In an unanimous vote, parents, staff, and educators of Jasper ISD have decided in favor of a four-day week schedule for the 2022-2023 academic year. The decision was based in an effort to improve educating conditions, while also lowering costs.
The vote saw 64 percent of parents and staff in favor of the abbreviated schedule, with teachers polling their approval at 84 percent. John Seybold, Jasper ISD Superintendent, told the Houston Chronicle that this would not result in a longer academic year but instead would meet the conditions of the House Bill 2610, requiring a minimum of 75,600 minutes from teachers per year.
Jasper ISD will become the third Texas school to experiment with abbreviated schedules. The first Texas school to adopt a four-week schedule was Olfen ISD in 2016, which made Fridays optional for students with passing grades – who could choose to attend “enrichment” classes or stay at home. As a result of this policy, the district saw an increase in its student population from 60 to 130 students in the years following.
In 2019 Central Texas school, Dime Box ISD, incorporated optional Mondays for students and parents. The result, according to Dime Box teacher, Candi Becker, was an improved focus and work ethic among students in the classroom.
“The students realized early on that school time is business time,” Becker told the Association of Texas Professional Educators. “You have to get down to business while you’re here.”
Jasper ISD’s abbreviated work week will take effect at the beginning of the 2022 academic school year. This will coincide with a Board of Trustees-approved series of additional monetary incentives for teachers and staff in an effort to retain quality personnel.