The Delta/Greely School District will be hosting a public meeting regarding the possibility of changing to a four-day week. The meeting will be Tuesday, November 1 at 6 p.m. in the high school gym.
Updated October 20th, 2016
The 4-‐Day Committee used surveys (sent out last year to Parents, Staff, and Teachers), Comments from the DGSD School Board Meetings, and other comments made to members or the school district from the Community. Compiled the data and researched and commented on the areas of concern or question. This is not an exhaustive list and will continue to be updated on a regular basis.
- How will a 4-‐day school week affect Special Ed students?
The Special Education Teachers and a number of Aides surveyed responded that the amount of review necessary after a 3 day weekend is the same as after a 2 day weekend. As a group these teachers feel that most of their students would not be negatively affected by a longer weekend. For example, students in our extended school year program attend 4 days, not 5 days, per week and currently we have several students that leave school once a week to go to services in Fairbanks (missing a school day.) Teachers will be cognizant when planning lessons to include activities that promote student engagement.
- A 4-‐day week means a longer day for students, is it too long?
The proposed school day will be 1 hour longer than the current school day. (Currently in discussion is 30 min. before and after.)
Any schedule change requires a period of adjustment. Students adjust to a new schedule each year and adapt to changes.
Current programs will not be affected and coaches have indicated that they could adjust their practice times to account for the expanded school day. (1½ hours vs. 2 hour practices)
- Will the schedule increase bus time for students?
The district contracts with First Student for bus transportation.
The bus routes will not be changing which means the amount of time a child spendson the bus should be no different than the amount of time (s)he spends on the bus now. Every year schedules are put together by the number of school routes (established by the district) then First Student determines the most efficient service for those routes. Once school times have been established First Student will develop their bus routes for specific pickup and drop-‐off times. The longer school day may even more closely align to parents work schedules with earlier mornings and later afternoon times for busing (based on a traditional work start time of 8:00 and an end of 4:00)
Time of bus routes pickup and drop off (over 9 bus schedules) (First One – Last Off)
-‐ Longest (R1 – AK Highway) -‐ 1 hour 33 minutes.
-‐ Shortest (R10 – Ft. Greely Moose) – 19 minutes
-‐ Average (R2-‐9) – 42 minutes
- What if I can’t make appointments because services are closed on Fridays?
We have created a list of doctors, dentists, therapists, etc. that are currently open on Fridays.
- What is the effect on specialized students?
Specialized students encompasses both ends of the learning spectrum and can include students who may have unique interests that are not accommodated within the current course offerings or the constraints of a 5-‐day school week. The 4-‐day school week may provide time for enrichment opportunities or activities to expand individualized learning offered by the community.
After asking the staff that work with SPED, ELL and Title 1 students, these teachers feel that most of their students would not be negatively affected by a longer weekend. These teachers, (in collaboration with parents) regularly adapt their teaching schedule to accommodate individual students can adjust to the new time schedule and still meet student needs.
Students who are seeking a challenge beyond normal school offerings have an additional day to concentrate on new opportunities.
- Will a 4-‐day week benefit students academically? Will they have more homework? Learning is our product. If Delta/Greely School District transitions to a 4-‐day-‐week, it will do so because it would enhance learning.
With the proposed timeline, the staff will know by December of 2016 if we are transitioning to the 4-‐day school week. This will allow staff seven months to plan the most effective instruction for a 4-‐day week.
A student who is present in his or her classes will learn more than if he or she is not. At Delta/Greely Schools, attendance is a concern, especially on Fridays and Mondays. A 4-‐day week is a rational solution to this problem.
Recent evidence has been published that the switch from five days to four yields increases in performance. (Anderson and Walker, 2015) This study is significant to our efforts because it is long-‐term, shows performance improvements and looks at schools that have successfully transitioned from 5 days to 4. Especially in light of potential improvements to attendance, a transition to a 4-‐day school week will benefit our students.
Parents may feel that longer periods and days will overburden students. Many high schools use a block schedule that places students in classrooms for up to ninety minutes. The proposed schedule would only extend classes by ten minutes. Delta/Greely educators already shift gears for shorter classes on Wednesday without discomfort.
Should a 4-‐day week be implemented, the same amount of content and homework will be metered out over four days, rather than five. There are many ways that homework can be restructured that will not result in a net increase in homework on a daily or weekly basis.
See research articles referenced below (all)
- Will the change impact students’ time at home? Yes. The impact will be different for every household.
- Doesn’t prepare students for a five-‐day work week
Many occupations do not use the traditional five-‐day workweek schedule. Our goal as educators is not to prepare students to work a particular schedule. Our goal is to prepare students to be problem solvers, to be adaptable, and to be lifelong learners.
- Your focus is on Attendance? Will a 4-‐Day week matter?
The most productive learning takes place when students, teachers and support staff are present. Attendance is something that is expected to improve by changing to a 4 day school week. Absences are detrimental to all classes and students, not just the student that is missing from school. Student absences impact the learning of others. Content has to be reviewed, plans and lessons are disrupted and have to be re-taught, and it is difficult to move on to new content without all students present. By scheduling appointments, sporting events, and travel on non-school days, (whenever possible), we are expecting to see a decrease in planned absences throughout the school week. A 4- day school week would provide a weekday for planned absences to occur, thereby potentially minimizing disruptions to the learning process.
Achieving 95% attendance would better our chances of becoming a 5-star school. A 5- star school rating would allow the District to apply for specialized grants, would help our schools to gain state and national recognition, and would possibly entice students and future employees to consider our District.
See research articles referenced below (Hewitt, and Chemelynski)
10. Will it have a financial aspect?
The purpose of changing to a 4 day school week is not for financial savings, although data shows a range of 2% to 9% savings (Bighorn SD). We anticipate that there will be some efficiencies and energy savings that may be realized as a result of this effort, but due to the fact that much of the school year occurs during winter months, the cost of heating the buildings would not decrease significantly. The school district has already implemented energy efficient technologies such as motion sensitive lights and programmable heating systems which can be programmed to use less heat during periods when the building is not being occupied. Some of these cost savings could be used to offset lost employee hours.
- Will this cause negative behaviors in our students?
The research indicates that behavior referrals actually decreased because kids are positively motivated by the 4-day week. Teachers will continue to manage their class the same as they would during a 5-day week.
See research articles referenced below (Hewitt
- Are longer days a disservice to our staff?
There will be a period of adjustment for all, but we are all capable of adapting and adjusting to a new schedule, which is something we already do every year.
Data collected from Delta/Greely certified staff shows that 95% of teachers do not feel that the longer day would pose problems that could not be overcome.
Current Research 4-Day Schools:
Hewitt, Paul, George Denny. “The Four-Day School Week: Impact on Student Academic
Performance.” Rural Educator (Winter 2011): 23-31.
Chemelynski, Carol. “Four-Day School Weeks? Only If They Fit.” Education Digest
(January 2003): 58-61.
Yarbough, Rachel, David Gilman. “From Five Days to Four.” Educational Leadership
(October 2006): 80-85.
Heitin, Liana. “Four-Day School Week Linked to Gains in Math.” Education Week
(September 16, 2015): 5.
“Four-Day School Week Report.” http://opi.mt.gov. Montana Office of Public Instruction, Oct. 2011. We. 10 Oct. 2016.
Other topics that will be addressed in the coming weeks:
Can the 4-‐Day week be “sacred” to education?
Possible Day Schedules at sites
Will there be an extensive “energy adjustment” needed for the school population?
Major curriculum changes to accommodate a change to the school week?
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