A small area outside Cincinnati, Ohio has decided to switch to blended learning next fall. This means that students will only have in-person instruction four days per week.
The board of education unanimously voted Monday to establish a four-day school day in North College Hill schools starting in August. Superintendent Eugene Blalock stated that the district has approximately 1,400 students and made this decision to reduce teacher burnout.
Blalock stated that teachers are leaving the profession at alarming levels. “The idea of being able have some time some quality, dedicated time to get some collaboration, some planning is something that teachers find intriguing, and it actually has excited me and re-ignited some of my teachers.”
He stated that it could be a model to save education.
Raven Jackson, a third-grade teacher seemed to agree. Jackson stated, “We’re all exhausted.” Jackson said, “Like the kids are even worn down.”
Students will attend school from Tuesday to Friday in person, with Mondays off for at-home work. Teachers will be present at school Monday through Friday, but they won’t be offering virtual instruction that was popularized by the COVID-related government shut down. They will instead use the time to collaborate and plan with colleagues, much as they would during designated professional development days while students complete their assignments on their own.
Jackson noted that teachers could also use Mondays to attend to personal matters such as dental appointments and medical appointments without needing to find subs. Jackson stated, “I think having Mondays for those set times would be a great help.”
Teachers may be grateful for the opportunity to address private matters without having to leave work. However, district officials know that parents may feel more burdened by the new blended learning schedule. Parents may not have Mondays off. For families with limited resources, child care and school lunches may be offered.
Blalock also maintained that the scheduling changes were not made to make money, but to support the mental well-being of staff members in the “trauma sensitive school district.”
It was not about saving money. He said that it was more about saving teachers, saving the profession, and doing something different for students. “Time is more important than money.”
Blalock also suggested that older students could take advantage of Mondays to do internships or other activities that could help prepare them for the future.