Acadia Parish Begins Four-Day School Week — Should Other Parishes Follow?
In January of this year, the Acadia Parish School Board voted in favor of 4 day school weeks. It was decided that Monday would be a "non-instructional day" and no classes would be held starting sometime this fall. The Superintendent, Scott Richard, spoke with KATC 3 about how the pandemic has affected students' mental health and led to an uptick in the number of students who experience burnout.
Taking that into consideration, Scott Richard says that the goal is to "compress a normal, five-day work week or instructional day into four, extended days", not to reduce instructional time.
While the idea of having a shorter school week sounds appealing to most people there are some opposing opinions in terms of what day should be cut. The Principal of Church Point Middle School, Cheri Baggett, shared that she was in favor of Fridays being non-instructional, but not Mondays. The idea was to help their student-athletes have more time to complete school work and prepare for sporting events over the weekends, especially during football and track season.
Beggett fears that students who play sports or have extracurricular activities that take them off campus on Fridays will only get three and a half days' worth of education whereas if they had made Fridays the non-instructional day it would have been a win-win situation for everyone including faculty who coach and teach.
As of Tuesday, September 5th, 2023, Acadia Parish students and teachers will have a four-day workweek. They will officially have Mondays off. The school days have been extended to ensure all students have enough instructional time.
Benefits of a four-day school week
There are 876 schools in the United States that have four-day school weeks. Some of the reasons for the increase in this trend:
- Transportation, food, and energy costs are decreased
- Students have more time to rest and participate in extracurricular activities
- Teachers feel more prepared for work because they have an extra day to plan lessons and grade assignments
- Bullying decreased by 31% and fighting decreased by 27% as a result of this schedule change. Research shows that it improves school climate and student behavior.
Could we see this in other Louisiana Parishes?
We know that Evangeline Parish voted back in May that they would be enacting a four-day workweek like Acadia Parish. Other than that, there are no confirmed reports that this trend will cross to any other Louisiana Parishes however, it remains a possibility.
LOOK: Baby boomer baby names that have gone out of style