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Are Four-Day School Weeks More Productive?

school budgetSome school districts around the country have switched to a four-day school week to save money and stave off teacher layoffs.  But, in some cases, they’re actually finding the four-day school week has some real upsides.

Last year, Peach County, Georgia Schools switched to a four day school week last year so they wouldn’t have to lay off teachers. Peach County Superintendent Dr. Susan Clark told Fox News that one-day off helped to cut operational costs without hurting the quality of the education.

By moving to a four-day week, the district was able to save $400,000 enough to prevent 39 teachers from being laid off. So what’s the catch?

Initially, the community feared that longer weekends would lead to less focus on school work. But, Peach County Schools educators say that the change has been a positive one. In fact, they say they have seen improvements in attendance, behavior and grades. Teachers and students are working to make the time they spend in the classroom more efficient and productive.

“I explained to them that if they wanted to keep Mondays off then they needed to come to school everyday.  Come to school and work when they came to school, and they did that,”  says Annette Ross, principal at Byron Middle School, which has always cut back to four-day school weeks.  As a result, their teacher and student attendance rates have increased.

How do working parents handle the three-day weekend? In many cases, community groups and youth programs have set up tutoring programs and childcare to provide coverage for the extra day off.

Some parents even find that the extra day allows them to spend more quality time with their kids. “Most parents would tell me their weekends were so busy that by the time Sunday night rolled around their kids were exhausted,” says Dr. Clark. 

According to Fox News, around 120 other districts around the country are shortening their school weeks to save on operational expenses.

What do you think of the four-day school week? Could it catch on in your town?

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Photo: flickr/superkimbo in BKK

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