Four-day week: So far, so goodThe four-day school week is almost two-months old and, for the most part, students, teachers, and parents are adapting well.
The four-day school week is almost two-months old and, for the most part, students, teachers, and parents are adapting well.
Anthony Altiere, who teaches advanced biology and earth science at Two Harbors High School, said he has found the extra class time to be of great benefit for lab activities.
“The state dictates which standards need to be covered in science, so it has not been a matter of ‘cutting things’ to make it work, but rather a matter of lesson organization,” he said. “It has been a great opportunity for me to re-examine what I do and what I can improve in my classroom to further student learning. Also, the amount of homework has not increased overall but the amount I give over the weekend [is the] result of one less day.”
He said he finds himself at school during the four days a lot longer, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and he still does work over the weekend.
As for students, Altiere said a majority enjoy the schedule and have adjusted well.
“In fact, I think the students adapted to the longer day faster than the teachers,” Altiere said.
Luanne Ellingsen, who teaches family and consumer science at Two Harbors High School, said the longer class time brings an ease to lessons.
“My students are not as rushed to complete cooking labs,” she said. “I have seen better clean-up and better products. They are relaxing more during the preparation time and enjoying the experience. For sewing students, the longer class period means more time on task with their projects.”
She said the longer class period helps for discussion.
Ellingsen said her students haven’t lost any energy because of the longer day and they are finding activities to do on the day off.
Chris Belanger, who teaches industrial technology and driver education in Silver Bay, said his students have greater success in less time.
“I was able to get safety tests done three days in advance to what the five-day week took. Seven more assignments were completed in a six-week period for an electronics class for seventh graders, [and] student projects are getting done earlier.”
He said fewer kids are missing school and they are coming back from the weekend more rested.
Dave Haaversen, who teaches band in Silver Bay, said a short week of long days feels like a lot but that longer class periods leads to more in-depth instruction. As for the negatives, he said fewer students are prepared for next school day, especially students in activities and athletics.
Pat Driscoll, principal at Minnehaha Elementary, said the four-day week is going over well at her school. She said she hasn’t heard any complaints and parents can call her if they have any.
Justin Bohrer, a junior at THHS, said he thinks the four-day week is great and it allows him more time to practice with his band. He said the extra time offers time to study but that scenario is all dependent on how kids use their time.
“I really like it,” said Two Harbors ninth-grader Ashley Lax. “I like the extra time to sleep in and be with friends.”
Classmate Mia Minkkinen said she spends the day off hanging out with friends and participating in sports.
“I like it better,” said Jenny Grignon, a sophomore at THHS. “It seems like they are shorter days even though they are not.”
Janelle Jones, who has two elementary-aged students, said the four-day week has been going well for her kids. She said she would still prefer the five-day week. She said that for a lot of kids she seen, it’s just a long weekend.
Jones said the district has done a good job of providing opportunities for kids on Fridays, and kids need to take advantage of them. She said one of the programs her daughter went to had one participant at the event – her daughter.
Uwe Kausch, who has kids at North Shore Community and Two Harbors High School, said he didn’t think it would affect the older kids as much and that it was too early to tell how it would affect students. He said at the high school level it’s not nearly as big a deal, compared to elementary-aged kids.
Denny Stolp will try and use an Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency bus to deliver his child to Minnehaha Elementary. Stolp has talked with Lake Superior School District board members about the distance his child has to walk to school and the inconvenience of driving her. As a general policy, the district does not bus in-town Two Harbors students who live south of Seventh Avenue. The AEOA bus already hauls students for Head Start and Stolp will be charged a fee for the service. Stolp works too early in the morning to drive her himself. His pregnant wife has to get their younger non-school kids together in order to make the drive.