SWEETWATER COUNTY– Every two years, Sweetwater School District Number One is required to run a calendar committee process to present to the Board of Trustees proposed calendars for the next two years. This year the district was charged with this task.
A 4-Day Week is Not a Significant Cost-Saving
In 2016-2017 when the Cost-Savings Task Force met, a 4-day week was suggested as a potential cost-savings measure. It was identified that the 4-day week would not be a significant way to save money and time was limited to implement a change of that caliber.
At that time, the District agreed to take a more detailed look at the 4-day week when the calendar cycle came up in the 2018-2019 school year.
Initially, this year the Calendar Committee looked at a variety of calendars that were put out for feedback based on survey results to the staff and students. Among those calendars were the 4 -day week.
The District provided a multitude of opportunities for the community and staff to provide input and feedback through surveys, an email link to send input on the District website, social media, and 7 public forums held on various days and times.
Based off of this feedback it was clear that families and staff wanted to look at a 4-day week option and the traditional calendar.
Why Consider a 4-Day Week?
If there is not a cost-savings initiative behind the 4-day week, why would the district even bother to look at an alternative calendar? Ultimately, everything comes down to what’s best for students.
Research shows an effective teacher in the classroom has the biggest impact on student achievement. The changes to education over the last several years have required significant adjustments to the way students are taught.
Teachers and staff expressed the need for opportunities to work in Professional Learning Communities and evaluate student data to make sure they are meeting the needs of all students with differentiated instruction, utilizing new curriculum, and quality instruction. An alternative calendar could potentially give staff the time needed to properly plan, train, and implement high quality instruction.
SWCSD #1 Staff Voted 60 Percent in Favor of a 4-Day Week
A 4-day calendar and a traditional calendar went out to vote among the staff of Sweetwater County School District Number One on Sunday, February 2, 2019 and the voting closed on Thursday, February 28, 2019.
The voting results were 60% in favor of a 4-day week and 40% in favor of a traditional calendar.
Based off the staff vote, proposed calendars for the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 school years have been created.
Next Steps include Two Open Public Meetings
The next steps involve the district holding two open public meetings before the March 11 and April 8 Board Meetings on the 4-day calendar for information and feedback; as well as additional public forums to provide information to the community.
The proposed calendar selection will go to the Board of Trustees for vote at the April 8, 2019 Board Meeting. All public meetings will be advertised soon.