(DENVER) — Beginning in the next school year, students in a Colorado district may only be attending class four days a week instead of five.
School District 27J has formally submitted its application for the new calendar to the Colorado Department of Education. The district hopes to hear a reply in June, said Tracy Rudnick, public information officer of 27J.
“They have not turned down any other school district that has had applied,” Rudnick told ABC News today, adding that there are 98 other districts in Colorado who have adopted the four-day school week. “We are pretty confident that it’s going to go through.”
For the district, a three-day weekend for educators may be a perk since they are unable to receive significant salary increases, Rudnick said. The new schedule will be designed to give teachers and staff time to better prepare their lessons, she added.
“We made this change, one, was for the clean and concise schedule,” Rudnick explained. “It was also to recruit and retain highly-quality teachers. This new schedule appeals to teachers because their professional development is built into their day. They were using their personal time to prepare for the day. They’ll now lhave time in the morning before students come to school to either prepare individually or work into teams in educational lessons.”
If approved, the new schedule will be implemented by the 27J school district on Aug. 10, which is the day the middle and high schoolers kick off their 2018-2019 calendar year–followed by the elementary and kindegarten students Aug. 14, and then the preschoolers on Aug. 28.
Students will then attend regular classes Tuesday through Friday.
On Mondays when the children are off from school, the district will offer childcare from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. for a fee of $30 per child, per day. The district holds 18,000 students. The childcare program offered on Mondays will accomodate up to 1,200 students.
Colorado law requires any district offering fewer than 160 days of school to obtain prior permission from the Commissioner of Education, a representative of the Colorado Department of Education confirmed in a statement to ABC News today.
At 27J, the students’ time in class will be extended 40 minutes per day rather than stretching the calendar year to meet the state requirement for instruction time, which equates to 1,080 hours per year, Rudnick confirmed. Snow days are built into the four-day a week schedule, she added.
For elementary schools and full-day kindergarten, school will begin at 7:50 a.m. and end at 3:30 p.m. Middle and high schools will start at 8:30 a.m. and end at 4:32 p.m., according to 27J school district’s online guide to a four-day school week.
“I realize this will be a significant change for our students, their families, and the communities we are so fortunate to serve, but our district can no longer be expected to do more with less financial resources,” 27J Superintendent Dr. Chris Fiedler released in a statement to ABC affiliate KMGH-TV in Denver. “We are 100 percent committed to providing our students with the necessary skills and competencies that will enable a future far beyond graduation.
He continued, “To that end, I believe it is in our students’ best interest to provide high-quality, engaged teachers using 21st Century tools for learning four days a week rather than not have them five days a week.”
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