Texas has nearly 50 districts using a four-day school week. The approach is expected to help with staff shortages by attracting quality teachers and helps retain the rest. While some schools and districts continue to consider or test it out, others, like Athens Independent School District, have seen the results. Despite a few mixed reviews due to additional day care costs, many parents and families communicate that they like the four-day week. What’s more is that it has helped improve their test scores!
Trying something new
- Athens was roughly losing 20%, 25% of teachers each year.
- Teachers were leaving for bigger, better-paying, nearby districts. And many teachers they did hire had little experience.
- In 2019, Athens launched a Monday through Thursday four-day school week.
- They offered free Friday pick-up lunches for low-income students, which is most of the district.
- The public was wary but willing. After three years, every group polled, including teachers, overwhelmingly liked it.
Happy parents, surging test scores
- More than three quarters of school parents agreed the four-day week had a positive or mostly positive effect on students and families.
- Latest state test scores were the best the district had ever seen, despite constant disruptions caused by COVID-19.
- New schedule was a big selling point for potential hires.
- Athens has ended its pilot and made its four-day week official for the “foreseeable future.”
- The schedule hasn’t solved everything or pleased everyone, but polling shows most folks like it.
- And the recent bump in student performance means it’s working for kids too.