ATHENS, Texas (KETK) – Back in December, Athen’s ISD approved the start of a new pilot program that would cut the entire district’s school week down to just four days.
“We believe that having that kind of four day instructional work week will enable us uniquely to compete for the best teaching talent that’s out there,” said Rob Risko with the Athens Board of trustees back in December.
“Being able to offer a work-life balance in a way other school districts around us are not able to do, is quite an incentive,” said Toni Clay, the district’s communications coordinator.
With some positive outlook, came concerns among students and parents.
“Maintaining schedules and how long the classes were going to be,” said Ahja Baxter, an Athens student. “And us missing that day, we didn’t know how long the classes would be.”
Many parents voiced concerns about long days, the loss of Friday lunches, and childcare for that extra day a week.
KETK News was there last year as they decided to transition into a four-day school week, now we’re checking in and see how it’s going so far.
“At the beginning of this year, when we hired new teachers, 68-percent of our new teacher hires are coming in with four or more years of experience,” said Clay.
That’s compared to just 36-percent last year, a statistic they say is invaluable to the district.
“When you have teachers with a little more experience, they adapt more quickly and they’re able to help the newer teachers be able to get on their feet,” said Clay.
As for students, they say it’s not so bad.
“Last week, not having to get up on a Friday is probably every teenager’s dream,” said Baxter.
With many more weeks of school to go, only time will tell if the program pays off.
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