Liberty Elementary School District to move to a four-day school week next school year
BUCKEYE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - Liberty Elementary School District serves about 4,500 students from kindergarten to eighth grade in Buckeye and Goodyear.
The district’s school board approved a switch from a five-day week to four. “We’re really looking forward to the opportunity to ensure our children have the highest quality teacher in front of them,” said Liberty Elementary School District Superintendent Lori Shough. Schools in the district will only have class Monday through Thursday each week. “Teachers would have two Fridays per month off to use flexibly as they see fit, non-work days, and two Fridays a month that would be worked.”
The change means students will be in school 40 minutes longer each day. “We modeled it as 7 hours and 43 minutes for 148 school days, and that becomes equivalent to about 5 less instructional hours in the the school year than what have have in 5 day school week,” she said.
While many schools have had success with these changes, districts like Apache Junction made the switch from a four-day week back to a five-day week. “Honestly the hardest part was we felt like for the students and teachers was that it was a long day and that created some challenges in itself. But, we did feel like kids adapted pretty quick,” said Chad Cantrell, Executive Director of Education Services for the district.
Justin Oliver, a parent and former teacher, said he welcomes the change. “The retention of teachers, whenever I was a teacher, is huge because it’s the same thing on their end,” he said. “They have one more day to take care of their kids, one more day to take a vacation.” Still, the district acknowledges not all parents have the flexibility.
“The before and after school program, our Leap program, does offer before and after school Monday through Thursday, but it’ll also offer the Friday up to 12 hours child care. Our families will be able to opt in just Monday through Thursday or perhaps just the Fridays, so there are some options for our families,” said Shough. The school district says they surveyed parents and found nearly 61% agreed to this change.
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