Pine Bluffs Post - Serving all of Eastern Laramie County since 1908

By Todd Sweeter
Pine Bluffs High School 

Students and teachers benefit from 4-day week

 


A quarter of the year has come and gone, and it is time to share some feedback on the 4-day week. We started by asking the staff and administration - What are the positive things that are happening in LCSD#2 since the start of the 4- day week?

While there are always a few exceptions, the overwhelming response is that it has been great. So far, it has fulfilled all of the expectations and the reasons for wanting to go to a 4-day week. It is keeping the teachers in the classrooms and providing students with positive interventions and enrichment opportunities.

Both Pine Bluffs High School and Burns High School are seeing great success. The high schools are seeing many students coming in on Fridays for extra help and intervention.

“Most of the kids that come in on Friday are just coming in to get extra help, finish a test, or work on a project. They were not even on the ineligibility list where we mandate they come in and work on things,” said Mrs. Golding, PBHS school counselor. Corbin Peterson, BHS school counselor, said their school “...was filled with extra students coming in to get work completed.”

BHS English teacher, Justin Earnshaw added, “I have had more students attend Friday school for enrichment, voluntary makeup work/ tutoring, and extra opportunities than those who have attended due to ineligibility.”

While getting homework and projects done is great, Fridays are more than that. The high schools are offering several enrichment opportunities for their students. They both have increased the field trips being conducted, they are offering dual enrollment classes, and providing extra assistance from LCCC advisors in the buildings. In addition, PBHS is offering an Academic Challenge Club and Chess Club. Finally, both schools hope to offer ACT prep in the near future.

A change that came about as a result of the new schedule was to the ineligibility list. The new policy requires students maintain a 70 percent or above grade-point-average to be eligible, and it has been a huge success.

“The number of ineligible students was high on Tuesday morning when we first pulled it [the list],” said Golding, “But by Thursday when we pulled it again, 90 percent of those students have pulled their grade to a C or above. This demonstrates, to me, that it’s working.” At BHS, the report was much the same.

The elementary schools are also doing numerous things to increase the educational effectiveness in their buildings.

At Pine Bluffs Elementary School, the teachers have developed a Fort Friday. This exciting campaign invites students to come work on targeted skills that they need extra help with. “We are trying to keep it a positive thing to come to school on Friday and get extra help, not a punishment,” said Sue Watson, instructional facilitator at PBES. “We have even had kids asking to come that are not needing extra help.”

Christy Allen, at Burns Elementary School, had much the same to say. “As a teacher, I am really enjoying being able to work with my struggling students individually on Friday, giving them the exact attention on skills they personally need right then.”

“At Carpenter Elementary, some fathers are planning to come in and offer a series of enrichment classes,” Amber Imel from Carpenter stated. She also mentioned they are doing several community building activities such as Donuts for Dads and Muffins for Moms. “We feel the more we can get parents involved, the better,” said Mrs. Imel.

While there are many positives, there have been some minor growing pains for which we are continuing to find solutions. For example, the district is continuing to work with the transportation department to ensure that all of our students can attend Fridays. Meeting schedules are also being rearranged in order to try and get more teachers available for the intervention and enrichment activities.

The final hurdle being worked through is the pacing, going from a traditional 5-day school week to a 4-day week.

“For the first couple weeks, it was hard to switch the instructional planning pace from a 5-day to a 4-day class week, but now we are getting used to it,” Ms. Roeder said. Students are also being pushed harder; in many cases they are having more homework and more tests on any given day.

To sum it up, Brittany Mitchell at BHS, said, “I love that as a teacher I am not missing class time with my students to attend necessary meetings since they are now held on Friday. I have also noticed a huge reduction in the stress level of students involved in activities because they are not missing as many classes for their events. The option of Friday school has been a great asset to help kids catch up, stay caught up, or just receive additional assistance.”

As always, if parents ever have any concerns or would like to have their comments heard, feel free to contact teachers or building administrators.

 

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