HISD presents its longer-year calendar options

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After months of speculation over potential changes to Houston ISD’s academic calendar, district officials are considering four options for 2024-25 that would each move up the first day of classes and increase the number of days that students spend in school.

The proposals all include 180 class days, compared to 172 this year, and lay out three potential start dates: Aug. 7, 12 or 14.

HISD Deputy Chief of Staff Kari Feinberg sent the proposals to a district committee Thursday in an email obtained by the Houston Landing. Feinberg said the final calendar could be one of the four proposed options or a new version based on staff feedback. HISD officials have said they plan to present a final calendar choice Feb. 8 to the district’s board of managers, which must approve the schedule.

District leaders have said they plan to ask families to provide their opinions about starting the school year earlier as soon as next week.


The four versions of the academic calendar under consideration increase the number of workdays for staff by between eight and 11 days.

This year, teachers are scheduled to work 187 days, including 15 for training. Next year, the four versions of the calendar propose 195 or 196 total work days for returning staff, including 15 to 16 training days. The calendars specify an additional two days of training for staff who are new to the district.

Miles has said staff will be compensated competitively for the extra time. Miles has not specified what the wages will be, but he said in mid-December he expects HISD’s teacher salaries will be the highest in the region.

“We will raise teacher salaries. I don’t want to give you an amount right now, because we’re still adjusting that,” Miles said at the time.

HISD is soliciting feedback on the four versions of next year’s calendar from teachers, administrators and other community members. Feinberg’s Thursday email included a survey for members of the district’s advisory committee — made up of parents, staff and other community members — to fill out by Wednesday.

Bradley Wray, a physical education teacher at Deady Middle School on HISD’s southeast side and a member of the District Advisory Committee, said he thinks the number of training days in the draft calendars is too much for experienced staff. Additionally, he said he has unanswered questions about the compensation packages Miles has mentioned.

“Will the big salaries be for everyone, including elective teachers and other non-STAAR tested teachers? Will support staff see adequate pay increases?” he said.

See here for some background. This is of course a direct result of the District of Innovation adoption. As the Chron story notes, there are some variations for spring break and other things as well, so it’s not just a matter of what start date you prefer. As for the pay issue, I’m perfectly happy for teachers and staffers to get a raise, but as we’ve discussed many times, that has an as-yet unknown price tag, HISD already has a projected budget deficit, and Mike Miles has been considerably less than forthcoming about how he intends to pay for all that. It would be nice if we got some clarity – and a voice – on that along with the schedule options, but don’t hold your breath.

On a completely tangential note:

While Mayor John Whitmire was lauding Houston ISD Superintendent Mike Miles for making the decision to close schools Tuesday, Miles was telling an education committee the district should have stayed open and “I’m not going to make the same mistake again.”

Miles was the last of the local superintendents to decide on Monday to close schools Tuesday because of the arctic cold front that moved through the area. This came after Whitmire called him. “I gave Superintendent Miles my best advice yesterday afternoon. I encouraged him to not have school and he made the right decision,” Whitmire said.

But in a meeting before HISD’s District Advisory Committee to talk about school year calendars today, Miles deviated from the agenda to talk about Tuesday’s school closure.

He said he regretted his actions and wouldn’t do it again. He also took a shot at what he called exaggerated fears about the damage the weather was going to do.

“We made a decision to close schools today. I’m not sure that was the best decision. It was mine to make and I made it. I’m not sure it was the best decision.

“I think we missed an opportunity to develop a culture of essentialness. We need that. Our profession has gone away from that. We close schools too often in this country, in this profession . And we don’t emphasis essentialness.

“No fire departments close; no police departments close; no hospitals close. And after those first responders we’re it, except if we were in combat.


There’s only one way to build a culture of essentialness and that’s to act essential Despite the noise, despite the whining, despite the people who are exaggerating [that] we’re going to cost people’s lives. I’ve got to ignore that and think about the kids and our core function. ”

I work for a major multi-national corporation. We are now back in the office a minimum two days a week, with Wednesday being a mandatory in-office day for my department. On Tuesday, we were told to stay home on Wednesday rather than risk driving on unsafe roads; all schools will be open again on Wednesday because temperatures will warm up into the 40s and the risk of road hazards is greatly reduced. My point here is that either you prioritize safety or you don’t. I get that there are other considerations for school districts, and Mike Miles is quite correct that unscheduled school closings are a burden for a non-trivial number of parents. He made the best call he could with the information he had at the time. It happened that the risk he was trying to mitigate didn’t materialize. What he’s saying here is that the next time this situation comes up – and it will, sooner or later, in some form – he’s going to prioritize keeping the schools open over everyone’s safety. That’s a choice he can make, and if he had made it this time it would have been fine. Next time, maybe we’re not so lucky. This is the choice he says he’s going to make. Let’s be clear about what that means. The Chron, which notes that “The TEA encourages school districts to make sure that their calendar includes enough minutes to account for at least two bad weather or other missed school days”, has more.

UPDATE: Some further remarks from Miles about future weather-related school closures.

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2 Responses to HISD presents its longer-year calendar options

  1. Flypusher says:

    Miles really should have just declined to comment on closing down for just that one “ice day”. While it’s more likely that floods are going to be the issue rather than winter weather, it’s a fact of life around here that the weather can get extreme and there will be times when it’s just better to be safe rather than sorry. Given that the weather is getting more extreme, a calendar adjustment to allow for more bad weather days/ make up days may be needed.

    Also he really wants to compare schools shutting down for a day with having police, fire departments, and hospitals also shut down for a day? Seriously?

  2. C.L. says:

    I dunno… I don’t remember seeing any weather forecasts in the days proceeding this latest freeze that alerted us to the possibility of snow or iced roads en masse. Did it get cold ? Sure did. Does it being cold outside make driving hazardous ? Not really. Was there widespread treacherous road conditions (outside of an 18-wheeler tumping over out west of HTX) in the area ? Not even KPRC could come up with much more that that fender bender.

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