Fact Sheet / FAQs
Reeds Spring School District
Four-Day School Week
Fact Sheet/Frequently Asked Questions
The following information is for you to utilize as we implement the four-day school week beginning with the 2020-2021 school year.
As strategic planning began in December 2019, discussions among the planning team took place with regard to how to create a world-class school district that is centered on the academic and personal development of our students. The consideration of adopting a four-day school week was a significant part of the conversation as the team discussed ways to attract, recruit, retain, and grow world-class employees. Seven strategies emerged from the team’s work that have been adopted by the Board of Education that will be our focus for the next five school years. The entire strategic plan can be viewed here. The committee discussed several reasons as to how the four-day school week can help us accomplish those strategies.
After reaching out to school districts in both the area and the state that currently utilize a four-day school week calendar, we began researching and collecting additional feedback. Consequently, the staff and Board of Education felt that we should seriously consider this option as a possibility for our district. There was no doubt that the strategic planning team would have the expectation that the district should explore the four-day calendar. We moved into the research phase because we felt that our action steps towards the seven strategies would look very different as opposed to a traditional calendar.
The school board approved the change at a special board meeting on February 19, 2020.
Below are many topics of considerations, along with feedback/research that we have received:
Why would Reeds Spring Schools consider a Four-Day School Week Calendar?
- Enhance the quality of student learning & engagement
- Attract, recruit, retain and hire world-class employees, which is a district strategic plan priority
- Grow all staff at a deeper level with intensive professional development
- Create a consistent school calendar with built-in make-up days, which helps stakeholders plan
- Over time, the calendar would create cost savings that could be put back into the classroom. It is important to note that this decision is not being made from a financial savings perspective.
What would the Four-Day Week look like at Reeds Spring?
- No school on most Mondays
- We would be looking at approximately a 7:55 a.m.-3:25 p.m. time for a normal school day. We anticipate an additional 20-30 minutes each day. Our current school day length is already significantly above the state minimum and area districts, making this transition not as impactful on us.
- Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Spring Break would not be impacted and only a few days would be added to the calendar for school. We would start school on August 25 (no different than a five-day calendar) and end school on May 27, 2021.
How would the Four-Day school week impact the hiring, retaining, and growing of world-class teachers and support staff?
- We are competing with area school districts like Springfield, Nixa, and Ozark for quality candidates. While our beginning pay is very competitive with area schools, we fall way short the longer a teacher works here compared to area districts. We have not been able to attract teachers from these districts. This may give us the ability to even the playing field and attract teachers and staff we could not attract or retain previously. With the national teacher shortage we are facing, and that is now impacting Missouri, this move could be beneficial for us.
- As more and more districts around us are moving to a four-day schedule, we are concerned about losing staff members to those schools. We have already lost some support staff to four-day districts.
- We are looking at this model from a different lens than our peers. We see this as a real opportunity to extend our professional development approach with our employees. More time for teachers to prepare for lessons, collaborate, and engage in professional learning will be provided with an increase in PD days from 13 days to approximately 18 days.
- Increase family time for some of the community and staff
- Provide a possible benefit for teachers who commute a longer distance
How would a Four-Day school week impact student achievement?
- Research indicates that student achievement has remained neutral or is inconclusive in the impact. This is true both in Missouri and across the nation. New state exams were given this past spring and will be given this year as well. Data will be hard to determine as we begin new exams in 2020 revised for the Missouri Learning Standards.
- Feedback from schools that we have personally interviewed indicates the same. They have not witnessed a decrease in student achievement and most have experienced a slight increase in some areas. Most believed student engagement had increased based on their local data.
- Student learning is largely a result of the quality of instruction not the number of minutes in a seat. Our entire focus is on taking significant steps forward in regards to student achievement and post-high school career and college readiness.
- Our expectations, which are embedded in our strategic plan, is that student achievement increases. This will be our complete focus and we anticipate seeing growth.
- That day off can be used for apprenticeships, job shadowing, and college visits for our students
Would a Four-Day school week create a childcare problem for our parents?
- This was the district’s next concern, after student achievement, during our initial discussions. However, after speaking with other districts we have found that this simply has not been an issue with them. Most indicated they had the same concerns we did, however, after implementation it resulted in a non-issue. One district indicated that having a set schedule, from the parent’s perspective, was more beneficial than trying to find half-day childcare. Knowing each Monday was a non-school day allowed them to plan. Of the 61 districts currently in a four-day schedule, it is reported that only one district has continued their childcare. All other districts cut their childcare offerings because of lack of utilization even though most do not have other childcare options
- Boys and Girls Club will be open on Mondays
- The district will run modified bus routes across the district to get students to Boys and Girls Club
- A DESE approved STEM and Reading program will be implemented with the younger kids
- Teenagers will receive supplemental education in the area of workforce development
- Meals will be served (breakfast, lunch, and dinner)
- Special Education students are served
- No additional cost for Monday support and serves students ages six through high school
- The district would continue to provide Early Childhood Education for three and four-year-olds on the day off of school. Additionally, the district would expand our KAPS program, extending care for kindergarten-age students on Mondays.
- Modified bus routes would run on Monday mornings for Boys and Girls Club students and KAP students.
- We currently operate on a calendar that includes 11 full days in which we are not in session including four Monday holidays, and two early release days, so most parents are already dealing with this issue on a smaller scale
Would the Four-Day school week provide the district financial savings?
- Part of our district is funded on state aid. Enrollment affects Average Daily Attendance (ADA). The ADA number is the starting point for state funding. If student enrollment and attendance increases or decreases, it financially impacts our district significantly. Having Four-Day weeks might attract families and students, thus increasing our enrollment. Our student attendance is a major concern. Our attendance for this year is sitting at 85.35%, which is seriously low. Four-Day schools report that in all cases student attendance increases in that model. This could potentially benefit us from both a financial and academic excellence standpoint
- Current research and feedback from other Four-Day districts indicate an average of 1%-2.5% overall budget savings for a fiscal year. For us that could equate to around $500,000 in savings annually. Over time, this could add up to significant savings but again it is not a priority
- We would not cut any employee’s pay by going to a four-day week. Many of our employees are already inadequately paid and need to be able to provide for their families
- Although there are some other savings possibilities, it has been reported that the majority of the savings comes from the following areas:
- Fuel savings (transportation)
- Bus Mileage (depreciation)
- Energy savings (Electric/Heating/Cooling)
- Substitute teacher reduction (Fewer days for teachers to miss & staff can schedule appointments on days in which we are not in session)
- Food cost
What changes would this cause in after school activities, such as practices?
- Activities and practices would remain the same, however, Monday athletic practices would not begin until after 3:00 p.m. This would allow families to take care of their doctor appointments without worrying about missing practices. Students could also use this time to work and explore potential careers
What about students who rely on the school for meals?
- We currently partner with the United Methodist Church of Kimberling City to provide weekend meals for students in need. We have community members and organizations who have expressed interest in helping fulfill the need for the third day of meals if we were to go to a four-day week. Food will be provided for students who attend EEC, KAPS, and Boys and Girls Club
How would this calendar impact snow make-up days?
- This schedule would allow for built-in snow days during the year and would eliminate the number of times/days we would need to extend the school year for weather make-up days. If adopted, we would designate a set number of priority Mondays for weather make-up days during the first or second semesters
What are additional possible benefits other than hiring and retaining quality staff and cost savings?
- An anticipated increase in student attendance rate. This schedule gives families more flexibility in scheduling vacations and appointments for students
- Districts have indicated that staff morale is higher due to the extra day away during the week. Although finding hard data is difficult, the districts report that their staff members feel more prepared and have more energy for class. Students are more engaged. Only one district in the state has reverted back to a five-day calendar. Districts are reporting that all the concerns they received prior to implementation worked themselves out after starting it and that families really value the extra time
- Four-day schools have indicated that students seem to prefer the four-day week as it allows more time for working at their jobs and many use the extra day to work on projects and prepare for classes
- Maintenance staff members could be more efficient and productive in their positions. For example, this schedule would allow more time to complete projects and tasks while students are not in the building with fewer interruptions
- This schedule would eliminate all early-out days. No early release days at the end of the quarter
- The longer day is actually a benefit for many families that work on an 8:00-4:00/9:00-5:00 type of schedule. This student schedule would more closely align with those family schedules and reduce the time alone after school for some students
- Extended family time
- Research indicates a reduction in student discipline
In visiting with schools across the state, the perceptions among teachers, administrators, community members, and patrons about the four-day week are overwhelmingly positive and supported by all groups.
Our district is implementing the four-day week to retain and attract high world-class teachers, enhance the quality of learning & student engagement, create a consistent school calendar, and to put more money back in the District.
For additional information regarding four-day school weeks from external sources go to this link from Missouri State University.