At the Natrona County Board of Trustees meeting on Monday, Charlotte Gilbar Executive Director for School Improvement, and Midwest principal Chris Tobin, talked about the benefits of the program.
Gilbar said that the program meets the state requirements for the number of hours needed for students, while also benefiting the students in five areas, balancing academic time and athletic, activities; meeting state requirements; expanding the opportunities for students; meeting the needs of students extra support from teachers; and offer a credit recovery option at-risk students.
Trustee Clark Jensen asked about the benefits of the program, and Tobin said that it definitely benefits students.
“I think it’s very positive for our students. If nothing else it’s an incentive for kids to get their work done in four days as opposed to the five days,” Tobin said. “They have every other day of the week to participate in athletics or get a job. As Dr. Gilbar stated, kids are still getting the same number of hours they typically would in a five-day school week, they just put in a bit longer days. I do see it as a benefit to our community and our school.”
The big reason for the extra hours Tobin said is because many students participate in sports activities, which happen on Fridays, and the siblings of athletes want to be able to attend.
Instead of a normal school schedule, students are there Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., which also works because of the school’s small class size of 140 students in K-12.
Tobin said the change has been helpful for students who need help academically or who are looking to work a job.
“I think it’s had a positive impact, like I said it is an incentive,” Tobin said. “On Fridays we offer the opportunity for students that are not passing classes to come in, so if they’re passing classes they can come in to get some extra support…we do have a lot of our high school kids are able to get weekend jobs or help out. I do hear a lot of kids saying they work for their grandparents.”
Gilbar said that she came from a school in Wind River that also had a four-day school week because it allowed students who worked on farms more chances to spend time working.
Tobin said she is not sure if the four-day school week could work at a larger school unless they all agreed to it.
“The athletics comes into play here,” Tobin said. “Like I was saying, a majority of the 1A schools, the smaller schools, have a four-day school week, so our schedules are very similar. I would say unless all of our larger schools went to that, I don’t know, it would be a challenge.”
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