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Academy ISD proposes four-day school week to attract staff

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Posted at 8:10 PM, Jan 06, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-06 21:59:46-05

LITTLE RIVER-ACADEMY, Texas — A Central Texas school district is considering a four-day school week amidst a nationwide struggle to recruit staff.

Academy ISD first floated the idea to teachers and staff early this school year. Now, it is finalizing a calendar for the school board to vote on.

According to Superintendent Billy Harlan, the district is growing too quickly too keep up. The district added over 100 students this year alone.

"We are used to having small class sizes. We're not in that situation this year because of the growth," Harlan said.

The Texas Education Agency requires school districts to have at least 75,600 minutes of instruction every year.

The district is currently in the process of drafting calendars to meet that requirement, as well as the needs of students.

"We can't educate kids if we don't have teachers in front of them instructing," Harlan explained of the decision.

One option the district is considering is beginning and ending the first and last few weeks of the school year with normal, five-day weeks. Then, for the middle part of the school year, switching to a four-day schedule.

Harlan hopes the new calendar could help bring in new teachers.

Teachers like McKenzi Murray, Academy High School business teacher, agree.

"Having that extra time to plan for your kids and your classroom is great, but also having that flexibility to do what you need for your family as well, I think that's hard for teachers to not want to be in that environment," Murray said.

Academy ISD would be following in the footsteps of a number of other rural Texas school districts, like Athens ISD.

Harlan said the district is hoping to present a final draft of the calendar by February.

To learn more about the plan, you can view the Academy ISD plan here.