Southland School District to start 4-day school week

Updated: Dec. 2, 2019 at 7:07 PM CST
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CARDWELL, MO (KAIT) -A Dunklin County school district announced new changes beginning in the 2020-2021 school year, and it includes a three-day weekend until further notice.

The new Tuesday through Friday, four-day school week is a dream come true for many of the students, teachers, and even parents of the Southland School District.

On Nov. 14, the school board voted 7-0 to make the decision official.

According to Superintendent Thomas Gotsch, the topic has been an ongoing discussion for the past few years.

In the past, the school calendar was based on attendance days, but now it will be focused on attendance hours: 1,044 of them.

Gotsch said the two big reasons for the change are to enhance the teacher-student retention rate and to focus on the district’s struggles, namely English and math.

Right now, the school day begins at 8 a.m. and ends at 3 p.m. Beginning in the 2020-2021 school year, the schedule will run from 7:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.

The first and last 30 minutes of the school days will consist of students getting extra practice in those two subjects.

One of the many benefits to the new schedule includes allowing students to attend important office appointments such as the doctor or dentist, or even having an extra day to prepare for the school week after a long weekend.

“Now they can make their appointments on Monday. Again, if they go on vacation on Friday night, they have Saturday, Sunday. They can come back on Sunday or Monday," Gotsch said.

Teachers will still have their 40-hour weekly schedule since they are on salary pay.

As for other staff, such as custodians, cafeteria workers, and bus drivers, they will be put on a flex schedule.

Parents who have to work on Mondays or for students in need of tutoring, the district will provide a daycare program and tutoring sessions through the day with breakfast and lunch, all free of charge.

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