- Three districts, one in suburban Phoenix and two in southwest Missouri, are forgoing the standard school calendar in favor of a four-day week.
- In the two Missouri districts, students will attend school Tuesday-Friday. In the Arizona district, school will be closed on Friday.
- According to the Springfield News-Leader, school leaders believe the shorter week will save funds, engage more students, and help retain teachers, while only funds were cited in a report on the Arizona decision.
While there are definitely benefits from shaking up the school week, one big question is what happens to students on that "off" day. Most parents have work, and the extra day out of school places additional pressures on families and communities. Because districts still have state requirements to educate students for a certain number of hours a year — in Missouri, it's at least 1,044 hours — the schools also have to re-think how they will get those hours in. The simple solution is a longer school day — which, if one is aiming to keep students engaged, should come with ample time to shake legs off, get spurts of energy out, and probably include some sort of snack time.
The off days are also being cited as capable of helping to generate money. In Arizona, the district plans to rent its buildings out to a community group on those days in order to bring in additional funds.
These aren't the first three districts to make this switch by a long shot, though it still isn't widespread. If districts implementing a four-day school week find success, however, could the practice become the new norm?