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2023-24 Calendar FAQ

Highland Park Independent School District

A: The committee includes these considerations when developing the annual school calendar:
State requirements
  • A minimum of 75,600 instructional minutes
  • 187 work days for teachers
  • Professional Development waiver approved by the Board and submitted to TEA allowing up to 2,100 minutes for documented professional development between the first and last days of the school year
  • Inclusion of two Bad Weather Makeup Days
Community preferences
  • Semesters are kept as even as possible
  • Final exams prior to Winter Break
  • Ending the school year before June and if possible, before Memorial Day
  • Full week holiday during Thanksgiving week
  • Reduced number of early release days for professional development

District considerations

  • District of Innovation (DOI) commitment to start the first day of instruction around the third week in August but not before the second Monday in August
  • Maximization of student instructional time
  • Testing dates
  • Impact on ADA
  • Professional development early enough in the school year to impact instruction

A: The process included five steps:        

  1. The Calendar Committee met to review possible calendar options and develop calendar draft(s). They proposed start date and end dates, breaks and staff development days.
  2. Staff and parents were sent the calendar draft(s) for their review and input via an online survey.
  3. All survey recommendations were then brought back to the Calendar Committee for review.
  4. The Calendar Committee developed a final recommendation for Board consideration.
  5. The Board of Trustees voted on the proposed calendar at the December board meeting.
A: Based on the District of Innovation (DOI) designation, the district can determine its own start date. However, the DOI plan states “Preference will be given to starting instruction around the third week in August with assurances to the community that it will not begin prior to the second Monday in August.”
In addition, consideration is given to activities occurring before school starts (such as summer camps, athletic practices, teacher professional development, Back to School Sign Up) as well as balancing the semesters with fall exams concluding before Winter Break.
A: Although efforts are made to balance the number of days between semesters, a start date as late in August as possible, and conducting exams before Winter Break results in fewer days available in the fall term. This is countered by a number of assessment days that reduce the amount of instructional time available during the longer spring term.

A: With its commitment to continuous growth, HPISD has included two professional exchange days in the calendar. This permits staff to participate in relevant learning at times that work for them. If the staff member has documented completion of the required professional learning hours outside their contract days, he/she can exchange the hours for a holiday on the same day that students are on break.

The State of Texas requires schools to build two Bad Weather Days into their calendars. HPISD has inserted them during the spring semester when bad weather events are more likely to occur. However, additional instructional minutes have been built into the calendar. If a need to make-up days occurs, those instructional minutes will be considered prior to the use of the Bad Weather Days remaining on the calendar. The result is that the Bad Weather Days could become holidays for both students and staff.

A: The committee reviews the planned Spring Break dates for Dallas ISD, Dallas Community Colleges, Education Service Center-Region 10 and other neighboring districts where many employees reside. Typically, the choice aligns with the Dallas Community Colleges and DISD.

In election years, HPISD anticipates making Election Day in November a student holiday. Decisions will be made by each future Calendar Committee as to whether that day will be a professional development day for staff or a staff holiday.

In nonelection years, the day is a day of student instruction.

In past years, the District has offered a student holiday for a Fair Day in October. Staff who had completed outside professional development hours were also allowed to enjoy Fair Day as an Exchange Day holiday. Because 2023 is not an election year, the November professional development day was moved to October to create a consecutive four-day weekend for students. In an election year, the fall professional development day will be placed on Election Day.

A: The District Calendar Committee was comprised of the following representatives:

  • School Board Trustee
  • Superintendent
  • Armstrong Elementary Principal
  • Boone Elementary Principal
  • HPHS Principal
  • MIS Principal
  • HPMS Principal
  • Lead Counselor
  • Interim Assistant Superintendent of Education Operations
  • Interim Executive Director of Curriculum, Instruction & Professional Learning
  • Executive Director of HR
  • HPHS Associate Principal
  • Fine Arts Representative
  • Director of Academics & Support Services
  • Director of Accountability & Assessment
  • Interim Director of Communications, Chair
  • Assistant Superintendent for Business Services
  • Athletic Director
  • Director of Student and Administrative Services
  • Elementary Teacher of the Year
  • Secondary Teacher of the Year