What are RISD ‘flex days’
The Texas Education Agency provides school districts with a tool to plan a school calendar that provides academically struggling students with an opportunity designed to assist them with learning in a different environment. A school calendar in Texas must be made up of 180 student days. There are variations to this calendar for many districts across the state.
For example some districts write a waiver that adds 2-3 more professional development days for staff and reduces the number of days for students. Other districts, like RISD have chosen to provide students in need of the most help with the full 180 days of instruction and the students that do not require as much assistance with at least 170 days of instruction. This type of calendar is called a Flexible School Year Calendar.
Flex Days are the days in the school calendar for students that require additional assistance to attend. Our campuses have developed student prerequisites for Flex Days that may require students to attend as few as two flex days to as many as ten flex days during a school year. The requirements for attendance include less than 90 percent attendance, struggling on benchmark assessments, not passing state assessments or failing core subjects during the school year. The purpose of the Flex Day calendar is to prevent students from failing a school year by providing intense small group instruction. On the average about 30–40 percent of students from a campus usually are required to attend Flex Days. All staff members of a campus develop specific plans for the Flex Days and work with students in smaller settings to ensure that they receive the help they need. Since teachers typically work on a 187 day calendar campuses have more resources to provide smaller instructional groups than during the other days of the school year. This is a wonderful opportunity to offer more individual attention to students allowing them to have a successful school year.
February was the first offering of Flex Days at RISD. The feedback we received from students is that it was very helpful and that they liked the individual attention. Flex Days are occurring again this week and will occur again toward the end of the school year. Principals will continue to send home letters that inform parents if their children are required to attend Flex Days.
A Flex School Year calendar is a little different than what we have done in the past, but it is designed to help us meet our vision of ensuring that every student is a learner, every learner is a graduate and every graduate is a success.