Butler Tech approves 14-week experiment with four days in class, one day in workforce

Butler Tech’s governing board voted unanimously Tuesday evening to be the first career school system in Ohio to experiment with a four-day classroom week and allowing teens to work on Fridays.

The Butler County school system will now become one of the few in the nation to try a classroom-to-work approach next school year, with high school teens receiving 14 consecutive Fridays off from attending classes.

Under the new school calendar, students instead will spend the day at Butler Tech’s partner companies job shadowing, working internships and learning first-hand about careers they are studying.

“Year after year for probably for the past 100 years in Ohio, school calendars came up to boards presented virtually the same,” Butler Tech Superintendent Jon Graft said to board members at the schools’ central office in Fairfield Township.

“What this calendar does is provide them (students) opportunities to have additional experiences that is outside the normal four walls (classrooms) that you think about in traditional education.

“We are pretty excited that our students will take advantage of this engagement opportunity.”

Dubbed “The 5th Day Experience,” the new school schedule is expected to impact more than 1,250 students from all 10 school districts in the county as well as some from Northwest Schools in northern Hamilton County, which Butler Tech also serves.

The program will begin in February 2020 and run for 14 straight Fridays.

Lakota Board of Education member Lynda O’Connor, who is that district’s representative on the Butler Tech board, said the traditional and rarely changed school calendar has been a “sacred cow” for too long in Ohio schools.

“I like that we are goring that cow on behalf of our students,” O’Connor said.

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