As Colorado faces a serious shortage of teachers, districts search for creative ways to address budget issues and still recruit and retain quality staff. For the 2018-2019 school year, Colorado School District 27J, in Adams County, implemented a four-day school week in response to the challenges.
Classes in the district—which includes more than 18,000 students and covers schools in parts of Aurora, Brighton, Commerce City, Lochbuie, and Thornton—will now be held Tuesday to Friday, while administrative staff stays on a five-day work week. To fill the gap left by the shorter week, all-day childcare is offered on Mondays from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. for kids ages five (currently enrolled in kindergarten) to 12 for $30 per day. Scholarship assistance is available for those who qualify.
Dr. Chris Fiedler, superintendent of School District 27J says that this change will allow the district to create:
- A schedule that entices quality teachers and staff, both in retention and recruitment
- Additional time to support teacher and staff development
- A schedule that meets teaching and learning needs, while building budget efficiencies that allow for the reallocation of resources to other programs and services
“It will offer a schedule that treats teachers as the professionals they are by giving them the time needed to both plan and improve their practice,” says Kathey Ruybal, president of the Brighton Education Association. “A highly effective teacher is by far the most important factor in a student’s academic growth.”