EducationLocal NewsDallas ISD Considers Extending School Year to Combat ‘Devastating Impact on Student Achievement’

Superintendent Michael Hinojosa indicated last week that student performance is deteriorating due to virtual learning.
October 12, 2020
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Dallas Independent School District (DISD) is mulling the idea of lengthening the academic year to the third week of July to account for the effect the school district’s response to the coronavirus could have on academic performance.

A task force presentation at a DISD briefing on Thursday stated that “COVID-19 school closures could have a devastating impact on student achievement.”

Superintendent Dr. Michael Hinojosa indicated that the district’s students are not adjusting well to virtual instruction.

“Even for some previously very successful students, they could have lost a year. If previously successful students are losing a year, that’s significant,” Hinojosa said. “When you take students who don’t have agency, that slide could be much bigger. But I don’t want to startle anybody until we get a full report.”

The superintendent added, as it relates to online learning, “Everybody’s making the effort, but the results are not quite there.”

The Texan Mug

Many North Texas students, including many of those attending DISD campuses, have returned to in-person instruction in recent weeks.

School district officials stated that they will seek public input via focus groups and surveys, although Trustee Joyce Freeman indicated that she is concerned the public will not have as much say as they ought.

The additional time would not be mandatory, and compulsory attendance would only apply to the base school year.

Presiding Trustee Justin Henry cautioned that the district should avoid overwhelming educators and families who are already under stress from the events of the year.

“As we develop these plans I hope we’re also looking at the social-emotional [side]. I mean, you don’t want to just push, push, push, and break,” Henry said. “We do know we need to close the gap, but at the same time you don’t want to break individuals, families, systems, [and] schools applying too much pressure.”

Read DISD’s “mitigating learning loss” presentation below.

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Hayden Sparks

Hayden Sparks

Hayden Sparks is a reporter for The Texan in Dallas. During the academic year, he coaches high school competitive speech and debate and has also been involved in community theater and politics. A native Texan, Hayden served as a delegate at the Republican Party of Texas Convention in 2016. He is on track to receive a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Liberty University. In his free time, Hayden is known to take walks around the neighborhood while listening to random music on Spotify.