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4 Day Week Rationale

November 14, 2015

 

Rationale behind a four day week

As superintendent of Wagoner, we are considering this change for various reasons.  One of the most important reasons is to improve our ability to recruit and retain great teachers for our students without adding additional costs to our district.  I have found no evidence to suggest a 4 day school week will negatively affect our students academically.  A 4 day week simply allows us to reorganize our instructional time to a different format.  At a time when our state has already cut our funding by $350,000 this year and possible looming cuts of 10% ($700,000) next year, we have to be pro-active.  I believe we will only see a 5% cut in state aid, which would result in another $350,000 loss. In 2 years we will have lost $700,000 of state aid.  We want to keep class sizes small and keep electives available at the middle and high school.  Our only other option for significant savings is to decrease our teaching staff. 

1.     Recruit and retain teachers.  Over 90% of our teachers support the 4 day school week. A district 20 miles away pays any new teacher a $1,500 bonus.  How do we compete with large bonuses and schools who pay more?  We have the opportunity to recruit great teachers and retain our teachers without spending money on bonuses or added salary. Districts in Oklahoma (on a 4 day week) reported 7-8 applicants for teacher vacancies versus the 1 or 2 and sometimes 0 applicants for our district.

2.     Costs savings estimated for Wagoner in transportation, utilities, and decrease sub pay is estimated to be $200,000.

3.     Currently our students spend 176 days in school for 7 hours per day which equals 1,232 hours.  This doesn’t include any lost days for inclement weather.  Over the last 2 years we have missed an average of 7 days per year, which would be 49 hours of lost instructional time.  We have averaged 1,183 instructional hours per year the last two years.  State law mandates 1080 hours for a calendar year.

 

If we move to 148 days of school for 8 hours per day we would offer 1,184 hours.  All inclement weather days would be made up.  That’s a net gain of 1 instructional hour when compared to a 5 day week.

4.     Because we are a community wide free lunch, our schools can serve a 4 o’clock “supper” to our students (for it to be considered supper it must be served after 4 pm).  These meals would be pre-packaged and handed to kids as they exit our buildings.  Thus providing an additional meal at no cost to our families or our district (we receive federal reimbursement for the meal).  Meal reimbursement is $3.24 and cost would be $2.44, meaning we profit $.80 per meal.  If all 2300 students receive a meal, we would profit $1840, multiply times 148 school days is $272,320 total for the year.  Should we lose this ability to offer supper, we would reconsider our school start times and end times.

5.     Some unintentional positive results that happen when schools go to a 4 day school week.

A.     High School students who work have the ability to work a full extra day

B.     Student discipline decreases

C.     Teacher and Student attendance improves

D.     Student dropout rates decline

E.     Teacher and student morale improve

F.     Student educational outcomes improve in some cases and in some cases it remains stagnant.  There are very few research articles that show a decrease in student performance.  Most, if not all research, indicates no statistical significance in either helping or hurting student educational outcomes.

Posted below are research articles on the subject of a 4 day school week.
 

https://theconversation.com/does-a-shorter-week-help-kids-with-their-learning-48210

 

https://www.sde.idaho.gov/site/ruraleducation/  (must click on 4 Day School Week title, then download the pdf document)

 

http://www.uscranton.com/resources/teaching-tips/the-effect-a-four-day-school-week-has-on-teachers-and-students/

 

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/08/150827154409.htm

 

http://www.sreb.org/cgi-bin/MySQLdb?VIEW=/public/docs/view_one.txt&docid=640

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