INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — A big shakeup could be happening in the Independence School District next year.
District leaders are looking at making the switch to a 4-day school week. It’s something 25% of Missouri schools have already implemented.
If the plan goes through — Independence would be the largest school district in Missouri to adopt the 4-day week.
With more than 14,000 students, some say it would give them more time to schedule appointments and be with family. But others aren’t so sure.
“Education is changing and we need to adapt to provide a better quality of life for our educators,” said Salum Stutzer, a parent and district employee.
Many teachers sharing similar thoughts with us Wednesday night — as the Independence School District considers switching to a 4-day week for the 2023-2024 school year.
“I think I can do what I need to do in the 4-day week. I think an extra day would be really helpful for me,” said Kindergarten teacher Michelle Briggs.
“Slightly undecided. I just don’t feel like they put a lot of thought into learning programs for elementary aged children,” said someone else.
If approved, students would be off on Mondays, with the rest of the school week extending another 40 minutes a day.
To help families out– the district would create childcare options for younger students on Mondays called Kids Safari. Older students could join what’s called “Monday Enrichment” to participate in clubs, go on field trips, and visit colleges. However — childcare for students five and younger would be $30 a day for those going full-time.
“She doesn’t enjoy the full-day Kids Safari. Getting a bunch of kids together unstructured they kind of act crazy,” said one parent.
“After listening to the plan, listening to the info, I’m definitely more on board with the idea. I liked some of the thought they put into that off day,” said parent Robert Lawrence.
Superintendent Dr. Dale Herl said the 4-day week isn’t about saving money — but retaining and recruiting teachers — a nation-wide problem.
“The school district’s we’ve talked to it’s all been really positive. So we think this is a chance to retain our very best,” he said.
He adds that most ISD employees would work the same hours — just longer days. Teachers could also earn extra cash by running the Monday enrichment programs.
The decision ultimately lies with the Board of Education — which will make a final decision Tuesday, December 13.
The district sent out surveys to students, parents, and staff ahead of tonight’s meeting — to get their thoughts on this plan.
When it comes to childcare — 32% of parents are concerned about what to do on Mondays.
However — the district feels it has a strong plan in place to help those families.
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