Rise in Four-Day School Weeks Spurs Discussion on Benefits and Challenges

By Trish Svoboda

In Kansas, 77 school buildings across 29 districts have transitioned to a four-day week, up from 60 in 2023. Rural communities, which already host most of the state’s four-day schools, may benefit from this trend.

Randy Watson, KBOE Commissioner of Education, highlighted discussions among districts, particularly in smaller, rural areas, about adopting the four-day week. While initially proposed for cost-saving purposes, the four-day schedule has also been used for teacher recruitment.

Research comparing four-day and five-day schools revealed that five-day schools perform slightly better on state assessments and significantly higher on ACT scores. However, other factors like school resources and teacher experience may contribute to these differences.

Cathy Hopkins, a board member, noted positive feedback from districts with shortened weeks, especially in rural areas where families face longer commutes for daily needs.

In an interview with the Kansas Reflector, Sherri Schwanz of the Kansas National Education Association emphasized the importance of considering various factors, including food insecurity, childcare options, and educator input, when implementing a four-day week.

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