The Houston ISD Board of Education on Thursday gave preliminary approval to a policy requiring all schools to adopt a minimum 7 hour and 15 minute daily schedule.
The proposal is intended to provide schools more flexibility to meet their students’ academic and developmental needs. Earlier this spring, the Board of Education approved a resolution encouraging all elementary principals to offer their students daily recess, and this proposal would further enable them to do so.
Currently, the length of school days at HISD campuses ranges from 7 hours to 7 hours and 40 minutes, meaning no school’s day would be lengthened by more than 15 minutes under this proposal. Schools that already exceed the minimum time requirement will be able to continue doing so.
Other items approved at Thursday night’s meeting include:
- A resolution calling on the Texas Legislature to “reexamine the public school accountability system in Texas and to develop a system that encompasses multiple assessments, reflects greater validity, reduces the number of instructional days affected by state-mandated standardized tests, and uses more cost efficient sampling techniques and other external evaluation arrangements, and more accurately reflects what students know, appreciate and can do in terms of the rigorous standards essential to their success, enhances the role of teachers as designers, guides to instruction and leaders, and nurtures the sense of inquiry and love of learning in all students.”
- Expanding newcomer programs at Liberty High School and Las Americas Middle School. These schools are designed to meet the unique needs of students who have recently immigrated to the United States.
- A new set of performance criteria, the HISD School Leadership Framework, to be used in the appraisal instrument for principals, assistant principals, and deans of instruction. For more than a year, leaders from across the district have been working together to make recommendations about the design of this new appraisal system, including the appraisal process and timelines and the performance criteria used to assess school leader performance. With the right supports and standards, principals will be best positioned to improve the quality of instruction within schools and strengthen parent and community engagement.