Big Thought Institute Chosen by Texas Education Agency to Advise School Districts to Design and Deliver Additional Instructional Time

Big Thought Institute will rely upon out-of-school-time best practices to help districts and charters extend the school year as part of Texas House Bill 3

Big Thought Institute announced today that it has been chosen by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to serve in the Additional Days School Year (ADSY) Planning and Execution Program (PEP) Pilot Cohort as a consultant vendor for school districts and charter organizations for additional instruction time through Voluntary Summer Learning. The passage of House Bill 3 by the 86th Texas Legislature, 2019, added half-day formula funding for school systems with additional instructional days for elementary schools beginning in the 2020 – 2021 school year to help struggling students.

The ADSY program empowers cohort school districts and charter organizations to expand the traditional 180-day calendar year by providing 30 additional days of instruction to enhance the teacher and student experience. Schools have the option of utilizing the additional days for summer learning sessions or the flexibility to redesign their academic calendar with 210 days of instruction.

The TEA hosted a competitive process for school districts and charter organizations to be selected for the ADSY PEP cohort. North Texas school districts and charter organizations selected for the Volunteer Summer Learning cohort include Gainesville ISD, Grand Prairie ISD, Greenville ISD, IDEA Public Schools, and Wichita Falls ISD. Twelve school districts and charter organizations throughout the state will be in the ADSY cohort.

The TEA simultaneously hosted a competitive process for educational consultant vendors. These vendors will support the districts and charters with the design and successful implementation of the ADSY program. After a rigorous vetting process, Big Thought Institute was selected as one of the consultants to help cohort districts and charters deliver on key goals of the program, including student achievement, cost savings, and improved efficiencies.

“Big Thought Institute is uniquely positioned for this work as we were part of a national research study from 2011-2017 with the Wallace Foundation and RAND Corporation that established learnings and best practices for summer and out of school time learning that are the basis for the TEA ADSY Volunteer Summer Learning project,” says Greg MacPherson, Chief Big Thought Institute Officer. “We are excited to use the technical knowledge gained through our legacy out-of-school time work to help districts and charters develop strategies that will help close the learning gaps, including those that may have been created by COVID-19.”

The Texas Education Agency continues to explore models that can help schools and students recover from COVID-19 interruptions. Insights gained through the ADSY pilot cohort will be invaluable in assessing how changes to the school year can positively impact student success.