Fifth-day options emergeThe prospect of a four-day school week in the Lake Superior district has many asking questions, many of them surrounding what students and parents will do to fill the fifth day lost to budget cuts.
The prospect of a four-day school week in the Lake Superior district has many asking questions, many of them surrounding what students and parents will do to fill the fifth day lost to budget cuts.
“We are looking at the potential for a real big change,” said Chris Olafson-Langenbrunner, the director of Community Education at a public discussion this month. She talked about how students and parents could benefit from a four-day week.
School board member Pat Wilson said activities for students could include church excursions (moving church programs from Wednesday to Friday), community education classes, and the possibility at the Lake County Fairgrounds.
“There are unbelievable things that could go on at the fairgrounds,” Wilson said, including snowmobiling, snowshoeing and a sliding hill like the one used for the Winter Frolic.
Wilson also mentioned working with the fire department on a youth program and putting a skateboard park there. The city of Two Harbors was looking at moving the location of the skate park from the hockey arena area and the fairgrounds could be a possible spot to keep students occupied. Wilson sits on the city’s Parks and Recreation Board.
Rich Sill, who wears many different hats and is involved in the job shadowing program in the district, was also finding a bright side to the fifth day.
“I’m an energetic supporter of a four-day school week,” Sill said. He felt the fifth day could expand educational opportunities such as vocational programs and wanted to expand on established programs like 4-H.
Other ideas mentioned included a day of experience like students teaching seniors about computers and going on field trips. Others mentioned partnering with educational institutions around the region: Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center, North House Folk School, The Place, Kids and Co. and the Boy and Girl Scouts.
Intramural leagues have also been discussed along with an emphasis on volunteering in the community.
Some problems may need to be solved before these fifth-day programs are implemented. They can cost money and families with lower income barriers may not be able to afford it. The area does have numerous facilities that can be used by the district, but district buildings could be closed on Fridays, mainly because utilities will not be at full-power, like heating, in order to save money.
There has been discussion about creating a student focus group to come up with more ideas about the fifth day, some skill bartering (if you teach a community ed class, you get a free class for your child), and working with the PTSO.
An upcoming levy could decide it all.