4 day weeks in North Texas Schools

Kaitlyn Van Holten, Staff Writer

Recently many North Texas schools have started adopting 4 day school weeks. This has become more common among smaller, more rural schools.

One school adopting this new schedule is the Mineral Wells Independent School District (MWISD). The district started losing many educators at the end of 2022 spring to nearby schools that already had a 4 day school week established.

“We started losing teachers to that four-day school week, regardless of what we paid,” said David Tarver, assistant superintendent of Mineral Wells ISD. “That was a big eye-opener.”

As the school district was forced to adapt and adopt the 4 day school week for the following 2022-2023 school year, the administration was able to attract more teachers and retain current ones. But it’s not just one school having to adopt this new policy; small schools all across Texas are starting 4 day school weeks. 

While it is unlikely for larger schools to make this change, small schools are reaping the benefits. 

The student and teacher morale has improved. With an extra day out of school, students have shown to be more relaxed and more productive as well. 

With that, student attendance has increased. Appointments for various things are now able to be scheduled on the extra day off rather than missing an important class.

Along with these, the financial cost for the school has reduced due to not having to run buses on that day off. Utility costs also aren’t as much because of only having them in use for four days rather than five. As well as the breakfast and lunch costs decreasing since students only need it for the four days. 

Disciplinary referral frequency has also shown to reduce. Superintendent, Jimmy Linderman, of the Chattooga County School District in Georgia recorded a 73% drop in disciplinary referrals in one school year. 

Of course with benefits there are downsides, as with everything. These concerns are what make so many hesitant on implementing this policy.

A main concern is that a study in Colorado found “adolescent students may engage in more criminal activity as a result of the extra day off.” As well as students who may not be in a safe household won’t have the safety of their school. 

Another worry is for the  low-income students in these districts; they may get lunch for free or low cost at their schools, so if they’re not in school on Fridays, that is one less day they might have that meal. 

Teachers are also worried about having to cram lessons to fulfill the state requirements. They are concerned it will have a negative effect on the students.

Along with everything, there are pros and cons. Some schools may find the four day week to outweigh the cons while others find the opposite.

Sources used:

Bradley, Katherine. “The Advantages of a Four Day School Week.” Education, 29 Sept. 2016, https://education.seattlepi.com/advantages-four-day-school-week-1548.html.

Lopez, Brian. “Rural Texas Districts Struggling to Attract Teachers Are Switching to Four-Day School Weeks.” The Texas Tribune, The Texas Tribune, 19 July 2022, https://www.texastribune.org/2022/07/19/texas-schools-four-day-weeks/.