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Marshfield approves four-day school week

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After weeks of debate, public hearings and online conversations, the decision on whether or not Marshfield R-I School District will adopt a four-day school week has been made. Monday Jan. 24, the Marshfield School Board gathered to make their final decision. Those also in attendance and in support of the change included teachers from every grade level, as well as Marshfield familiars. 

Prior to this vote, Marshfield Superintendent Mike Henry spoke on the topic at multiple school board meetings and public presentations. Parents and teachers alike attended these meetings hoping to find answers or hear Henry’s hopes for the district. 

With the new schedule in play, students will attend school Tues.- Fri. between the hours of 7:50 a.m.- 3:25 p.m. or 8:00 a.m.- 3:35 p.m. The school day would increase by a total of 26 minutes. Teachers would be required to attend two Mondays per month to work on high quality lesson plans and teacher collaborations.

With the four-day week, the district hopes to solve many of the problems that have materialized in recent years: staff shortages, COVID fatigue and an unsustainable teacher work-life balance 

Not only does the schedule hope to entice new employees to the district, but also help retain talent that Marshfield schools currently possesses. Additionally, the extra day aims to allow both teachers and students to schedule appointments, extracurricular activities and added family time.

Both the benefits and challenges of the schedule were thoroughly discussed and addressed at every meeting and some questions remained unanswered. However, it was very apparent that the benefits fully outweighed the challenges. The board’s vote was unanimous.

“The Marshfield R-I School District Board of Education voted 7-0 to approve a 4-day school week for 2022-2023 school year. While this wasn't necessarily a goal for the district during my time here, we do feel like it is the appropriate response to our current circumstances in our efforts to recruit and retain the very best teachers and staff. The district will use the extra time for teachers to lesson plan and collaborate,”  said Marshfield Superintendent Mike Henry. “This will reduce the amount of days when substitutes are needed and provide time for families to plan appointments outside of the school day. We have tried to listen to many concerns about this from staff and the community and incorporate many solutions into our plan. Throughout this process, we have listened to other districts who have implemented this schedule and have heard a lot of positive feedback from school districts and families alike. We will be asking for some more feedback from our community as it relates to the physical calendar for next school year. Thank you for your continued support of our school district.”

 

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