Students across Orange County and the state of Texas will now be attending school a set amount of minutes each school year instead of the previous number of instructional days. Students are now required to attend 75,600 minutes of instruction each school year. Local school districts have been forced to adjust their daily school hours to accommodate the new requirement. Courtesy Photo

Tommy Mann Jr. – For The Record

The amount of time students spend in school each day is about to increase for Orange County children.

Parents of children attending Bridge City Independent School District, Little Cypress-Mauriceville Consolidated Independent School District, West Orange-Cove CISD, Orangefield ISD, Vidor ISD and Deweyville ISD, along with most others in the state of Texas, will need to get used to a new schedule as school hours are changing slightly.

A new state law, House Bill 2610, will mandate the number of minutes of instruction a student must have each school year instead of the traditional number of days a student must attend class.

House Bill 2610, which was approved and placed in effect by the Texas House of Representatives in June of 2015, will require students to receive 75,600 minutes of instruction instead of attending 1800 days of instructional time. The majority of school districts across the state had already approved school calendars for the 2015-2016 school year at that time and made the changes for this year.

According to Dr. Stephen Patterson, superintendent of the Orangefield Independent School District, he think the change will be beneficial for students and staff.

“Our belief is we will see a greater benefit in instruction as this has the potential to be very effective for our teachers and our kids,” Patterson said. “Our teachers will have extra time to work on innovative lessons and ideas and for more planning, and this will allow extra time to incorporate more technology too.”

Patterson said Orangefield ISD has typically utilized a 175-day instruction schedule and were able to utilize the remaining five days for instructional training and in-service days. This year the new minutes requirement has allowed the days of instruction to be reduced to 170 in Orangefield ISD.

“We will have a 170-day school year for students,” Patterson continued. “And the first Monday of each six-weeks grading period will be a lesson-planning day for staff, so they will have five-instruction planning days while students are off.”

Patterson said each campus in the district will have its school-day lengthened by 10 minutes. New hours for Orangefield Elementary are 7:45 a.m. – 3:15 p.m.; Orangefield Junior High is 7:50 a.m. – 3:20 p.m.; and Orangefield High School is 7:55 a.m. – 3:25 p.m.

“Districts are approaching this required change to minutes from days in a number of interesting ways,” he said. “Some schools in West Texas have gone to a four-day school week for cost-savings. Their districts cover such a wide area that they have students who ride buses for two hours, so it made sense for those districts to do that.”

Bridge City ISD campuses new hours will be as follows: Bridge City Elementary, 7:50 a.m. – 3:10 p.m.; Bridge City Intermediate, 7:50 a.m. – 3:10 p.m.; Bridge City Middle School, 8:05 a.m. – 3:40 p.m.; and Bridge City High School, 8:10 a.m. – 3:40 p.m.

New hours for the campuses of LC-M CISD will be as follows: Mauriceville Elementary 7:15 a.m. – 2:45 p.m.; Mauriceville Middle School, 8:15 a.m. – 3:45 p.m.; Little Cypress Elementary 7:15 a.m. – 2:45 p.m.; Little Cypress Intermediate 7:15 a.m. – 2:45 p.m.; Little Cypress Junior High, 8:15 a.m. – 3:45 p.m.; and Little Cypress-Mauriceville High School, 8:15 a.m. – 3:45 p.m.

The campuses of the West Orange-Cove Consolidated Independent School District will observe the following hours for the new school year: West Orange-Stark Elementary, 7:10 a.m. – 2:45 p.m; North Early Learning Center, 7:30 p.m. – 2 p.m.; West Orange-Stark Middle School, 8:20 a.m. – 3:51 p.m.; West Orange-Stark Academic Alternative Center, 8:10 a.m. – 3:15 p.m.; and West Orange-Stark High School, 8:10 a.m. – 3:40 p.m.

The Vidor Independent School District will observe the following hours: Vidor Elementary, Oak Forest Elementary and Pine Forest Elementary, 7:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.; and Vidor Middle School, Vidor Junior High and Vidor High School, 8:15 a.m. – 3:45 p.m.