In April 2013, the district administration approached Alliance representatives to discuss extending the school day. At that time, the district was considering extending the teacher day by 30 minutes, from 7 ½ hours to 8 hours. The administration’s initial view was that there was no time within the teacher day at high school for tutoring, conferencing with students, department meetings, etc. since both the teacher and student day were 7 ½ hours. Over several meetings, conversations took place as to the pros, cons, challenges, and opportunities of possible approaches to increasing teacher time and/or increasing instructional time.
The Alliance gathered feedback from teachers via surveys and meetings to learn what amount of time teachers were already spending working beyond their 7 ½-hour day and to learn their perspective of an extended day. Concerns surfaced in a variety of areas, including the impact on student clubs and sports (kids having to stay later), whether the additional time for teachers would be filled with “adminis-trivia” (which would then mean teachers having to stay even later to do what they needed to get done), and whether there would be any additional pay. The Alliance and administration looked at data such as the length of the teacher day and student day in other districts. The Alliance recommended the possible use of a tool from the National Center on Time and Learning to help schools analyze how they are currently using time and determine whether they could use time more effectively.
The proposal that was finally agreed upon was that the teacher workday would remain at 7 ½ hours, while the student day at middle school and elementary school would be extended by 15 minutes. The high school student day was already 7 ½ hours and will remain so. The elementary and middle school student day was at 7 hours and will now be 7 hours and 15 minutes. The additional time at elementary school will be used for recess while the additional time for middle school will be used to help create a flex period during the day for intervention.
Again, the length of the required teacher workday has not changed. As per SAISD Board Policy DK (Local), “Teachers shall be on duty seven and one-half hours each day between 7:15am and 4:30pm.”