Sulphur Springs Independent School District Board of Trustees Monday evening approved a 2021-22 calendar very similar to the calendar approved last spring for the current school year, which had to be adjusted due to COVID-19.
While the calendar committee employed the same philosophies used to draft the original 2020-21 school calendar (approved on March 6, 2020, just ahead of the pandemic which closed schools for the rest of the 2019-2020 school year), the calendar for 2021-2022 school year incorporated at least one scheduling adaptation made due to the pandemic – school hours. In the past, arrival and dismissal times at the various campuses was staggered. However, when the 2020-2021 school calendar was reworked over the summer to incorporates state-required minutes while building in contingencies in the event a campus had to close due to a large percentage of students and staff either testing positive for or having to be out due to high risk exposures, class hours throughout the district were consistent this year
This was particularly helpful at the bus hub. While that means a longer day for elementary students, it worked out better for those younger students who ride the school bus; it meant elementary students do not have to wait at the bus hub for extended periods of time. Students currently remain at school until classes dismiss, then are bussed to the hub for a change of bus, if one is required, then head home. This gives students more time at school with teachers and less time waiting.
SSISD Superintendent Mike Lamb said that worked out so well that SSISD plans for class hours district-wide to be on the same schedule. Classes will begin at 7:50 a.m. and end at 3:30 p.m. weekdays, with the tardy bell sounding at 8 a.m., for all students in prekindergarten through 12th grade at SSISD.
The only other difference from the original 2020-21 calendar is that the SSISD 2021-2022 calendar takes what in the past were two staff exchange time days which employees could previously use at their discretion for additional training and schedules staff on two designated dates for specific training to meet additional requirements set by the state over the last year. This is in addition to staff preparation days added in the last couple of years, for things like reading training and new teacher training, the superintendent explained
The 2021-22 calendar adds another day at the beginning of the year to provide additional time for staff to training in use and incorporation of technology in the classroom as well as a third training day for new teachers. New teachers will attend orientation from Aug. 2-4, 2021. End-of-school and back-to-school preparation days for all staff will be Aug. 5-6, Aug. 9-13 and Aug. 15-17, 2021; and May 26-27, 2022.
Staff preparation days during, which staff will be required to attend while students have the day off, include: Sept. 24, Oct. 8 (reading academy), Oct. 15 and Nov. 5, 2021; and Jan. 3-4, Feb. 14, March 11, April 18 and May 20, 2022. Staff development work days are from 8 to 3:30 p.m. for employees with 1 hour lunches and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. for those with 1 1/2 hour lunches.
Holidays for students and staff once again include: Labor Day, on Sept. 6, 2021; Fall Festival (Hopkins County Stew Contest), Oct. 22, 2021; Thanksgiving, Nov. 22-26, 2021; Christmas break, Dec. 20-31, 2021; Martin Luther King Day, Jan. 17, 2022; Northeast Texas Livestock Association (NETLA) Day, Feb. 25, 2022; spring break, March 14-18, 2022; Good Friday, April 15, 2022; and Memorial Day, May 20, 2022.
Nov. 17, 2021 (the Friday before the weeklong Thanksgiving break) is now scheduled as an early release day as are Dec. 17, 2021 (the Friday before Christmas break) and May 25, 2022 (the last day of school).
Classes will begin on Wednesday, Aug. 18, with the first 9-weeks grading period ending on Oct. 7, 2021. The second 9-weeks grading period will span Oct. 11-Dec. 17, 2021; the third from Jan. 5 through March 10, 2022; and the fourth 9-weeks grading period will be from March 21 to May 25, 2022. High School graduation will then follow on May 27.