My faculty district switched to a 4-day faculty week. It's been a gamer-changer for lecturers, who had been beforehand leaving our colleges in droves.

  • Gregg Klinginsmith, a Missouri superintendent, transitioned his district to a 4-day faculty week in 2019.
  • The district nixed a day in an effort to maintain lecturers from leaving for higher pay in greater cities.
  • Each college students and lecturers love the brand new schedule, and trainer retention is up after 4 years.

This as-told-to essay is predicated on a dialog with Gregg Klinginsmith, superintendent of Warren County R-III College District in Warrenton, Missouri, about his expertise overseeing the district’s change from a five-day faculty week to a four-day faculty week in 2019. The next has been edited for size and readability. 

We have elected to develop our calendar on a four-day faculty week. Each Monday is a day without work for our workers and our college students, which has actually helped our group with consistency. 

Children in our faculty district go to high school from 7:45 a.m. to three:15 p.m. each Tuesday via Friday. We’re in our fourth 12 months of this now; that is my fifth 12 months as superintendent.

We’ve about 3,000 children and are positioned on the outskirts of suburban St. Louis. We’ve three elementary colleges, a center faculty, and a highschool. We are the first rural group exterior of the suburban faculty districts. We’ve a lot of farms within the space. We’re undoubtedly not a wealthy district. 

One of many causes we went to the four-day faculty week was as a result of our neighboring districts within the giant suburban areas pay much more than ours and we had been going through an incredible quantity of trainer turnover. 

We will not supply lecturers extra money, however we are able to supply them time.

Our beginning pay is $36,941. The State of Missouri has a grant that permits us to provide anyone making beneath $38,000 a grant. So our lecturers obtain a bundle of $38,000 plus advantages. 

Our base trainer pay has not modified in six years, and lecturers could make about $20,000 extra a 12 months working within the suburban districts, that are solely about 10 miles from us. 

About 20% of our lecturers had been leaving us annually as a result of we actually had nothing to supply them besides low pay. 

I have been researching pupil achievement for an extended, very long time. I have been learning this very carefully and I do know that the trainer within the classroom is absolutely the important thing to pupil success. So no matter we are able to do to maintain and preserve high quality lecturers in our faculty district goes to have a constructive impact on our group. 

We needed to give you one thing we might discount with. We will not compete in pay, however we may give them time.

Time is what we’re now utilizing to retain our workers. The primary focus is absolutely making an attempt to supply one of the best working circumstances that we are able to for our workers. 

On the similar time, we had been hoping the schedule would assist us see higher pupil attendance. Figuring out that children would not have to come back to high school as typically meant we’d really see higher attendance.

The identical factor with self-discipline — if they are not right here as a lot, they are not going to get in as a lot hassle. 

The Warren County R-3 Central Office located in Warrenton, Missouri.

The Warren County R-3 Central Workplace positioned in Warrenton, Missouri.

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We performed loads of analysis earlier than making the change. 

There have been about 60 districts in Missouri forward of us that had gone to the four-day week they usually all had comparable tales. 

We’ve an excellent relationship with our faculty board and everybody was brainstorming retention concepts. As a bunch we organically got here to the concept that this schedule is smart for us in our group.

We had been fortunate to have a neighboring district that had been doing this schedule for about 5 – 6 years earlier than we jumped on. They gave us loads of details about how we might do it.

We did an incredible quantity of analysis. We studied a number of years to find out what impacts pupil achievement as a result of that is one thing we had been actually involved about.

One of many issues we noticed that basically didn’t affect pupil achievement was the whole variety of days that children go to high school. 

Presently, within the state of Missouri, each faculty district is required to do 1,044 hours. You possibly can construction your calendar nevertheless you want. There’s a required begin date from the state, however after that, it is actually as much as the native faculty districts and communities to find out how they need to get these 1,044 hours in.

We accepted the brand new schedule in January 2019 and a couple of half a 12 months later, faculty resumed in August with four-day faculty weeks.

We have undoubtedly seen much more districts transfer to four-day weeks since then. Across the state of Missouri, it is about 30% of districts now doing four-day weeks. 

Presently, we are the largest within the state, pupil population-wise. 

We supplied a inventive resolution to folks’ childcare issues.

I used to be pretty assured that this new schedule could be a constructive factor for us. My children go to high school right here, too.

However earlier than it was completed, there have been loads of questions and a few pushback from dad and mom saying they did not assume it was a good suggestion. Childcare was the principle concern. 

I believe the key to our success is we nonetheless supply, free-of-charge to households within the district, what we name care days, that are optionally available studying days for college students.

If you wish to deliver your college students up on a Monday, we now have a program the place you may deliver your children. We have addressed the difficulty for working dad and mom of what to do with their children on Monday.

The children are sometimes engaged in STEM actions the place they’re doing science, know-how, engineering, and math. 

On the similar time, we additionally strive to consider the entire youngster, too. We’ve psychological well being therapies which are obtainable on these days. We’ve had docs are available and do bodily exams for teenagers, wellness checks, and haircuts even. 

We do not have loads of children who benefit from this system, and that is been in keeping with what most four-day week faculty district advised is, which is that there would not be an enormous want for this, particularly now that oldsters are working from residence extra. 

Out of our 3,000 college students, we now have round 100 or so college students that are available on Monday. 

Our hourly workers, similar to paraprofessionals and folks in meals service, misplaced hours after we made the change. So we now have them run the school rooms beneath the path of a district director throughout care days.

Different issues folks had been involved about had been tutorial achievement and check scores. Some patrons additionally introduced up issues that nobody would need to transfer right here as a result of we’re a four-day week. 

However that did not turn into true. We have 1,000 new properties scheduled to be constructed this 12 months in our group. Our realtors have used the four-day week as a advertising software to promote homes. 

A teacher stands over a group of young students.

Warren County R-III College District has seen trainer retention enhance since implementing the 4-day schedule.

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We have seen enhancements in some areas and are eager for extra progress.

Anytime you do something new, there’ll at all times be some wrinkles you have to work out. 

However since then, we have had zero pushback. I’ve not had a detrimental electronic mail about it in 4 years. 

And it is labored: We have seen a couple of 5% improve in trainer retention. We had been at a couple of 20% lack of our lecturers yearly and now we’re nearer to fifteen%.

Our aim is 10%. We’re not fairly there. We’re nonetheless dropping some, however not as drastically as we had been earlier than. 

And what I am listening to is how a lot lecturers recognize the work-life stability in the course of the week. It has helped us with recruiting, though we won’t pay as a lot. 

COVID has thrown off our evaluation on pupil achievement. We do not know precisely how the schedule has impacted achievement, however we’re discovering it is about the identical as earlier than. We’ve not seen an enormous drop-off in pupil achievement. 

We’re nonetheless seeing delays to getting our attendance the place it needs to be. That is without doubt one of the disappointments of this — we thought our attendance could be significantly better.

COVID impacted it. We had a number of the worst attendance within the state final 12 months, however that was the identical because it was after we had a five-day week. It is about the identical attendance charge as earlier than, however we had been hoping to see it get higher. 

College students simply love the brand new schedule, although. Many of the highschool children that I discuss to are engaged on Mondays, in order that they’re gaining all this expertise exterior the classroom, which I believe is efficacious. They have real-world expertise. They get some issues to placed on their resume. They usually’re serving to out our group.  

It has been an excellent factor.