Bridge Creek students go back to school today, marking the start of the second year of utilizing the four-day week.
They are one of a handful of districts in the state using the four-day school week with hopes to save money and recruit teachers. Bridge Creek Superintendent David Morrow says so far so good, with around $140,000 saved last year and student achievement up.
“Sometimes,” Morrow says, “when you change something, you knock yourself out of a rut you've been in.”
Like many other districts across the state, budget cuts pushed Bridge Creek Public School Board members to make some big changes. The vote passed unanimously last year. The idea of a four-day week took a while to catch on with parents, who were concerned about finding the extra and necessary childcare that comes with swapping a 180-day school year to 147 days.
Morrow says after the initial hurdle came some unforeseen benefits, including decreases in student discipline and increases in teacher recruitment. Sliding the daily start times also paid off.
“Our biggest change,” Morrow says, “was not the four-day school week in my opinion. It was the transportation. Always before, all our schools started at the same time so we ran one bus route. We started our schools separately. We started them an hour apart and I can cut the number of buses I run in half and that was a huge savings.”
Morrow doesn't feel the need to switch back anytime soon, so as long as student achievement is not negatively affected.