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A four-day school week: What do the students think?

Changing to a four-day school week has been one of the most debated topics relating to the school district budget cuts. Many people have discussed the positives and negatives of this proposed, new schedule; adults have strong opinions on either side of the argument. It is important to hear what the students think about it, and if they also have such strong opinions.

Some of the pros of a four-day school week are: dropout rates might decline; student and teacher attendance could increase; there is more time for participation in extracurricular activities and for personal business such as doctor appointments; savings on utility bills, substitute teacher pay and transportation costs.

Some of the cons are: child care issues; too long of a day for younger children; and the pressure it puts on the community to step up and help fill the gaps created by a four-day school week.

Students at Pagosa Springs Junior High School and Pagosa Springs High School expressed what they thought when asked about a possible change to the four-day week. Some students decided that the four-day school week would benefit them while others thought it was a bad idea.

One eighth-grader, Tessa Bush, replied, “I would prefer a five-day school week, because tests are better on Fridays, and you don’t have to cram everything in four days.”

Another student Tyler Greenly, an eighth-grade student, answered, “I wouldn’t like it, because I like my summer break. Even if we do have an extra weekend day, a fifth day isn’t that bad.”

Other students thought the four-day school week would be a good idea, and would benefit them.

Savannah Kuehn, an eighth-grader responded, “I would be very happy with it, because it would help the school out a lot with expenses, and it means more family time.”

Jeremy Horstman, an eighth-grade student, stated, “I would feel good about it — on Friday there would be no school, and you would get an extra day of rest.”

Another student, Sienna Stretton, an eleventh-grader, replied, “I don’t think it would affect me either way, because I would be at school on Fridays anyway for sports practices or games.”

Jaylen Ochoa, an eighth-grader, answered, “I would be tired more often. I probably would fall asleep in class.”

Tyler Johnson, an eleventh-grader, responded, “I think it would be awesome, because we could have a three day weekend.”

Garek Erskine, a ninth-grader stated, “I would actually like it, because you would get a day off — even if you would have to go earlier in the day it would be worth it.”

Another student, Amber Onello, an eighth-grade student, said, “I would be happy, because on Fridays I would want to hang out with my friends.”

Most students interviewed believe that a four-day school week would be a positive change.

Although the school district hasn’t decided to adopt a four-day school week, it is still being debated for future years. The District Accountability and Advisory Committee (DAAC), suggests that the district should not make the change. DAAC reports that, “Given that student achievement does not improve with a 4-day schedule and the overall scarcity of related scientific research, it was concluded that a change to a 4-day schedule cannot be recommended as a positive step for this school district. In order to ensure the academic success of all students and allow for the students of this district to have all opportunities to compete nationally and internationally, student contact hours must be maximized and optimized and hopefully increased, not compressed.” DAAC drew some of its conclusions from a report called “The Four Day School Week,” dated July 2006, by the Colorado Department of Education.

Some of the things school district officials need to consider before making a decision on the four-day week are the many effects the change would have on our community. At the same time, members of the community need to decide what they are willing to commit to make this change work for everyone.