MARSHFIELD, Mo. — Marshfield is joining many districts across Missouri by having a 4-day school week.
“Last school year, we just recognized that school was a tough job and being a teacher was hard,” Marshfield School District Superintendent Mike Henry said. “We wanted to make sure that we were doing all that we could to make [teaching] a sustainable profession.”
Henry said the district hired 39 teachers for the school year.
“Some of those are brand new to the profession and some of those have been doing it for a while and came to Marshfield,” Henry said.
Marshfield will operate on a Tuesday through Friday schedule. Students will not be in the buildings on Mondays. For teachers, they could be in the building on Mondays.
“Half of those are work days or professional development days for our teachers and staff,” Henry said. “Then the other half of those are days off. In a regular school calendar, many of those are days off anyway. If you have Labor Day or days throughout the year, you’re just off on some Mondays anyway. So we’ve just tried to take advantage of that and build some consistency in our calendar.”
For teacher Kristina Fishel, a four-day school week is something completely new.
“This will be my tenth year teaching at Marshfield,” Fishel said. She is teaching fourth grade this year. “We have had to make some changes, so we’ve had to shorten some things a little bit. We’ve had to crunch some things in together, going from five days to four days. That does look a little bit different. But honestly, it’s not a huge difference.”
Fishel said not only will the four-day work week help her at school, but also at home.
“It will give me an opportunity to do things on Mondays that I might have had to miss school for, like taking a child to the doctor or appointments that I might have had to take off work for,” Fishel said. “So personally, I think it will be better in that way and we get a little bit more rest.”
Prior to the four-day school week, Fishel said she would have to leave her classroom to participate in professional development.
“We just don’t like to be away from our kids at this time out of the classroom,” Fishel said. “You know your kids better than anybody else. And you want to be in front of your kids and you know what they need and you know where you’re trying to take them.”
The district has also partnered with Boys and Girls Club to provide daycare for families that need it on Mondays. Students will meet at the Junior High School and receive breakfast, lunch, and a large snack at no cost.
“I’m actually pretty fortunate in that I can have [my kids] home with me on Monday,” Parent Christina Moore said. Her daughter is heading into fourth grade. “It’s not a burden on us .”
The school days will be a bit longer due to the shortened week. Schools will start 15 minutes earlier and end 11 minutes later. The district also added more bus routes to try and keep times normal.
“We feel like we’ve got a really good plan that will be good for our teachers, but also good for our students,” Henry said.
Spokane and Clever school districts are also on the four-day school week. Clever said the district has opted for a Tuesday through Friday schedule for the last three years. Spokane has opted for a four day schedule for the last four years.