I attended what I am assuming was the last public meeting on the four-day school week last Thursday evening. There were 10 people there. At the previous meeting we were given information by the superintendent of White Pine School District who seems to be satisfied with their four-day program, but we have not been given an opposing view point from any other people in the know.
One of the concerns here is the Friday absence rate. The White Pine superintendent told us that yes it did help with their Friday absence rate for a while until Thursday became the new Friday. He also told us that the change cost his school district 15 percent of their school population which left for charter school. White Pine studied their change for a year before implementing it. Any opposition here must be conveyed to the school board March 17 or our program will be put in place next school year.
The savings, if any, will be minimal. The children who ride the bus will be leaving earlier and arriving home later. The children will have one hour more added to their school day but will actually be receiving two hours and 15 minutes less instruction per week than they are currently receiving now. Attendance will definitely become an issue as each day missed will become 1 1⁄4 days missed. In the research I have done it explicitly states that the four day week has not had an impact one way or another on test scores. Who is going to pay for the extra snacks it will take to keep our little ones going for the extended day? Will this lower our school rating even more?
This will only be in effect for Hawthorne schools as Schurz has opted out of the four day program. They will wait to see how the experiment works here, so this is not a district wide change. While everyone is looking toward a three day weekend how does this truly affect our children? I agree that children can get used to most any situation, but is this a good change?
I hope to see more of the community at the school board meeting on March 17. There needs to be more input pro or con, before the implementation of this new program.