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JAMESTOWN, Mo. — The Jamestown Board of Education is looking into the possibility of a four-day school week for the district.

During the monthly meeting Feb. 14, board members Susan Borts, John McNay, Don Barbour, Stephen Derendinger and John Jones agreed to move forward with discussing the option.

Principal Jake Watson presented research he found on the advantages and disadvantages. He said he talked with officials at Higbee R-VIII, Harrisburg R-VIII and Warsaw R-IX, districts which currently use the four-day schedule.

"Two of the schools are in their first year, so to give me solid feedback is kind of hard," Watson said. "They don't have a lot of numbers or data to back up."

Warsaw adopted a Tuesday through Friday schedule for the 2018-19 school year. Currently, 25 districts in Missouri are using this model.

Watson said staff retention and recruitment would be a big draw for getting teachers to come into the district and stay within the district. Other positives include reducing discipline referrals and increasing attendance.

Jamestown has 94.5 percent attendance at the high school and 96.3 percent at the elementary.

"This is purely discussion," school board vice president Derendinger said. "This isn't saying we're going gung-ho for it. I guess we're looking for the blessing that it's an option that we want to explore."

Watson told the board professional development days could also benefit from the change. The district could eliminate five in-service half days from the calendar where students are dismissed at 12:35 p.m. and save on transportation.

"Everyone always states electricity and all this stuff; but in the grand scheme of things, one day-a-week in your electric bill does not make that big a difference," Derendinger said. "As many county roads (as we run), one day-a-week will be significant for a bus."

Concerns for adopting the change included potentially shortening holiday breaks and time in each class increasing by 5-7 minutes, adding about 30 minutes to each day.

"As a former teacher and educator, my biggest concern would be, just like when we went to block scheduling, can you get through the curriculum," Borts said.

Other concerns included conflicts with parents or guardians who work five days.

"Most parents are going to still work a five-day schedule, so you do have to find alternative options for students during that time," Watson said. "In two of the schools that I talked to, that concern was voiced and they did say that day cares just extend hours, students babysit on the off day and it's really been a non-issue for them."

Watson said he would continue to gather information on the four-day school week and bring what he finds to the board. The next board meeting is at 6 p.m. March 14.

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