The public school in Campo, Colorado, hasn’t required all its students to come to class on Fridays for nearly two decades. The 44-student district dropped a weekday to boost attendance and better attract teachers to a town so deep in farm country that the nearest grocery store is more than 20 miles away.
“I think the four-day week helped us, initially, in recruiting teachers,” the superintendent, Nikki Johnson, said. “Now that so many districts are on four-day, that’s not much of an incentive.”
No national database tracks the number of public schools that cram instructional hours into four days. But the schedule — long popular in rural Western communities — is becoming more common elsewhere as school leaders search for ways to both attract teachers and save money.
In Oklahoma, for instance, where teachers recently staged a walkout to demand more school funding, cash-strapped districts have been using four-day weeks to cope with a teacher shortage and state budget cuts. Last school year, 97 districts of 513 ran on the compressed schedule, nearly twice as many as the previous year.