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Van-Far discusses four-day weeks

Posted on Wednesday, December 23, 2015 at 9:11 am

Van-Far School Board member Dr. Greg Frost during the meeting.

Van-Far School Board member Dr. Greg Frost during the meeting.

The Van-Far School Board took a closer look into four-day weeks at last week’s School Board meeting.
Van-Far Superintendent Dr. Stephen Hunter first discussed how neighboring schools Community R-VI, Wellsvile-Middletown, and Montgomery County are currently using the four-day model. Both Community R-VI and Wellsville-Middletown are currently in their first year with four-day weeks.
Those three districts are among a dozen others in the state who are also using the format.
A list of School Calendar Requirements were presented to the board that featured three options for days/hours in a school year.
It was noted that all three options have a minimum of 1,044 hours and must be approved by the board.
Superintendent Dr. Hunter said the “why” would need to be answered for the district making a move.
Points of consideration include financial savings, student achievement, other teacher/student outcomes, and stakeholder satisfaction.
Board member Dr. Greg Frost said the board would need to discuss the pros and cons before going forward.
It was noted that the Lexington district went to four days but switched back.
Board member Pete Nasir, who is also the Wellsville-Middletown Superintendent, said his district made the move due to finances.
The district also received the help of a levy increase.
He offered the board some insight into the decision made in Wellsville.
It was also noted that Community R-VI looked into the move due to teacher’s salaries offered in area districts. The one day off is used then as an incentive for teachers to teach there.
Dr. Frost said he’s also more interested in how it works for the kids as to what teachers may like.
“…And I have a real hard time believing that education for kids is best if you don’t have to do it, going from five days to four days,” Dr. Frost said.
He noted an article that pointed to schedules for kids not helping them compressing five days of work into four days.
“If it was best for kids educationally, we’d see a list that is longer than this,” Dr. Frost said in regards to the list provided of districts using the four-day format.
He also noted concerns about cramming five days of homework into four days. Some discussion was held to take a closer look at rescheduling the calendar.
He did note that he understands why districts in a tough financial situation might be looking for creative ways to make things better.
It was noted that a community survey would be important.
Board member Larry Wheeler brought up concerns relating to partial days/professional development.
More information will be gathered in regards to pros and cons for the four areas of impact and will be discussed in the January meeting.

Read the rest of the article in the December 23 issue of The Vandalia Leader.