As a student, and a lifelong community member of Delta Junction, I have been hearing endless amounts of grumbling about the proposed four-day school week. Both positive and negative. It has become difficult for me to even formulate my own opinion because whenever I voice my opinion it gets shut down, or I get in an argument I can’t carry out due to lack of knowledge on the topic.
I attended the public meeting on Thursday, January 5, to discover that it seems to me, no matter how much the community is for or against, that the school district is going to do whatever they see fit. They are the ones to make the final decision anyway.
I’m sure they already have the way it's going to go all figured out. It's just a matter of convincing the community to be more accepting of their ideas. Not intentionally bashing the school board in any way, just voicing what I see happening.
I’ve noticed that some of the reasons to implement the four-day school week seem to have been invalidated by the information presented. An example would be their reason of improving attendance. The committee developing the proposal presented the statistics regarding the amount of absences in our schools. Attendance is said to be in a state of “chronic absenteeism.” It is said that a four-day school week would reduce student absences from traveling on sports trips. Later in the presentation, it was shown that student activity absences are not counted towards the statistics they cited as being the issue. Does that counteract their argument to anyone else? To me, it seems that the statistics were used as an appeal to make it sound like this change would make a major difference in absences. But, to improve the overall attendance through implementing a four-day school week, the uncontrollable factors such as students getting sick, vacations, or students straight up just not going to school have to be eliminated, which is impossible unless an attendance policy is to be strictly enforced.
As a student athlete, I am aware of the amount of homework that is assigned, and the struggle there is to complete it by a decent hour. At the most recent meeting the district talked about a homework policy, which I think is a great idea. The four-day school week proposal has brought up many other aspects of our school that could be improved, it has also showed the school board what they there are some other issues to be addressed, such as the Sawmill Creek bus route along with the homework policy.
It will be interesting to witness how this goes. I encourage everyone to not give up on voicing their opinion, whether it is for or against. Stand up for what you believe, and try to make an impact.
Kirstin Porter is a junior at Delta Senior High School
Editor’s note: When reporting student absences to the state, school districts do not count students on school-sponsored activities as being absent. However, the district presented information with and without traveling students as being absent in the numbers they reported for this proposal to show how many students are missing classroom instruction.