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Fair Grove School District Considers a Change in Schedule

Brystol Bates

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The Fair Grove R-X School District has recently been considering the change to a 4 day school week in the upcoming 2019-2020 school year. The school district is looking at Monday to be the day that school is not in session, to make up for this 33 minutes would be added to the normal school days. Many schools in the area have already implemented the 4 day school week, including Crane, Miller, Stockton, and Warsaw.

The school is hoping that this calendar change would benefit the students, with many schools reporting an increase in attendance due to more time for appointments and other functions. High school counselor, Tonya Peck, said, “Our high school students are so involved in clubs, sports, and many other extracurricular activities.  A 4 day week would allow our students more time and flexibility to complete assignments and move forward academically while given an extra day of rest.”

With more time off from school students would also be more likely to attend because they want to. Liz Holland, a junior at Fair Grove High School, stated, “I think that with an extra day for the weekend students would enjoy going to school more. I also think that it would increase school attendance because it’s a shorter week.”

The district is also looking for this change to benefit not only current teachers, but also attract future teachers. Currently the district is competing with larger schools in Springfield to attract and retain quality teachers, they are hoping that this schedule change will compensate for wage differences. Superintendent Mike Bell stated, “the calendar would also allow more time for teachers to prepare for lessons, collaborate, and commit to professional learning, increase family time for the community and staff, provide a possible benefit for teachers who commute a longer distance, and eliminate all early out and early release days.”

While this break would be a great opportunity for students and teachers to make up work or get ahead, many people have expressed concern as to what younger students will do on the day off. The district has also taken the opportunity to talk with other districts who currently have 4 day weeks. Mr. Bell said, “One district indicated that having a set schedule, from the parent’s perspective, ended up being more beneficial than trying to find half day childcare. We currently operate on a calendar that includes 13 full days in which we are not in session including 4 Monday holidays, 4 early release days, and 33 late start days, so most parents are already dealing with this issue on a smaller scale.”

He added, “If implementing a 4-Day school week calendar the district would have a plan in place if there is a need for elementary childcare on the Monday off days.”

The school hosted a community meeting on November 1st to gain further insight, the next step for the district is to conduct a parent/community survey. For more information visit the district website at https://www.fairgroveschools.net/4-day-school-week-information .

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