As the parent of a Grade 3 student in this district I found it disheartening to hear the school district is considering moving to a four-day instructional week.
I understand that due to fewer and fewer dollars being allocated toward public education by Christy Clark’s government, tough budgetary decisions must be made; however, I feel that changing to a four-day week will have widespread, negative consequences for the Valley’s families and children.
Unlike a school closure, this change will affect every child in the district.
For many families, a four-day week will mean having to arrange for childcare. While this scheduling inconvenience is not insignificant, the real costs will come with childcare. These extra expenses will be substantial and will particularly affect those families with low or middle incomes.
For students it’s just another challenge that they’ll be forced to bear, in addition to ever-increasing class sizes, reductions in educational assistants and fewer special education teachers.
Longer days don’t mean that any more learning will occur; longer classes lead to boredom and behaviour issues. In fact, both students and teachers will likely feel even more drained at the end of the day, which will negatively affect other extra-curricular activities. And a shorter instructional week will probably result in even fewer field trips than there are currently.
This proposal also results in a decrease in instructional time for musical education – often the only way some kids get any exposure to this creative and developmentally valuable outlet. It will also undoubtedly lead to a reduction in daily physical activity.
And with an anticipated shorter lunch time, teachers’ ability to offer extra help during lunch will be a thing of the past.
Additionally, trying to fit in “the basics” in just four days will eventually lead to the erosion of specialized cross-curricular programs (like the Explore program) and post-secondary prep electives, such as English literature, pre-calculus and other classes that see a smaller student enrolment.
To other parents I say, consider the impact this change will have and contact the board to ask them to reconsider this proposal.
To the board I say, this is not the right decision at this time. I urge you to take a closer look at cutting administration positions and other administrative costs, eliminating some bus routes and doing away with the PLC program.