Cartwright School District attracting more teachers after switch to 4-day week

Cartwright School District says its helping to close the staffing gaps.
Published: Nov. 16, 2023 at 12:25 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- This is the first semester both students and teachers have been operating on a four-day week in the Cartwright School District, and the district has seen incredible results on the hiring front.

Before the switch, the district had 18 open positions last school year. This year, it only had three open positions heading into the fall semester. “Before, we would struggle to be able to attract people who had the qualifications to fill those positions, and one of the things that we notice is people from out of state are applying, and they’re fascinated by the four-day workweek,” said Victor Hugo Rodriguez with the Cartwright School District.

During the pandemic, the district switched its students to the four-day week. Not only did it see improvement in absences, but the district reported students were more energized and motivated to learn.

As officials were trying to find solutions to the ongoing teacher shortage and burnout, the district made the switch official this year. Rodriguez said he has heard nothing but positive feedback from teachers. “They are able to spend more time with their family, they seem to be more happy, and they come back to work, radiant and energized, to be able to give 110%,” he said.

The four-day week extends school days to 10 hours, but the district said teachers, students, and parents have said the trade-off is worth it to use Friday for errands or doctor appointments. Rodriguez also says the parents love this schedule because it eliminates early school dismissals, and students no longer wait an hour or more for a family member to pick them up after work.

The district has also noticed a lesser need to hire substitutes because fewer teachers have called out sick compared to previous years.

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