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OCTOBER 17, 2016
  • LENGTH OF SCHOOL DAY
  • SCHOOL START DATE

At their October 17 Workshop meeting, Trustees heard a presentation and engaged in a discussion about four State statutes related to “Time” that pose barriers to learning. In order to achieve the intended outcomes of SBISD’s strategic plan, district administration recommended Trustees consider enacting exemptions at this time for two of the four statutes, beginning with those related to length of a school day and the school start date.

In alignment with district policy guidelines for considerations under DoI, on Monday, October 24, 2016, Trustees approved a 30-day public comment period as they consider exemptions related to these two statutes:
Length of a School Day – TEC 25.082(a) states,
“A school day shall be at least seven hours each day, including intermissions and recesses.”
  • This exemption is NOT intended to lengthen the school day for students or teachers. It would allow our schools to continue having the flexibility they currently have to schedule early-release or late arrival days. Note that 24 SBISD schools currently take advantage of such scheduling flexibility.
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School Start Date – TEC 25.0811(a) states,
“…a school district may not begin instruction for students for a school year before the fourth Monday in August.” 
Read more

 

Following a 30-day public comment period, the SBISD Board of Trustees reviewed public comments received and considered whether to move forward to enact an exemption on each statute.
30-DAY PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD (October 27, 2016 – November 25, 2016)

 

JUNE 26, 2017
90 PERCENT ATTENDANCE RULE
Proposed Action:

Enact a DoI exemption for TEC 25.092, referred to here as the 90 percent attendance rule, which requires a student to attend a class at least 90 percent of the days it is offered in order to earn credit for the class.

In alignment with district policy guidelines for considerations under DoI, on Monday, June 26, 2017, Trustees approved a public comment period (7/17/17 – 8/17/17) as the community engagement pathway for receiving feedback on this proposed exemption.

90 Percent Attendance – TEC 25.092(a) states,
“Except as provided by this section, a student in any grade level from kindergarten through grade 12 may not be given credit or a final grade for a class unless the student is in attendance for at least 90 percent of the days the class is offered.”

Rationale:

  • This change would shift control of the 90% attendance rule from the state to the District, and allow the District to rewrite the related local policy, FEC (LOCAL), in order to better serve our students.
  • Under current law and policy, students who fall below 90% attendance and pass their class(es) are denied credit until meeting the alternative learning activity (ALA) hour requirements established by the campus attendance committee. This results in:
    • defining learning by seat time rather than how much the student has learned;
    • treating all student situations the same, regardless of the unique circumstances of each;
    • creating an academic penalty (withholding of credit) for non-academic behavior (attendance) and assigning non-academic consequences (ALA hours) to resolve, typically at the end of the semester; and
    • creating burdensome implementation procedures for campus staff.
  • Benefits from the new approach will be (1) a focus on learning over seat time; (2) allowing more timely interventions by campus administration and teachers; and (3) ensuring a whole child approach to intervening in cases of excessive absences.

Considerations and Safeguards:

  • Critical to the success of this change will be effective guardrails. The proposed policy FEC (LOCAL) will:
    • be supported by regulations created by campus administrators to provide clarity and consistency in implementation.
    • require campus administrators to evaluate the nature of the absences, the academic progress of the student, and develop an Academic Support Plan, as appropriate, any time a student falls below 90% attendance.
    • provide families with the opportunity to request an appeal hearing with a campus attendance committee should they not agree with the decisions of the campus administrator.
  • If TEC.25.092 is exempted, the proposed policy FEC (LOCAL) will continue with the expectation of 90% attendance, maintain the authority of administrators to deny credit to students with excessive absences, but provide greater flexibility in defining course progress and completion.

Click here to see proposed revisions to policy FEC (LOCAL) and provide feedback.

FAQs 90 Percent Attendance Rule