Archive for the ‘Four-day Week’ Category

By Michael Penge
Cougar News Blog

     Students of CCJH recently got a chance to show how much they are loving the four-day weeks with a survey that was issued to get the opinions of the students.
     A survey was taken by students and the results are now back. The majority of teachers and students prefer the four-day weeks. Nearly 88 percent of students and 90 percent of teachers like it more than traditional weeks. Teachers say it gives them more time for lessons and students say that they enjoy the extra day off.
     “I prefer the four-day weeks, but I would like to see an increase in class time,” said Mrs. McQuilkin, a seventh grade science teacher.
     The survey was taken by nearly all the students at Cactus Canyon to see how they are faring with the change, which happened at the beginning of this school year.
     One of the downsides to the four-day weeks is school has to start much earlier with the first bell ringing at 6:50 a.m. Although, to most students, waking up earlier is an acceptable trade to get Friday off.
     “It is harder to wake up in the morning, but I think the extra day is really worth it,” said Nicolas Moorhead.
     Academics remain fairly untouched in terms of performance with about only 9 percent of all students saying their academics were affected negatively. When asked about the challenges they face at school 41 percent of students said they did not face any challenges due to the four-day week..
     About 55 percent of parents said they preferred the four-day week, but they did have some concerns. About 26 percent said childcare was an issue on Fridays and 14 percent don’t like the earlier bus times. About 12 percent of parents said they dislike that there is less time in school. b
     The change to four-day weeks was a heavily debated topic from last year where many people were opposed to the idea of getting rid of Friday in the school week. Many people thought it would lower class productivity and decrease scores for students. Now, though, with most students having adapted, it’s been shown that students and teachers are fine with the change and very accepting of it.
     “The time we have to teach lesson plans has decreased, but on the upside it has forced me and my students to be more focused during class time,” said Regan Roach, an eighth grade science teacher.
     In the meantime, four-day weeks are here to stay. The School Board voted in February to extend the four-day week for two more years.
     “I like the four-day weeks, they give me an extra day and it feels like we’re getting the same learning experience as before,” said Moorhead.


By Meagan Clark
Cougar News Blog

     Every student dreams of having less school. For the students in Apache Junction Unified School District, their dreams are coming true.
     AJUSD is now giving students four-day school weeks, instead of the traditional five, which gives students more time on the weekends to do whatever they want.
     “I like how the four-day weeks, because they give me more time to hang out with friends or family,” eighth grader Chelsey McCarthy said.
     For about a decade, AJUSD has been losing students and money, and was facing a $2.7 million dollar budget shortfall for the 2015-16 school year. The close the gap, the district also closed Superstition Mountain Elementary School.
     “I understand that we had to make difficult decisions because of the budget, and know that we are doing whatever we have to in order to save money,” seventh grade teacher Mallory Stradling said.
     One of the big reasons to start the four-day school weeks, though, to keep and gain teachers that could make more money in elsewhere. It also allowed schools that are still open to save sports, clubs, electives, and other programs.
     “I think parents make a choice to send their children to Cactus Canyon Junior High, because we have a lot of great opportunities here at CCJH,” said assistant principal Meaghan Davis. “We have students who come here because of the many unique opportunities we have that most schools don’t.”
     For the second consecutive year, AJUSD hopes that the community, in November, will vote to increase taxes, so that extra money can be provided for district students and schools. Community members voted against override in 2014.
     “I hope we will be able to have the federal and community support, so we can get the things we need for the students,” said eighth-grade teacher Tammy Howard. “(We want to keep) programs we currently have, and to be able to build others.”


By Bailey Tower
Cougar News Blog

     Cactus Canyon is kicking off the new school year with shorter weeks and longer classes as all schools in the Apache Junction Unified School District reduced their week to four days.
     While there is no longer school on Fridays, classes have been extended by about five minutes.
     The Monday through Thursday week makes it a bit difficult for teachers to get all grading done, but teachers are learning to find new methods, including using Fridays.
     “I grade differently now. Most of the time I wait until Friday to grade certain things and put the grades into gradebook,” said seventh-grade math teacher Cindy Wilson. “I still grade all the things I used to grade and there is the same amount of grading to be done and one less day to get it in.”
     Some teachers like having their classes a couple more minutes than last year because they cover more content each day.
     “I like having the extra time with my classes each day, and I feel like I can go into more detail about things,” said eighth-grade science teacher Candace Wyatt.
     Teachers also feel like they have a better understanding of Beyond Textbooks, which means students are doing better academically, despite the shorter week.
     “Last year Cactus Canyon started using beyond Textbooks and I feel like I know the curriculum better,” said Mrs. Wilson.
     The Monday through Thursday school week is impacting some students positively. The extra minutes is so far helping eighth Olivia Baxter get work done.
     “I have seen a difference in my academic performance since last year and I understand more information this year,” said Baxter. “The extra 30 minutes of school this year is actually better because I have more time to work on things.”