With a growing number of districts, particularly in rural areas, moving to a four-day school week, a new Education Week story takes a closer look at how one Iowa school system is approaching the change, and finding new ways to extend and improve learning opportunities.
Students in the 550-student WACO district now attend regular classes Monday through Thursday, with an extra hour each day, explains reporter Alyssa Morones. The change gives students the option of spending their Fridays in remedial, enrichment, or college-level classes. Teachers can use Fridays for training.
Some potential benefits from a four-day schedule, according to experts in the story, are increased attendance rates for teachers and students, higher morale, and possible savings on transportation and heating and cooling costs, though actual savings do not always meet initial estimates. Drawbacks, however, can include difficulty for parents in finding child care on off days and decreased wages for cafeteria workers and bus drivers.
It’s also unclear whether it would be appropriate in urban areas and what the long-term effects on student achievement would be.
We want to hear from you. Would you support a four-day school week for your area?
A version of this news article first appeared in the Time and Learning blog.