Shortened School Week

By: Tamara Evans
By: Tamara Evans

Kentucky is making the grade as it moves up in national education rankings. According to Education Commissioner, Gene Wilhoit, recent rankings place Kentucky as 8th in Math scores, and around 14th in English Language Profieciency.

These improvements are leaving many school officials wondering how a four-day school week, that four Kentucky school districts have already turned to, will effect these scores.

Webster County turned to the four-day school week in 2003 to help save money in their school district. While teachers and officials agree that the system has both its advantages and disadvantages, many are considering whether or not the four-day system is the best idea for Kentucky's testing scores.

"I think kids would really like a four day school system...I think that teachers sometimes feel overwhelmed at the amount of stuff we have to do and having that extra day off to get prepared for the kids would be wonderful", Monroe County teacher, Christie Biggerstaff says.

While Biggerstaff agrees that there are benefits to a four-day school week, she says that as a teacher, she isn't sure how it would help improve the statewide test scores.

"I worry...since its only a four day that we would not have enough time to get everything that we need to get in and we wouldn t have enough time to be with the kids and teach them all that we need to teach them", Biggerstaff says.

Kentucky's Education Commissioner, Gene Wilhoit, tends to agree. Wilhoit was once a social studies teacher himself and understands that the four-day system can have both its advantages and disadvantages.

"I don t think I would've liked it, I m a bit biased. We know that particular students that are struggling need constant interaction with the school environment...I worry a little bit about 4 days on and 3 days off...that sort of break", says Wilhoit.

Both Wilhoit and Biggerstaff agree that school officials need to look into the effect the shortened week can have on testing for students, before they make the decision to move to a four-day week.

"We bank alot on the CATS test and our school really reaps from that CATS test and there s so much that they have to learn that is on that test that it'd be hard to get everything in", Biggerstaff says.

Warren County is not considering a four-day system at this time, but Jackson County will begin its four-day school week on Monday, October 17th.

Commissioner Wilhoit says he will continue to observe the schools that have turned to the shortened school week to see how their test scores are being effected.


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