AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Beginning in the fall, Amarillo Independent School District will add more minutes to its school days.
The school district has always built its school schedule around a total number of days in the academic year. But after the passing of a new state law, A.I.S.D. will now build the school days based on a total number of minutes for the first time.
High schools and middle schools already meet the new minute standards, but since elementary schools end the school day earlier, district officials will spread the minutes throughout the day.
A.I.S.D. says it will be completely up to each campus on where these minutes will go.
"Our administration and teachers are in conversation about how those extra minutes will best be utilized," said Sandy Whitlow, Executive Director of Student Performance. "Each campus will determine what is the best use of time for those additional minutes. They will be addressing the needs of the students and of the communities."
Many elementary schools are close to meeting new state regulations, and Whitlow expects the change will not be too drastic.
"Some of our elementary campuses had to add some minutes and sometimes it was a matter of maybe 10 minutes or 15 that they might've had to add to the school day," Whitlow said.
Campuses will take into consideration instructional times, recess, lunch and classes such as physical education and music.
Schools will base those decisions on what is best for its students, but the input of parents is very important when setting the new year calendar.
"We always want our parents to feel comfortable going to campus administration," Whitlow adds. "If they have a question or a concern, the first place to always start is at the campus. We always encourage our parents to go talk to campus administration if they have any questions or concerns."
Each school will let parents know of any upcoming changes before the current school year ends.
"Schools will communicate to parents if they are going to have a change in their campus schedule or in the bell schedule, and will try to make those changes available to the community before school ends," Whiltlow said.
The 2016-17 schedule has not been finalized, but parents can contact school administration to address concerns.