School District 27-J in Thorton, Colo. starts their first school year on Friday with four-day weeks. The move could save the district millions of dollars in the coming years, while also giving longer weekends to staff and students.
Incoming students at Riverdale Ridge High School, the district’s newest high school, completed orientation Thursday where the Tuesday-Friday schedule was discussed.
“I may have had a little skepticism,” said Trina Norris-Buck, a principal in the school district. “But, now, we are really getting a lot of positive feedback.”
Nathan Shaver, an arts and journalism teacher at Riverdale Ridge, told CBS4’s Dillon Thomas he saw more positives in the shortened week, than negatives. While the schedule will allow him to do more trips with his son, including to the zoo, he said the longer school days will take adjusting.
“It gives me a little more family time in larger chunks,” Shaver said.
Some parents expressed concern when the district first discussed the change. Some said they were concerned they would have to find child care for younger students on Mondays.
Riverdale Ridge parent Malina Pruett told CBS4 she was not concerned with the change, since her daughter is a high school student.
“As a kid, I think a three-day weekend is great. It allows the parents to do more things with their children, and to spend a little more time,” Pruett said.
In order to meet state regulations, class hours will be extended. Classes at high schools will let out after 4 p.m. Classes, which once were around 45 minutes long, are now scheduled to last more than an hour.
“My kids are going to have a lot longer to work,” Shaver said.
Pruett said she was still waiting to see how the schedule change would impact life after school days.
“I am a little nervous on that, especially with sports after school. It is going to be longer days with schools days, sports, homework and sleep, that is going to be a little difficult,” Pruett said.
While parents could expect students to be out of class every Monday, the same doesn’t go for staff.
Teachers will have planning days one Monday per month. Administrators will have to work two Mondays every month.