Billings County staff, student reflect on 4-day school weeks

Published: Sep. 15, 2023 at 5:41 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KQCD) - Billings County superintendent says they’re one of the only counties in North Dakota that have four-day school weeks.

The county changed its academic schedule several years ago.

Superintendent Shae Peplinski says the change is improving students’ attendance and teacher retention.

“Our teachers, some of them drive from Dickinson, we have teachers driving from Beach, you know, kind of all spread out, but, you know, it’s one less driving day for them too,” said Peplinski.

“You can see it in the kids, I think that they’re just happier to be here when they’re here, they come back on Monday, and they’re just refreshed,” said Marina Pickett, teacher.

Peplinski says when the concern of childcare on Fridays came up, a daycare was created.

This way, children of working parents have a place to go, and students and teachers have an extra day to catch up on homework and other tasks.

“I like how it gives us a break between Thursday and Monday, so we have time to get ready for the next week, and we get more family time during weekends,” said Payton Iverson, student.

The teachers say with school days about a half hour longer than before, they’re also able to fit more coursework in without adding extra stress.

“Also, with our sports sometimes being on Thursdays, now we’re only Pre-K through eight, but those junior high games on a Thursday, they’re not having to have that homework load and be ready for Friday morning,” said Peplinski.

Peplinski adds that students’ test scores show no decline since the transition to four-day school weeks.

The Billings County School District has about fifty students.