What a Four-Day School Week Looks Like

MARION, S.D.- More and more schools are considering switching to a four day week. In South Dakota, 34 of the 149 school districts have already made the change according to the South Dakota Department of Education. But what exactly does that look like?

The Marion School District made the switch three years ago. They have four-day weeks, Monday through Thursday.

“It was one of those things that when our superintendent came it was something he’d done at his previous school,” said Katie Minster, Secondary Principal for the Marion School District. 

Administrators say classes are about 25 minutes longer than a traditional school day. Students go from 8 am. to 3:45 p.m. Two Fridays of the month are designated as help days. It’s something administrators say is the biggest gain.

“See a student struggling maybe on a Tuesday, have them come in on a Friday and really help them get it and you get those one-on-one moments. Which I think every teacher knows, that’s why you show up, so you can help the kid really figure out what it is that they’re trying to do and how to do better,” said Minster. 

Some students choose to go to the help days while it’s mandatory for others who need to catch up.

“If students are missing assignments or they had to be absent, it’s another way for us to be able to not let anybody slip through the cracks,” said Minster. 

The school has also implemented Friday enrichment programs.

“We want kids to always be learning, to always realize that it can be fun,” said Minster. 

Kids can come to school for an hour long hands-on activity, usually led by different organizations like the outdoor campus. 

“Our students love to do stuff and that gives us an opportunity to still hit the standards and curriculum, but give kids that opportunity to do the things and see what they’re learning in the classroom in action,” said Minster. 

Teachers also do their own activities with the students.

“Like our science teacher did water rockets with the,  so they got to go out and launch them and they’re like ‘Oh this is really cool’ and as a result we’ve had more kids sign up for our STEM programs,” said Minster. 

Administrators say the schedule has allowed teachers to better connect with their students. 

“Anytime you build that relationship, the connection in the classroom, the learning, everything is better across the board,” said Minster. 

We reached out to the Sioux Falls School District to see if they’ve thought about a four-day schedule. They told us it is not something they are considering at this time.

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