2020-21 Calendar FAQ

There are many factors to balance and consider when developing a calendar and lots of different opinions about what is best. The District’s top priority when considering any calendar is student learning. Frisco ISD has grown and continues to grow dramatically with people moving in from around the country and the world. Parents bring a multitude of calendar experiences that can vary. The District strives to strike the right balance between what works best for parents and staff, while keeping student learning at the forefront of decision making. Over the years, the feedback FISD has received more than any other is the desire to end school prior to Memorial Day weekend; this shift in the calendar will allow FISD to consistently do that in the 2020-21 school year and in the years to come. By making this a permanent shift, parents and students will have a consistent summer schedule. Because Memorial Day can vary each year by up to a week or so, the 171-day academic calendar accomplishes this goal.

The increased instructional minutes will allow more time for social-emotional learning and more time during the day for learning intervention and enrichment. While it means the day is extended by 10 minutes, the school year will end closer to the mandated assessment dates including STAAR and Advanced Placement testing.

With a 171-day school year, Frisco ISD has committed to adopting an academic calendar that provides a sustainable release date prior to Memorial Day, a desire consistently expressed by parents. Many parents plan trips up to a year in advance and the District hopes this will allow them to have the information they need to consistently move forward with planning their

More minutes during the school day means more time on a given day to meet the learning needs of students. Although teachers will work three less days, there will be no contractual or salary adjustment made for the fewer days worked and teachers will maintain the same working hours they currently have. Teachers new to Frisco ISD will have the added benefit of having a five-day gap of time between new teacher training and the regular staff training with the new calendar. Starting a new profession or in a new District can be daunting and the District wants to support teachers on their journey by building gap time into the calendar.

It is up to the campus principals to determine how the 10 minutes would best be used with their students. At the forefront will be maximizing instructional time for students of all ages. At the elementary level, the additional time allows for flexibility to focus on social and emotional learning for students. For secondary students, the additional time could be used for advisory to address targeted instructional gaps for students to provide personalized learning, as well as extra time for social and emotional learning.

House Bill (HB) 2610, passed by the 84th Texas Legislature, amended the Texas Education Code (TEC), §25.081, by striking language requiring 180 days of instruction and replacing this language with language requiring districts and charter schools to provide at least 75,600 minutes of instruction (including intermissions like lunch and recess). As a result, school districts have the flexibility to adjust times within their academic calendar while accomplishing the number of required minutes to maintain full funding from the state. 

The Texas Education Code requires districts to provide at least 75,600 minutes of instruction (including intermissions like lunch and recess). As a result, school districts have the flexibility to adjust times within their academic calendar while accomplishing the number of required minutes to maintain full funding from the state. 

The number of minutes is calculated based on the number of school days multiplied by the number of minutes established by the start and end time of the school day.

2019-20 Calendar

  • ES/MS currently attends 7 hr. 15 minutes (435 minutes) x 174 = 75,690 Total Minutes

    • ES 7:40 a.m.- 2:55 p.m. including beginning of day 5 minute passing period

    • MS 8:20 a.m. - 3:35 p.m. including beginning of day 5 minute passing period

  • HS currently attends 7 hr. 20 minutes (440 minutes) x 174 = 76,560 Total Minutes

    • 8:55 a.m. - 4:15 p.m. including beginning of day 5 minute passing period

New 2020-21 Calendar

  • ES/MS attends 445 minutes x 171 = 76,095 Total Minutes

  • HS attends 450 minutes x 171 = 76,950 Total Minutes

The full calendar with the times can be found here.

  • Elementary: 7:45 a.m. - 3:05 p.m.

  • Middle: 8:25 a.m.  - 3:45 p.m.

  • High School: 9:00 a.m. - 4:25 p.m.

One significant factor Frisco ISD considered regarding school start and end times is the practice of triple routing the school buses. Frisco ISD has historically implemented triple routing, resulting in significant cost savings. By staggering school start times, the same bus and bus driver transports elementary, middle and high school students. If the District did not triple route buses, it would need more buses and bus drivers, increasing operational costs.

Summer school could potentially start earlier, giving students more time to remediate and accelerate skills. We would also hope this would give students and teachers more of a break between the end of summer school and the beginning of the next school year. 

After-school activities will feel little impact, but will vary dependent on the needs of individual campuses and instructors.

With the adoption of a 171 school day calendar, students will get out prior to Memorial Day in the 2020-21 academic calendar year and for the foreseeable future.

All current college and university partnerships end prior to Memorial Day weekend. As the District explores more post-secondary partnerships, the District will continue to take these new partnerships into consideration when planning the calendar.

The District supports efforts to develop the Whole Child and recognizes the importance of students having time away from structured academic activities to pursue their own interests and independent learning. Frisco ISD also values the role of families and wants to allow them the time and opportunity to pursue activities that they value as a family. 

Frisco ISD utilized a subcommittee of the Long-Range Planning Committee, which consists of staff, parents and community members, to gather input and feedback on the calendar options. 

The committee considered scheduled state assessments, mandated staff training days and required minutes of instruction as some of the factors when drafting calendar options.

Subcommittee members were asked to circulate the draft calendar options in their respective circles and solicit input from stakeholders about their preferred options. This resulted in numerous conversations, including the posting of draft options on social media. This group then reconvened to share feedback and make a calendar recommendation. The subcommittee recommended that the District bring forward calendar option B to the School Board as the preferred option. The vote was not unanimous, but the overwhelming majority of the group preferred calendar option B, as was initially drafted with 5 minutes added to both the beginning and end of the school day. After Board feedback, this was revised to allocate all 10 of those minutes at the end of the school day.

In addition to the Long-Range Planning subcommittee, the District also formed an internal calendar advisory group, which consisted of principals, managing directors and professional learning staff to provide input on calendar development and ensure its alignment with desired outcomes for student learning.    

The draft calendars were not placed on the District website because changes were routinely made based on feedback received and replacing the drafts on the website would have caused confusion. Although two main options came to the forefront as options, numerous iterations were considered. 

The District strives to engage stakeholders when making decisions that impact the community and its children. Please consider applying to the Long-Range Planning Committee or any of the other committees that would benefit from hearing perspectives such as yours. Click here to learn more.

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