Could four-day school weeks be in the future for local districts?

Published 11:15 pm Friday, December 9, 2022

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While some school districts are mulling the idea of going to a four-day school week, at least one local district feels it is not a good fit.

Port Arthur Independent School District officials do not believe the switch to a four-day school week would be beneficial to students for a number of reasons.

Adrienne Lott, media and communications specialist, said the change may cause a significant number of parents an additional financial burden of seeking child care and nutrition and there’s the high probability that no learning would take place on the day off.

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“It is better for us to provide our children with instruction for an additional whole day rather than for an additional few minutes per day over the course of four days,” Lott said.

There’s also the possibility of the secondary school students engaging in activities and behaviors that are unsupervised, less structured and unruly than when they are engaged in school.

Lott said the typical work week for adults is five days and school trains students for real world experiences. Most students may not be mature enough to effectively navigate a 4-day work week.

PAISD Superintendent Dr. Mark Porterie said he understands we must assess what works for our children in the current educational system.

“However, I think we must try and find ways to ensure that students in the U.S. find education to be critical for their success,” Porterie said. “It is becoming more apparent that a large percentage of children do not value a formal education.”

Porterie believes education is the answer to poverty, lack of knowledge, appreciation for diversity, the ability to provide a quality of life for yourself, family and more.

“Somehow, we have to instill the respect and importance of an educated community in our students,” he said. “We believe we begin to instill this in pre-k, and the increased appreciation grows throughout our education process, culminating in 12th grade.”

Lumberton Independent School District recently discussed, for the first time, a 4-day hybrid calendar, Mary A. Johnson, director of communication and community relations for LISD, said.

To make this work correctly in keeping with the Texas Education Agency rules of 75,600 minutes per school year, the school day would be extended by 10 minutes.

LISD staff had a chance to vote on two calendar options, and the 4-day hybrid received 78 percent of the vote, Johnson said.

The 2023-2024 school calendar will be voted on by the school board in January.

In March, officials with Jasper Independent School District approved going to a 4-day school week but opted not to extend the length of the school day.