Tripp-Delmont preparing for first-ever four-day school week
TRIPP — Next week, the Tripp-Delmont School District will join the ranks of just two other region school districts.
The district will start the 2017-18 school year having implemented a four-day week for the first time in school history. The other two districts in the region with four-day school weeks are Bon Homme and Winner.
For Tripp-Delmont, the shortened week came as a result of the school board attempting to cut operating costs and to bring more students to the district, in turn increasing funding from the state.
And Tripp-Delmont Superintendent Gail Swenson hopes there are even more benefits.
"For most districts (with a four-day week), student attendance increased, as families can make appointments on the off day; student achievement was not negatively impacted and, in many cases, scores on standardized tests increased," Swenson said in an email. "Some districts reported fewer students failing classes."
Class days were extended by 25 minutes, with days beginning at 8:10 a.m. and dismissing at 3:35 p.m. Students will typically attend classes Tuesday through Friday. In discussions about the change, the school board considered the possibility of holding classes Monday through Thursday, but the amount of extracurricular activities that take place at the end of the week eliminated the option.
On some of the days students are not in class, there will be work days, during which teachers will be available to provide homework help or students can work on class projects. And students who are behind in classwork will be expected to attend, Swenson said.
Students can also receive extra help throughout the school day, as the home room and intensive care unit (ICU) classes were combined and built into the schedule. ICU, designed for students behind in school work or those with missing assignments, was during the lunch period.
"We don't want any students falling behind in class, and we hope this time for all secondary students reap good results," Swenson said. "At the elementary level ... an additional afternoon recess will be added, giving the students two shorter recess breaks in their day instead of one recess. We want our younger students to have that break time where they can get some fresh air, run off some energy — or wake up — and come back to the classroom ready to go again."
Swenson added that, so far, parents and faculty have been supportive of the transition, though she expects there could be some minor bumps in the road as everyone adjusts. Any lingering questions from parents can be answered by staff during an open house at the school on Tuesday.