EUGENE, Ore.--Some Oakridge School District students may be tempted to this of it as a permanent three day weekend, but the district's superintendent says the move to a four day school week is better for academics.
The four day week will start this fall.
"What you do is increase the time per day, you increase the content, the curriculum, you increase the rigor, the engagement," said Don Kordosky, who admits he initially opposed the idea of four day weeks.
But after a visit to a thriving school and doing months of research, Kordosky and other school officials were converts.
Kordosky says there will actually be more instructional time.
Classes will start at 8 a.m. instead of 8:15. Classes will end at 3:36 p.m. instead of 3:14. That addis 45 minutes to the school day, allowing Oakridge schools to meet the required number of hours students spent in class.
Under the five day school week plan, students often get days off for teacher inservices, grading days, conferences and holidays.
According to Kordosky, there are 17 weeks where Oakridge students go to class four days or less.
Under the new plan, those inservices and grading days will be scheduled for Friday. If a holiday falls on a Monday, students will go to class that Friday.
"Sometimes, I wonder when do the kids actually go to school," said Jenny Bartholomew, who has a six year old daughter. "Because they seem to be out quite a bit because of inservice days."
Bartholomew is happy her daughter will spend more time in class, but worried about finding childcare on Fridays.
Currently, her mother babysits.
"With the economy the way it is, I just found a job, I don't know if I can afford it, after school care, if my mom isn't available," said Bartholomew.
Kordosky said the more consistent schedule should make it easier for parents to find care. He also pointed out Oakridge High School students will not have class Fridays and could be available to babysit.
the district has done research into the issue.
"What we're going to do is also going to provide resources for kids to find out out how to become certified child care providers," said Kordosky. "And we're going to provide a list of kids who are willing to do it for parents over there. So they'll be able to find child care."
The district has been working on the four day week plan for one year.
Kordosky said saving money was never the objective, but the timing works out well, as the district will likely face more budget cuts this year.
The district is testing the shorter school week for two years. Officials will monitor teacher and student attendence and student academic achivements, with the option of going back to five day weeks if no progress is made.