Local school districts are hoping to continue 4-day school week

Local school districts are hoping to continue 4-day school week

Okla. (TNN) - New legislation is working to set the bar for schools to operate a 4-day week schedule, and new requirements could force some schools to move back to the traditional five day week.

This comes after legislation passed in May that was signed by Governor Stitt, which requires the 165 day minimum.

If the new proposal is adopted, waivers will be required beginning 2021 for all schools wanting to continue their four day week, and what those schools must do to get those waivers is really the biggest change here.

Some of the new proposed requirements include student growth at or above the state level in English and Math, graduation rate at or above the state average, as well as hitting the 165 day mark for days in the classroom.

One thing to note, it’s possible not every four day district will be able to operate that way going forward, but if schools can meet these requirements, getting the waiver shouldn’t be an issue.

For Cement Superintendent David Davidson, he said some of the proposed requirements will be hard to meet, and that struggle seems to be on purpose.

“The legislature and the powers that be at the state department don’t approve of the four day school week. Trust your school boards, trust your administration at these little schools, and big schools for that matter, and do what is best for their schools and their communities," said David Davidson, Cement Superintendent.

Part of the new requirements involves academic growth, and in Indiahoma their Superintendent said despite not performing to the standards she would like, it had nothing to do with one less school day.

“We didn’t perform as well academically as we would have liked, but for the overall grade we scored a 56, and the state was at 53, so I don’t think it’s been detrimental to us in any way," said Deanna Voegeli, Indiahoma Superintendent.

In Cement, Davidson said their growth isn’t impacted by the shortened weeks, but it does take away opportunities for fun or unique lesson plans.

"You have to compress, and push, work hard, because we have standards to teach to and address," said Davidson.

He said because of Cement’s size and rural location, the 4 day week actually helps them combat staffing issues.

“It gives me a tool, something to offer quality teachers,” said Davidson.

With the way requirements are set up now, Voegeli said meeting the total class time threshold has been easy, but these proposed changes may impact their ability to keep up.

“We start earlier and we end later, and that has not been a problem. However I think it may be increasing quite a bit if it passes legislation,” said Voegeli.

Finally for Davidson, he said one of the best parts about a four day week is the savings they now have at their disposal.

“By going four day school weeks, we are saving a minimum of 25 thousand dollars. That does’t sound like a lot, but when you step back and look, that’s a support employee salary," said Davidson.

School administrators and community leaders in favor of this or not can weigh in on the proposed changes for the next two weeks.

If you wish to have your voice heard - Send an email to rules@sde.ok.gov , or fax a letter to 405-522-6256.

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