District survey shows 4-day school week is working out

Over 68 percent of respondents in a recent Weiser School District survey indicated the new 4-day school week has been better for their families.
 The survey, which launched on Oct. 19 and closed on Oct. 27, was intended to collect feedback following the district’s adoption and subsequent implementation of the 2022-23 school schedule last spring.
 “The feedback I have received certainly reflects that of the survey,” WSD Superintendent Wade Wilson told the Weiser Signal American on Friday. “Most people who  have talked to me have been very positive about it. I’ve had a very small number of people who have approached me that say it hasn’t, that they have struggled with it.”
 According to Wilson, of the 339 survey participants, 68.8 percent, representing 231 individuals, answered yes when asked, “Overall, has the move to a 4-day week been better for your family?”
 Survey data show that 13.7 percent responded that it has not, and another 17.6 percent were neutral, indicating they felt it was no better or worse for family life than a traditional 5-day week.
 Data also show that 66 percent of the respondents were parents of secondary and elementary students, and 15 percent were school district employees.
 Respondents were given the opportunity to express their thoughts on the shortened week. In addition to more family time, many cited less stress and homework for students and more opportunity for additional activities, as well as time for students who may choose to work.
 The move to a 4-day school week, in large part, was adopted with school staff in mind, according to WSD Chairman Justin Erickson.
 “For the district, trying to recruit, hire, and retain teachers, that was a huge driver,” he said last week. “We really listened to our families and our patrons, but at the same time, for our staff, we knew it would be a bonus for them.”
 The survey also asked about some of the negative aspects of the 4-day week, some respondents citing longer days and, specifically, concern for administrators who now have one less day to formulate required plans for special education students and others in need of special services.
 “One of the negatives was that staff is still trying to fit quite a bit of administrative things in around the school day, so we are going to be looking for strategies moving forward,” Erickson said. “That is our plan as we run into negatives: working on strategies to meet the challenges.”
 He added that overall, based on several surveys conducted in the last year, he feels the board made the right decision in adopting the new schedule. 
 “The community is saying that they like it,” Erickson said. “I can’t speak for the board, but you see the numbers from the community and the statistics are overwhelming, so I don’t think anyone, as far as I know, thinks it was a mistake.”


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