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Leander ISD Board reviews proposed 2022-23 schedule

Leander ISD board members discussed the proposed schedule for the 2022-23 school year, which, unlike the 2021-22 schedule, does not include regular early release Wednesdays.

The board can approve the final schedule at its January 27 meeting.

The proposed schedule starts on August 17 and ends on May 26.

District surveys and listening sessions collected community feedback during the calendar planning process. Surveys revealed common requests that the schedule start a week later, align with other Central Texas school district schedules, provide a fall break, add full days for staff development and planning teachers, and finishing school before Memorial Day, among other things.

Director of Studies Matt Bentz said that while parents, campus leaders and community members preferred full days off over early release days, teachers preferred early release days intended for the time planning. The number one request from teachers in a district survey was to have planning time built into the school calendar.

Bentz said the proposed schedule is intended to be a compromise between the two options.

The proposed schedule includes two days dedicated to teachers before the start of the school year, two days for the continuous improvement conference in October, two days of early release and additional staff development days during the school year.

Student holidays, in addition to regular holidays, include September 26, October 10 and 11, November 8, February 20 and March 20. The early release days would be December 16 and May 26, which are before winter vacation and the last day of school, respectively.

The schedule doesn’t include a bad weather day because it already has enough spare minutes — or extra instruction — in the schedule not to require a bad weather day, Bentz said.

Council members said they would also like to see a planning day in April so that there is time to plan towards the end of the school year. Bentz said that could be added by using banked minutes on the required number of instructional minutes.

Council member Anna Smith said it was important to guarantee teachers the two dedicated working days before school starts, as principals would decide which two days before school starts are spent on planning teachers.

“I’m really worried about our educators and making sure they get that planning time,” Smith said. “Because we all know how important that planning time in that class is to them.”

Bentz said he could make an effort to mark two days on the calendar for all teachers to have dedicated scheduling, but a decision needs to be made whether the days should be the same for all teachers.

“We would trust our principals to do this and we would also have a system in place to verify that this is happening for our teachers,” Bentz said.