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Another North Texas school district is considering a 4-day school week

Mesquite ISD school board addressed questions about the potential change at its meeting Monday.

MESQUITE, Texas — The Mesquite Independent School District is considering a four-day school week in response to an "extreme teacher shortage" across the country, and it would be the largest North Texas district to make the move to a new schedule.

Mesquite's school board addressed questions about the potential change at its meeting Monday. The board will decide whether to approve a four-day school week by March 6.

The district in a statement said the four-day school week — which would add one hour to each of the four days —  "would allow MISD to structure a schedule that gives staff more flexibility with their time to address instructional needs" toward better performance.

"Mesquite ISD is working to address the struggle we are facing in an extreme teacher shortage and the resulting impacts on students, including unfilled teaching positions, hiring a large number of non-certified teachers, larger class sizes, less teacher planning time, etc.," the district statement said.

Under Mesquite's proposed schedule change, high schools would start class at 7:30 a.m. and end at 3:43 p.m. Middle schools would start at 7:50 a.m. and end at 4:03 p.m. Elementary schools would start at 8:10 a.m. and end at 4:23 p.m.

The district is encouraging students and parents to submit their questions about the potential schedule change here.

A district committee looking into the schedule change addressed several common concerns about a four-day school week, including child care difficulties and a lack of routine or structure for students, with one less day in class.

The committee surveyed staff and parents earlier this year.

Of the 13,859 responses, 76% were from parents.

Among the parents, 78% agreed that a four-day school week would have a positive impact on their family. Among staffers, 90% said the move would be positive.

The survey also asked staffers about how a four-day week would impact their future with the district.

Among the respondents, 57% said a four-day week would make them more likely to stay with the district, 39% said it would not impact their decision and 4% said it would make them likely to leave.

Read the committee's full presentation and survey results here.

The move to four-day school weeks has picked up over the last year but mostly in smaller districts that have faced staffing shortages during the pandemic.

The Mineral Wells, Tioga, Chico and Anna school districts have all switched to four-day school weeks.

Mesquite would, by far, be the biggest North Texas school district to move to a four-day week. The Dallas County district has about 38,000 students.

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