It’s time for school districts to reflect on their current systems in order to compete in the education world. It’s time to change educational trends to attract better teachers while improving functionality and implementation. Isn’t it about time that school leaders shift their organizations’ policies and regulations to meet the growing trends of society?
A school district in a Denver, Colorado suburb did just that by shifting to a four-day school day. This past school year [2018-2019] was the very first year and it was highly appreciated by the teachers and students in the district. The school days were a bit longer, but teachers already work long hours. Most teachers aren’t able to leave when the students leave their campuses. In fact, many teachers stay hours after their mandated work hours to catch up on work related tasks. There were times that I stayed at school until 9:00 PM working on grading, changing my room around, decorating my room, lesson planning, and other stuff.
The superintendent of the Colorado school district indicated that his district was one of the lowest in the state regarding funding and teacher pay; therefore he had to be creative in order to attract teacher talent.
Teachers left surrounding districts because they were attracted to the four-day work week. Teachers had more leisure time and time to spend on planning for their students. Students had time to enjoy the outdoors and with family. Some high school students were able to spend their one weekday off working and saving money for college.
Parents weren’t so on board with the change because of the inconvenience and the extra expenses that many had to spend on such things like daycare.
I think change is necessary to stay on top of the trends that attract highly qualified teachers. In this example, teachers were stoked about the workday and not so much focused on the unsuitable teacher pay. The superintendent actually said that this simple change attracted more teachers with graduate degrees and he was able to fill positions that were difficult to fill prior. The superintendent also insisted that higher teacher salaries was never on the table, therefore, he knew he had to be a game-changer, think outside the box, and challenge his community to accept his district’s school day transformation.
I am an advocate for constant change when the change is a forward-thinking, pioneering change. Teachers, in general, are quite used to change. Many are antagonistic of change in its primal stages, but eventually come to terms with its acceptance once perfected. There is a difference in change that causes continual chaos in the workplace and change that promotes continual progression and productivity.
Are you a proponent of a 4-day school week?