BIG PINEY – The results of surveys regarding community interest for a 4-day school week across Sublette County School District No. 9 (SCSD9) were released by district Superintendent Dr. Charles Jenks at the Dec. 14 board meeting.
SCSD9 trustees did not take any action on the item and there are no plans in place at this time to adopt a 4-day week.
The Superintendent’s office conducted surveys to gauge public and staff interest on switching from a 5-day week to a 4-day week.
Nearly 200 community members participated in the canvass. When asked whether they were “interested” in a 4-day week, more than two thirds of the public – 68.3 percent – responded “yes.” Only 14.6 percent replied “no” with the remaining 17.1 percent stating “maybe.”
Seventy-six SCSD9 staff members answered the survey. A significant majority – 65.8 percent – said “yes” to the question of interest in a 4-day school week. Twenty-five percent responded “maybe” and only 9.2 percent “no.”
Dr. Jenks also gathered comments from survey-takers to create a list of pros and cons for adopting a 4-day week. Pros included improved attendance, particularly for students involved in sports and other activities on Fridays, said Jenks.
Longer weekends to spend time with family, travel or to schedule appointments were also highlighted as advantages to a shorter school week.
The biggest con listed by respondents was a lack of childcare on Fridays if school was not in session. Survery-takers also worried about longer school hours, especially for elementary-age pupils.
In order to meet the minimum requirements for instructional hours for a 4-day schedule, school days are typically lengthened by 45 minutes to 1 hour, said Jenks.
Concerns were also raised about a decrease in instructional hours. Transitioning to a 4-day week usually meant reducing instructional hours to the minimum threshold unless the academic year was extended into the summer, Jenks said.
Trustee Bill Tanner remarked on the notable increase in public interest in a 4-day week when compared to previous surveys carried out by the district, where a majority of the community did not express interest in the concept.
Districts are required by the state to submit an application and organize multiple public meetings and listening sessions before entertaining proposals for 4-day weeks, Jenks told trustees. SCSD9 is only in the preliminary information-gathering phase, he added.
With the board’s assent, Jenks said he would continue to study different options for 4-day schedules adopted by other school districts in Wyoming.
Trustees passed a unanimous motion to elect Alan Vickrey as the new chairman of the SCSD9 board. Trustee Cody Raza was elected vice chair and trustee Darby Hoffman selected as clerk.
Newly elected board member John Chekan was voted to serve as treasurer. Trustee Bill Tanner was elected assistant treasurer.