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Tipsheet

A School District Adopts 4-Day Week Amid Teacher Shortages

AP Photo/Marta Lavandier, File

A Texas school district will switch to a four-day school week for the upcoming year due to a teacher and staff shortage.

The Hill reported the Jasper Independent School District announced the changes last month in a Facebook post. The school board reportedly voted unanimously to shorten the school week and to offer a $3,000 retention bonus to teachers and $1,500 to staff in three installments. The funding will be pulled from a federal grant program under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

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The board decisions were also compiled from community and staff surveys that showed interest in a shortened school week. John Seybold, superintendent of the Jasper Independent School District, told Good Morning America that teacher burnout also prompted the decision. 

"Teacher burnout has been an issue for a long time, but since COVID, it has seemed to expand, and it's becoming more and more of an issue," Seybold said. "The four-day week kind of makes it a little more manageable for them because there's so much pressure placed on our teachers."

"As a school district, ultimately the best thing we can do for kids is put the best possible teacher in front of them every day,” he added. The teachers will use Fridays as “professional development days.”

GMA reported that in a study conducted last year by the American Federation of Teachers with the Rand Corporation, one in four teachers were thinking about quitting their job by the end of the school year. In the study, teachers were also more likely to report experiencing regular job-related stress and symptoms of depression than the general population.

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The four-day school week will begin the following school year. Some school districts in other states, such as Oregon, Montana, Colorado and Oklahoma, have tried 4 day school weeks with “mixed results,” GMA noted.

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