MONETTE, Ark. (KAIT) - Buffalo Island School District is considering a 4-day school week to address challenges that schools are facing today, such as the inability to hire and retain teachers.
Superintendent Gaylon Taylor, along with BIC teachers and principals, explained to parents and members of the community the benefits of students attending school under the 4-day week proposal.
Teachers would be able to spend time providing extra attention to struggling students, and if students do not need remediation, they would be able to participate in enrichment activities during the “Response to Intervention” (RTI) period.
The schools would have an earlier start time and a later dismissal time to meet the minimum 1,800 minute instruction week.
After hearing dozens of concerns from parents, Kima Stewart, principal of Buffalo Island Central Elementary, says she wants parents to understand that the shift would not be a permanent measure if it ended up not benefitting the students.
“We would be ready to pivot at the point that we thought that it was not being academically enriching or was not meeting the needs of our community,” said Stewart. “It’s not a final decision – or a forever decision I guess I should say—or have to be. We would have to continue to evaluate the effectiveness of that.”
Parents’ main concerns were about their access to proper childcare on Fridays, the Early Intervention Program (EIP) students, and the mental wellbeing of students overall.
Stewart mentioned to parents that they plan to work closely with several organizations and people to set up a program for students to participate on Fridays and before and after school hours.
The school board has not come to a decision yet, but they anticipate making the 4-day week effective for the next school year.