EDUCATION + SCHOOLS

Is a four-day school week the answer to teacher shortage?

Aug 15, 2023, 6:30 PM | Updated: Aug 16, 2023, 2:03 pm

four-day school week...

Students walk to their buses following school at Rose Springs Elementary in Erda, Tooele County, on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020. Photo credit: Steve Griffin, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY —  The weekend starts on Thursdays for about 800 school districts nationwide, according to News Nation. So is the four-day school week the answer to Utah’s teacher shortage? Or does it solve one problem yet create others?

The schedule is saving money for rural schools in the Tooele School District and helping to retain teachers, says its district superintendent, Mark Ernst. He joins Dave & Dujanovic to discuss what a four-day school week means for students, teachers and parents.

Ernst said the four-day schedule includes schools in Dugway, Ibapah, Vernon and Wendover.

He said the district is saving money by idling its bus fleet serving rural schools one day a week.

And it’s truly a four-day school week for teachers, no grading papers or other school work on the extra day off, he said, adding administrators sometimes work remotely on that day. 

Good for rural but not for cities

Ernst said it’s feasible to move the whole district to the four-day schedule but the the State Office of Education has no “appetite” to transition the more urban areas away from their traditional five-day school week.

Recruiting tool

The district superintendent said another boost to the four-day school week is teachers like it and schools are seeing less turnover. He said the better retention numbers may also be due to an increase in salary for educators who work in rural schools.

Loss of learning?

It’s taken time for teachers to adjust to the new schedule, specifically how to teach the same amount of material in a shorter length of time, but Ernst said the teachers are mastering the four-day school schedule and the students are learning more.

Related reading:

Amid nationwide teacher shortage, Weber School District turns its focus to retention

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play. 

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Education + Schools

the state capitol is pictured, the utah supreme court is seeking more information about a redistric...

Adam Small

Utah lawmakers pass two school security bills

The Utah Legislature passed two school security bills. One of them deals with concealed carry incentives for teachers.

14 hours ago

Generic image of crime scene tape. A man and a woman were shot in a home in Naples, forcing the nea...

Michael Houck

Shooting near Naples Elementary School forces lockdown, two victims hospitalized

A man and a woman were shot in a home in Naples, forcing the nearby Naples Elementary School to lockdown Wednesday afternoon.

1 day ago

Students walk to their buses after school at Rose Springs Elementary in Erda, Tooele County, on Thu...

Jessica Lowell & Devin Oldroyd

Application process for the Utah Fits All Scholarship now open

The application for the Utah Fits All Scholarship is now open. The scholarship will allow families to apply for up to $8,000 of state funds.

1 day ago

taylor swift performing eras tour concert, a new class at weber state focuses on swift...

SAM HERRERA, KSL NEWSRADIO AND MIKE ANDERSON, KSL TV

Weber State University to offer class on Taylor Swift this fall

The Weber State University Taylor Swift class was offered for the first time this spring and filled up quickly.

2 days ago

cellphone schools...

Peter Johnston

Bill that would remove competency test requirement for teachers looks ready to pass

Currently, those pursuing a teaching license in Utah are required to pass a classroom management test. However, it could disappear from Utah's teaching licensure requirements if a bill passes the Senate this week.

3 days ago

After starting the new year with poor air quality, Utah may finally be able to take a breath and fi...

Heather Peterson

New black carbon sensor is more portable but just as accurate, study finds

A new study from the University of Utah finds that recently released black carbon new units are just as accurate in detecting black carbon, but they are more portable and affordable.

3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

Is a four-day school week the answer to teacher shortage?