WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — A growing trend in schools throughout the country looks to be making its way to school districts in Texoma.
While several schools in Texoma are considering the four-day switch, Petrolia C.I.S.D. began a four-day school week starting in February, and Superintendent David Hedges said he’s already noticed positive effects on not only the students but with the staff as well.
“I know from polling the teachers, they like it and it’s a good recruitment tool for us,” Hedges said.
For a little over two months now students in Petrolia C.I.S.D. have been attending school Monday through Thursday instead of the typical five-day school week, something Hedges said is already paying off.
“We run eight bus routes every day twice a day so if we can cut back one day a week for a couple of weeks a year that’s a huge saving for us not to mention electricity and water,” Hedges said.
Besides saving funds, Hedges said he’s noticed a difference in his staff and the students.
“It’s hard to get a lot out of them on Friday because they are so worn down and so this gives them a little bit of a break to catch back up and have that three day weekend. It seems like they’re able to pay more attention Monday through Thursday,” Hedges said.
He said due to testing they will begin five day weeks again in May, and although several schools are considering this option, the Superintendent of Archer City I.S.D. CD Knobloch said he believes five-day school weeks are the way to go.
“I think it’s more important to have our kids here five days. They get fed five days per week and if we were to cut that down to four days then that would be another day that they wouldn’t be here with us and I’m not saying a four day week isn’t better for another community, I’m certainly not against it,” Knobloch said.
Students relying on school meals was one of the first things that crossed Hedges’s mind which is why his staff created a program to help make up for that meal they might miss by not being in school.
“We send home what we call ‘power packs’, but we send home food on Thursdays so they’ll have food throughout the weekend until they come back on Monday,” Hedges said.
Hedges said he will be sending out a survey in the next week or two to parents to get their feedback which could result in four day weeks full time.
Hedges said going to a four-day week has also allowed his staff to catch up on work that they may sometimes have to rush through over the weekend.
In our area, Prairie Valley also does a four-day week. In Nocona, it’s a four-and-a-half-day week. Montague will begin a 4- day school week starting in the fall.