February 23, 2021 — The Midland ISD School Board has approved a new academic calendar for the 2021-22 school year (attached). The new calendar includes two weeks of "intersession," which is a chance for students who are falling behind to receive extra help. The two weeks of intersession are the weeks of October 18 and February 7.
"These additional windows of time will be critical for our students who require additional assistance, particularly in the area of reading," said Interim Superintendent Dr. Ann Dixon. Reading has been identified as a fundamental skill that must be improved across the district, in order to realize academic gains.
The intersession weeks will be for students in grades K-6 who are not on track academically. Secondary students will be off during this calendar's intersessions, but additional instruction for students grades 7-12 may be available in the future.
"This is built-in time where we can offer the students additional help when they need it, not months later," Dixon said. "Intersessions allow us to intervene with students midstream, rather than them getting further and further behind all year."
Despite the two week-long intersessions, all students will spend more days in school than in previous years. The 2020-21 school year included 172 instructional days for students. The newly approved 2021-22 calendar includes 180 instructional school days for all students, plus 10 days of intersessional programming.
"Some parents fear this is just extra time off for students, but this plan actually means more time spent in class," said Dixon. "With this calendar, we are able to increase the number of total school days and still hold graduation at the traditional time."
A traditional summer school session with 16 days of remedial programming will be available in June for students needing to meet requirements to advance to the next grade.
Studies indicate that shorter summers are a benefit to student performance, particularly for those from economically-disadvantaged homes. Long summer breaks create learning loss, sometimes referred to as the "summer slide," which forces students to play catch up instead of hitting the ground running academically.
Midland ISD first investigated the idea of an interessional calendar in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic last spring. District leaders met with representatives from Socorro ISD during a public board meeting and heard their feedback about success using an intersessional calendar. Click here to watch the meeting with the Socorro representatives, and here to watch last night's board meeting.