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Editorial: From five to four

Bay Port considers adding a flex day

FLEXIBLE+SCHEDULING%0APrincipal+Frieder+and+about+30+teachers+discuss+a+proposal+for+alternative+learning+options.+The+Feb.+7+meeting+opened+up+debate+about+breaking+away+from+the+8-period+day%2C+yet+teachers+said+they+want+to+maintain+engagement+and+equal+opportunity+for+achievement+for+all+learners.+
FLEXIBLE SCHEDULING
Principal Frieder and about 30 teachers discuss a proposal for alternative learning options. The Feb. 7 meeting opened up debate about breaking away from the 8-period day, yet teachers said they want to maintain engagement and equal opportunity for achievement for all learners.

FLEXIBLE SCHEDULING Principal Frieder and about 30 teachers discuss a proposal for alternative learning options. The Feb. 7 meeting opened up debate about breaking away from the 8-period day, yet teachers said they want to maintain engagement and equal opportunity for achievement for all learners.

K. Greene

K. Greene

FLEXIBLE SCHEDULING Principal Frieder and about 30 teachers discuss a proposal for alternative learning options. The Feb. 7 meeting opened up debate about breaking away from the 8-period day, yet teachers said they want to maintain engagement and equal opportunity for achievement for all learners.

Kyle Maes

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It’s Sunday. Throughout the week, multiple tests, quizzes, projects, and homework assignments will be given out to over 1800 students attending Bay Port. The feeling of dread settles in, and the following five days overwhelms many people, some even feeling encumbered. But what if the week that followed only had four days of school? What if Friday, Wednesday, or any day of the week, was the beginning of the school week?

This problem is actually being addressed at Bay Port now. A Google document was created by Principal Mike Frieder for voluntary members of the teaching staff on January 31, 2017, to address the burning question: “Imagine a school day once a week that you were allowed to do what was in the best interest of our students, staff, and community. How would you optimize the time?”

Many teachers, from math to music and everything in between contributed to the document, adding ideas in which others could agree or add on to. The document would lead up to a meeting among the teachers to discuss potential changes. Principal Frieder discussed with the 32 other teachers in the union room how a four-day week could change their schedules. While some teachers were enthusiastic about this idea, others were concerned. More specifically, the AP teachers, as well as the choir teachers, were uneasy with the idea of losing time.

Others are excited about the opportunities that the flex day would offer.

“I’ve almost become obsessed with this,” Principal Frieder said during the teacher meeting on Feb. 7.

Whether attendance would be mandatory for students on the flex day is still in discussion. If attendance were not mandatory, the amount of sleep students would get would greatly improve. Over the years, students are getting less and less sleep to get through the day. This, tied with the fact that students are also getting more and more homework, projects, and tests, proves to be quite the challenge.

A study was conducted in 2001 in a southern part of Seoul, South Korea, where students in ten different high schools (with a mean age of 16.4) participated in a survey asking people how many hours of sleep, along with their overall school performance. The result was that 15.9% (14.9% for boys and 18.2% for girls) had shown signs of EDS (excessive daytime sleepiness), which affected students’ grades. If a four-day schedule is in place, people would have the opportunity to come to school better rested than if they came to school for a five-day week.

Teachers have one full day of planning. This means that teachers have the ability to plan an entire week of school in one day, rather than just having PLC during the week. This also means the removal of PLC on Tuesday, since PLC will take place on our flex day instead. With PLC taken out of the week, staff will have the opportunity to collaborate for a full day, if needed.

Shana Myer, a teacher in the Apache Junction Unified District, stated her opinion on the matter of a four-day week in an interview with neaToday. “Even though we’ve already worked at least 10 hours Monday through Thursday, we’re still in school mode on Fridays, and we’ve found we’re creating far superior lessons,” she says. “Quite frankly, this year’s lessons are the best we’ve ever had, and I think the change to four days has allowed us to be the teachers we truly desire to be, giving our kids the best possible learning experience, while renewing our mental devotion to the profession we felt driven to join.”

There will be many opportunities occurring this day as well. During this time, teachers will still be at school throughout the day, and students’ time would be more flexible. This has many benefits on students, including time to come in for help, which can help improve students’ grades. Tests could also be done or redone in a timely manner, and clubs could meet, which means that they would not conflict with class time. This can also mean that new clubs can be created, science and culinary arts could engage in longer labs, and more field trips could be offered then.

Overall, a four-day school week has many benefits on students and teachers alike. For some it may mean more sleep, and for others it means more work time on certain projects and homework assignments. With teachers making better lesson plans, students’ grades can only go up. The question stands – will our schools switch to this superior system?

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