McLoud Public Schools will be going to four-day school weeks starting in the fall.

McLoud Public Schools will be going to four-day school weeks starting in the fall.

The district will hold classes Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 3:40 p.m.

Since announcing in January that McLoud would be going to shorter weeks, McLoud Superintendent Steven Stanley has noticed a positive change in the applicants for the teaching vacancies in the district.

“We felt like McLoud needed to offer something to make it a unique destination and since we made the decision, there has been a significant increase in the quantity and quality of our applicants,” he said.

During the decision process, McLoud Schools discovered several positives in other schools that switched to four-day school weeks.

“When we talked to other schools and did our research, we noticed the morale of students and staff were much higher,” Stanley said. “The amount of students disciplined decreased and the overall attendance at these schools went up.”

Teachers in the McLoud district are looking forward to the switch to the four-day week.

“I am excited and think this is a good idea for our district,” McLoud High School history teacher David Heath said. “As a coach, it means students won't be missing class time and falling behind other students. This decision makes our district more appealing for potential hires, and that helps our students in the long run.”

From a parent's perspective, some are not pleased with the way the decision to switch to a four-day weeks was handled.

“As a parent, McLoud never let me know this was a possibility or even that it had happened.,” Dr. Krista Hands said. “We found out from our junior in high school and verified it with the local news. I am not happy with the lack of communication about the issue. They communicate very well about school closures, like the teacher walkout, but we heard nothing from them about this issue.”

Hands isn't sure how the shorter week will impact students and their ability to learn, she said.

“I don't believe there is any possible way that you can take one day off a week, split it up across all the classes my daughter is in, thereby adding something like10 additional minutes per class to her other four days and believe she will actually be able to learn the same amount.,” Hands said. “Perhaps this will cut out much of the wasted time out of necessity, and if so, it might not affect the amount learned at all. I think at this point it's hard to say.”

Another area school has a four-day week beneficials. Asher Schools made the decision back in 2010 and students and faculty are off on Mondays.

“Here at Asher, we have found this to be a good decision for our district,” Superintendent Terry Grissom said. “When the state legislature first started taking money from education, we made the decision. We polled our community and have overwhelming support for the decision.”

One thing Asher focuses on since the switch is teaching from bell to bell, Grissom said.

“Our teachers do a great job even though we have less time in the classroom,” he said.

Asher has witnessed an increase in attendance from 2010 to the current school year.

“There are other factors included in the increase of students but we have gained roughly 80 students and are up to around 300 students,” Grissom said.

According to the Oklahoma State Department of Education's website, there are 207 school sites out of 1,787 in Oklahoma using a 4-day schedule.

When McLoud makes the switch to four-day weeks next year and joins Asher in the shorter week, there will be two school districts in Pottawatomie County operating on that schedule.

Lincoln County has two schools on the four-day schedule with White Rock and Davenport; while Seminole County has two with Sasakwa and Bowlegs.

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Educators say the switch won't impact regular sports schedules.