Mesquite ISD to vote on 4-day school week to battle 'extreme teacher shortage'

Mesquite ISD is the latest district, and one of the largest ones, to consider moving to a four-day school week.

A vote is scheduled for next month.

It would go into effect next school year if approved.

The district hopes it’ll help with combating what it calls an "extreme" teacher shortage.

We’ve already seen some smaller districts in North Texas adopting or considering a four-day week.

The plan is still under consideration in Mesquite, as the district gathers feedback from parents and teachers. 

Student’s getting out of school on Friday could be a thing of the past in Mesquite.

READ MORE: Anna, Terrell ISDs switch to a 4-day school week

"Mesquite ISD is working to address the struggle we are facing in an extreme teacher shortage and the resulting impacts on students, including unfilled teaching positions, hiring a large number of non-certified teachers, larger class sizes, less teacher planning time, etc," the district said in a post.

The district's Board of Trustees is expected to vote on the 4-day instructional week for the next school year no later than March 6.

"To be honest, I’m pretty excited about it. I mean, we could all use the extra day as far as being busy and stuff like that," Mesquite ISD staff member and parent Andre McGilvery said.

Although he likes the plan, he knows others might have concerns.

"Some of the parents, they don’t have proper babysitters, certain situations and they might need kids to come on a Friday," McGilvery added.

But other parents, initially hesitant, have come around..

"My oldest daughter, she’s a junior at the high school, and she’s in like dual-credit and drill team, so that will benefit her as well, because with dual-credit, they have extra homework," Sherice Lemon said.

The district said the move is aimed at battling the teacher shortage.

It started the school year with 108 open positions, and believes giving teachers more planning will help both teachers and students.

The Mesquite ISD Board discussed the proposal this week, including a recent survey of staff and parents.

The district’s survey found 78% of parents and 90% of staff agree that a four-day week would impact their family in a positive manner.

"On a personal note, I am in agreement with the four-day work week calendar," Mesquite Education Association President Kimberly Davis said. "I can now schedule doctor appointments for those days and I do not have to take off and run the risk of a colleague having to cover my class because there aren’t enough substitutes."

The district has gathered data from other districts that have moved to four days

"The district that has done it for at least three years, they have seen an increase in student achievement, being Athens ISD," Mesquite ISD Superintendent Dr. Ángel Rivera.

Some parents are still skeptical of whether it will work in a larger district.

"I worry about the decline of academic performance in lower income schools because no other large district has done this," one parent said. "I don’t want our kids to be a guinea pig."

Other, smaller districts have used the model.