Texas Law Switches School Year Calendar from Days to Minutes

Published: Jan. 4, 2016 at 6:13 PM CST
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New Texas state law is switching the school year calendar from days to minutes, meaning a possibility of more days off.

The new law is requiring students to be at school for 75,600 minutes instead of 180 days.

The main reason for the change is flexibility. Some local school districts said switching from days to minutes will give them a little more wiggle room when trying to figure out how to make up missed instructional days, like when bad weather closes school unexpectedly.

As for that number, College Station ISD Deputy Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Greg McIntyre says, "It's simple math. The 75,600 minutes does seem odd, but if you just take seven-hours-a-day times 180 days, then you come out with that 75,600."

That comes out to a minimum of roughly 420 minutes per day.

For College Station ISD students, the remainder of this school year will stay the same, but come the 2016-2017 school year, students and teachers will notice a difference.

"Both school calendars we have proposed have school starting the fourth week in August," McIntyre said. "One has Labor Day off. The other doesn't. One has a little longer winter break. The other doesn't."

Both calendars also have just 173 days, and potentially add ten minutes of instruction time to each day.

"Even though the law requires 75,600 minutes, extra time has been built in to both of these calendars," said McIntyre. "At the same time, it includes additional staff days for teacher work days to get their lesson plans together."

That's a benefit Madisonville CISD Superintendent Keith Smith will definitely be taking advantage of going forward.

"It gives you the opportunity to have more staff development days, and research will tell you that instructional staffs that get to work together across curriculum, across campus, across grade level, that time is important, and that's beneficial to the student," said Smith.

Smith added that students can anticipate around 80,000 minutes of instruction from Madisonville CISD schools.

"I can tell you our district is going to keep it right around where we are. Time is one of our biggest challenges. The more time we have with them, the more successful we can be," said Smith.

College Station ISD families are being asked to vote on the two calendars they have proposed. Click on the link attached to this story for more information.

Both districts plan to have their new calendars voted on by February.

Every district is different, though, so if you have questions about your student's schedule for next year, contact your district's office.