PLYMOUTH, Idaho — The small district of New Plymouth is wrapping up its first year of a 4-day school schedule. The district told us the schedule changes were necessary to entice and keep teachers.
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It worked, as all five once vacant teaching positions have been filled.
"Three of them, that were new hires came from districts that were on 5-day school weeks,” said Dr. David Sotutu, New Plymouth School District Superintendent.
Many staff members we spoke to at New Plymouth High enjoy the shorter weeks and longer weekends.
But due to the shorter weeks, classes are now a few minutes longer, and both students and staff are sharing positive and negative opinions.
"I would say the slightly longer classes provide a little bit of a hurdle for us. Just because a lot of my kids have attention issues, school is just harder for them in general," said Nick Huesman, a teacher at New Plymouth High School.
Huesman, a new teacher in the district, has seen the longer periods challenge his special education students, and as a basketball coach, he also notices his student-athletes complain about the long days.
"Practice starts at 4:30pm, and then it goes to 6:30pm. You're getting home at 7pm, and you have to take a shower and homework, and you have eight classes. It has been pretty difficult," said Hope Hailey, a New Plymouth High student.
Teacher Mae Holiday, who has worked for the District for over 20 years, has noticed a positive change in her personal life. "I feel more rested, I feel like I get more of a mental break."
As far as performance levels, the District tells us they don't have test results yet to give us that information, but the staff says they don't notice a drastic change in student performance from previous years.