The Bigger Picture of a Decision Made Too Soon


When will high schoolers achieve some level of normality?

It’s been a little more than a month since December 13, when the Independence School District announced their move from a five day school week to a four day school week: effective through the 2023-2024 school year.

Whenever the conversation spontaneously began between district leads in the month of October it all seemed like just an idea. There was no belief throughout the school district, between teacher and student, that such an impactful change would really be implemented in such a short amount of time. In November, ISD board members began to vote on the school week change. A week after that, Independence high school students received a questionnaire in regards to the change. They were asked to share ideas, thoughts, and concerns for the four day school week—another week later, the decision was final. 

Since then, students have had mixed emotions. Truman Junior Gary Cowdrey-Mota says, “I despise the four day school week. I think it’s stupid. I don’t think it provides any benefits to what anyone wants to try and do.” With the limited selection of the Monday courses provided by the ISD, many students have found themselves feeling the same way. On the opposite side of the coin, Truman high school Junior Nedra Seigfreid finds that, “Personally I think there’s actually, for me, a lot more pros.” But she acknowledges that, at the same time, “For other people, there’s probably a lot more cons. I think it’s really only helpful for high schoolers to use that as a job shadow day if they aren’t already in a capstone…which the ISD makes it seem like everyone is.” As Seigfreid goes on to further explain, she believes that a majority of high school students will not end up using that day for academic purposes, but rather as a reason to not do anything. 

With the same quickness the change was made, questions and concerns followed suit. From the time between Christmas and the first day back from break, the Board Of Directors worked to answer every question thrown their way. The first wave of questions were more like allegations, one of the most common being that the ISD is implementing this new schedule in order to cut down on pay and resources for their teachers. In response, Dale Herl promises, “… that is absolutely incorrect. If you look at the studies they really show that this does not save much money, maybe one or two percent. [But if we do,] we would probably put it back into programming for our students.” The programming in question is in regards to the “fifth day” of the school week—Monday. 

The day removed from the typical school week, originally suspected by students to be Friday, turned out to be Monday. This decision was made with the reasoning of most holiday’s falling on a Monday, meaning many Monday’s there is no school anyway. Though, the school district came up with a new use for the fifth day through implementing other “opportunities” for students K-12 which they published in a video on their YouTube page—but these “opportunities” for high school students aren’t anything new. In fact, both the middle school and high school students have the same enrichment available on Monday’s, making it not as enriching as high school students may have hoped. 

ISD students have found the negative effects brought by this change heavily outweigh any positives. A three day weekend is believed to be helpful in the short term, but in the long run will impact students in numerous ways. Students worry that it is their social lives and overall education that will be impacted the most. Chrisman Junior Lily Hallmon says, “If my teacher has to come to school, then I want them to teach me.” Hallmon is also concerned about how these extended days are going to affect her social life outside of school, saying, “Am I going to have to pick and choose what I do next year? [That] isn’t what I want for my high school experience my senior year.” Between the ISD implementing hybrid learning and now a four day school week, with such similar struggles and consequences, next year’s seniors may be more accustomed to the new schedule than they might think. 


Here’s our video roundtable on the four-day school week:

Categories: News

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