Wednesday, July 23, 2008

4 Day School Week?

This is my response to 4 DAY SCHOOL WEEK; DISCUSS. over on ThePrincipalsPage.com.

The problem is as transportation costs continue to rise, should school districts consider going to a four day school week?
Districts need to demand more money from local/state/federal government.

Is one possible solution having students attend school Monday through Thursday for 9 hours a day?

The larger question is can I handle students for 9 hours a day?
That is a possible solution. And, yes, 9 hours on the job is a looong time but it's been done in other schools.

I must admit the sound of a 3 day weekend does sound good, but would there be actual benefits to our students?
Saturday cartoons on Friday. Seriously though - I would have some 'real' homework (research, presentation, volunteering, etc) and projects to accomplish on the weekends.

What are the chances that a shorter week would help improve student attendance? Or better yet, improve teacher attendance? Certainly the transportation costs would go down if a district ran the busses one day less each week.
Maybe so. But school climate and community support for change would be essential here. You need stakeholder support to make this work.

Are there other benefits to this type of schedule? Such as more time for teachers to work with students in the classroom?
Block scheduling probably. Face-to-face meetings 4 days/week seems to lend itself to larger projects and outcomes-based education.

When will kids realize they wouldn’t have to work all of the time if they didn’t own a brand new car?
About the same time as their parents. hahaha.

Or is a 4 day school week a bad thing?
Condensing the traditional 5 day week into 4 days has many ramifications outside of the school walls.

Would a shortened school week upset parents? Could they afford the extra daycare for younger children?

Is it possible that teachers would feel rushed by the shorter week? And how would they react to the shorter evenings to grade papers, make lesson plans, and prepare for the next day?

You will get opposition to any change - but the extent depends on your community. If people are happy with the status quo... or see no reason to change... or depend on the school for meals and daycare during work hours... Well, that could be tricky. And you didn't even mention the teacher's union.

Students who miss a couple of days because of illness could be greatly affected as falling behind in their studies would happen rapidly.

Can you imagine the makeup work?
Yup - that would be an issue. But they have the whole day off on Friday to catch up.

Please put me on the right path in regards to the concept of the 4 day school week, because as of right now, I can only focus on the idea that “every weekend is a 3 day weekend”. That idea is way cool.
The real challenge is to do a cost-benefit analysis at your district level. There are many factors to consider from the standpoint of academic, economic and social impact. And those depend on your local community.

My advice is to have some discussions locally and prepare your elevator speech to convince legislators to spend more money on public education.

1 comment:

micsmith said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and for visiting Principalspage.com.

This is easily the longest and most well thought out response that I have received.