Southern Utah school granted four-day school week

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BOULDER (ABC4 News) – A tiny public school in Southern Utah got the green light from the State Board of Ed. to change to a 4-day school week beginning in September. It’s not a response to COVID-19, but to better adapt the small school to its community. 

Elizabeth Julian is the principal who made this change happen; she’s also the only licensed educator at Boulder elementary.

Julian said, “I have 20 students, so we can’t run it like a typical school; we do a multi-age classroom.”

Parents and staff have been calling for a 4-day school week for years.

Julian explained, “We don’t have very many services in our town, so for people to go and do things, they’re leaving. We had a lot of absences, so I was interested in it for that.”

After years of asking, the ball really got rolling in January with an extensive proposal and application to the board.

“In addition to providing data on how we felt about this, we also provided data on academic performance and were able to show that our students are performing with the unique situation and multi-age classes,” Julian said. 

Beginning in the fall, Boulder Elementary will run Monday through Thursday. Days will be about 45 minutes longer to make up for lost time. The school will have to prove that the 4-day week is working over the next few years.

Julian explained, “If this isn’t helping with attendance and progress, then it needs to be reevaluated, and the state has that set up in it’s system.”

A parent, Ana Sanders, declined being on camera but told me she’s very grateful for this result: 

“Boulder is very remote and if someone has medical or other types of appointments out of town, they often need to drive an hour or more each way to make that happen. We’re hoping that having Friday as a day when those commitments can be met will alleviate conflicts with class on the other days of the week,” Sanders said.

“I am really grateful that Garfield School District approved our request and supported us in presenting it to the USBE.  We’ll never know if this is truly a good fit until we actually try it out and from the surveys that we conducted, we found there was a lot of support from students, parents and staff at the school.”

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