The Aurora R-VIII Board of Education approved the calendar for the 2020-2021 school year during the monthly meeting on Monday, February 3, 2020. The school calendar will encompass a Four-Day School Week with students attending Monday through Thursday. Forty minutes will be added to the standard day length (Pate-8:05 a.m. to 3:45 p.m., Robinson/JH/HS-7:50 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.). A total of 1,089.9 hours will be completed during the 150-day schedule. An additional 12 days of Professional Development is included in the calendar and requires teachers to participate in activities on Fridays.
The number of hours will exceed the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s requirements of 1,044 hours. The planned 1,089.9 hours will also surpass the total number of hours students will attend during the 2019-2020 school year. For the current school year, students in grades kindergarten through 6th are scheduled to attend 1,058.8 hours. Students in grades 7th-12th attend 1,076.2 hours.
Aurora R-VIII personnel and the Board first reviewed the Four-Day School Week during the 2016-2017 school year. At that time, very few districts had implemented the change and the Board did not believe enough data was present regarding the initiative. Since that time, 61 school districts are implementing the 4-Day School Week (30 of these are considered to be in the southwest Missouri area). Another 25 districts have approved or are expected to move to the configuration for the 2020-2021 school year.
The basis for the decision includes the following: increase in student attendance; decrease in student behavior referrals resulting in better engagement; increase in teacher recruitment and retention; decrease in the need for substitute teachers due to absences; and extended professional development time to construct effective instructional activities and review data pertaining to student achievement. Concerns were discussed regarding the Four-Day School Week; however, the benefits regarding such an implementation are believed to outweigh the negatives.
Links for the 2020-2021 Calendar and Frequently Asked Questions.