LAKE CITY, S.C. – A four-day week is being considered for Florence County School District Three as it seeks to recruit and retain teachers.
There are 43 vacancies spanning 13 areas in the district now.
Angelia Scott, director of human resources, said the district has fewer vacancies at this point than it did last year.
“We are constantly recruiting,” Scott said. “We are also interviewing on a daily basis as well. We will be interviewing until we fill each one of these positions.”
Superintendent Laura Hickson said a possible recruitment and retention plan includes going to a four-day work week.
“There’s districts all across the state that have tried this because recruitment and retention is not just a South Carolina problem, but it’s a national problem,” Hickson said.
Some of the districts that have reduced the number of days in a work week have shared benefits, Hickson said.
According to Hickson's presentation at a District Three board meeting Thursday, research about four-day work weeks shows:
- A four-day school week continues to gain as a best practice among school districts across states.
- Benefits include improved student and teacher attendance.
- A four-day school week increases teacher retention.
- A four-day school week is a positive recruiting tool (better than bonuses).
- A four-day work week provides additional time for meaningful professional development.
If District Three were to reduce the number of school days per week, this could possibly mean classes would be held Monday through Thursday and extended 1.5 hours per day. Students would not report to school on Fridays if they are passing/meeting standards.
Hickson said in her report to the board that the first and third Fridays of the month would be designated for academic assistance and tutoring for students. Students who attend schools that receive 21st Century Grants would attend on the first and third Fridays. The second Friday of the month would be for onsite or online professional development. And the fourth Friday of the month would be off, according to Hickson’s report.
“We’re just beginning to just do the research because we’re definitely going to have to find ways to try to keep our teachers when we have them,” Hickson said.
She wants the plan to be attractive to people looking for positions and also address the amount of funds that the district pays for substitutes.
With the school board’s permission, the next steps of the possible recruitment and retention plan would involve surveying parents and staff. The board plans to bring up the topic again at the next school board meeting.