Potential four-day school week?

Connor Lamora

If the last few years have proved anything, it’s that the world is changing and with that comes an evolution in education. While some takes on education benefit the students and staff population, other ideas provide little to no benefit. Various learning tools have been developed and have gained more popularity as the last few years have passed. However, there is something that the Rolla school district has yet to consider: the introduction of a four-day week schedule.
Can a four-day week schedule be introduced into the Rolla school district? Is it even possible to completely revise the daily schedule of all students and their family and staff? Systems like these have indeed been placed in smaller school districts. The sudden change in school days are the result of budget constraints and the increasing absences of students. While four-day school weeks do exist, the hours in each day also are changed.
The law requires 1,044 hours in the school year. This is why when snow days happen, they are made up later in the year regardless if the school planned for a school day that day or not. Furthermore, when four-day school weeks are made official, each school day is extended.
Schools that do enforce these new schedules offer a tutoring day on the fifth-day, either Fridays or Mondays depending on the off day, and some even open up child care centers. However, the resulting difficulties with introducing these drastic changes falls not only on the students of these schools, but also the parents. Parents must be able to find babysitters or some sort of childcare since not all schools establish these options.
The lack of transportation can also be a problem for students who wish to engage in activities on their off-days. Students who are food insecure will lose access to healthy meals on their days off.
However, the little research done into these four-day week schedules proves to attract new staff, along with budgets being saved and better attendance. The academic side of the research is much more scarce, though, with not enough strong support to argue either side. While these four-day schedules have begun to trend and larger schools are considering this change, should all schools do this?
“I don’t know that that’s the right thing to do, and [I have] also not [seen] that there’s any academic benefit to doing that,” Superintendent Craig Hounsom said. “[Schools] do it as a recruiting tool, but typically it’s not being done on a welfare of the student basis. It’s usually other reasons.”
It’s obvious that a change this big would not happen during a school year that has already started. It would also mean that if the Rolla school district applied this method, the schedule would have to fit the needs of all students and their families including some sort of child care, extracurricular activities on off-days, and beneficial help to students who struggle with at-home needs. Could the four-day week be coming to RHS anytime soon? Most likely not. The model will take immense time and research to conduct a plan that would not only make sense but help further the education of all students.