4-day school week gains popularity as more districts adopt model

Could a 4-day school week become the norm? A new trend seems to think so. 

San Elizario Independent School District in Texas is one of the latest districts to adopt the 4-day week model. 

Students and staff will have Mondays off. 

"It's a mental health component for us," Superintendent Dr. Jeannie Meza-Chavez said. 

The district dubbed the campaign as "Mindful Eagle Mondays." The goal is to promote self-care and quality of life for the school community, especially among smaller districts where teacher recruitment is more challenging.   

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"I have never begun a school year as superintendent with as minimal as vacancies as we have now," Meza-Chavez added. 

Oregon State University released date showing about 2,100 schools across 26 states have switched to 4-day weeks, and that number is expected to grow. Almost 900 U.S. school districts have 4-day school weeks. That's up from 40% in 2019. 

Advocates point to several pros such as saving money and improving student attendance. 

"They are the ones that are gonna benefit from turning around and having quality educators teaching them every day," Meza-Chavez continued. 

However, with test scores down, research suggests short weeks could hamper a student's academic progress. 

"Decrease in student achievement wasn't large and immediate, but rather, students fell behind a little bit more every year," Christopher Doss, a policy researcher, said.