Four days anyone?
Next year our school district will be jumping into an experiment that only a handful of districts in the state of Minnesota have ventured into--the four-day school week. That ought to be interesting!
Our small district has to cut around $900,000, and we hope to save around $140,000 by doing this. Obviously, this has created a tremendous amount of controversy in our community. Some people think the teachers are getting a heckuva deal out of that, but they are a little confused. Our class periods will go from 49 to 62 minutes, so we'll actually have a couple more minutes of student contact time over the week than we do now.
I have mixed feelings about it. When I look at other cuts we might have to make if we don't go to the four-day week, I'm willing to give it a shot. The junior member of our social studies department is an outstanding teacher and person. If he got cut, especially when I am eligible for retirement, it would make me sick.
It's going to cause a tremendous amount of work for me, however, because I'm an organization freak, and I'm going to have to restructure just about everything I do. I wrote my own textbook, and everything is set up for those 49 minute class periods. I'll have to re-do that, along with all the quizzes that go with it, and all of my PowerPoints for the year. And that's just for one of my four class preparations.
Most of our high school teachers have feelings similar to mine. If it means not having to make more cuts, we're for it. Our elementary teachers, however, are almost unanimously against it. They are not enthusiastic about the longer days for their little ones. Right now, our classes start at 8:19 AM, and we go until 3 PM. Next year, we'll be starting at 8 AM and going until 4 PM.
I must admit that having three-day weekends sounds pretty good, especially in the spring and fall when I'm not coaching. The other benefit I see is that by getting rid of Fridays, we will be getting rid of the day when kids most frequently miss classes for sports. Our spring sports kids miss a ridiculous amount of school, so right now, anything that will cut back on "make-up" correcting sounds pretty good.
On the other hand, when we get into our seventeen week hockey season, heading off for practices after that longer day is going to be a little harder.