It is Friday afternoon, school has just released and students are rushing to their cars to begin the weekend.
Perhaps there is a sports game that night or dinner with friends – the possibilities seem endless.
However, afternoon turns to night, which becomes Saturday. Before students can blink, it is Sunday night and all the homework that was pushed aside Friday afternoon is being crammed into one night.
Complaining about the brevity of weekends during the school year has become a staple of student existence, but what if it did not need to be this way?
Approximately 560 districts in 25 states have one or more schools on a four-day schedule. Depending on the district, this can mean that students go to school Monday through Thursday or Tuesday through Friday. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, more than half of those districts are in four states: Oregon, Colorado, Montana and Oklahoma.
Although the school week is determined by school districts, the state legislature also plays a part. Florida allows districts to opt into a four-day week as long as the school is able to meet the state’s minimum instructional time requirements.
This brings up one issue with the four-day school week, which is a reason that many districts have voted down proposals. In order to meet the minimum instructional time requirements, schools would have to increase the number of hours students spend in school during those four days. For example, a typical school day at NHS would have to be extended by two hours, causing classes to end at 4:05 p.m. instead of the normal time.
Despite these challenges, there are many upsides to a four-day week, as students would be able to have more time to themselves.
Instead of the weekends ending as soon as they begin, there would be a three-day weekend and four-day week, which is much more manageable. In fact, one study of students in Colorado showed a statistically significant improvement in math scores among students on four-day schedules.
Although the four-day week is still in the experimental stage, I would implore Collier County and CCPS to explore this as an option for improving students’ learning in the future and creating a more balanced school week for everyone.