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Harlandale ISD exploring four-day workweek

A spokesperson said discussions of a shorter week for students and teachers are in the beginning stages, and no final decision has been made.

SAN ANTONIO — Leaders with the Harlandale Independent School District are weighing the merit of shortening their instructional week to four days.

Administrators sent a survey to parents Wednesday, soliciting input on the potential move. The school board will use the data to determine whether it should create a plan to drop a day of classes. 

The survey is seeking feedback from parents of children in all grade levels, K-12.

Dozens of schools across Texas have shifted to four-day weeks this year, mostly to boost teacher morale. With board approval, Harlandale ISD would become the first San Antonio district to adopt the change. 

"We're trying to be different here at Harlandale and be proactive in making sure we retain our teachers," district spokesperson Mariana Vieyra said. 

The shift could also make it easier for the district to recruit prospective faculty, she added. 

The conversation is only just beginning, but Harlandale ISD could implement any change as soon as the 2023-2024 school year. 

If the district drops a day of instruction, it would need to lengthen the remaining four days or expand the school year to meet state-mandated requirements. Over the course of a year, students would spend the same amount of time in the classroom on a four-day schedule as they would on a five-day schedule. 

Educators say the move would not hinder learning. 

"I'm actually not opposed to it," said Marielena Jasso, mother to children in first and eighth grade at Harlandale schools. 

Jasso works from home and said she probably would not need to find child care if Harlandale ISD moves to four day weeks. 

"I know that's not something every parent has," she added. "You shouldn't have to rely on someone else to take care of your kids."

The district anticipated this hurdle. Vieyra said after-school programs could expand to the off day. 

Jasso wondered whether all children would qualify for expanded after-school care. 

School leaders have also discussed designating campuses for child care on off days, if the board adopts the change. 

"We want to make sure we provide that resource for parents so they don't feel like they need to pay for one day of child care," Vieyra said. 

During the first 24 hours of polling, Vieyra said respondents overwhelmingly supported trimming the week to four days. 

Harlandale ISD services San Antonio's south side. 

Here's what the new school week could look like, according to the district

Calendar year: Under one potential scenario, the first day of school would begin Aug. 8 and the year would end on June 6. After Aug. 8, campuses would be closed on Mondays. 

Hours: The proposal would add an extra 20 minutes to each schoolday, Tuesday through Friday. Here's a breakdown:

  • Elementary school would run from 7:35 a.m. to 3:35 p.m. 
  • Middle school would run from 7:55 a.m. to 3:55 p.m. 
  • High school would run from 8:15 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. 

After-school programs: Students in pre-K through fifth grade will have a place to stay on Mondays to attend the district's after-school programs. They would be monitored by adults and engaged in activities for the day. 




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