George West Independent School District is adopting a new instructional plan to help students and teachers avoid burnout after the pandemic.
George West Superintendent Dr. Roland Quesada said it’s not a full 4-day school calendar week. He said sometimes it will be a 4-day school week sometimes it will be 5.
There will still be a Monday through Friday schedule, which is why they are calling it amodified instructional week calendarfor the 2023 - 2024 school year.
Superintendent Dr. Quesada said the school district implemented this new instructional plan because of the nationwide teacher shortage. He said the state is working with the Teacher Vacancy Task Force, established by Governor Greg Abbot in March 2022.
The Task Force met to understand challenges school systems face, such as teacher salary, staffing retention and working conditions.
Superintendent Dr. Quesada said that encouraged him to look at his district and modify next year’s instructional calendar.
“So that teachers can have more planning time, a little bit more recovery time with their families. And our students could have some more of that recovery time from their busy schedules,” Superintendent Dr. Quesada said.
Eighth-grade history teacher Nancy Henry said she is in favor of the modified instructional school calendar plan. She said it will help the district keep the teachers it has and create opportunities for more.
“The shortage of subs, there needs to be adjustments made in our system,” Henry said.
With this new modified instructional calendar, Superintendent Dr. Quesada said the days students don’t have class, the school district has two programs for them to work on their academics and physical activity; one is called the ace program.
“So, students will be able to participate in that with transportation, with meals, breakfast and lunch provided by the district,” Superintendent Dr. Quesada said.
Additionally, the local boys and girls club will be available from noon to 6 p.m. for students the days the school is closed due to the modified schedule.
Tiffany Stewart is a sixth-grade math and science teacher with the district and is a parent of two kids who are enrolled at George West ISD.
She said these programs could benefit parents who have kids in elementary school or aren’t in extracurricular activities.
“Those kids will get those extra time to play with their friends or to work on their tutorials, whatever is needed with the flexibility of those two schedules,” Stewart said.
Superintendent Dr. Quesada said by state law, they must teach a total of 75,600 minutes per school year. With the new instructional plan, he said it will increase it to 77,115 minutes while still giving students and teachers the break they need.
“So, in other words, students would report at 7:55 a.m. And then you add 30 minutes per school day at the end of the day. So, students will be going home at 4:00 p.m. from George West ISD,” Superintendent Dr. Quesada said.
Superintendent Dr. Quesada said the school district will provide a weekly update on how its schedule is going to look for the upcoming week so parents can plan ahead.