Following the District Leadership Team’s (DLT) recommendation, the Eanes ISD Board approved adding a series of “Thought Breaks” to the remaining 2020-21 calendar for staff mental health and planning. The recommendation came as a result of feedback from the fall 2020 staff survey, where staff overwhelmingly asked for more planning time.
Thought Breaks will be comprised in most cases by blocks of two back-to-back early-release days for ALL grades. This would equate to the addition of eight early-release days, which will always fall on Wednesday and Thursdays (excluding the first standalone date):
- Thursday, Dec. 10 – A single early-release day to be used as a “pilot” for teachers to have time to re-organize class plans after the third nine-weeks re-selection process in early December
- Wednesday, Feb. 3 and Thursday, Feb. 4
- Wednesday, March 3 and Thursday, March 4 (the latter is an early-release day already scheduled)
- Thursday, April 1 (an early-release day already scheduled)
- Wednesday, April 14 and Thursday, April 15
- Wednesday, May 19 and Thursday, May 20
Thought Breaks consist of two early-release days on consecutive dates to create blocks. This enables secondary school teachers to teach periods one through four on the first day then follow with periods five through eight on the adjacent day. Even in elementary grades, for example, this will allow Spanish Immersion teachers to deliver English instruction on the first day and Spanish on the following day, or vice versa. In grades 4 and 5 where some subjects may be departmentalized, this also allows teachers to alternate subjects for longer periods of instruction, similar to the secondary “block” model.
For grades 6-12, the weeks without Thought Breaks will still feature recently introduced “personal workdays” or “no new Instruction days,” which allow students to receive assistance in specific subjects without added classwork.
Teachers and parents on the DLT agreed reserving the quantity and quality of instructional time was imperative and any breaks should not extend the school calendar beyond Memorial Day. Parents on the DLT are supportive of teachers’ need for time; however, they also understand the hardship additional early-release days may create for some working families. Childcare and loss of lunch service are acknowledged concerns. Ideally, parents will have sufficient notice, options and resources to plan accordingly.
Please contact Deputy Superintendent Dr. Jeff Arnett with questions regarding Thought Breaks.
See revised student calendar: https://rb.gy/dfuak8
To see the staff survey presentation from the Oct. 6 board meeting, visit https://rb.gy/cj4ctg, click on "Oct 6_Special Meeting V8" and scroll to page 95.