Fast-Growing District Adopts Longer School Days

school days
Students | Image by Inside Creative House

One of the fastest-growing school districts in North Texas will have longer school days next fall.

Northwest ISD, located in the northwest corridor of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, will be implementing longer school days after receiving feedback from families in previous academic years, according to a district news release. A total of five minutes will be tacked on to each school day. The new schedule will roll out in August 2024.

Elementary schools will end five minutes later than the current schedule, with a new dismissal time of 3:05 p.m. Middle and high schools will have start times of 8:50 a.m. and 8:25 a.m., respectively, per the release. Steele Early College High School and the Special Programs Center will also begin the school day earlier.

The school administration noted that the schedule changes were also made in order to meet state requirements. The extra five minutes will help avoid adding new instructional days to the academic calendar in the event of school closures.

Another change announced by the district involves school day closures, which are usually put into effect during inclement weather that has an impact on road conditions. The district currently has two designated days for school closures, which may be used if needed.

Following family feedback regarding the possibility of weather-related closures, the district decided to increase the number of potential school-day closures to four beginning in the 2024-2025 school year.

Northwest ISD ranks the fastest-growing school district in North Texas, with over 30,000 students and 34 campuses, with the student enrollment growing around 1,000 to 1,500 each year due to new housing developments, according to its website.

The district is also recognized as one of the largest in the area, serving parts of three counties — Denton, Tarrant, and Wise — along with 14 cities, including Fort Worth, Southlake, Keller, and Flower Mound.

According to current statistics, Northwest ISD’s graduation rate is in the top 10% in Texas and the top 20% in overall district rankings, as reported by Public School Review.

In comparison, Dallas ISD has struggled with its student achievement scores, with its latest TEA accountability report for the 2021-2022 school year showing that only 41% of scored at grade level on their STAAR exams. Additionally, nearly 20% of its graduating Class of 2022 failed to earn a diploma in four years.

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