MSSD14 should consider the 4-day week



Manitou Springs School District should consider a four day school week for the mental health of staff and student.

Katelyn Fonkert, Senior Reporter

The idea of the four-day week should be considered in Manitou Springs School District 14 because many of the other small districts in El Paso Country have implemented the four-day week successfully.  The four-day week would give all students and employees the opportunity for more personal time, which would benefit mental health within the community.

 “Six of El Paso County’s 15 public school districts have four-day weeks, along with Cripple Creek-Victor School District RE-1 in Teller County. Some take Fridays off and others Mondays,” Debbie Kelley, freelance writer at The Gazette, said.

A four-day week would cause school days to be extended, but with a longer weekend it may be worth it. Having down time away from school is important for students and staff mental health, and having that extra time has proven to be beneficial in schools that have already implemented the four-day week in their districts. 

With school days being extended by an hour there wouldn’t be much time that students and staff would lose. “I think that we can accomplish what we accomplish here in five days, in four days,” Andrew Slama, science teacher at MSHS, said.

Staff members like the idea of having more time to spend with friends and family. “Long weekends where we can plan activities with family and friends would be nice. I think the balance would be appreciated by everybody,” Slama said.

Time with family is important, and being able to spend as much time together before leaving for college hit close to home for Slama. “Families can have more time together, maybe have more flexibility to have quality time before you know kids might move away,” Slama said. “I have a two-and-a-half-year-old, but I’m already imagining it would be really tough to just have to squeeze in all the fun and activities in one weekend or two days.”

A four-day week would also mean more time for self-care. “A four day week gives an additional day of finding some time for yourself, “ Brandon DeMatto, physical education and health teacher at MSHS, said. “I think it’s going to improve where we’re at from a mental health perspective.”

Good mental health improves focus and behavior in students as well as having more rest allows students to be more awake and ready. “When you’re in a better mental health state, I think you’re gonna find yourself in a better position to be successful academically,” DeMatto said.

Athletes tend to miss more school due to away games, and having Friday off would allow them to go to those games and not miss school. “I think the Friday games would be awesome,” DeMatto said. “I mean, anytime that you can have a day when you don’t have to pull kids from classes is a good thing.”

With days being extended by an hour, a new structure will be needed in terms of practice times and schedules. “We’re gonna have to restructure how that looks in terms of when practices are,” DeMatto said. “Maybe looking at sports being a part of maybe a fourth block class or whatever we decide to do.”

With so much time already being dedicated to school, sports, and clubs, more time is needed for students and staff to relax. “Life and society is just moving so fast, and so much time is dedicated towards work and school,” DeMatto said. “I truly feel like we’re missing out on an opportunity for family time and some personal time.”