Four-Day Week Has Real Benefits

Article Tools
  • PrintPrinter-Friendly
  • EmailEmail Article
  • ReprintReprints
  • CommentsComments

To the Editor:

I read with vested interest Paul Hill's essay on the four-day week (Beware the Four-Day School-Week Trap," July 19, 2017). While his points are valid, he misses several reasons why rural school districts are opting for only teaching four days.

The Lincoln County school district, where I am a principal, switched to a four-day week in the 2009-10 school year. The author was correct in some regards. Paraprofessionals received fewer hours and lunch wasn't served on Fridays, among other issues. The financial savings have been not as significant as we had hoped.

Where we have seen the bigger savings is in substitute teachers, as we now encourage our teachers to schedule doctor's visits and other appointments on Fridays, when school is not in session.

The biggest advantage, however, can't be measured just in dollars: Athletics had a major impact on our rural district during a five-day week. When students have games on Fridays and have to travel distances, they must miss school and so must some of their teachers. Our nearest competitor, for example, is two hours away. With three sports in every season, it is often difficult to find substitutes on Fridays. In a school where there are only a couple hundred students, half of whom participate in athletics, there may only be 100 students in the school on any given game day. Those students often receive only busywork or watch a movie in class. Education is simply not happening. To that end, many students don't even come to school. Where are they? Heaven only knows. Parents, who see the day as a waste, often excuse them.

If sports are scheduled only on Fridays when school is not in session, however, it cuts down on the call for substitute teachers and wasted class time.

Since switching over to a four-day school week, scores on standardized tests have not gone down in our district. But to be fair, they also haven't improved.

C. Pete Peterson
Panaca Elementary School
Panaca, Nev.

Vol. 37, Issue 03, Page 20

Published in Print: September 6, 2017, as Four-Day Week Has Real Benefits
Related Stories
Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on edweek.org, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Back to Top Back to Top

Most Popular Stories





Sponsor Insights

Free Ebook: How to Implement a Coding Program in Schools

Successful Intervention Builds Student Success

Effective Ways to Support Students with Dyslexia

Stop cobbling together your EdTech

Integrate Science and ELA with Informational Text

Can self-efficacy impact growth for ELLs?

Disruptive Tech Integration for Meaningful Learning

Building Community for Social Good

5 Resources on the Power of Interoperability from Unified Edtech

New campaign for UN World Teachers Day

5 Game-Changers in Today’s Digital Learning Platforms

Hiding in Plain Sight - 7 Common Signs of Dyslexia in the Classroom

The research: Reading Benchmark Assessments

Shifting Mindsets: A Guide for Training Paraeducators to Think Differently About Challenging Behavior

All Students Are Language Learners: The Imagine Learning Language Advantage™

Shifting Mindsets: A Guide for Training Paraeducators to Think Differently About Challenging Behavior

How to Support All Students with Equitable Pathways

2019 K-12 Digital Content Report

3-D Learning & Assessment for K–5 Science

Climate Change, LGBTQ Issues, Politics & Race: Instructional Materials for Teaching Complex Topics

Closing the Science Achievement Gap

Evidence-based Coaching: Key Driver(s) of Scalable Improvement District-Wide

Advancing Literacy with Large Print

Research Sheds New Light on the Reading Brain

Tips for Supporting English Learners Through Personalized Approaches

Response to Intervention Centered on Student Learning

The Nonnegotiable Attributes of Effective Feedback

SEE MORE Insights >