementary conferences to meet with the parents of each of their students at the end of the first six weeks.
Do inclement weather days affect the calendar?
By state law, the district must provide for two inclement weather days in the second semester. The new bill allows school districts to add minutes as necessary to compensate for minutes of instruction lost due to school closures caused by a disaster, flood, extreme weather conditions, etc. Should inclement weather force school closings during the winter months, these designated days will be used for instructional days. If it is not necessary to use them as inclement weather days, they will be used as student holidays.
Can a school district change the calendar after the school year has started to make up minutes lost for an unforeseen event?
Yes. The district may add minutes to days remaining in the school year to make up for an unplanned event that caused a school to close during the school year.