School District 27J moving to four-day school week in the fall

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DENVER -- Starting with the next academic year, students in the 27J school district will attend classes for four days each week instead of five.

For the past few months, the district, which covers portions of Brighton, Commerce City, Henderson and Thornton in addition to unincorporated areas of Adams, Broomfield and Weld counties, has been exploring and discussing the idea of a shorter week and on Monday, the district made it official.

Students will attend classes Tuesday through Friday. Rather than extending the school year to meet state requirements for instruction time, students will be in class longer each day.

For elementary schools and full-day kindergarten, school will begin at 7:50 a.m. and end at 3:30 p.m. Middle and high schools will start at 8:30 a.m. and end at 4:32 p.m.

To address concerns from parents about child care on Mondays, the district will offer child care from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. for a fee of $30 per child per day.

District officials said the change is due in part to the district's difficulty competing with other districts in terms of recruiting and retaining teachers, who often leave for other districts that pay better. Officials hope a shorter work week will encourage more teachers to stay put.

"I realize this will be a significant change for our students, their families, and the communities we are so fortunate to serve, but our district can no longer be expected to do more with less financial resources," said 27J Superintendent Dr. Chris Fiedler. "We are 100% committed to providing our students with the necessary skills and competencies that will enable a future far beyond graduation. To that end, I believe it is in our students' best interest to provide high quality, engaged teachers using 21st Century tools for learning four days a week rather than not have them five days a week."

The district joins nearly 100 others around the state that have already transitioned to a shorter week.

Read more about the four-day school week at District 27J's website here.

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