1.) Why? Just why?
A 4-Day instructional model is a growing trend in Texas and across the country to attract and retain the best teachers possible. Surveys indicate that teachers are leaving the profession in droves because of burn-out (time) and salary (money). This model gives the teacher more time; more planning and preparation time to better educate students. The teacher is the single most important factor in a student’s academic success. There is a teacher shortage felt locally and across the state and nation. FISD is taking a proactive approach to be competitive with area districts already implementing the 4-day instructional week, and to get ahead of those districts discussing implementing it, to attract, recruit, and retain the best possible teachers.
2.) How soon can we start?
If a 4-day instructional week is approved by the FISD Board of Trustees, implementation would begin in the 2023-2024 school year.
3.) Why were students and community members without school aged children even allowed to participate in this survey?
Anyone associated with FISD, including students, parents, employees, taxpayers, business owners and community members, has the right to voice their opinion on the subject. This should be a collaborative stakeholder decision that takes into consideration many different insights and perspectives.
4.) If Monday is the day students are off, how will this affect middle school students who want to participate in extracurricular events but don’t have transportation to and from school?
Any student who would like to participate in extracurricular activities and is worried about transportation issues needs to talk to the coach, sponsor, or director. Arrangements can be worked out. For example, FISD currently has employees who pick students up for morning high school football practices. FISD currently tries to assist in such matters, so that would not change with a 4-day instructional week.
5.) How will a 4-day week impact athletics?
FISD has a committee researching the impact on athletics with other districts who have implemented a 4- day instructional week to hear pros and cons from their experiences.
6.) Will there be a block schedule?
FISD has a secondary scheduling committee also researching the different types of schedules and what seems to work best with a 4-day instructional model. Other districts are being consulted to gather their input. The schedule may look different based on the needs of that individual campus.
7.) Has there been any conversation that if the 4-day week is implemented having the off day as Wednesday, in order for the kids to have instruction 2 days, off a day, and end with 2 instructional days?
There has not currently been a conversation regarding Wednesday being the day off. The 41 districts in Texas currently implementing a 4-day instructional model either take Monday or Friday as the day off. However, no suggestion is off the table at this point in the process and can certainly be considered.
8.) How can the school make sure that the few teachers who give excess homework won't add more because the students would have a "day off" or add projects to do over the weekend, etc.?
As with any calendar model, homework expectations are discussed with teachers at the beginning of each year. Additional homework concerns will certainly be addressed with teachers and district/campus expectations will be adhered to. The day off would be considered a non-school day, just as weekends and school holidays are currently.
9.) What type of consideration will be given, or accommodations made, for families/single parents who have to work but will now be burdened with extra childcare costs?
FISD has a childcare committee researching how other districts and communities handled childcare options. This committee is reaching out to several local childcare businesses and area churches. High school students will also be included as options, just as they currently are in the summer and on school holidays.
10.) What 4 days is the school considering and how many hours a day will likely be scheduled for those 4 days?
The districts in Texas currently implementing a 4-day instructional model either take Monday or Friday as the day off. The recent survey results favored Monday (64.5%) over Friday (35.5%). Currently, FES students attend 7:45 am – 3:30 pm (465 minutes/day) and FMS/FHS students attend 7:40 am – 3:34 pm (474 minutes/day). 75,600 minutes are required by the state in a school year. The districts currently implementing a 4-day instructional model average between 485 minutes/day and 510 minutes/day.
11.) Would the current holidays change (Thanksgiving, Christmas)?
The traditional week off at Thanksgiving and at least two weeks off at Christmas will probably remain unchanged due to a 4-day instructional calendar.
12.) If this goes into effect, will my property taxes decrease roughly 20% like the new school week?
School districts in Texas must base their calendar on minutes, not number of days. 75,600 minutes are required by the state in a school year. The calendar would be compressed, not reduced. The type of calendar set by a school district does not affect property taxes.
13.) How would this calendar affect instructional services for special programs such as special education, dyslexia, gifted/talented, ESL, and Section 504?
Special programs are also based on minutes served, not instructional days. The minutes would need to be adjusted at beginning of year meetings to make sure students are receiving the number of minutes of instructional services needed.
14.) Will the 4-day week include maintenance and custodial staff as well?
It is possible for all types of employees and all departments to be included in the 4-day week model. Some districts are including all staff for the 4-day week, and some are not. This will be determined based on what works best for FISD after all research is completed.
15.) What percent of FISD parents responded to the survey?
There are approximately 500 families in the FISD district that may have multiple children on the three campuses. 388 people chose “Parent” as their role and responded to the survey. If this is an accurate representation of our population, this is a 78% completion rate.
16.) What do STAAR results look like in other districts that have 4-day school week?
There are 14 districts in Texas that have implemented 4-day instructional weeks for at least two or more years. 7 of these districts are “A” districts and the other 7 are high “B” districts. 13 of the 14 districts and campuses have either maintained or made improvements in ratings and scores since implementing the 4- day instructional week.
17.) Will we have a six-week or nine-week grading periods?
FISD has a secondary scheduling committee researching the different types of schedules and what seems to work best with a 4-day instructional model. Other districts are being consulted to gather their input. The number of grading periods may look different based on the needs of individual campuses