In recent years, 4-day school weeks have been becoming more and more popular among schools in the United states. According to research published in the peer-reviewed journal, Educational Evaluation and Policy Analyis, in the last decade alone, shortened school weeks have been adopted in more than 1,600 schools in 650 school districts nationwide. Bishop Mccort Catholic Highschool is currently conducting discussions between parents and the school about what a shortened school week would mean for them.
“Academically, there is more instructional minutes in the 4-day component than in the 5-day, I know that’s pretty hard to believe but it is factual. When you run the math there is more time in front of the teacher on those days. Culturally, for our teachers and for our students, it’s a 4-day work week plus 1 because we’re going to have enrichment Fridays here at the school to be optional for our students and tutoring days on those Fridays as well if we move this forward.”
The research also showed that a 4-day school week decreases bullying incidents and has no real effect on test scores or attendance. The shortened week also proves to attract more teacher applicants during a national teacher shortage. The shortened school week would only apply to grades 7-12 at Bishop Mccort.
“I just think that from the folks that I’ve talked to mainly in the Texas region, that it has been a game changer for their school system, For their families, for their parents, for the students, teacher burn-out all the things you’re hearing about in the news today, it has flipped it on it’s head and if you read a lot about what’s happening in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, there’s a lot of that going on. People are leaving the profession in droves and there’s going to be a teacher shortage.”
However, parents raised some important points during the discussion with faculty.
“It’s going to be a significant impact to the school week of the student, to their instructional rhythm and to how they’re going to approach their studies, The significant impact has been untested so far and I think there’s a lot the school is going to have to do to prove it to the parents that the juice will be worth the squeeze and also to say that they’ll be prepared to execute this change.”
Parents also shared worries about the potential for the new schedule to upset many family’s schedules.
“Now you’re saying a high-school student is going to be home more days than the family has originally scheduled, You have middle school students, 7th and 8th grade students maybe they can’t be at home. Maybe they have younger siblings. Now you’re talking about a significant impact to that home life because maybe mom or dad counting on the students being in school structured environment. Now potentially the parents may have to adjust for that student being at home. Now they have to provide that structure. I think that is something a lot of families are going to have to consider.”
While nothing is set in stone, Bishop Mccort High School is still in the discussion phase of the potential new schedule.