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Districts Experiment With Four-Day School Weeks to Recruit Teachers

Districts Experiment with Four-Day School Weeks to Recruit Teachers

In some Oklahoma school districts, administrators are implementing four-day school weeks in order to experiment with teacher recruitment and retention in a desperate measure.

"For a lot of schools in Oklahoma, juggling flat budgets with increasing costs means a bumpy road ahead for district superintendents. And getting teachers to work for the meager starting salary is also a struggle," said KGOU.org.

Lori Helton, superintendent of Locust Grove Public Schools which will be making the change to the school week, said it's a struggle to provide teachers with incentives when the pay is meager.

"Helton saw how the teacher shortage affected other districts last year—many of which went all year without filling their open positions. And the fact that she had eight teachers leaving worried her," the article said.

The school board responded to this worry by adding Monday to the weekend and immediately started receiving an influx of resumes from interested teachers.

In order to compensate for the time lost, each school day is an hour longer and each class runs ten extra minutes. And Helton says the change forces teachers to spend each minute meaningfully.

The change in the school week will begin this upcoming school year.

Helton "admits she’s a little nervous about the shift to the four day week—and says if they don’t see positive changes in test scores, student discipline, and attendance like they hope to—then they’ll go back to the 5 day schedule," the article said.

In Asher Public Schools, where the four-day school week has been implemented already, "Terry Grissom, the district superintendent, says they now pocket an extra $20-30,000 a year because of it."

Small schools with budget concerns and a difficult time retaining teachers view drastic measures such as four-day school weeks as the only way to keep going.

"Grissom admits he doesn’t think the change is suitable for all communities—but says it’s a good fit for his.

He also says switching back to a five day week is kind of impossible at this point—and says if he did, he would have a teacher revolt to deal with."

Read the full article here and comment with your thoughts below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

07/15/2015

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