ST. ANTHONY, Idaho (KIFI) - After researching the needs of teachers, staff and students, the Fremont Joint School District #215 is starting to investigate the option of moving to a four day schedule. They hope it will give the teachers a chance prepare for needed staff meetings and other trainings for the teachers.
"We looked at adding just one Friday a month and then as we are starting to look at that; at the same time we saw these other articles about four day weeks and around the state of Idaho and a lot of other places that were looking at doing this. And the board said we should at least do our due diligence and look into it," co-interim superintendent David Marotz said.
After the district's research, they prepared sample schedules on what things could potentially look like with the new schedules and sent those out to parents and teachers. The district received overwhelming support for the idea.
"We sent those out to the community and to the staff from the Community Patron survey we had, 80% of them said, explore the four day week. With the faculty and staff we had, 85% say to explore it and they provided some great feedback. Some a lot of them listed concerns and things that they would want to have addressed. And so we're taking a look at those things. We're working with a calendar committee right now to come up with options that we'll take back out and and get more feedback," Marotz said.
Perhaps one of the bigger challenges with the potential shift the district is facing is a complete change in the style of teaching they use.
"What we're looking at is, is a fundamental shift in how we teach. We're going to have to change because if you're going from a five day week to a four day, you're going to lose some instructional days. Even if you don't lose instructional hours, you can add 5 minutes onto a class period. It doesn't significantly change much that you're doing. It's hard to make up those extra hours. So it's going to require us to restructure our teaching to be more focused, more centered on critical concepts versus just extra. And so it's going to be all right," Marotz said.
One of the benefits to the extra day is the opportunity for teachers to work together.
"We're talking about doing a one Friday a month in-service time, training time for our teachers so that they can learn new instructional strategies, they can try new things, they can collaborate and work together. And so that's going to be critical if we do make a shift," Marotz said.
But so far, the district has received support for the idea to be looked at.
"The staff have been really supportive of this. We've been talking about changing how we teach and what we teach for many years as part of the high reliability schools framework process. So that's not anything new right now. It's just giving us a different context for our planning," Marotz said.
Marotz adds in the end, the school board will make its final decision once all the information is found and assessed. He says the district has made no final decisions as of now, and should the district move to a 4-day schedule, it would join the 81 districts across the state that have made this transition, some of those districts include, the Shelley School District, Firth School District, and the Blackfoot School District.
For more information or if you want to voice your opinions to the school district you can do so on its website.