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Adams Weld School District 27-J considers four day school week as incentive to hire, retain teachers

Parents express pros, cons
Posted at 11:11 PM, Jan 31, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-01 01:11:48-05

BRIGHTON, Colo. -- Adams Weld School District 27-J can't compete with neighboring districts in teacher pay.

The tax base is too small, and voters are reluctant to shell out more money.

As a result, the district has a difficult time retaining good teachers.

"Those young teachers join us, we train them up and get excited about them," said Superintendent Chris Fiedler, "and then for all the right reasons, to take care of their family, or to start a family, they choose to move to another district because they can make more money.  That's the reality of it."

New Incentive

Fiedler is proposing an incentive that he hopes will help attract and retain teachers.

The incentive: A four day work week.

"It creates time and space for teachers to grow and develop and be the best they can, for kids," he said. "That's why we're chasing it."

Fiedler says they'd have to renegotiate a contract with teachers because the current contract is written for five days.

Parent Reaction

The district is also seeking input from parents.

The first of three community forums was held Wednesday night.

Some parents told Denver7 they like the idea, some don't.

"I would love a three day weekend," Ann Marie Nebeker said. "That would be wonderful."

Nebeker's 14-year old son, Brendan, said it's "crazy to think about a four day week."

When asked if he, or his classmates, might get tired from the longer days, Brendan replied, "If you eat a good breakfast and pay attention in school, and actually get involved in the conversation, it wouldn't be a problem."

Some parent are vociferously against the plan.

"Parents work Monday through Friday," said Michelle Bunn, who has a child that attends Pennock Elementary. "Taking out Monday is going to be really hard with child care.  It's already hard enough, and it's already very expensive."

Ms. Bunn said child care will run about $40 to $50 a day.

Jacob Sosa has a different take.

He said when kids graduate from school and get a job, "they'll be working five days a week."  He thinks they should be attending classes five days a week, "so they can get familiar with working a full week."

Fiedler says the most important thing the district can do for kids is put a quality teacher in front of them.

"We do a great job of hiring staff," he said, "but we have a difficult time keeping them."

He said this proposal should help.

When asked if it will affect the quality of instruction, the superintendent replied, "Research suggests that it doesn't impact student achievement or growth."

He said 98 out of the 178 school districts in Colorado are on a four day schedule.

"The vast majority of them are small, rural districts," he said, "but the vast majority of school districts in Colorado are small and rural."

Community Forums

Parents and community members can learn more about the proposal by attending one of the two remaining community forums, which will be held from 7-8 p.m. on:

  • Wed. Feb. 7 - Stuart Middle School cafeteria – 15955 E. 101st Way, Commerce City
  • Mon. Feb. 12 -  West Ridge Elementary School cafeteria – 13102 Monaco St., Thornton