Many Public Schools Dropping To 4 Days A Week In 2022-2023

By Jessica Marie Baumgartner | 3 months ago

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Many public schools will be changing the learning calendar for next year’s school schedule. Instead of returning to the traditional five-day school week, they are opting to implement a three-day weekend, only teaching in-house classes four days a week. This change is being pursued mainly because of attendance and staffing concerns. The Allen Parrish public school in Louisiana is opting for this new approach to learning. Their superintendent Kent Reed stated, “Student attendance is a critical factor in this type of schooling.” 

It is no secret that public school attendance is down. Some sources blame the pandemic, while others cite mounting issues like the political differences between parents and school boards. Whatever the reason, the decline is pushing more and more public schools to test out new teaching schedules that not only appeal to parents and students but also teachers. The Cardinal Community School District in Iowa is also considering a four-day school week, but this is to offer teachers and other staff more incentive to work. The district’s superintendent, Joel Pedersen, stated, “I believe that we will have a competitive advantage by recruiting and retaining staff that value time over money and lifestyle.” 

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In addition, the Marshfield School District in Missouri has unanimously voted to move into a four-day school week starting in August for the upcoming public school year. This decision has been reached due to worker shortages. This public school is not only finding difficulty filling teaching positions, but also bus drivers and substitutes. Superintendent, Mike Henry, said, “They will have reduced hours, but that will allow us to increase their hourly rate to keep their annual pay the same.” 

It is being tested as a way to reward staff without having to increase the budget, but how it will succeed remains to be seen. These public school teachers will still be required to work on the fifth day to plan lessons and get their classroom in order, and school days will be twenty-six minutes longer to help make up the difference, but offering teachers more free time off the clock is a goal that the district hopes will end the staffing shortage. Each public school district taking on this new venture has met with mixed reviews from parents. Some support the measure while others are concerned about changing the long-standing five-day tradition. 

In the case of the Marshfield public school district, it is not only moving toward the four-day school week but also working to provide free child care services for students from kindergarten through the eight-grade. Likewise, they will offer three meals a day, and potentially provide high school students with work programs for the extra day they will be receiving next year. They do plan to host extra-curricular activities like sports groups and other clubs on the off-day as well. How these new four-day school weeks will affect students, parents, and teachers will depend upon the success of the public school districts facilitating them. It is unprecedented, so everyone will have to wait and see what happens next.