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New Calendar Produces Changes, Balances Semesters

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New Calendar Produces Changes, Balances Semesters

The schedule for the Plano ISD 2018-19 school year.

The schedule for the Plano ISD 2018-19 school year.

Photo courtesy of PISD

The schedule for the Plano ISD 2018-19 school year.

Photo courtesy of PISD

Photo courtesy of PISD

The schedule for the Plano ISD 2018-19 school year.

by Abby Blasingame, Staff Writer

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The calendar for the Plano Independent School District 2018-19 school year introduces a number of changes to the current schedule, most notably earlier start and release dates, Aug. 13 and May 31 respectively, which will balance the two semesters.

“The fact that the semesters are more balanced is really nice because second semester usually seems so much longer if you’re in an on-level course,” American studies teacher April Platt said.

In 2006, the state legislature, pressured by the travel lobby, mandated a start date of no earlier than the fourth Monday in August, a decision that took away a degree of local control.

“The reason me and my fellow board member [were] elected is [because] I talk to the community; people here know me [and] are able to express their desires for a system of education,” Board of Trustees President Nancy Humphrey said. “It only makes sense that you give us that local control.”

With the calendar start date moved up, the 2018 summer is shorter: 10 weeks long for students compared to 11.

“This doesn’t affect my summer plans that much [since] it’s just one week,” freshman Aishah Patel said. “I feel like a lot of people are home two to three weeks before school starts anyways, so it won’t really matter.”

However, for teachers who have to plan lessons and attend training during the summer, the change has a greater impact.

“Initially, I was very upset because the summer is going to be terrible,” Platt said. “I have to write curriculum all of June so that cuts my actual vacation to July.”

The new calendar also contains more professional development days for teachers built in throughout the year.

“The teachers are growing as much as the students are in their career, so it’s intentional to get that professional learning in [throughout the year],” Humphrey said.

Additionally, the new schedule is meant to optimize the schedule for graduation ceremonies, align with Collin College for dual credit courses, accommodate summer school programs, and place EOC testing at the end of the semester. These aspects of the schedule were considered from community feedback data via surveys and meetings in September and October 2017.

“Change is always hard,” Humphrey said. “We wanted to make sure that we managed that and gave the community the opportunity to weigh in.”

About the Writer
Abby Blasingame, Editor-in-Chief

Abby Blasingame is a senior at Plano East and this year’s editor-in-chief of the Panther Prints. Newspaper was one of the highlights of her junior year,...

1 Comment

One Response to “New Calendar Produces Changes, Balances Semesters”

  1. Elisabeth Taquino on January 24th, 2019 9:24 AM

    As one of the parents and currently a grandparent that was on the original committee to work for a Senior High School to be opened on the East side of Plano with the same full curriculum, activities, and Spirit as Plano Senior High had back in the late 70s and early 80s I am thrilled to finally see a balanced schedule that is more in line with student needs, with local businesses, as well as other schools in Region 10.

    School ending in what essentially is the middle of June just never made a whole lot of sense to me personally, especially, when you have other considerations such as summer schools and college campuses to attend or visit before they shut down for the summer and/or vacations that must be taken within an employer’s certain time frame. . Granted most college campuses are in the midst of final exams in early May, but most campuses still have a lot of action going by the end of May and first week in June. Most employers will work with a parent/parents for vacation time but there are employees within that company consideration as well. This schedule will allow a little more flexibility to plan a vacation for families. It also seems as if other schools in Region 10 are also beginning earlier and ending earlier.

    Financially, this schedule change may also help with the heating and cooling system costs of each campus as well. I’m sure studies have been done on that issue as well. It would be interesting to know what the financial impact of the early start and early end dates have on the PISD budget.

    Bottom line is that teens are still growing children on the road to adulthood, both physically, mentally, and emotionally and need a break for time to play and work at little jobs, if need be, before they reach the “Real” world. After graduation there will always be work but very little time for a breather/or ‘play”. Summer also gives teens time to explore the many possibilities toward a career choice if encouraged. Hopefully this schedule change will prove to be beneficial to all.

    Thank you for the opportunity to voice my opinion.

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