The Wawascene was created by Dr. Mark Stock, former Superintendent of the Wawasee Community School Corporation. Due to its local popularity, Dr. Stock has left the blog site to future Wawasee administrators.

Blog Rules

Comments should be respectful and pertain to the topic posted. Comments about personnel matters should be made directly to the administrators responsible. Blog moderators reserve the right to remove any comment determined not in keeping with these guidelines.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

More info on 4-day school week

The four-day school week was a discussion at the superintendents' meetings today.

Evidently the position of the state office is that it would NOT require a change in state law, it would only require a waiver from the Department of Education, similar to snow day waivers.

In other words, the local school district would have to explain it's rationale in several areas and ask the state for an exemption from the 180 day rule.

Issues:

1. Curriculum requirements (How do we make sure we get it all in?)
2. Time on task issues (How much additional time do we provide on the other days?)
3. Extra-curricular impact (Does this limit opportunities for students after school?)
4. Community response (How do the parents and community members feel about it?)
5. Financial impact (What is the impact financially?)

A professor attending our meeting indicated that another state had mandated this in the 70's due to financial difficulties and found out that the academic impact was actually positive. The only theory that made sense was that teaching and learning became much more focused and intentional, perhaps due to more time for planning and organization.

I believe this topic will become more of a public issue in time.

I would like to hear from parents to know more about their opinions.

We have not had any formal discussions about this at the administrative level or the school board level at this time. I am just asking to find out more about your opinions.

If you are uncomfortable with the public comments section, feel free to send me an e-mail at mstock@wawasee.k12.in.us

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mr. Stock- I believe a 4-day week to be an excellent idea, one that could well be adopted nation-wide for all business corporations as well as schools.

Anonymous said...

I think it would be a really good idea. If it can save money and keep the buses running, while benefiting the kids, I like it.

Anonymous said...

I like a 6 day school week, year 'round! :)

Seriously, what does the research show regarding the impact of the shortened week on student learning? If favorable, what is the financial impact. Parents will adapt if the shortened week is better for kids.

Anonymous said...

As a parent I like this idea for several reasons. It gives my child time to be a kid. It allows for mini vacations without having to go at the most exspensive times of the year. It also seems we would have more quality family time at home. I agree, if research shows that this is what's best for kids the parents will get behind it.

Anonymous said...

In a time of high obesity, I don't think the answer is giving them more time in a classroom seat, or more time to be babysat by the videogames at the babysitters. You would have to shorten daily afterschool athletics and that would only exaggerate the problem. Factory workers get 2 fifteen minute breaks everyday and a lunch, yet our 3rd graders get a 30 minute lunch and that is all. Furthermore, what student or teacher wants 3 days off, and come back to work 4. Sure it saves a few bucks, if you want to tighten don't bus them in middle or high school (Then you only get the students that want to be there anyway, solving another problem) busing to my knowledge is a priviledge not a right. But in the end it makes it harder to teach curriculum to children who are more tired than they are now and socially I believe it is a bad move.

Anonymous said...

For the above posters> 4-day weeks would not necessarily give your child more time to be a kid. Another poster (most likely a teacher) has already commented that more homework would be required since you would have to do 5 days worth of work in 4 days. Not to mention the extended hours on the 4 days they attend school to meet state requirements.

The above poster commented elementary students should be bused but not middle school and high school students. Sounds like age discrimination to me. What does the grade level have to do with busing? Granted everytime a student gets into trouble the administration reminds them that busing is a privilege but without busing in our school district we wouldn’t receive near the government money we receive now. Not every family has the means to transport their children to their schools.

If you want to save money don’t cut the busing cut the extra curricular activities and restructure the busing. Do we really need all the North Webster MS-HS buses driving to the HS only to drive back down to the MS? Currently only 1 bus does not travel to the HS.

If you think sports, band and other clubs are necessary for your student then start paying for the costs associated with that activity. One traveling football game requires paying bus drivers to transport football players, cheerleaders, band members and equipment. So not only are you paying for the driver but also fuel costs. Tires, oil changes and tune-ups have to be thought of when figuring the cost of using the buses for this extracurricular activity too. I doubt coaches and referee officials are at these games working for free. If your student “needs” to play a sport, play in the band or be a member of a club then you should pay for that activity.

Busing benefits the whole student body, extra curricular activities do not. Obesity starts at home, schools provide physical education classes.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget about the Japanese who go to school 6 days a week!
Is money (financial savings) the reason behind the four day week? I find it hard to believe that this is what is best for our children. I am interested in reading more about this topic.

Dr. Mark J. Stock said...

Yes, the primary reason the four day week is being discussed is financial. Of course now that it is being discussed, people weigh in with additional pros and cons.

You are correct that a move to a four-day school week goes in the entirely opposite direction from other nations, most of which already have much longer school years than America.

Julie Baird, WHS German Teacher said...

As a teacher, I can see how a 4-day week would have educational benefits. I would gladly welcome an extra day for planning. Planning and grading take a lot more time than non-teachers realize. At the HS we are required to have our students write paragraphs for every class. Last year when I gave this assignment, it took me an average of 4 minutes per paper to grade. Four minutes doesn’t sound like much but when you add up the time to grade every paper, it took me almost 6 hours to grade an assignment that took my students 10 minutes to complete. That was 6 hours I couldn’t use to develop better lesson plans or more engaging activities. The essays and tests in my upper level classes often take me 20 to 30 minutes to grade EACH one. All this grading takes place when I do not have students in my classroom. I grade during my prep period, after school hours and on the weekends.

Most teachers I know don’t simply open the book and follow it page by page. Teachers realize that they have to do a lot of preparation before they present the material in the book. If they don’t do the preparation, the material in the book won’t make sense to the students. Good preparation takes a lot more time than we are given in our daily work schedule. It is not uncommon for teachers to spend 30 to 45 minutes preparing an activity that students complete in 15 minutes. Good activities take time to create. Having an extra day in the week would help us prepare more and prepare better activities for our students, which should result in better learning. I know that most of the dedicated teachers at Wawasee would use that extra day for planning and grading. Student would benefit from this extra planning because teachers would be able to create more engaging activities for their lessons.

While researching the 4-day school week, I came across this web site: http://www.hssd.k12.sd.us/4day.htm
This school discovered that with a 4-day school week the rate of absenteeism for both teachers and students was lower. This factor alone can increase learning. Research done in the 80’s and 90’s shows a direct correlation between teacher absences and lower student test results. There’s also research that states the fewer days students miss, the higher their test results. It’s an obvious correlation but one we take for granted. If a 4-day week would lower the absentee rate at Wawasee, students will benefit.

I realize that there are several negatives to a 4-day week, but there are also several positives besides saving the district money. The main questions should be “Will students learn more with a 4-day school week?” and “How do we measure the increase in learning?” When we know these answers, we’ll know if a 4-day school week is right for Wawasee.