The Online Edition of the Annandale High School Newspaper.

The A-Blast

The Online Edition of the Annandale High School Newspaper.

The A-Blast

The Online Edition of the Annandale High School Newspaper.

The A-Blast

Districts across the nation are adopting the four day work week. Is FCPS to follow?

A shortened week may sound like a dream, but it comes with many drawbacks
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Sofia Saavedra
English teachers Emily Hines and Emily Bernardo teaching during a typical school day

Remember back during the pandemic, when we had Mondays off? Even though everyone was scrambling due to the uncertainty of COVID – 19, students had free time to pursue their hobbies and relax. Many teachers and students alike have reminisced this year, wishing and yearning for FCPS to renew the 4-day school week. However, I come bearing bad news for these people. “From what I know, there have been no discussions about even the possibility of a 4 day week,” said Principal DeRose. I know this might seem disappointing but it is important to put everything into perspective. 

First we have to consider what we would be sacrificing. The Virginian law requires school years to be 180 instructional days or 900 instructional hours. How long these days are or how days are grouped into weeks is up to the county and school. This would mean longer school days or longer school years. However some students say that this would be worth it. “I would prefer a shorter school week and longer school year,” said freshman Emily Solash. “I think then the days would pass by faster.” 

Second we have to think if this would really be helpful. During the virtual school year students fell behind in many subjects. FCPS reported a 25% decrease in Math SOL passage and 19% in science. Since coming back fully in person FCPS has seen a steady increase in these numbers. There has been a 13% increase in science and math passing grades. Principle DeRose also points out how “There is no evidence that a 4 day week would be beneficial to students, and even in fact, there is the opposite. Students who failed courses averaged 24 absences, those who got A’s averaged 3.” In addition, students learn differently. Last school year 30.9% of AHS students received ESOL services. 14.8% of students are special needs. At home, they could only get a limited amount of help and a 4 day school week would not benefit them. “From a principal’s point of view, you have to imagine what the time away from school would do to our more vulnerable students,” said Principal DeRose.

Many students wish to have more time to do homework and this is a big factor as to why the 4 day school week is so popular with the student body. However, AHS has many programs that aim to help students get done with work throughout the school day itself. “We have PRIDE time, and our ASAP program is starting soon in November, and students can also stay after school for extra support.” DeRose pointed out. Many students don’t take advantage of the programs but they are beneficial to not just getting caught up but to receiving individualized help from your teachers. 

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He also brought something else to light for us. The school districts that are adopting the 4 day school week had different priorities when deciding.  “These schools in different districts and states, the reason they switched to a 4 day week is mostly about the cost,” DeRose said.

If AHS were to adopt a new schedule, the students would be prioritized over cost and it “would be a minimal deciding factor.”

Just because Principle DeRose does not believe the benefits of a 4 day work week can be applied to FCPS, doesn’t mean he is not open minded.  There have been changes before and can be changed again. “TJHSST (Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology) used to have a late start on Wednesdays, where the first hour was a meeting for teachers, so FCPS has definitely seen these types of schedules before,” he said. Whether it was beneficial or not is up to the students and staff at TJHSST but it is an indicator of how the schedule is not definite, if someone can find a way to make it more beneficial to students the DeRose is open to suggestions. “As it stands, I can’t really see the 4 day week being beneficial to our students. However, if someone were to bring up a good idea, I would love the idea of a more creative model,” he said. 

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About the Contributor
Sofia Saavedra, Co-In-Depth Editor
Sophomore Sofia Saavedra is in her first year on The A-Blast staff as a co-editor for the In-Depth pages. Sofia also tutors in the AWC, participates in Model UN and plays Soccer and Field Hockey for Annandale. In her free time she enjoys hiking, reading and watching movies. Sofia hopes to study abroad for college and pursue a career in Journalism.

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