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2011-02-17 digital edition

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2011-02-17 / School

From the Superintendent of Schools

Dr. Frances M. McArthur, PhD Lexington ISD

On Thursday, February 10, the Lexington ISD District Education Improvement Committee unanimously voted to recommend an Optional Flexible Year (OFYP) secondary calendar to the board of trustees next Monday. The DEIC is comprised of teachers, parents, and community members who serve as an advisory group to the superintendent. The committee had three additional meetings these past few months looking at many calendar possibilities to help meet the needs of our students. After much research and consideration, it was decided that while our elementary and secondary school calendars will look exactly the same regarding the beginning of school, school holidays, and early dismissals, the needs of these two age groups of students differ. Therefore, if approved by the trustees, LISD will have an elementary calendar and a secondary calendar.

The proposed secondary calendar offers the flex day opportunity for secondary students and the elementary calendar does not. This opportunity is provided through a change in the Texas Education Code (TEC) that was proposed by Senator Steve Ogden several years ago. Specifically, TEC # 29.0821 allows districts to modify their instructional calendar to meet the educational needs of students at risk of failing by shortening the school calendar for all other students for up to ten days. It is called Optional Flexible Year Program, OFYP. OFYP requires that the district provide 170 days of instruction for all students and 180 days for students who do not pass TAKS or are in danger of not being promoted.

The proposed Lexington ISD Secondary Calendar will take advantage of seven of those ten possible days. Students who are successful this spring will enjoy three extra days after Christmas and will have the added bonus of ending school four days early if they continue to do well next year. These flex days will be a great incentive for all secondary students to work hard and put forth their best effort. For some of our older students it will mean an opportunity to begin their summer jobs a little earlier and have more summer income.

Highly focused instructional intervention for students who need it will take place during those seven days. Adding this support for those students not currently on grade level will not come at the expense of our high achieving students. We have great momentum in the expansion of our college and dual credit courses, and we have beefed up the accelerated program at the middle school. We will work hard to make sure that we compact the curriculum so that those students who will be rewarded by seven extra days do not miss out on essential knowledge and skills.

We will not allow this opportunity to extend interventions for our struggling students to slow down the exciting momentum of increased academic opportunities for our high achieving students. Please feel free to call me at any time if you have any questions or concerns about the two calendars. I will be taking the DEIC calendar recommendation to our trustees for consideration on February 21, 2011.

As we continue to work on addressing the looming state budget shortfall, so many great things are happening in our district. Our high school students made me cry as I watched them practice for the one act play. The talent of our students never ceases to amaze me. Ten of our FCLA students advanced to state this past week, we one state officer candidate, and I want to congratulate our Lady Eagles for a great victory to end the season last week! Thank you for your continual support of Lexington schools. It is that community wide support that helps make Lexington ISD the district everybody wants to be at.

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