What would a four-day school week look like? Here’s what we know so far

Published 5:40 pm Thursday, February 22, 2024

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VIDALA, La. – Parents, students and employees of the Concordia Parish Schools are trying to understand what a four-day school week could look like if implemented. A draft calendar was recently provided by Superintendent Toyua Bachus at Town Hall meetings this week.

The calendar is only a draft because, “In Concordia Parish, no individual can create a calendar, not even me,” Bachus said. “The district staff have to vote on the calendar.”

Here’s what we know so far, based on information presented by Bachus:

  • A four-day week does not require virtual learning one day a week, nor does it reduce the time students are required to be at school.
  • The proposed change would add 15 minutes to regular school days to maintain at least 63,720 instructional minutes each year. That means increasing from 384 minutes per day to 399.
  • Students would attend school five days a week beginning Aug. 1.
  • Students would have each Monday off after Labor Day until April. Officials said Monday coincides with many already existing state and federal holidays.
  • Students would attend five days week in April to accommodate testing, with the exception of Easter Monday and Good Friday holidays. “Right now, students walk in through the school doors between 147 and 150 times before the LEAP test,” Bachus said. “We want to get as close to that number as possible.”
  • For teachers, the second Monday of each month would replace professional development days, parent-teacher conferences and report card issuing days. Currently, 10 and one-half teacher work days — without students — are embedded in the school calendar. “We wouldn’t be pulling teachers out of the classroom for anything,” Bachus said. “Teachers do need that extra day sometimes without children in the classroom and that day should be on the day when the students are already not there.”
  • Teachers would only be off on Mondays which are not professional development or makeup days.
  • No bad weather days are added to the four-day schedule. Instead, makeup days would happen on Mondays students would otherwise have been home, with parents and students being given advance notice.
  • Traditional school breaks would be shortened: Fall break would be eliminated, and Spring Break and Mardi Gras Break will be combined into one shared week. Christmas and Thanksgiving holiday weeks remain unchanged.
  • Meals could be provided five days per week, though there is no plan in place for how to address that. Bachus said 100 percent of the district’s students are on a free or reduced lunch plan.
  • Summer school would continue to be provided.
  • School bus transportation will continue to be provided on days students are required to be at school.
  • Classes would end on May 23, 2025.
  • Currently, there is no definitive plan for providing child care on days students are not in school. Bachus said options could include grants and partnering with churches.
  • Four-day weeks would have no impact on extracurricular activities and sporting events, with coaches coordinating planned games and practices with parents beforehand.

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