Press "Enter" to skip to content

Independence, Missouri School District considers a 4-day school week



Families in the Independence School District had the chance to ask questions and share concerns as the district considers moving to a four-day school week. It could take effect next fall. The district held an information session Wednesday night. The district said its goal is to increase teacher recruitment and retention. For parents, they said their biggest concern is childcare.Many parents showed up for the meeting to get their questions answered. KMBC’s Brian Johnson reported that the district answered every last question, going more than 40 minutes over.One outside expert said when academic learning stayed the same, performance did not decline.Some parents KMBC talked with said they worry about longer school days for elementary students. School days would increase by about 35 minutes. Others said they have concerns about paying $5 to $20 more for district childcare on Mondays when there’s no class.”A little nervous when you tell me we’re going to be the first one in the area doing this,” said parent Art Smith.”I worry about young students being in school for a longer day. I think that that is a big concern. My kindergartner already comes home from school exhausted as it is right now,” said parent Wendy Baird.”We think this is a chance to retain our very best and entice people to come to the Independence School District,” said Dr. Dale Herl, superintendent for the Independence School District.Staffing struggles are nothing new for some Missouri schools.”Small rural school districts have been struggling for more than 10 years,” said Jon Turner, a Missouri State University professor. He said now larger districts are also feeling the pinch. It is why the Independence School District is considering adopting a four-day week.”It’s something that we’ve seen statewide in rural schools, but it can show you how urgent this is now that it’s also impacting school districts that are suburban and have higher salaries,” Turner said.Turner has widely researched the four-day school week, which he said that 27% of Missouri school districts now follow. He said there are the benefits and challenges that come with it. One of the main concerns is child care on the off day.”While I don’t know that it stops school districts from going there, it’s definitely one of the focuses whenever they adopt the four-day week is understanding that that’s the need,” Turner said.”It’s just a matter of really working through the needs of your community,” said Gregg Klinginsmith, superintendent of the Warren County R-III School District outside St. Louis. His district switched to a four-day week in 2019, also to bring in more teachers.”We need to make it as attractive as it can be for individuals to go into education,” he said. “I think this, giving a nice work-life balance through the school year, would help attract individuals to come join the ranks in the education field.”He said that in addition to attracting teachers, families have also found it convenient.”There’s not a Wednesday early release, or this Friday is a PD (professional development) day followed by a Monday holiday,” he said. “I think the consistency of the calendar makes it really attractive.”Turner said that as staffing struggles persist, it’s a trend more large districts could follow.”I have no doubt that you’ll see a lot of school districts that are larger suburban school districts that have said, ‘We’ll never go to the four-day week,’ that will look at it, if Independence does it and it’s successful,” Turner said. Some families like the flexibility of four days, which allows some students to work on Mondays or do college prep. The district is working on a plan for childcare on the fifth day. It is hoping to offer different enrichment options at a school based on grade level.The district also has a four-day school week information center on its website.

Families in the Independence School District had the chance to ask questions and share concerns as the district considers moving to a four-day school week. It could take effect next fall.

The district held an information session Wednesday night. The district said its goal is to increase teacher recruitment and retention. For parents, they said their biggest concern is childcare.

Many parents showed up for the meeting to get their questions answered. KMBC’s Brian Johnson reported that the district answered every last question, going more than 40 minutes over.

One outside expert said when academic learning stayed the same, performance did not decline.

Some parents KMBC talked with said they worry about longer school days for elementary students. School days would increase by about 35 minutes. Others said they have concerns about paying $5 to $20 more for district childcare on Mondays when there’s no class.

“A little nervous when you tell me we’re going to be the first one in the area doing this,” said parent Art Smith.

“I worry about young students being in school for a longer day. I think that that is a big concern. My kindergartner already comes home from school exhausted as it is right now,” said parent Wendy Baird.

“We think this is a chance to retain our very best and entice people to come to the Independence School District,” said Dr. Dale Herl, superintendent for the Independence School District.

Staffing struggles are nothing new for some Missouri schools.

“Small rural school districts have been struggling for more than 10 years,” said Jon Turner, a Missouri State University professor.

He said now larger districts are also feeling the pinch. It is why the Independence School District is considering adopting a four-day week.

“It’s something that we’ve seen statewide in rural schools, but it can show you how urgent this is now that it’s also impacting school districts that are suburban and have higher salaries,” Turner said.

Turner has widely researched the four-day school week, which he said that 27% of Missouri school districts now follow. He said there are the benefits and challenges that come with it. One of the main concerns is child care on the off day.

“While I don’t know that it stops school districts from going there, it’s definitely one of the focuses whenever they adopt the four-day week is understanding that that’s the need,” Turner said.

“It’s just a matter of really working through the needs of your community,” said Gregg Klinginsmith, superintendent of the Warren County R-III School District outside St. Louis.

His district switched to a four-day week in 2019, also to bring in more teachers.

“We need to make it as attractive as it can be for individuals to go into education,” he said. “I think this, giving a nice work-life balance through the school year, would help attract individuals to come join the ranks in the education field.”

He said that in addition to attracting teachers, families have also found it convenient.

“There’s not a Wednesday early release, or this Friday is a PD (professional development) day followed by a Monday holiday,” he said. “I think the consistency of the calendar makes it really attractive.”

Turner said that as staffing struggles persist, it’s a trend more large districts could follow.

“I have no doubt that you’ll see a lot of school districts that are larger suburban school districts that have said, ‘We’ll never go to the four-day week,’ that will look at it, if Independence does it and it’s successful,” Turner said.

Some families like the flexibility of four days, which allows some students to work on Mondays or do college prep.

The district is working on a plan for childcare on the fifth day. It is hoping to offer different enrichment options at a school based on grade level.

The district also has a four-day school week information center on its website.



Source link

Mission News Theme by Compete Themes.