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Independence School District teachers, students ready for shift to 4-day school week

Stock Truman High School 1
Posted at 5:20 PM, May 22, 2023

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — There's only four more days before summer and shorter school weeks for the Independence School District.

KSHB 41 has reported on the trend as the district follows other schools in the state that are adopting a four-day school week.

"This is a pretty significant change," said Shelley Lauber, an English teacher at Truman High School.

Lauber, who has worked in the district for 24 years, knows change all too well.

But the adjustment to a four-day week will be a first for her.

"Kids were like, 'What? We have to go 6 minutes longer each class?' ... I’m like, 'You get a whole day off?'" Lauber recalled of the students' reactions.

She says she'll happily take the break.

“I get to come back from a three-day weekend in a totally different mind space," she said. "Instead of just two days and it’s over and we have to get in there and hit it again.”

Independence isn’t the first district in Missouri to move to a shorter school week. In fact, the district is one of more than 140.

A big push for the change came from an opportunity to keep and attract more teachers.

“I have five friends/family members who have already joined our district from other districts. It’s a true incentive, and until you work in the trenches in education, you don’t understand how important time is," Lauber said. "Not time away from them, but time to rejuvenate yourself and embrace that passion and not come in wiped out."

The teacher shortage is something students have noticed year after year.

"There’s been a lot of shortages from last year to this year. A lot of teachers are quitting and retiring," said Nikolas Mendoza, a junior at Truman High School.

The incoming senior class at Truman will only experience the change for one year. But when they wake up on Mondays, they won't be as anxious for the day to end.

"Gotta go to school, gotta get ready, gotta be awake when I get there," said Joseph Farnsworth, a junior at Truman High School.
 
As the change nears, students say anticipation is building.

"I think today they wanted Monday off ... so they’re excited for it," Mendoza said.

Independence Schools has a page dedicated to information about the four-day week, including enrichment and tutoring opportunities that will be available on Mondays next school year.

There are some Monday will students will need to report to school, a list of those days can be found on the district's school calendar.