School of the Osage board approves 4-day weeks for 2021-22 school year

Lake Sun Staff
School of the Osage logo.

The School of the Osage Board of Education has approved moving forward with the implementation of a four-day week for students for the 2021-2022 school year. 

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the School of the Osage implemented a hybrid week for the 2020-2021 school year. This schedule included 4 days of seated instruction (Tuesday-Friday), and one day of distance learning each Monday. 

“In many respects, over the course of last semester we noticed higher productivity and engagement on the seated days as compared to previous (non-COVID impacted) fall semesters,” Superintendent Laura Nelson said.     

The four-day seated/1 day distance schedule the district has been on this year has provided a way for teachers to work, plan, and collaborate with a focused intensity on Mondays- so that students can learn and grow at an impressive pace-regardless of the pressure of the times. 

This was a big change, a productive change. It was a change that brought about increased student engagement in learning and decreases in student discipline, Nelson said. 

“This is essentially a continuation of the schedule we are on this year- without the dedicated distance learning Mondays. Distance learning processes will be with us all henceforth- but we are simply going to work to leverage what we’ve learned and embed these processes in other ways,” Nelson said in a recent update to the community. “Now that the framework has been approved, the next step is the approval of a full academic calendar with start and end dates and times, as well as holidays. This will be an agenda item at the March 8, 2021 meeting.” 

The move to a four-day week is a growing trend in Missouri. As many as 100 other districts in the state have adopted the schedule. The only other lake area school on the four-day week is Climax Springs. The district implemented the change this year. 

Why did the School of the Osage adopt a Four-Day School Week Framework? 

-Opportunity to continue to enhance the quality of student learning

-Opportunity to increase student attendance 

-Reduction in student behavior referrals resulting in better student engagement overall

-The fifth day (Monday) opens up space to deliver non-traditional student opportunities- such as service-learning, tutoring, and internships

-Increase efforts to attract, recruit, and retain staff

-Increase quality of instruction via a focus on professional development and a decrease in the need for substitute teachers 

-Create a consistent school calendar and better conditions for planning and learning (for students, families, and staff)

What will the Four-Day Week look like at School of the Osage?

-No school Mondays. Most staff will report most Mondays.

-A 7:50 a.m.-3:25 p.m. time for a normal school day. This is approximately an additional 20 each day.  

-Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Spring Break would not be impacted and several days would be added to the calendar for school.  

Will a Four-Day school week create a childcare problem for parents?

School of the Osage currently operate on a calendar that includes a modified four-day week schedule. They are providing free childcare for students in grades k-5 on most non-holiday Mondays from 8:00 am- 2:00pm. Moreover, they support this program with five bus routes. The school anticipates that for 2021-2022, they will be able to expand the hours of operation to 7:30 am to 3:30 pm (i.e. it will mirror school hours on Tuesday through Friday) and the program will continue to be supported by five bus routes.

What changes will this cause in after school activities, such as practices?

School of the Osage currently operates on a calendar that includes a modified four-day week schedule. Participation in athletics and activities remains as strong as ever. 

What about students who rely on the school for meals? 

The school offered a drive through meals for several months last fall. This was discontinued due to lack of participation. They did however continue to provide customized meals for upon request, which has been low to non-existent.   

What will the Four-Day Week look like for students and families  at School of the Osage?

-No school Mondays for students

-The school day will be approximately  7:50 a.m.-3:25 p.m. This is approximately an additional 20 each day.  

-Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Spring Break would not be impacted.

-Early outs are eliminated (with the potential exception of the traditional last day of school early release.)