Community task force created to explore the issue

After floating the idea of a four-day school week to patrons of the Monroe City School District, and meeting last week of the School Board and a community task force, any decision to change the number of days that students attend school is far from settled.

The idea was floated by Monroe City Schools Superintendent Tracy Bottoms as a solution to meet the demanding needs of teacher professional development. Several Missouri districts now have four-day school weeks for students.

Bottoms said a survey of district patrons revealed about 65 percent of those responding fell into the categories of support to needing more information.

Armed with that survey, the community task force met last week with the entire school board in attendance. Bottoms said that while the four-day school week was still under consideration, the committee decided to conduct a broad review of possible changes.

“Our faculty and staff (like other districts) have a long list of daily challenges. With that list of challenges, how can the district provide adequate instructional time to meet those daily challenges?” Bottoms said after the meeting.

He said that committee members are trying to find a better way to define and reflect what professional development means via teacher collaboration, data analysis, curriculum writing, lesson plan design, among other factors.

“This district isn’t saying that the four-day school week is the answer; we are willing to look at other calendar options, but what we need is adequate time to plan for instruction so we can meet the needs of our students,” he said.

The district has scheduled a community meeting for May 25 at 6:30 p.m. in Monroe City Middle School auditorium.