On Tuesday, Feb. 8, the Spring ISD Board of Trustees approved a resolution during its regular board meeting to amend the district’s instructional calendar with the creation of two calendar break holidays. Spring ISD Superintendent Dr. Lupita Hinojosa took time to answer a few questions related to these updates.
Q: The Spring ISD Board of Trustees approved the addition of two calendar break holidays on Tuesday evening. What is the reason behind the addition of these days?
A: We, along with our Board of Trustees, believe that adding Feb. 14 and April 18 as calendar break holidays is the right thing to do for our students, teachers, and campus-based personnel. As we continue to evolve in Spring ISD, always aiming to provide the best learning and teaching environments, we believe that providing these two days of rest for our students, in addition to one Teacher Preparation Day and another day of rest for our teachers and other campus-based personnel, is a step in the right direction. We hope our teachers take full advantage of both opportunities, and that our students utilize the time to rest, focus, and spend time with their families.
Q: Specifically, which positions or employees will benefit directly from the addition of February 14th as Teacher Preparation Day and April 18 as a campus-based staff holiday?
A: These two days apply to all teachers and campus-based staff. This includes all exempt and non-exempt, salaried and hourly employees who are assigned to a specific campus and directly interact with students as a primary part of their job responsibilities. This applies, but is not limited to, teachers, principals, counselors, campus nurses, bus drivers, custodial staff assigned to a campus, and cafeteria workers. For April 18, district police officers, building mechanics, and support building custodians are unfortunately not included in this definition, regardless of whether they are assigned to a specific campus. Additionally, custodians who are off will be compensated just as they are when district offices are closed due to weather. As an example, if they normally work a six-hour day, then they would get paid for six hours. Finally, building mechanics and custodians who work will clock in and out as normal. Should anyone have questions regarding whether they will be able to benefit from these additions to the calendar, they can feel free to contact their immediate supervisor.
Q: What about the possibility of working from home during the Teacher Preparation Day? Will teachers have that option?
A: We are requiring teachers to be at their campuses during their normal working hours in order for them to maximize this opportunity. We feel that by incorporating the Teacher Preparation Day into the instructional calendar teachers will greatly benefit from working in their classrooms without the distractions of a normal school day. This Teacher Preparation Day is a great opportunity for them to get organized, plan as much as they can for the upcoming weeks, and, in doing so, reassess their priorities as needed.
Q: What does the approval of these calendar break days say about the Board of Trustees’ commitment to teachers, staff, and students?
A: I am proud to have worked with our Board of Trustees on this resolution. It’s evident that our trustees care deeply about the well-being of our teachers and students. Additionally, you can see that our board understands that teachers need time to prepare their lessons, secure instructional materials, and organize their classrooms. That is the reason why they provided teachers with a full “teacher preparation” day and another one to rest and recharge. Our students will also have an opportunity to rest and have time for themselves. This aligns perfectly with our desire to make meaningful, positive changes for our students and staff here at Spring ISD.
Q: Is the addition of both days to the academic calendar exclusive to this school year, or will this be a permanent addition?
A: This addition is only applicable to the Spring semester of the 2021-2022 school year. As we look to grow and improve as a district, we will make every effort to provide our teachers, students, and staff with opportunities for personal and professional development. As a District of Innovation, it is our responsibility to always look toward the future with an open disposition to grow and positively evolve, especially when that growth and evolution directly benefits our Spring ISD community.