ATKINS, Ark. – Just as restrictions are being lifted and school days are going back to normal, one Arkansas district is changing its schedule and going from a five-day school week to four. The Atkins school board voted to make the change for the 2021-2022 school year.
From 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. students are used to spending Monday through Friday inside the classroom, but next fall, all Atkins schools will transition to a Tuesday through Friday schedule.
“I was 1,000% against it. It was not something I was interested in at all,” Atkins School District parent Haley Newell said.
Newell has two boys in the Atkins public school system, both are athletes and she had gotten the hang of balancing school, practice and life at home.
“It’s going to be a longer day. I’m going to have to rearrange my whole schedule to get them to practice, to games to cook supper,” Newell said.
As she called board members with her concerns, she found there were more positives than negatives.
“I have completely changed my mind,” Newell said.
Lori Edgin will take over as Superintendent in a couple of weeks and has already been with two districts that have switched to a four-day school week.
“We were looking for innovative and creative approaches to education,”
“One of the main things is we’ve seen in other schools it decreases student and staff absences, which is huge,” Edgin said.
Edgin says other benefits include recruiting teachers and a lower dropout rate. Each school will add about an hour to the day so students will spend the same amount of time in the classroom.
“They’ll start about 7:40 and end about 4:05,” Edgin said.
On the Mondays off, the building will still be open for Red Devil days where they can learn things not found in a textbook.
“Balancing checkbooks things like that that kids need to know how to do outside of school,” Newell said.
While she started out against the idea, Newell is now looking forward to having one day a week with her kids at home.
“I actually find that a blessing I’m going to have more quality time with my boys,” Newell said.
While the school will be open on Mondays for the enrichment day, transportation and meals will not be provided.