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Garland County school district adopts a 4-day school week in response to low student attendance



Little Rock, Arkansas – Many school districts in the state have switched from having a five-day school week to a four-day one as a result of the outbreak. Mountain Pine School District recently joined the trend, switching to raise attendance.

B.J. Applegate, the superintendent of the school system, stated that under the new timetable, which includes Mondays as part of a three-day weekend, pupils will spend more time in class.

“It is a long day because when you start 7:40 a.m. and you get out at 4:07 p.m.—that makes a long day,” Applegate said. “When you transition from getting out at 3:15 p.m. to 4:07 p.m. that’s a big transition right now.”

Phoenix Caseados, a senior at Mountain Pine High School, said he initially believed the move would cause issues, but he has since adapted to the new timetable.

“I see that it incentivizes working harder in school and that helps with extracurricular programs, along with giving you more time during the school day to focus towards your studies,” Caseados said.

Caseados reported feeling more motivated and energized to attend class and give his all.

“I think I could’ve done a lot more with my high school if I would’ve had just one day off. It would’ve been a great cool-down period,” he said.

Applegate thinks that the new schedule may improve test results by increasing student attendance.

According to Applegate, the school system started this year with just 600 kids, down from 620 the previous year. The loss of just 20 children translates into a financial loss.

“20 kids is a big deal for a small school like us. Over $7,000 a kid and you lose 20 kids…you do the math, that’s a lot of money for a little school like us,” Applegate said.

A sophomore at Mountain Pine High School named Rylee Campos thinks the district is moving in the right direction for future generations of kids.

“I think it’ll become the new normal, because…so many schools have already switched over to it. It’ll be more convenient for everyone,” Campos said.

Since the statistics won’t be available until next year, the Arkansas Department of Education stated that it is unable to confirm the number of districts adopting four-day school weeks this year.

Applegate stated that he is unsure of the district’s potential savings at this point from switching to a four-day school week. He mentioned that beginning next year, they plan to change the length of time pupils spend in class.








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