The Hickory County R-1 (Skyline) School District will be gathering data and community input this fall in consideration of a four-day school week for the 2019-2020 school year.
Superintendent Mark Beem emphasized that no final decision has been made about the change. The Skyline administration and school board want to make sure that the change is well researched and that all stakeholders — students, parents, staff, patrons — have an opportunity to ask questions and provide input.
Districts that have implemented the Four-Day School Week have reported many positive results including:
• Better staff retention and recruitment
• Financial savings on fuel, food, etc.
• Better staff and student attendance
Skyline’s news release stated that there are also some concerns that must be discussed, including longer school days and child-care issues on the Mondays that school is not in session. Parents will be given an opportunity to provide input through surveys as well as face-to-face meetings to provide comments and questions.
Beem said that just because Skyline has enjoyed continued academic success, it doesn’t mean that the school should not consider opportunities to be better. Beem also indicated that he would welcome any questions or comments via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A four-day school week is a growing trend in Missouri and throughout the nation, especially in rural school districts. A study by Drs. Jon Turner and Kim Finch of Missouri State University earlier this year revealed that 25 of the state’s 518 school districts have adopted the four-day school week. In response to a deepening budget crisis, 96 of Oklahoma’s 513 school districts have eliminated either Friday or Monday from their school calendars.
The move toward four-day school weeks has been especially strong in the Mountain West states largely due to the geographic size of many school districts, the report said. Since the shortened school week option became available in 1980, more than half of Colorado school districts embrace the four-day school week.
“The new four-day school week calendar being utilized in Missouri, however, is largely being implemented for reasons other than funding,” according to the report. “While schools may experience some small cost savings, most school officials report savings of less than 5 percent of their total budget.”
The report points out that Missouri schools often make the switch in order to face challenges like the need for more professional development and collaboration time with staff; to promote attendance; and improve teacher recruitment and retention.
Dr. Shannon Snow, superintendent at Stockton, is quoted as saying, “I’ve heard that education majors at local universities check for jobs at our district first because of our four-day schedule.”