La Grande, Ore. – On Tuesday, January 10 La Grande School District superintendent George Mendoza led a town hall meeting concerning the school board’s consideration of switching to a 4-day week.
Roughly 100 parents, staff, and community members were in attendance in-person and online.
Mendoza emphasized that no decision has been made on the matter and the town hall was a part of the process of research and community feedback. However, he did say that the final decision would come down to the school board.
Mendoza stated that most school district’s decision to move to a 4-day week was motivated by financial reasons. Mendoza drew from anecdotal evidence from his previous time in Morrow County which did have a 4-day week schedule.
The general consensus from the information and research presented was that the school benefited financially and the staff and teachers benefitted as well, leading to better retention of staff. Mendoza stated from his experience that students and parents eventually liked the 4-day schedule, especially students in sports as they would miss less instruction time due to traveling.
Some negatives concluded from the research was the loss of the extra day results in less reading and math achievement overall, however, Mendazo stated this has a greater impact in urban areas than in rural. Absences also become more detrimental to a student’s development with the 4-day week.
Mendoza stated these negatives would be offset by targeted instruction time on the proposed day off to allow struggling students to get more one-on-one help.
Several proposed schedules were presented to the public if a 4-day week was implemented. All showed an increase in 30-45 minutes added to each day and one proposed schedule was a year-round school year with a shorter break in July.
A survey conducted by the school district saw daycare and missed meals as the chief concerns for parents in a 4-day school week. That sentiment was held by those in attendance at the town hall, as well as concerns about student focus and motivation due to longer school days and longer weekends.