DES MOINES, Iowa — As the school year winds down, Local 5 is following up with an Iowa district that made some big changes this year by dropping a school week from five to four days.
After years of discussing the idea, Cardinal Community Schools implemented the four-day school week this year.
The district said the shortened week creates built-in time for professional development and will give schools a competitive advantage in recruiting and retaining teachers. It also said the switch to a four-day week boosts morale, reduces absences and gives teachers more time for planning and collaboration.
Now, one year after implementing the decision, Local 5 spoke with Superintendent Joel Pederson about how they're adapting to the schedule.
Pedersen shared how the schedule has impacted families, and the school's efforts to get and keep teachers.
"I would say it's definitely improved," Pedersen said. "And we use it as a as a tool. When we we put out postings, a lot of times people mentioned it as a reason that they've they've applied."
As for feedback from families within the district, Pedersen says they haven't received many complaints.
"We know that there's things out there that don't work perfectly for families, and we're there to help them with extra food on the backpacks to go home," Pedersen said. "Or, you know, trying to have some options for daycare, too. So, but we really haven't heard much."
Local 5 spoke to a handful of Cardinal School District parents. They were generally pleased by the change. Some said they do experience scheduling issues from time to time.
Pedersen said the district is giving the four-day weeks another go, as the school board approved the same schedule for the upcoming school year.