April 17, 2024

On a Thursday morning in late August, students shuffle into Flag View Intermediate School. Parents wave goodbye, buses rumble away, and the vice principal, Jeffrey Revier, offers a greeting laced with a reminder. 

“Good morning. Have a nice last day of the school week.”

His comment elicits smiles, nods, and a few startled glances. It’s the first week of the new academic year. For members of the Elko County School District, that means a major schedule change: a four-day school week.  

Why We Wrote This

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What role does time play in student success? Educators are expanding and contracting school days and weeks, looking for a mix that allows instruction and young people to thrive.

The northeastern Nevada district, which serves 10,000 students in two time zones, slashed Fridays and lengthened the four school days after a teacher-initiated request gained community backing. It’s a gamble rooted in the theory that if students and staff have an extra day to rest, recharge, and take care of household chores, they will show up more eager to teach and learn.

Inside her English language arts classroom that morning, Sarah Blois reads her sixth grade students’ responses to a writing prompt about their weekend plans. They range from playing Fortnite and cuddling the family cat to sleeping in and traveling for softball games. 

Ms. Blois supported the move to a four-day school week, enabling Friday to essentially become a mental health day. 

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