The concept of the 4-day school week is in play around the country. Some school districts have made the change while some are in trial runs. It sounds like a great idea. But is it?
25% of US School Districts have in some way have switched to a shorter ‘work‘ week. This could be a no brainer method to save money on building utilities, transportation costs and more. As the saying goes, all clouds have a silver lining. But does this silver lining have a cloud?
Let’s start with the Pros
Shorter week means more rest for students and staff
More restful students, teachers, and other staff means less stress = more productivity
Less need for transportation (less expense)
Decreases food costs
More time for students to study
The 5th day can be an option for teachers to take a class or schedule parent/teacher conferences
When districts digitize their student documents, many workflows and everyday tasks become easier with less room for error. One such process is keeping academic information accurate and updated. This must be done to ensure parents are aware of student progress and able to provide the right support at home. Why is this important? Research has shown that simply sharing progress reports and similar academic documents with parents can have a major impact on student success.
Sharing academic data leads to greater parent involvement
Parent involvement is key to ensuring that students are continuously making academic progress. One study by researchers at North Carolina State University, Brigham Young University and the University of California-Irvine found that the support parents provide for students has a larger influence on academic progress than any other factors at school, including teaching efforts put forth by educators. When you look at how long students are at home versus in school, this becomes less surprising, as they spend a mere 14 percent of their time in the classroom each year, according to “How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School.”
How do schools make sure that parents are actively working with students to help them excel in their studies? It’s not only up to the school to have all of the relevant academic information ready to share with parents, but to make an effort to include them in discussions that revolve around student performance.
A 2012 survey by MetLife found that parent engagement has increased dramatically over the past 25 years or so, with 80 percent of parents reporting that their children’s school has helped them understand their academic progress and how to provide the right support at home. One of the reasons for this significant improvement is the ability for schools to digitize their student records.
“With student software, schools are able to maintain up-to-date academic data.”
How can online solutions help?
With online school solutions like SRC Solution’s Central Records Gateway, school administrators are better able to maintain student folders with clean and up-to-date academic data. This is challenging with paper documents, as there’s more room for error when completing millions of student forms with accurate information. Security breaches and misplaced files are also common problems that districts face when dealing with paper forms. When these obstacles are in the way, it’s difficult to keep parents in the loop and provide them with the academic data they need to stay involved in their children’s schooling and contribute to any decisions regarding their education.
“Data-driven decision-making can support schools and districts to facilitate more informed decision-making, enhance overall school performance, and improve student achievement,” explained the The Southwest Educational Development Laboratory. “Furthermore, it can help to engage family and community in the process of addressing achievement gaps, improving teaching and learning, and motivating students. Data-driven decision making can also help districts maximize the use of limited funds for the greatest impact on student achievement.”
Online student software like Conference Gateway also streamlines processes required for conference scheduling. Instead of manually signing up for meetings, parents can log into the system at home and choose an open time. After parents book a conference, they can leave messages for the teacher explaining exactly what they want to discuss. This has proven to increase parent engagement at conferences. This is essential, as parent-teacher meetings are where important academic information is shared and teachers are able to suggest ways in which parents can most effectively support their children as they strive to succeed in school.
While parent engagement has increased over the years, districts using paper-based workflows can continue to make improvements by switching to digital student solutions. With software like the ParentShare Gateway from SRC Solutions, updated student data can be shared at the click of a button to keep parents in the know and increase engagement for student success.