An audience of at least 70, attended the February 16 Hallsville R-IV Board of Education meeting and witnessed the board taking a historic vote in favor of a four-day school week.
It began with John Downs recognizing and praising the accomplishments of the district’s maintenance crew and counselors.
From there, five members of the Hallsville FFA chapter gave an update on the growth of the school’s chapter, now up to 175 members.
The board was not complete that evening. Board president Jon Bequette was absent. Bryan Wildnhain chaired the meeting.
Then they heard from the audience, whose comments focused almost entirely on the scheduled vote on adopting a four-day school week.
The board voted four to two to adopt a new calendar featuring a four-day school week for the upcoming school year.
Wildenhain called it the toughest decision he has had to make on six years on the board. “When we make this vote, I just ask that we leave as one community. We’ve got to move forward together… We’ve got to refocus on our students. No matter the decision we have to be one.” Board members Craig Stevenson and Jessica Hassler voted no. Members Rebecca Hoskins, Shanda Nichols, Torrie Vroman and Wildenhain all voted yes.
Citizens communication included Whitney Myers, a Hallsville R-IV reading specialist, who said she was there as a parent. She said the needs of her special needs children inspired her to speak. “I want to be here to give the instruction my students need as well as the time for myself,” she said speaking in support of the 4-day school week.
Sam Otten an associate chair of learning and teaching curriculum at the University of Missouri-Columbia, also spoke, saying the change to a four-day week would also bring more consistency to the lives of students, parents and teachers. “That consistency is something we are all yearning for.” He said those in the lower economic strata would benefit more that others by knowing that the Mondays were always the off-day, in planning their work and child-care schedule.”
Andi Heller who said she taught in Columbia said she was against the four-day week. “I think it is really important to remember that sound research is reliable, valid, duplicable and not done with the end in mind first.” She questioned the validity of the board’s survey results and said research must be evidence based. “I feel like that type of attitude is very privileged-based,” she said regarding a board member’s alleged remark that parents would “figure out,” parenting in a four-day school week.” She said crime and failure to graduate increased during a four-day week and they should keep those in mind as they made their decision.
For the complete article, see next week’s edition of the Centralia Fireside Guard