Teacher Shortage Prompts Texas District to Shorten School Week
The change to a four-day school week appears to be incentivizing more teachers to apply for jobs in the district.
Jasper, Texas — The Jasper Independent School District (JISD) board of trustees has voted to adopt the four-day school week for the 2022-2023 academic year.
The announcement, which was made on Facebook last month, was prompted by the district’s ongoing teacher shortage. Before making the change, the district conducted surveys with parents, teachers, and school staff members.
According to the announcement, students will attend school four days per week, and the length of the school day will not be extended.
“The calendar includes the required 75,600 minutes plus 5 bonus school days of student instructional time,” the JISD announcement said. “On Fridays that teachers come in they will be able to have PLC’s and Professional Development without missing class time.”
Like many school districts around the country, JISD is struggling to hire and retain teachers. According to a study released by the National Education Foundation (NEA) in February, 55% of educators want to leave teaching earlier than they had originally planned. Additionally, 80% of NEA members report that unfilled job openings have led to more work obligations for the educators who remain.
The move to a four-day work week as well as ESSER payments appears to be helping JISD attract new recruits.
“Where we used to post a job and get no applications, now we’re getting multiple applications for every position,” JISD Superintendent John Seybold told ABC News.
In addition to JISD, other districts in Texas, as well as in Oregon, Montana, Colorado, and Oklahoma have also adopted a four-day school week. A study found, however, that after the change, students’ math scores decreased. Additionally, students who depend on school-provided meals might struggle on the day off.
It’s not just school districts that are considering the four-day week. A new bill introduced in California would make the official work week 32 hours for companies with 500 or more employees, reports CBS News. Although the bill has been labeled a “job killer” by the California Chamber of Commerce, other countries that have adopted the shorter work week have found the move improved worker productivity and reduced stress.