LA VERNIA, Texas – Over the past month, La Vernia ISD has hosted two focus groups around a four-day school week.
According to Monday night’s presentation, the group consisted of 48 people, including teachers, parents, business representatives, campus administrators, and district administrators.
Two surveys of parents were conducted.
The first parents interviewed were based on baseline reactions to the 4-day school week. The results showed that almost 47% would be in favor, about a third of the participants were against, and almost 20% answered that it was possible.
The main concerns were related to the increase in the time of the school day and year, the quality or loss of school time, and child care.
When the parents were asked again with a promise to solve their problems, the results changed only slightly.
This time, 57% of parents voted for a 4-day school week, 22% said no, and 20% said maybe.
Before the meeting, Ray Altamirano, parent of three LVISD students, said he was all for change.
“I am for. I know some of the county’s problems with retention. While here, some teachers who do not live in the city have to commute to work. It’s much easier for them. As a parent, I find it great to spend an extra day at home with the kids,” Altamirano said.
Meanwhile, Amanda Neal, who was picking up her seventh grader, said she needed more information before she made a decision.
“For children, I did not see the benefit. So I’m not convinced yet, but I’m sort of sitting on a fence. I’m not saying not at all, it’s just that I’m not quite for it yet, ”Neil said.
Dr. Helen Weizenhunt, the district’s principal faculty member, presented the information to the board of directors.
She explained that the focus groups looked at student data such as attendance and teacher replacement trends in the district.
Both showed growth on Friday. Most of the proposed calendar options included a day off on Fridays.
However, it is not clear how this change will affect students’ academic performance.
“Other counties in Texas that currently have a 4-day school week do not have the same demographics as La Vernia ISD. Of everyone currently doing this, there really is no one who is completely comparable to us,” Weizenhunt said.
She said the county is working with the local YMCA to help with childcare for working parents, as well as transportation and meals.
Although the focus group included several parents, board president Nancy Janysek and trustee Ryan Doedge said they would like to see another town hall with the parents before a decision is made.
“I feel like we don’t have an accurate enough idea of what all of our parents are actually doing, I mean – I’m just worried if we miss the town hall again,” Janysek said.
“This was also supposed to be my comment, and is there any way for us to pass this information on to the community to get feedback before voting?” Doge said.
No decision was made on Monday night, and the meeting was to prepare the board for a vote at the February meeting.
If the board gives the go-ahead, they will begin to work out logistics with personnel and calendars.
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