Four-Day School Week Debuts In Copan - - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - |

Four-Day School Week Debuts In Copan

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COPAN, Oklahoma - Students are already back to school in some parts of Green Country, and teachers and students in one district will be on a new schedule, with longer days Monday through Thursday and Fridays off.

But the idea in Copan in Washington County didn't start as a money-saving idea like we've seen in other districts where budgets were tight.

Gary Askew is in his 20th year of teaching, but this is the first time the school week will be four days instead of five.

"I think overall it's a major plus for us,” Askew said.

Copan schools will hold classes for its 220 students Monday through Thursday, extending those days by 50 minutes total.

The superintendent first thought of the idea, not as a money-saving measure, but after having difficulty recruiting a new science teacher.

"If a teacher's got several offers, would you go to the one where you work five days a week or four days a week?" superintendent Rick Ruckman said.

So Ruckman put the idea before the school board and the community during a public forum.

“Principals asked the crowd, 'Is there anyone just dead set against this?' Not a hand,” he said.

By starting earlier and staying later, students will still meet the state requirements for hours of instruction, and it will likely save the district money in its budget.

"Fifteen days we wouldn't run bus routes, 15 days we wouldn't have the buildings full and have to run utilities at max because the doors are always open,” he said.

Beyond the cost savings, school leaders think the new schedule will reduce absences for extra-curricular activities.

"Quite a few of those [extra-curricular absences] would be on Fridays, so we decided that's the day we would take off. Now anything that happens on Friday is not an absence,” Ruckman said.

Under the new calendar, students and teachers will also be able to schedule appointments like doctor and dentist visits without having to miss time at school.

"I love it, because you have longer weekends and you kind of have more time to do your homework and catch up with things,” student Kaylie Long said.

The downside is parents having to get child care on Fridays, but several churches in Copan have offered to provide care if it's needed.

The district also now has the flexibility of possibly using Fridays as makeup days in case they use more snow days than are built into the calendar.

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