Texas: Schools Are Switching To Four-Day Weeks Because Of The Teacher Shortage

School districts all around Texas have devised a new strategy to cope with their current teacher shortage: shortening the school week to four days.

Some people will benefit greatly from this, but parents may find it difficult.

Students in Channing ISD, a school district located in West Texas, attend the same school from kindergarten through high school.

Graves is now the head of the Channing school. “Four-day school weeks” will alleviate some of that burden, he asserts.

“That’s one of our major selling points—it’s one less day. We’re only going to bring the teachers in maybe a couple of times throughout the year on a Friday,” Graves said. Several rural districts in the state, including Channing ISD, have now made the changeover to the new model of teaching.

It’s difficult to compete with larger schools that pay their teachers around $7,000 more, according to Superintendent Dr. Misty Heiskell. “When inflation hits and things go up, we need to be able to find ways to compensate our teachers or offer benefit packages that will draw them back to the school setting,” Heiskell said.

Increased enrollment is another goal of the shift. Heiskell said that they live in a small community. Transfer students make up the bulk of their student body. Parents living in the school districts that have implemented the move are now making plans to find out how they will handle child care on Fridays. According to Heiskell, Channing Independent School District is focused on finding a solution to that problem. “We did lose a couple of students because parents working five days,” Heiskell said. “One of the things we want to look at… is have some type of activity or be able to open our building on those Fridays for kids who don’t have a place to go.”

He believes this will help the district be reimagined so that families will want to send their children there. “It’s going to save a lot a lot of people’s energy,” Graves said.

It was in 2016 that the Olfen Independent School District in West Texas made history by becoming the first in the state to implement a four-day week.

According to the Texas Education Agency, this practice is not presently documented. However, as long as a school district fulfills the criteria of 75,600 in-person operating minutes for the school year, it is stated that the district does have the ability to do whatever is best for the communities it serves.

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