Students in Hawthorne Elementary and Mineral County Jr. High/High School will begin attending school only four days a week next year after the Mineral County School District Board of Trustees voted for the implementation of this “trial” for one year. Schurz Elementary declined to participate in the trial for a year.
Hawthorne Elementary teacher Joe Burch presented an outline of positive aspects to the trustees such as: the four-day school week would be a new teacher recruiting tool; sports events will be held on Friday for junior high and high school students; students will be in class rather than absent for travel and events; attendance will improve overall/district-wide and no early release on Wednesday.
Burch explained that teachers would now work from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for nine hours a day. Their contract requires them to work 83,720 minutes. Under the four-day workweek, teachers would work 83,880 minutes.
Students will also meet or exceed the required minutes needed in their school calendar with Hawthorne Elementary School students beginning their 2016-2017 school year at 8:10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The State of Nevada requires elementary student to receive 54,000 minutes of instruction a school year. The new four-day implementation will have those children receiving 20 more minutes a year of instruction.
Those in Mineral County Jr. High/High School will begin their day at 8:05 a.m. and leave school at 3:35 p.m. There will be 59,860 minutes of instruction. Well above the 59,400 minutes as instructed by the state.
The decision to move forward in the implementation was brought forth from the process of sending home surveys to parents within the district. Burch explained that in the Hawthorne area, there were 127 positive responses with only 50 negative. Only 182 surveys were returned.
Schurz had 16 negative responses with five positive responses. Burch believes that Schurz Elementary parents are not “set” in not having the four-day week, but would rather see the pilot program ran in Hawthorne to see how well the new school week is embraced.
Burch explained that he also spoke with classified employees of the district that would be affected. Out of 53 surveys, there were 40 positive with only four definite “no” responses.
Some concerns that parents had with children and a four-day week were: athletics; daycare; instructional time; length of school day and travel time.
Children participating in the Backpack Buddies program will not be left out. Burch spoke with CAHS who will try to secure grants to make sure that children will have three days of food needed instead of two.
Those that have questions or concerns may contact the Mineral County School District for guidance.