“We believe that flexibility fosters opportunity and personalized learning extending beyond the classroom.”
Emily Passias, director of Career-Technical Education at the Ohio Department of Education, said she knows of no other county-wide, career school system in the state trying such a scheduling experiment.
“I’m excited to see Butler Tech find new and creative ways to serve students and the community,” Passias said. “We’ve been encouraging schools to find creative solutions to allow students to learn in new ways including work-based learning, internships, apprenticeships, and other innovative models. This schedule change allows Butler Tech students to take advantage of new and exciting opportunities through their programs.”
Nationwide, four-day school weeks are rare and largely done by rural districts as a cost-saving move. According to a 2018 national survey of the Education Commission of the States, approximately 560 school districts in 25 states have one or more schools on a four-day schedule. More than half of these districts are located in four states, Colorado, Montana, Oklahoma and Oregon, where a significant portion of districts have opted into the four-day week.
The plan would make 1,250 students eligible to participate and would start in February 2020. The governing board of Butler Tech will consider it at its next meeting on Tuesday.
Students would receive the same number of instructional credits as under the district’s current schedule.
Michelle Townsend has two daughters at Butler Tech, and the Madison Schools parent likes the idea of students spending a school day at a company learning first-hand about their career paths.
“I think it’s a wonderful opportunity for the kids to be able to get a foot in the door in (the) work world,” Townsend said.
Amy Meyer, vice president of corporate development for the aviation tool manufacturer Rhinestahl Corporation in Mason, applauded both the idea and Butler Tech’s initiative in exploring the option.
“We are thrilled about it,” said Meyer, whose company hosted U.S. Sen. Rob Portman’s round table discussion last week with Butler Tech officials and representatives from numerous area industries. “To have students here the entire day will make it a springboard opportunity for them.”
Butler Tech Board of Education President Michael Berding said he can’t predict how fellow members will vote on the plan but suspects most will find it’s worthwhile.
“This new idea will prepare students for life after high school by giving them an extra day each week to gain experience in the workforce and learn independently,” Berding said.