Oklahoma school district changing to four-day week

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CEMENT, Okla. - It was the first day of school in Cement on Wednesday.

A brand new school year is ushering in a brand new schedule.

“The big excitement here at Cement School is the fact that we’re going to a four-day school week,” said Danny Pittman, the district superintendent.

Pittman says the main reason for the decision is their difficulty finding teachers.

“Going a whole summer, looking for somebody with no applicants turning in an application.  And we are calling colleges, calling schools,” said Pittman.  “The last several years, a day before school, we didn’t know if we were going to have to start going to computer-based instruction or somebody unqualified to teach.”

Pittman says they just don’t have the money to compete with school districts in Texas.

He says the four-day week puts them on more of a level playing field.

First grade teacher, Tammy Bickerstaff, just came to Cement schools this year.

She turned in her application before she knew about the four-day week, but says she loves the idea.

“I can make appointments with my kids and we can do those things on Friday, get laundry done,” said Bickerstaff.

“When they first started talking about it, I was skeptical as much as anybody else was,” said Scott Higgins, a parent.

Higgins says after hearing the pros and cons, he was sold on the idea.

“That helps bring qualified teachers and good teachers to our small community,” he said.

It’s not hard to guess what students have to say about it.

“That extra day kind of gives us that time to ourselves,” said Sadie Higgins, a senior in the district.

The superintendent says the plan is already working.

“We went from not getting any applicants at all to getting applicants without any trouble at all and hiring before school was out,” said Pittman.  “We are all the time hearing of different teachers that have heard we’ve gone to a four-day week and they would love to come work for us.”

The district is still meeting the state’s requirements for teaching time.

They’re adding 10 minutes to every school day and an extra week at the end of the year.

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