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Metro-area school district considering 4-day school weeks

BRIGHTON, Colo. -- School District 27J is considering getting rid of the traditional five-day school week in favor of a four-day week.

On Thursday, 27J Schools announced it is exploring the possibility of four-day weeks beginning with the 2018-2019 school year.

The district lists budget efficiency and teacher recruitment as its top reasons for wanting the switch.

“Investing in our students is our No. 1 priority. We can no longer be expected to do more with less,” Superintendent Chris Fielder said.

“I would rather our students have high quality, engaged teachers using 21st century tools for learning four days a week than not having them five days a week.”

Students would attend school Tuesday through Friday with every Monday being considered a “weekend day.”

Although the schedules aren’t set in stone, elementary schools would likely be in session from 7:50 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Middle and high schools would operate from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

“While it’s more condensed, it also feels more organized,” said Jenette Keese, who has a fourth- and seventh-grader.

Keese said she is excited about the possibility of regular three-day weekends for more quality family time.

“We both work from home,” she said. “We can go snowboarding three days of the weekend.”

Not every family is that flexible, though. Many parents are concerned about what to do with their child on Mondays while they work.

“For us the biggest deal is paying for the care that she would have to receive on those days when she doesn’t have school,” parent Ricky Theil said.

His daughter will start kindergarten in the fall.

“She might be a little too young and a little too much energy to be able to handle a whole day and might get bored with it,” he said.

Theil said he is open to the idea, however, if the district believes it will benefit his child’s education.

“She could get a lot more time in the classroom and a lot more time to focus on certain things,” he said. “If this is being done just because they’re struggling for money, then I think it’s the wrong thing to do.”

With 18,000 students across its schools in Brighton, Henderson, Commerce City, Thornton and Aurora, 27J Schools would be one of the largest districts to adopt the four-day schedule.

However, it is not unique in Colorado. According to the district, 98 of the 178 districts statewide operate on a four-day schedule.

The district will host a series of community meetings to discuss the potential change.

  • Jan. 31: District Training Room (80 S. Eighth Ave. in Brighton) from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Feb. 7: Stuart Middle School cafeteria (15955 E. 101st Way in Commerce City) from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Feb. 12: West Ridge Elementary School cafeteria (13102 Monaco St. in Thornton) from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The district must make a final decision before March 23.