Texas

The San Elizario Independent School District is transitioning to a 4-day school week. Here’s what you need to know.

The San Elizario Independent School District School Board voted 4-1 on Wednesday to move the school and work schedule for the upcoming school year to a four-day week.

Students will now attend classes Tuesday through Friday. Faculty, faculty, and staff will also work on the district’s campuses Tuesday through Friday. The 2023-2024 academic year starts on July 25th.

San Elizario is the first district in El Paso to switch to a 4-day school week, but joins 41 other districts across Texas that have switched to a 4-day school week, San Elizario Independent School District superintendent Jeannie Meza said. Chavez.

Here’s what you need to know before the new school year:

Why switch to a four-day week?

Meza-Chavez said one of the main goals of the new schedule is to attract new teachers to the district in order to fill the shortage of teachers and ensure that students receive the highest quality education.

She went on to say that the four-day week will make teaching in the district more attractive to teachers who want to join the San Elizario Independent School District.

“This is already happening in other labor markets. You see that different businesses and different fields are exploring different styles of the workweek and we need to pay attention to that,” Meza-Chavez said. “In education, we can’t just keep doing what has been done not only by us, but by every county in the region and throughout Texas, and just keep posting this job and another job. If we don’t dare to do something different so that each of our students can have a certified teacher in their class, then we don’t recognize our mission. We don’t recognize what we say to our community, to our families. “

The San Elizario Independent School District currently has substitute teachers who lead classes, including in their science department.

“The conversation really changes when you’re the parent of a child who had a guest teacher who is a substitute for extra classes, and that’s what happened last year on a larger scale,” Meza-Chavez said. “We have seven science majors in our high school, and out of those seven positions, five were visiting teachers. We want to make sure that every child in our district has the opportunity to receive quality science education. This is just one example. We have vacancies throughout the district, in our elementary and high schools.”

More:The scholarship website ranks El Paso and Las Cruces among the best cities in the US to raise a family.

What will be the biggest problem?

Teachers, students, and parents adapting to change will have the hardest time, Meza-Chavez said.

“This is not what was done before in our area. We expect to be criticized why it won’t work, but I can tell you that we are fully prepared for it to work, Mesa Chavez. “We have a group of passionate people around here who are going to make sure we think from all angles about what can work. It will definitely be a change. It’s going to be an adaptation, and that’s always hard.”

Why was the decision made in January?

Meza-Chavez said the new school year calendar was presented to the school board in January to give district officials and parents enough time to prepare for the new schedule. The new school year starts on July 25th.

“We are just starting preparations,” Mesa-Chavez said. “Similar to how we moved from a traditional calendar to a year-round calendar, there is a process that needs to be followed. That’s why our calendar was presented to the board in January, because we wanted to be able to prepare and plan for the transition to a four-day work week this time around.”

What help will be provided to parents who work on Mondays and cannot be at home with their children?

Parents were notified of the change in the school calendar six months before the start of the school year, Meza-Chavez said, to give them enough time to adjust their children.

She added that the district is also looking to partner with other organizations such as Y to help parents.

“Our educational system at San Elizario is about building the future. We are raising future champions,” Mesa-Chavez said. So, for our parents, who are obviously concerned about childcare, the fact that we have six months before school starts is a lot more of a consideration than our parents were when we unfortunately had to close schools when the pandemic hit. (Covid-19). .”

She added: “This is part of the planning and adjustments that our parents will obviously have to pay close attention to. The great thing is that we have six months to continue developing partnerships with local organizations to make sure we are able to make this transition the best we can.”

Will students receive the same number of teaching hours?

The new four-day school calendar will not change the amount of school time students receive, Meza-Chavez said. She added that the San Elizario Independent School District will remain well above the minimum requirements set by the Texas Education Agency.

“Each year, those minutes can change,” Meza-Chavez said. “Counties must meet the minimum required number of minutes, which is 75,600 minutes according to the TEA. We are already exceeding the minimum requirement and will continue to do so. In the 2023 school year, our district will have 76,515 minutes.”

Why is Monday chosen as a day off?

The district’s decision to move to a Tuesday-Friday schedule was due to a variety of reasons, including days of the week that tend to have high student absenteeism, federal holidays, and school events.

“We wanted to know which days our staff and students missed the most and it was Monday. The second big day was Friday,” Mesa-Chavez said. “So we looked at federal holidays that fall on Mondays, so that was another factor, another moment to decide. Then we looked at Friday, but the administrators and some of the teachers or coaches really wouldn’t be on holiday because we have a lot of sports activities for our students at that time.”

She added, “So we really wanted to see a calendar where our students and our staff can take that extra opportunity, that day, to look at their social, emotional, physical health and be able to take that mental break. “

Will the salaries of teachers, faculty and staff change?

According to Meza-Chavez, the schedule change will not affect the current wages of employees of the school district.

“Absolutely not,” Meza-Chavez said. “We would never propose something that would have a negative impact on our employees. Absolutely not.”

For more information about the San Elizario Independent School District’s transition to a four-day school week, visit seisd.net.

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