The four-day school week: Has Academy ISD sparked a trend in other Central Texas schools?

Academy ISD announced last week it would be switching to a four-day week in the upcoming school year
Published: Jan. 23, 2023 at 6:26 PM CST
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - After Academy ISD’s recent announcement to move to a four-day school week in the 2023-2024 school year, other Central Texas schools are weighing in on whether they’ll make the same decision.

KWTX spoke with districts in Killeen, Temple, Copperas Cove, Waco, Salado and Jarrell. Each has its own reasons for wanting to either join the growing trend or stick with tradition.

For Killeen ISD, the district’s affiliation with Fort Hood would require ample planning that a four-day week could complicate.

“Because of Fort Hood, we have to make sure that would be something that they’d be available and able to support,” Taina Maya, the communications manager for Killeen ISD, told KWTX. “Our surrounding childcare options here are limited. Just throwing that on to them very quickly, we might not be able to supply some of our students with home care.”

Other districts, like Salado ISD, are open to the growing trend but have opted to wait a bit longer since teacher retention hasn’t been a concern, like it is at Academy ISD.

“We talked about it because there are a small but growing number of districts around the state that are moving to it,” Mike Novotny, the communications manager for Salado ISD, said. “The reason we decided against it is we’ve been fortunate that we’ve still been able to maintain all positions filled.”

But for some, like Jarrell ISD, a four-day week is something the district has been looking into since last April.

“We sent out a survey to the staff, and the staff overwhelmingly was for the four-day school week,” Nick Spinetto, the communications manager for Jarrell ISD, said. “When we sent it out to our community members, there was a lot more mixed reactions. It’s not to say the committee wouldn’t recommend it as a potential calendar for a future school year.”

As for Waco ISD, the district says they will not be pursing a four-day week because they “believe five days a week is what’s best for our students and families.”