4 Day Week

Holden Rural Academy will be operating on a 4 day school week. The Holden & Ryley schools have operated on a 4 day week for over 20 years. For students with long bus rides, it can eliminate up to 3 hours a week on a bus. For high school students, a particular benefit of the 4 day week is the opportunity for employment on Fridays.

When surveyed, parents in our area gave these reasons in support of a 4 day week:

  • the kids enjoy having the extra day off on the weekends to just be kids
  • medical appointments can be scheduled on Fridays
  • it gives families more quality time together
  • my kids are not as tired
  • an extra day for my kids to help with farm work

Here is an excerpt from the research we did when applying for the charter school.

Bussing and Four-Day Week

The effects of long bus rides on student, is an issue that is largely ignored.  According to Mike Corbett and Dennis Mulcahy, “the impact of bussing on students academic, social and psychological well being has rarely been examined critically.  Most educational authorities appear to take it for granted that no harm is being done to students and whatever discomfort is experienced is a small price to pay for the purported benefits of attending larger schools.”1

Long bus rides can impact students’ decision on course selection: “A number of researchers highlight the fatigue factor that results in students being less attentive in school and less willing to put in extra time on homework assignments. Spence (2000) notes that long bus rides can affect the academic choices students make: “There’s a myth you get a better education here,” said a Webster County student. But he and his classmates say they avoid higher level classes because they don’t have time to do the required homework. “I’m just involved in the basic classes it takes to get out of high school.””1

Implementing a four-day school week has been shown to benefit schools and students in several ways.  Bonnie Stelmach of the University of Saskatchewan found that, besides reducing financial costs, there were increases in student achievement and teachers enjoyed more time for lesson planning and professional development.2 

A study entitled, “The Four-Day School Week: Impact on Student Academic Performance” researchers at the University of Arkansas found that the four day format is extremely popular among students, parent and staff.  They found that student and staff absences were reduced and there is less weekly time spent commuting, by both students and staff.  As well, “the demands on teachers to do extra duties in small schools made the four-day week an attractive alternative because the additional time made available would allow teachers to have valuable in-service time.”3

1Corbett, Mike & Mulcahy, Dennis. (2009). Education on a human scale: Small rural schools in a modern context. www.researchgate.net/publication/264857742_Education_on_a_human_scale_Small_rural_schools_in_a_modern_context

2Stelmach, Bonnie L. “A Synthesis of International Rural Education Issues and Responses.” Rural Educator, National Rural Education Association. eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ987606

3Hewitt, Paul M.|Denny. “The Four-Day School Week: Impact on Student Academic Performance.” Rural Educator, National Rural Education Association. eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ987605

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