Ozark Mountain School District switching to four-day school week

Published: Dec. 31, 2019 at 2:31 PM CST
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Western Grove freshman Paige Chaney knows she needs to work hard to keep up with older players.

"I'm really excited," she said.

Which is why an upcoming change to her school week could free up more time on the court.

"More time to spend with family, friends, and work with my show animals, and practice basketball," Chaney said.

The district recently approved dropping Mondays from its schedule, shifting to a four-day week that could benefit students and parents alike.

"I'm still tired coming Monday morning, so I'm excited about it to have more time with the kids," said Paige's mom, Amber Chaney.

The superintendent said the district chose Monday instead of Friday because it's easier to schedule appointments on Mondays, and usually basketball games are on Tuesdays and Fridays.

The district has bounced around the idea of a shorter school week for a while. Next year they'll give it a shot.

"The last two years the district has lost 40 students. And so we started looking at ways to stop that trend," said Superintendent Kerry Saylors.

Saylors hopes the switch will not only attract and retain students, but teachers as well. Giving them an opportunity to spend more time with their family.

"We have a tendency to lose teachers to surrounding school districts," he said. "We're hopeful the four-day week might help us keep some of those teachers that possibly would have left. And also when we have open positions, hopefully this will improve our applicant pool."

School days and classes will be longer, but there's still a big void for parents to fill on Mondays.

The district is working to solve that problem, hoping churches offer safe spaces and high schoolers pick up babysitting.

Parents said the community always steps up to try to help one another as a team, knowing older students may have a bigger role to fill.

"The kids are going to be excited about it, and we hope we get more children there," Chaney said.

The superintendent said the district is still sorting out when practices will be for sports teams with the four-day school weeks.