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TFSD should adopt a four-day school week

TFSD+should+adopt+a+four-day+school+week
Photo Source: The Riverhawk Review Staff

The Twin Falls School District should switch to a four-day school week because of the benefits it has regarding stress, productivity, and added time outside of class. 

Despite the alluring idea of a four-day school week, there are drawbacks to be taken into consideration. As Mr. Eric Smallwood of the Twin Falls School District Board said, many kids need the extra fifth day for structure and food; taking that day away would not be fair to the students who rely on school for breakfast and lunch during the week. Students may also use school as an escape from their home lives, as Mr. Smallwood has said. Mr. Smallwood did mention, however, that he is worried that TFSD keeping a five-day school week might deter some teachers from joining the district, but this is a sacrifice worth taking to ensure students have the resources they need. 

Other considerations to be made for the normal five-day school week are that some extracurriculars depend on the five-day school week for students to hone their craft—an example being the music and theater students who need ample time to rehearse for concerts and performances. Five-day school weeks also save parents money on childcare, and childcare is not cheap.

Even though these are all valid concerns and benefits, the four-day school week has more advantages for students and teachers in the long run. For students in particular, it allows them to enjoy a longer weekend. Not only does this longer weekend provide time for students to relax and get ready for the following week, but it also provides time to de-stress. Having a four-day school week helps combat the ever-persisting problem of burnout among students. Shorter school weeks also give students more time outside school for homework, jobs, and extracurricular activities. For those pursuing an associate’s degree in high school, it provides them extra time to catch up on work and stay on track.

Teachers also spend a lot of time outside of contract hours grading and lesson planning. An extra day off would give teachers sufficient time to get work done while giving them more time for personal hobbies and family. Teachers could also take the Fridays students get off as a day to plan lessons and grade student papers if teachers choose to use that time. Additionally, a four-day school week (a five-day for teachers with a planning day) is a big attraction factor for incoming teachers. More and more teachers are leaving the TFSD to go to schools with a four-day week because of the benefits the week provides.

In addition, shortened weeks allow students and staff to be more productive. It will enable teachers to have the opportunity to prioritize lesson plans and be able to work bell to bell rather than giving students “busy work” just to fill time during the week.   

What’s more, five-day weeks make Monday to Friday feel like the weekend is a century away. These five-day weeks can make students feel overwhelmed and like the week never ends. Because the week seems so stretched out, it can be difficult for most students to maintain good attendance. It’s imperative to have good attendance for both students and the school. Good attendance allows students more time in class to learn and increases funding for TFSD schools, due to the TFSD operating under attendance-based funding. 

Students missing school can lead students to become behind in their school work and can be frustrating for teachers. Reducing this problem and shortening the week can decrease the temptation to skip classes and improve attendance. Allowing students to rest more over the extended weekend helps them fully recover for the week ahead. However, the temptation to skip class is one of many reasons why students might miss school; medical and family absences must also be taken into consideration. An extra day in the week that can be set aside for medical or dental visits means students would be less likely to be taken out of class. 

Not only does the four-day week help students improve attendance because of the ability to be less overwhelmed by longer weeks, but it also allows students to have time for other activities. Having a day off in the week will give students time to travel, go to appointments, or use that weekday for extracurricular activities such as sports games, competitions, or concerts without missing school. The extra day allows students to use their time how they choose and gives them a day to use to be productive. 

In light of all this, the benefits of a four-day school week greatly outweigh the drawbacks, and TFSD should move to a four-day school week.

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