Central Texas counselor weighs pros and cons of schools moving to four-day school week

(KWTX) – The growing trend of the four-day school week is becoming the talk of the town in central Texas.

Shortening the week is a hot topic across districts across the state, especially when considering teacher retention. But this schedule shift has some asking what it means for students.

Licensed counselor Kristy Donaldson says the outcome for a child depends on their situation. In addition, there are concerns for those who do not have a stable environment at home.

“Children are left at home unsupervised, so we’re seeing a 20 percent increase in some areas that used to do that in the nation of juveniles that came out of it,” Donaldson said.

The school district making the move in central Texas was Academy ISD, which said in a statement that it will change its schedule for the 2023-2024 school year. Shortly after the announcement, KWTX spoke with the superintendent, who explained that they plan to reduce class sizes.

“It’s just better for education, and it’s probably going to help us do that,” said Billy Harlan, Superintendent of Academy ISD.

After hearing why the Academy made this decision, we reached out to other districts to see where they are in the conversation. Killeen ISD said they had to consider Fort Hood and a significant amount of planning.

“Just throwing it at them real quick, we may not be able to provide home care for some of our students,” said Taina Maya with Killeen ISD.

And Jarrell ISD officials told us that potential move is on their minds.

“Employees were mostly for the 4-day school week. When we sent it out to members of our community, the reaction was more mixed,” said Nick Spinetto with Jarrell ISD.

Counselors like Donaldson’s responses remind families of what’s best for their children when making decisions.

“I think it really comes back to any child being in a home that’s stable, consistent, and balanced,” Donaldson says.

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