Draft 2017-18 School Schedule Could Cut Summer Short

Endless summer nights could be cut short with the possible 2017-18 school schedule.

Keller ISD noted that the possible schedule released before the end of 2016 was only a draft version for initial planning and part of an ongoing process.

“This is a DRAFT version of the 2017-18 Instructional Calendar and is not to be considered the final version for Board of Trustees approval. This template is used by the District’s Calendar Committee as a framework to craft a more developed proposal based on policy requirements and stakeholder feedback, and intended only to provide the KISD community with an illustration of the potential school start and end dates, as well as the windows for school breaks,” KISD said.

“After reviewing stakeholder feedback and implementing additional calendar components, such as grading periods and professional development days, the committee will bring a final proposal for preview to the Board of Trustees in January.”

The proposal for the school year calendar will be delivered to the board on Jan. 19, 2017, according to the publicly-available board agenda.

After being previewed by the Board, a final proposed version of the calendar will be posted. The Board of Trustees will consider approving a final proposed version at the regular meeting on February 9, 2017.

Preliminary Draft Calendar

Shorter summer and earlier start to school for the Keller Independent School District resulted in an unwieldy amount of mixed responses for students, for parents and for faculty. The schedule consists of a start date of Aug. 15 or Aug. 16, an end date of May 31, and a graduation date marked to be May 26.

See the complete draft schedule here: InstructionalCalendar_2017-18_DRAFT

With school beginning in Aug. 15 or Aug. 16, teachers would be required to return the week before. The 2016-17 schedule marked 173 school days which contrast with the 2017-18 schedule that could have close to 181 school days, including bad weather make up days.  Moreover with the year starting a week earlier in Aug. 15 or 16, and ending only a couple days earlier than the 2016-17 school year, the classes of 2018 would be in school close to the same amount of time they had been in school as juniors or sophomores. Not only does the school year become extended in this preliminary draft schedule, but summer of 2017 will be shortened by a couple weeks for students and close to three weeks for teachers.

“I honestly really don’t mind starting earlier,” commented french teacher and tennis coach, Coach Roger Thomas, “Coaching a fall sport, I’m here anyway. But in order to finish finals before the Christmas break we’re probably going to have to make some sacrifices. I know it may be an inconvenience for a lot of families, but to me it makes sense. When I first started teaching, we started even earlier than what we’re going to start next year, so a lot of people in the community are used to that.”

Furthermore, with the new preliminary schedule, there have been updates made to the holiday break. In an effort to end finals before the break students and faculty could get out as late as Dec. 21 or 22. There is debate whether faculty and students should get out on Dec. 22. and faculty return to school on Jan. 8 for a professional development day while students return to school on Jan. 9, or get out on Dec. 21 and both faculty and students return on Jan. 8. This hypothetical has raised questions among parents, particularly those with joint-custody that may lose valuable time with their child.

“The Christmas break is a horrible set up,” commented Kristina Luedke-Roberts, reacting to the released preliminary draft schedule on Facebook, “I would prefer time before Christmas. Also families who have joint-custody usually use the 28 of December as the date to exchange kids. So [it’ll] give one parent a lot more time than the other. Not a good situation at all. Please consider a change.”

Forney Independent School District, has recently released their draft for their 2017-18 school year as well. Their schedule would enable teachers to return to school on Aug. 14 to prepare for the year and students return on the 21. It also states that there will be a half day at the end of each quarter followed by a break for both the students and teachers. With the earlier start the draft schedule states school would then get out before memorial day. However Forney has 450 instructional minutes per day as opposed to the 435 minutes KISD has. Furthermore, the teachers are coming back to work two days after summer break, and Forney ISD doesn’t appear to have semesters.

“I really like F0rney’s schedule, it’s very teacher friendly because it gives the teachers five full days in their classroom to prepare for the school year without any meetings or any other requirements,” said Coach Thomas, “They get a fall break of one week and they do end before memorial day in May, so that is a very good schedule and I think the teachers in that district will really like that one. It would be great if we could adopt something similar to that, if we can’t though the one we’re proposing is a step in the right direction.”

While questions have been raised about Keller’s preliminary schedule, there also however has been gratitude expressed for the possibility of having finals over before students go on for their holiday break.

“I honestly think it’s a really great idea to have finals before break,” said junior Marisa Harris. “I kind of wish that all my previous high school years we did it before break. When you come back after break teachers are pushing a lot of reviews and push all the work you’ve learned before break and since you just got back from break students are tired and worn down especially since I personally work a lot over break. When I get breaks and school is out, those are the days I’m working non-stop. I kind of wish I had the freedom to not worry about having to go back to finals when we go back to school.”

“I do hope the schedule will get passed,” said Coach Thomas, “I know some people have a concern about the Christmas break not starting until Dec. the 22, so it’s a little bit later, but again you’re going to have to make concessions at some point.”

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