When we first began looking at calendars for next school year we looked at 4 potential options. The biggest priorities were to get enough time for staff to do and dig into the work that is important to ensure that our they and our students are set up to have as much success as possible, keeping consistency, and the ability to give back time to our staff that continue to give up their time to assist while we are down subs.
The first would have matched Olin’s days off for whole day staff professional development and then provide the other days as early out PD days. The second would have had the early out pd days but then the last Wednesday of each month would be a full day PD day. The third option is to keep things as status quo- early outs every Wednesday. The fourth option is to have a 4 day student week with Monday’s as a PD day for staff.
After polling our staff, the weekly early out and the 4 day week were the two calendars that had the most support. We have continued to survey our staff and research options as we now move towards seeking feedback from our parents, students, and community at large. Since the Four Day week has the most change involved, this page will include a lot of information on the four day week and the challenges/positives that it presents.
Background of the Four-Day Idea
This year we have had staff members giving up prep periods on a daily basis. While we have been looking into what we could do to combat this, the four day student week idea came up and we began to investigate what this could look like, while also looking into what other benefits this could bring. First is time. Instead of having 2 hours per week for professional development this would give 5.25 hours per week and allow for building level professional development and meetings, as well as district level professional development and meetings, and still allow time for teachers to meet in their teams and go through data and plan to better meet the needs of their students in the week to follow. Another benefit that has been seen by districts across the nation that have adopted four day weeks is stronger teacher retention and the ability to recruit other highly qualified staff. Lower teacher retention percentages have been shown to greatly impact the scholastic performance of students. Studies have also shown that students who are subject to higher teacher turnover suffer in achievement gains.
While the day can still be moved (Wednesday and Friday were discussed), Monday gives our staff the opportunity to prepare for the week to come. They can utilize data that was collected the previous week and tailor lesson plans to best meet there students where they are at. Mondays are also the day that has the most holidays that affect our calendar and would not impact the high school’s ability to continue with Friday sports and activities as usual.
Why Make the Change to a Four-Day School Week?
After the hiring processes that we have gone through this past year, we would like to tap into a larger applicant pool and feel a four day week would allow us to attract both new and veteran teachers to our district. We already have some absolutely amazing things going for us and this would be another to separate us from the districts around us.
We feel that by allowing for more planning and prep time on a weekly basis that our teachers and staff will be set up to be more successful in working with our students. This would allow them to better prepare their lessons and interventions based off of data that they were able to thoroughly analyze and would allow for more time to collaborate and learn through building and district level professional development.
Research time and time again also tells us that teachers are the single biggest factor to success for students. We want to ensure that our staff are taken care of when it comes to providing them with adequate time to do their jobs that at this point is being interrupted by having to sub for others or having to add more to their plate. This will allow us to ensure that they have the time and ability to focus on maximizing student achievement as much as possible.
Our goal is to continue to build strong bonds and relationships with our students that are long-lasting. Through the implementation of a 4 day calendar, our goal would be to encourage quality teachers and staff to come and stay within the Midland Community School District.
Student & Staff Morale
The lingering effects of the pandemic have continued to surface time and time again as demands to catch up have increased and common stressors and hardships have been magnified. We recognize this and want to continue to address this in an ongoing way by allowing our students to have more time with family and taking care of their mental health while also allowing time for our staff to stay caught up so that they can be more present with their families outside of school as well. Districts that have adopted a 4 day week often show strong correlations between implementing a 4 day week and increased student and staff morale.
School Start and End Times:
Elementary – 7:50 AM – 3:30 PM
Secondary: 8:00 AM – 3:40 PM
If you have any questions or comments about the proposed 4 day student week, please email us at 2023Caledar@midland.k12.ia.us.
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Frequently Asked Questions:
How can losing this many days of school be positive for children?
The number of school days will change but the instructional hours will be the same or very close to the current calendar by adding time to each school day. We also hope that by utilizing the additional time for planning and preparing that our ability to continuously improve will greatly increase leading to better results for students.
When does the school year end?
The school year would still tentatively end before Mermorial Day depending on the amount of closures that we would have throughout the year.
What happens if we have weather cancelations?
If we have to cancel school due to weather, we will take the following Monday as the make up day so that we make them up as the year goes along.
Why would Midland be exploring a four day week?
Moving to a four-day student week would:
*Aid in recruiting and attracting new hires that are both new to the profession and veterans from other districts.
*Help us to retain the teachers that we currently have as we are continuing to address their needs of providing more time to do the incredibly important work that they spend countless hours outside of their contract time to do.
*Boost student and staff morale.
*Allows teachers to have more time for planning, collaboration, and learning to prepare for and support our students and their learning.
What does research say about student achievement and a four-day student week?
Most research is inconclusive. Some districts see gains in student achievement where others see slight declines. The districts that use the day to take action and plan and prepare see more positive affects. Also data shows that districts that have switched do not go back as students, staff, and parents prefer the 4 day student week after its implementation.
How much money would be saved with a four-day schedule?
Our number one goal is not to save money. We do see potential cost savings on fuel costs and savings on substitute teachers/teachers covering classes.
What about daycare on no school days?
The district is investigating options for this. Parents will be surveyed and the district will consider this as we move forward.
What about preschool?
Preschool will continue to operate four days a week regardless of any changes with a day a week.