Tuesday, March 14, 2017

4-Day School Week? Miami Public Schools survey says 'Yes, please'

Here are some interesting excerpts from a Miami News-Record article on a recent survey showing parents in the Miami (OK) Public School district favor switching to a four-day school week:

MIAMI –And the survey says....a four-day school week is favored by a majority of the 517 participants in a Miami Public Schools survey.

The Miami Public Schools Board and administration has been looking at the option of moving from a traditional five-day school week to a four-day alternative citing teacher retention and recruitment as the main incentive.

The survey was issued in an effort to gain feedback and greater insight from all affected by a move to a four-day school week.

Now results are in for the Four Day Survey sent out to parents and the public for participation. The survey drew 519 respondents, of those 441 were parents or guardians, and 78 community members with no children in school.

Of the survey respondents, 339 or 65 percent are for a four-day school week, and 178 or 34 percent are opposed.

Asked what kind of impact they felt a four-day week would have on students' academic performance 48 percent answered it would be positive, 24 percent responded negative impact, 8 percent answered no impact and 19 percent were unsure of the impact.

Asked what impact a four-day week would have on students' supervision, safety and nutritional needs, respondents answered; 28 percent a positive impact, 25 percent a negative impact, 34 percent no impact and 12 percent unsure of the impact.

A four-day week's impact on students' extracurricular activities was seen as having a positive impact by 33 percent of respondents, 19 percent a negative impact, no impact by 35 percent and 11 percent were unsure of the impact.

The move to a four-day week's impact on recruitment and retention of staff was seen as a positive by 70 percent, negative by 7 percent and having no impact by 22 percent of respondents. 196 comments from the respondents taking the survey were also logged and shared in the survey results.

The information gathered from the survey has been shared with the MPS Board, and the superintendent is now in the process of holding discussions with staff.

The superintendent said Miami's look at four-day weeks has drawn interest from other school districts and professional education organizations and the State Department.

Concern swirls around the issue, and Hogan fears four-day weeks may be caught up in political bargaining.

"The big piece up at the Capitol is they're still trying to get teacher pay raises passed through, and I think that's being used a little bit as a bargaining chip. They're wanting to basically force us to go five days and to do that I think it's going to take away some local control. We do have some concerns about a piece of legislation, House Bill 1684, and one thing it mandates is school districts have to develop a plan if they are going to a non-traditional schedule such as a four-day week. This plan has to be very well developed, meet certain criteria, answer various questions and it has to be presented to the State Department of Education for approval."

If passed, the measure would grant the privilege of an approved alternative schedule for three years and require reapplication before the end of that period.

"So, they're definitely making it tougher even to consider this it looks like to become a four-day school," Hogan said. "There's lots of things to consider and look at. Ultimately getting the conversation started, continuing to converse with our stakeholders and let them know the difficulties we're facing as a school district and encouraging them to let their voice be heard. You know education has taken a back seat for way too long. It's time for us to step out and make it a priority and let our leaders know that it is a priority to us. We've got to have high-quality educators in the classroom because that's where it all starts at if we want our students to be successful."
Read the full article here.


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