The Cy-Fair ISD school board approved the changes to the 2020/2021 school calendar on June 16, 2020. (screenshot)

Cy-Fair school board approves ‘Resilient’ school calendar for 2020-2021 school year

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CYPRESS — The Cy-Fair ISD school board approved changes for sticking with the previously approved 2020-2021 school calendar earlier tonight, June 16, 2020, with only a couple of modifications.

Unlike other school districts in the state that decided to start school sooner, Cypress education leaders kept the first day of school as Aug. 24, 2020. The Cy-Fair community can look forward to the same school calendar as they are accustomed to.

“We did not think the year round ideas were good for our students, parents, or employees,” Superintendent Dr. Mark Henry said in tonight’s meeting. “We opted to keep our calendar the same, with the 15 minutes to give us some wiggle room.”

Last week, Dr. Linda Macias, CFISD’s chief academic officer, presented the same calendar that was already approved back in January. Albeit, with two functional tweaks (bolded).

  • Firstly, the school day would increase by up to 15 minutes. High schools would only increase by 10 minutes. This extra time is to be utilized similar to “Genius Hour” before school, or like an after-school tutorial. This will put every Cypress school at 450 minutes (7.5 hours) per class day.
  • Macias explained the additional time will multiply into the equivalent of eight additional school days over the course of the school year. However, it would not crash into the 187 days on teacher contracts. This is an issue that other districts seem to be running into with both year round and intersessional plans.
  • While the first and last days of school look to be set in stone, the “snow days” for inclement weather will run the entire month of June.
  • If COVID-19, or major weather events strike the area, forcing CFISD to dip into June 2021, the high school graduations would be rescheduled similarly to how the Class of 2020’s graduations were adjusted, according to Superintendent Dr. Mark Henry. Click to read how the Berry Center was used for outdoor graduations.

 

The proposed upcoming school calendar (left) compared to the already board-approved calendar on the right, as presented during the June 11, 2020, Cy-Fair ISD board of trustees working meeting.
* Update: The school board approved the changes to the calendar on June 16, 2020. (screenshot)

Teachers’ perspective of additional time added to the school day

Paul Langone, a representative with the Texas State Teachers Association and National Education Association, made public comments from a teacher’s perspective. He brought up issues including additional childcare costs, added work stress without additional compensation on top already complicated work days.

“We are respectfully asking you to reconsider the additional time to our workday,” Langone said.

The Cy-Fair TSTA and NEA brought three additional members to speak at the board meeting. However, their voices were focused on budgetary issues not directly associated with the new school calendar.

Restrictions from the Texas Open Meetings Act disallowed board members from conversing with the public commentary.

Marney Collins Sims, the district’s legal counsel, explained that teachers are salaried employees with duty days, irrespective of the number of minutes. Conversely, the state uses instructional minutes that allow districts to creatively answer inclement weather and other problems.

Financial concerns both locally and Texas-wide

In addition to the upcoming school calendar, the board of trustees approved a $1 billion budget for the upcoming school year.

“There is a lot of anxiety in our community,” said Trustee Julie Hinaman. “Moving forward is an opportunity for us to embrace change. We’ve learned how to embrace technology to educate our kids.”

She is worried about the cuts to school funding over the next two to four years. Hinaman recalled recent conversations with parents about losing income and jobs, and how that may effect taxpayers, and she spoke of a mother of a special needs student telling her that the student has massively regressed and is strongly for getting students back with teachers.

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Key Dates

  • Cy-Fair school begins Monday, Aug. 24.
  • Labor Day, Sept. 7, is a student/staff holiday.
  • Thanksgiving holiday is all week long, Nov. 23-27.
  • Christmas break is ten days Dec. 21, 2020-Jan. 4, 2021.
  • Spring break is slated for March 15-19, 2021.
  • Good Friday, April 2, 2021, is a student and staff holiday.
  • Last day of school is May 27, 2021 for students.
  • Feb. 15 and May 28, 2021 are designated as inclement weather “snow days” makeup days.
  • All of June 2021 is designated as inclement weather “snow days” makeup days, mainly if the COVID-19 coronavirus forces another lock down of Texas schools.

To download a copy of the 2020-2021 school calendars, visit our resource website here: 2020/2021 CFISD calendars.

 


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