The AM Show: Benefits of a 4-day school week - could it help New Zealand?

As the teachers' unions and the Ministry of Education struggle to reach an agreement over salaries, strikes and shortages, Colorado's schooling district 27H has completed its first year running a 4-day school week - which has seen many successes so far.

The AM Show's host Duncan Garner spoke to the district's public information officer, Tracy Rudnick, about the benefits of the model and how it has helped their district on Thursday's episode. 

"We've only finished our first year working with a 4-day school week and we think it's been very successful," Rudnick told Garner.

"The feedback we've gotten from our students, parents and staff has been overwhelmingly positive.

"We do Tuesday through Friday, so we're off on Mondays. We see Monday as a day to prepare."

The Colorado schooling district also struggles with low teacher salaries. The programme was initially implemented to help with the lack of school funding and unsatisfactory salaries.

"Our starting teacher salary [is very low]... they're just not moving up at the same rate because of the way funding is done here.

"We have gone out many times for a mill levy override, which is a tax on the community to raise funds for the school district for salaries, for funding students... the past six times we have not passed that... so we had to think outside the box."

The 4-day week system has seen improvements for the district.

"[4-day weeks] have really attracted our teachers... we've been able to recruit highly qualified adults to be in front of our students.

"[A 4-day week] has been appealing to teachers - [new teacher applicants] do cite the 4-day schedule as one of the reasons why they want to come to our school district."

The change has also seen improvements with attendance numbers.

"We've got probably twice as many [students] that came in, whether [it's families] moving and buying a home here, or students that came back to our district - parents and students like the 4-days.

"Overwhelmingly, our teachers love it."

Perhaps a 4-day school week system could be the answer New Zealand is looking for.


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