Full Armor Christian Academy going to 4-day school week

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Updated: Feb. 15, 2020 at 11:59 AM CST
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HENDERSON, Texas (KLTV) - It’s been the standard for years. But now, some schools are considering shaking up the five-day school week.

Starting next school year, the nearly 100 students at Full Armor Christian Academy in Henderson will start their weekend a day earlier.

Josh Woolridge is the Headmaster at Full Armor Christian Academy and he tells KLTV, "We’re going to launch In August of 2020 a 4-day week and this is going to be a one-year pilot program.”

To meet the required hours in Texas, Wooldridge says the school will make up the fifth day by adding time to the schedule.

“As long as we get in the 75,600 minutes that Texas requires it just allows us that opportunity to spread those minutes out throughout the year and throughout the school day.”

Proponents of the change say the adjustment will bolster teacher recruitment, increase student enrollment, and allow more time with families.

“We just wanted to create a niche market. Something that would draw parents. We have parents that will bring their kids from Kilgore, from Troup, Laneville, Carthage,” explains Woolridge.

Woolridge says there were some concerns with the switch. One is that working parents would have to provide childcare

To address this, the school will be open every Friday to offer activities for parents who have to work calling it “Fun Friday.”

“Anytime you change people are going to be hesitant. But my big thing is telling them why we’re changing not just because we want to do it,” says Woolridge.

Many of the teachers like Shelly Senyard are on board with the move.

So many times, we get stuck in a real let’s just teach and let’s process and let’s do homework. We’re in a 45-minute schedule and this gives us gosh much broader time to expand ourselves and all kinds of modalities,” explains Senyard.

By adopting the shorter week, administrators are hopeful it will improve attendance.

“It is proven to help on sickness cycles believe it or not. Several weeks ago, we had to close for Thursday and Friday. We had upwards of 22 out that Wednesday,” says Woolridge.

Parents like Crystal Bird are embracing the idea about implementing the new schedule.

“When I weighed the good and the bad, I thought being a little bit more tired those four days is going to be worth having that extra day off,” says Bird.

Even though they have to wait, students like Kyndall Taylor and Hanlee Pipes are excited to have more time to focus on their academic performance.

“Whenever you’re in math or whatever in a class you’re struggling in and you’re really wanting to ask for help. You can’t really ask for a lot of help in a 45-minute period and understand it,” explains Taylor.

“Maybe math because I’m really struggling in it and I’m excited to have the teacher help me more and do better you know and have more time do my math homework,” says Pipes.

School officials say they talked to nearby school districts in the area including Athens ISD who made the switch this school year.

Part of the transition to a four-day school week means a shorter summer break for students and staff.

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