WINTERS, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – The Winters Independent School District (ISD) voted Monday evening to approve the move to a four-day school week for the next scholastic year (2022-2023).
District officials officially announced the idea just last week.
The Winters ISD school board voted Monday evening, the vote passing 6-0, KTAB/KRBC confirmed.
If the new calendar is implemented, each school day will be increased by 15 minutes. At the end of the term, school would end May 25.
With that extra day off, students are able to attend the Winters ISD After School Center for Education, which is usually open in summers, for five hours every Friday. The district would also provide breakfast and lunch to each student throughout the school year.
Though that time could extend to a six-hour day, if needed. Board member Dan Killough discussed, at length, the necessity of providing somewhere for students to go, so as not to disrupt the personal lives of Winters families.
“The last thing we want to do as a school district is put a tremendous burden on parents,” said WISD Superintendent, Sean Leamon.
Though this fifth day would not be considered a day off. Instead, it would give teachers an extra day to plan out lessons, tutor students, grade papers, or even take students to extra curricular competitions, according to WISD’s proposal.
“Hopefully, that’s going to alleviate some pressures on the kids and help them overall to start enjoying school again,” Leamon said.
This proposal was met with widespread approval among parents and staff, many of whom were at the meeting to voice support.
“I would prefer quality over quantity,” said Ursula Estrada, Winters mother of three. “I mean, if we can stick our kids in there the whole year it’s not going to do them any good if our staff members are burned out.”
Though skeptical at first, Estrada said the more she looked into the proposal, the more it made sense. Which is what she hopes other winters parents will take the time to do and learn.
“I think that if our community could kind of help come up with suggestions on what we can do with that fifth day, maybe that can kind of help figure out what our kids are going to do with it,” Estrada offered.
Some community members had already stepped up, in that respect. Winters Parent Justin Lopez took the stand at the meeting to propose a youth sports club that he, along with other parents and coaches, would run on the off day. The thought behind that idea would be to give students another option to occupy their time, and bolster athletic involvement.
“We want to help them run football drills, maybe have pick up baseball, softball, soccer games,” Lopez listed. “Whatever we can to help keep these kids [stay] active and keep them moving.”
The proposed four-day week seemed to be popular with staff, as well. Leamon stated that in a year with many educators having left the field and moved schools, districts with a four-day week historically prioritized quality over quantity, and looked to be attractive to potential new hires.
“The last two years, it’s just been a mass exodus of people getting out of the teaching profession,” Leamon explained. “So, maybe this can be an answer to help retain these high quality teachers.”
One parent closed with a statement of unwavering support saying, “Sean Leamon is one of the best people I have met in a long time and if he thinks we can do this, I’m behind him 100%.” A sentiment, of which, was met with a host of applause from the crowd.
The vote moves towards implementing a four-day school week for the scholastic year of 2022-2023.