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Addressing campus flexibility
July 20, 2018
Dear SAISD Staff,
Yesterday, we met with the Board Governance Committee to discuss our DK Local policy on work schedules. We are proposing to make a recommendation soon to the Board to amend the policy to be consistent with other school districts and provide campuses with greater flexibility in meeting the needs of students and families.
Our goal is to empower campuses and give them the autonomy to solve issues they have – such as ensuring sufficient coverage for student arrival and dismissal times.
We know that many of our teachers are on campus longer than what is in policy. Unfortunately, coverage during those critical times of transition is not consistent across our District. Students arriving early are often left to wait outside. Varying degrees of coverage puts our students at risk.
Our in-district charters have waivers to policies such as DK Local, and thus can arrange ways to best ensure coverage and to support families. For example, YMLA students receive high-fives as they arrive and depart each school day. The enthusiasm this one small act imparts, on students and staff alike, goes a long way in setting the culture for academic success and the feeling of a safe, secure environment.
For our other campuses, the policy is exceedingly restrictive and principals are very limited in what they can do to address support and scheduling needs.
We reviewed the DK Local policy in 110 of the largest districts in Texas, and all had some version of the following statement: “The work week and daily time schedules shall be determined by the Superintendent or designee and principals.”
Unlike other school districts across the state, our policy is detailed with set times and numbers of minutes for meetings. We are considering a broader policy in line with what other districts have, while working in collaboration with teachers and others to develop administrative procedures to provide more guidance on the school workday.
Under an amended policy, the decision making goes to the principal. Teachers and principals would work together to develop solutions that meet the needs of their particular school. Campuses would have the flexibility to address matters such as sufficient coverage, as well as limitations to professional learning time, instructional planning, and more.
We would revisit the policy in the spring to see whether any issues arose.
We want this to be a fair and equitable process for our teachers. We also expect this to be a welcomed change by our parents. A balance can be achieved through the responsible process of collaboration.
We have to do what is right for our students and their families – no matter which campus they attend. Our families deserve a safe, secure and welcoming environment. It’s what we personally expect for our children, and it’s understandable that other parents do, too.
I look forward to us working together to continue to live up to our commitment to families.Sincerely,