Stanford School’s Trustees considering fourday school week

Vote expected March 17 at Board Meeting
Thursday, March 5, 2020
Stanford School’s Trustees considering fourday school week

During the January 21 School Board Meeting, the consideration of a four-day per week school calendar was requested to be placed on the February agenda.

At the subsequent February 18 meeting, the Board reviewed a traditional five-day week school calendar as well as a draft of the four-day week school calendar. After discussion and input from the audience, the Board elected to delay action on the proposed four-day calendar until the March 17 Regular School Board Meeting.

The four-day week concept has been around in Montana for years. According to the Office of Public Instruction, around 140 schools across Montana have implemented various versions of the four-day week schedule. Most of these schools are rural, but in November 2019, Sidney was the first Class A school to adopt a four-day school week.

Of the five counties that border Judith Basin County, Choteau County and Cascade County together have four schools with four-day school weeks. These include Centerville Public Schools, Sun River Valley Public Schools, Vaughn Elementary and Big Sandy Public Schools.

As with any educational program there will be a significant number of supporters and a significant number of opponents. More so, if one were to visit with 10 different administrators or teachers that operate a fourday week, one would likely get 10 different opinions on why they chose this model and on its effectiveness. Furthermore, it doesn’t take someone very long to locate research and various studies that both support or dispute the effectiveness of a four-day week schedule. One could spend a great deal of time detailing the pros and cons of a four-day week, and even then, what one person may consider a con, another might consider a pro.

When a school district is looking into any significant change, they have to ask themselves why they are considering such a change. Occasionally districts will look at a four-day week as a solution to all their issues or concerns. However, a four-day school week is not a cure-all remedy for issues a school may be facing such as a budget shortfall, teacher recruitment and retention, student and staff attendance, low morale of students and staff, etc. On the other hand, what a four-day school week can be is a very effective tool in a large toolbox to catalyze continuous school improvement. Implementation of a four-day week is a major change. It is important to ask, will this change help make our school a better place?

That is the question the Board of Trustees will have to ask themselves as they prepare to make this decision at the next regularly scheduled board meeting on March 17, 2020 at 7 p.m.

If you have any questions or want to discuss a four-day school week schedule, please feel free to call me at the school (566-2265), stop by in person or email at bmoore@stanford.k12.mt.us.

Thanks for your support of the students of Stanford Schools.

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