The Elsberry R-II School Board has a ‘BIG’ decision ahead of them in regards to the proposed four day school week.
Which is why, according to Superintendent Dr. Tim Reller, the faculty, parents and students opinion is very important and something he and the board are taking very serious as evident of the faculty survey, community meetings and the soon to be sent home parent/student survey.
In last week’s issue of The Elsberry Democrat, the first community meeting was covered in relation to what the four day work week would look like as well as the reasoning behind the potential switch.
Like with any major decision, there will be pros and cons and many were brought up during the faculty survey as well as at the meeting held on Nov. 18.
Some of the
Pros to a four day school week.
• More planning time, grading and the ability to give feedback from to students from teachers.
• Longer class periods for labs and extra help.
• Increased staff and student attendance. Many reports have shown that schools that have gone to a four day school week their attendance has been up
• Less substitutes which would save money and allow the certified teachers to be in the classroom.
• Reduced staff turnover. The idea is that teachers will be enticed to stay as opposed to leaving for more money.
• Ability to recruit new teachers to the district.
• Improve staff morale.
• Longer PLC time - more accomplished as they can work on multiple things in one day.
• Potential cost savings - fuel, subs, utilities. According to Dr. Reller, there will be a minimal cost savings, however, this is not the primary reason for the switch. Some schools in have cut pay for non-teachers, such as Bus Drivers and Cafeteria workers. At the meeting he stated the board was leaning to the opposite way and if the switch is made, keeping the pay at the current rate, however, they would have to work out hours.
Some of the
Cons to a four day school week.
• Student retention over a three day weekend.
• Length of day for younger students. During the meeting one mother who lives outside the city limits explained that her young child gets on the bus at 7 a.m. and doesn’t get home to well after 3:30 p.m. She is concerned that adding the extra 20 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the afternoon will make it very difficult on her child.
• Days missed for extra-curricular events/field trips with more hours missed for early bus times.
• Practices for sports starting and ending later.
• High School students arriving to school on time.
• Less frequent PLC time for timely data discussions.
• Students that have trouble regulating themselves after time at home.
• Students may get into trouble on the extra day out of school.
• Devaluing the education of the students.
• Lack of resources at home for some students - educational, meals, day care.
• Teachers, coaches, students will still be busy on Mondays.
• Transportation to activities on Mondays as well as Tech-School. According to Dr. Reller, the students going to Tech-School would need to be able to get to the school on their own and then the school would transport them to Tech-School.
What do the
While there is very little in the way of scientific data for schools that have made the five to a four day school week, what is out there is fairly status quo. Unless the schools not only cut out the day, but also cut hours.
According to Dr. Reller, the schools who did show have shown a hard trend down in test scores. On the other hand, those schools that made the change similar to what is being discussed have seen very little in the way of ups or downs in students test scores.
The Clopton School District to the north is one of six in close proximity to Elsberry to have recently made the switch.
The Elsberry Democrat was able to solicit opinions on the four day school week from a few parents with children of various ages at Clopton.
While there were concerns and changes that had to be made initially, the overwhelming response has been positive, which many saying they would never want it to go back to five days.