‘Districts Of Innovation’ Program Allows Some Schools To Try Year-Round Classes

A bill passed during the regular legislative session allows districts to combat summer learning loss by adjusting the school calendar.

By Rhonda FanningAugust 12, 2017 12:59 pm

A House bill passed during the 84th legislative session, this spring is allowing Lamar Elementary to launch a pilot year-round school calendar. The goal of the Districts of Innovation bill is to give school districts the kind of autonomy in scheduling enjoyed by charter schools.

Under the plan, districts can choose when the school year begins and ends, and how teachers use planning periods. Districts are also allowed to create incentives and programs that best suit their own needs and the desires of local parents, rather than following typically more restrictive state rules.

Joshua Childs, an assistant professor in the College of Education at the University of Texas at Austin says education research shows that traditional long school vacations lead to “summer learning loss.” Shortening vacations is intended to combat the negative effects of time away from the classroom. A longer school year also gives teachers an opportunity to try out new curriculum ideas.

Written by Shelly Brisbin.