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The+recent+consideration+for+a+four-day+school+week+for+Broward+County+will+allow+students+to+have+Friday+be+an+optional+day+off.+With+this+in+mind%2C+students+will+also+be+able+to+pursue+other+opportunities+with+the+available+extra+day.
Grace Brill
The recent consideration for a four-day school week for Broward County will allow students to have Friday be an optional day off. With this in mind, students will also be able to pursue other opportunities with the available extra day.

[Opinion] Four-day school weeks will impact Broward County for the better

As the district debates a potential four-day school week, high school students fear for the state of their next school year. The majority of the Broward County School District has been operating on a five-day school week for over 100 years. It is only as of recently, that it has been considering switching to a four-day school week for its high school students. Despite students’ fears, however, this transition will be beneficial for them.

If this transition were to occur, high school students would attend school Monday through Thursday and have an optional fifth day, Friday, on which they can receive extended learning opportunities if they choose to attend. The school day would also be extended from seven to eight and a half hours in length.

The discussion about a transition was prompted by the success the four-day school system had at Pompano Beach High School (PBHS). The school has been using this system since 1997 and is also the only high school in Broward County to rank among the state’s top 25 schools and the nation’s top 300, according to the U.S. News & World Report.

It is clear that the success at PBHS is linked to its four-day school week. Due to this, the district is attempting to adopt the four-day school week throughout Broward County in an effort to elevate the rest of the district to PBHS’ level of excellence.

Four-day school weeks will be beneficial to students because they can lead to calmer and safer schools. The Journal of Educational Research and Policy Analysis conducted a study on 411 Oklahoma school districts that adopted the four-day school week for a few of their schools.

Researchers found that Oklahoma high schools saw less fighting and bullying among students after the switch from a five to four-day schedule. According to the Riverside Medical Clinic Charitable Foundation, 160,000 students skip school each day because of the fear of being attacked or intimidated by other classmates. There is a huge potential to lower that number in Broward County with the four-day school week format.

Four-day school weeks also improve student attendance. A longer weekend allows students to have more time to rest and finish their homework, which can lead to better attendance during the school week, as students will not feel as exhausted from their workload. The four-day school week also allows students and staff to make business, medical and other appointments on Fridays, which under normal circumstances would have caused them to miss school.

Quality teacher performance is associated with higher levels of student achievement. Four-day school weeks will boost teacher performance because they will provide teachers with an extra day to grade assignments, plan lessons and take advantage of professional development opportunities–training programs and events that expand professional knowledge. These benefits can lead to better job satisfaction, which will translate to better classroom performance and higher student achievement.

Some say that four-day school weeks will take away from students’ time for sports, however this has been disproved. In a study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation on four-day school weeks in comparison to five-day ones, half of the districts observed used four-day weeks and half used five-day weeks for their schools. Researchers found that students attending schools with four-day schedules spent significantly more time on school sports than those attending schools with five-day schedules. Thus, sports players will be able to dedicate plenty of time to athletics with the switch.

The extended hours of the school day will force extracurriculars like clubs and volunteering to take place on Fridays, the day students are not obligated to attend school. Extracurriculars are known to be one of the most important factors of college admissions, as they help students gain an advantage in the competitive process. With the implementation of a four-day school week, students can dedicate every Friday to extracurriculars as opposed to cramming them into their already busy weekdays.

The four-day school week system would likely be implemented gradually in Broward County if chosen, mainly because schools generally move slowly when undertaking such drastic changes. Districts and schools will, after all, need a lot of convincing that the system’s use will not have any negative impacts on students–such as lowering test scores–before it is adopted as a whole.

However, just because a system is new does not mean it is faulty. In the same study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, parents and students who had adopted the four-day school week said they favored that model. Sixty-nine percent of people in the districts that had adopted four-day weeks and 85% of the people in districts that maintained five-day weeks, found that they preferred the four-day over five-day schedule.

While the four-day school week would be an unorthodox model to adjust to, it has a myriad of benefits that should not go overlooked. Calmer and safer schools, improved student attendance and boosted teacher performance, will undeniably impact Broward County Public Schools for the better.

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About the Contributors
Lydia Varghese, Reporter
Lydia Varghese is a sophomore at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. She is a first-year reporter. She enjoys writing and listening to music.
Grace Brill, Design Editor
Grace Brill is a sophomore at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and the Design Editor for Eagle Eye News. She likes art and watching movies in her spare time.
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