Time for a Change
It’s Friday afternoon. Students slump over hard desks sleeping away period 5, while teachers also count down only for a short weekend of grading and planning. No one is excited, and no one is learning. While most schools that are switching to a four-day week are doing so for financial reasons, undoubtedly other benefits to students and teachers make this transition the right choice for all school districts.
Four-day weeks can increase student engagement, which in turn improves their learning outcomes. So many students buy a college essays, don’t do their homework. An extra day off, especially one during the work week, lets students and families rest more and do necessary family business. In an article entitled, “Four Day School Week Overview,” The National Conference of State Legislatures states, “Anecdotal evidence also suggests that attendance improves; parents and teachers can schedule doctor’s appointments and other weekday commitments for Fridays rather than during school days” (Wallace). With four days of school, every day is important. Students will show up rested and ready. Also, four-day weeks can ease the recruitment and retention of quality teachers. According to the article “What Do We Actually Know about the Four-Day School Week,” published by the Center on Reinventing Public Education, “In newspaper reports, system leaders report that it has been easier to find candidates after making the shift” (Heyward). A four-day schedule allows teachers to focus on their students when they have them and potentially use the fifth day for their other duties.
Indeed, while there still are some unknowns about the long-term impact of four-day weeks, it would crazy for leaders to not consider it as an option or alternative model moving into the future. In fact, given the global COVID-19 pandemic and the switch to distance learning in many places, now is the perfect time for school districts to move to four-day weeks to benefits their students, teachers, and wallets.
Heyward, Georgia. “What Do We Actually Know about the Four-Day School Week?” CRPE: Reinventing Public Education, June 2018, https://www.crpe.org/sites/default/files/crpe-what-do-we-know-about-four-day-week.pdf.
Wallace, Ashley. “NCSL: National Conference of State Legislatures.” Four-Day School Week Overview, 1 Apr. 2020, https://www.ncsl.org/research/education/school-calendar-four-day-school-week-overview.aspx.