Saturday, August 02, 2008

The Four Day School Week

A scheduling strategy that has been adopted by some rural school districts is to drop the fifth day of instruction by adding time to the remaining four weekdays (Yarbrough and Gilman, 2006). A few hundred districts in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oregon, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Wyoming have implemented this schedule, primarily for fiscal reasons (cutting down on transportation costs). An unforeseen bonus is that the schedule has unexpected educational and morale benefits for both students and staff.

In Colorado, 52 of the state’s 178 districts have adopted the four-day model. Most of the districts using this calendar were small, serving only one percent of Colorado’s public school students. The Colorado Department of Education found that students, parents, and teachers overwhelmingly favored the shorter week (Dam, 2004). The Colorado study concluded that the effects on student achievement were not as substantial as the financial gain—transportation and food service costs were reduced by 20 percent—with test scores showing that students do “no worse” than those on the traditional five-day schedule (Dam, 2004).

The four-day school week works best in states that allow the option of counting hours and days when meeting the minimum school requirements. Arkansas, Illinois, Minnesota, and Virginia have legislative provisions that specifically allow for this schedule.

Read more HERE

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