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Is the Four-Day School Week Catching On?

Association of Texas Professional Educators
Association of Texas Professional Educators

Date Posted: 4/13/2023

As Texas school districts plan out the 2023-24 academic year, more and more across the state are moving to a four-day school week.

Among the most recent school districts to adopt a four-day school week for 2023-24 is Crosby ISD. Based on the academic calendar for the 2023-24 school year, an extra 20-25 minutes will be added to the regular school day while Friday is treated as a student holiday, according to ABC13.

Overton ISD is also adopting a four-day school week, becoming the 21st district in East Texas to do so along with New Diana ISD. Rockdale ISD in Central Texas has also adopted four-day school weeks with the goal of making Fridays a chance for teachers to plan lessons and work on professional development. New Waverly ISD is making the switch to four-day school weeks in an effort to help retain teachers, according to KHOU-11. While Midway ISD has discussed the idea, Alto ISD, Marfa ISD, Tarkington ISD, Anna ISD, San Elizario ISD, Academy ISD, Alba-Golden ISD, and Rotan ISD have all committed to this new schedule. Lumberton ISD also recently adopted a four-day school week hybrid calendar.

Not all districts are making the change, however; Harlandale ISD decided not to move forward with a four-day school week and began reorganization talks instead. Neches ISD also rejected the idea after weighing the pros and cons. Galveston ISD also considered the move but, after polling its communities, decided not to move forward with a four-day school week, according to Galveston County’s The Daily News. Meanwhile, Mesquite ISD rejected moving to a four-day school week and even said it could have a more negative effect than a positive one.

"The negative effects of the schedule are disproportionately larger in non-rural schools than rural schools, and they may grow over time,” Mesquite ISD Chief Information Officer Laura Jobe told CBS News. "And what we saw was that it disproportionately impacted Hispanic and African American students and bilingual students. And that's the majority of our student population, so we just took that as a caution and a chance to pause.”

Rogers ISD also decided not to adopt a full four-day school week schedule and opted to make a hybrid schedule instead. Essentially, the academic year will have seven fewer class days, and regular class days will be increased by 10 minutes. The hybrid schedule includes a combination of some four-day weeks, select holiday break extensions, and a number of early release days, according to KWTX. The new Rogers ISD calendar can be viewed in this article.

In Graham ISD, it was reported by KFDX/KJTL that parents were split on the decision to move to a partial four-day school week—though a district survey found that a majority of parents supported the move, according to the article.

As the four-day school week continues to be a trend for school districts as they face retention issues with educators, it’s clear that not all districts are ready to make the jump—at least not this year.