Just my Thoughts

The Four Day School Week

Evidently, there are places in the US that have a four day school week.  Along with the recently reinstated in my part of the country February week off (back in the 70’s it was to conserve energy – now not so sure as there are activities during this break), many districts have looked at a four day school week for conservation reason.  Busing wear and tear – also known as maintenance – and conservation of fuel – especially back when diesel was close to $5 a gallon – brought on these discussions. 

I have always been skeptical as to how a school in NYS would do this four day week as there is a number of days requirement imposed by State Ed.  Of course, my problem was I always thought of the day that would be removed from the schedule would be Friday.  Well, I now know I need think less rigidly.

Niagara Falls Catholic High School will, beginning in the 2009-2010 school year, be going to a four day school week.  The principal says the motivation was not conservation but time – time for students to do required volunteer work (an oxymoron if you ask me), time for appointments and time for family.

The article sited above appeared on December 17th in The Niagara Gazette.  Caitlin Murphy, who earlier in the year reported that Niagara-Wheatfield schools would be consolidating early bus runs, did the article.  I can now see this happening in more NYS schools.  By choosing Monday as the day the schools would not be in session, Niagara Falls Catholic High needs only add an hour and ten minutes to the school day.  They start at 7:45 am – the same time high school starts in my district – and will dismiss at 3:35 pm – which would be about five minutes different than if my school district added an hour and ten minutes to the day.  The amazing thing is that they are adding instruction time to the school year.  The net in all of this is 15 more hours of instruction time in the school year.

In my mind, this eliminates a lot of what I saw as drawbacks to a proposal like this.  The school day still ends with enough time for sports practices.  The school day still ends with enough time for part time jobs.  This is just a high school at the moment so there isn’t a child care issue.  It seems to be a plus all around.

On top of being 15 hours additional instruction time each year, individual students would have a free weekday to make doctor’s appointments and such and would, theoretically, miss less school.

What do you think?

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