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ACGC's four-day school week gets the thumbs-up

GROVE CITY -- Separate surveys conducted at separate times indicate that students and parents like the new four-day week in the Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City School District.

Sam Ammermann, a junior at ACGC and the student representative to the school board, conducted a seven-question survey of fifth- through 12th-graders last week that asked students how difficult it was to adjust to the new schedule, if they have more, or less, homework and if the shorter week affected their grades.

Ammermann said he spent the weekend compiling the results and presented his data Monday night to the school board. The survey was distributed to all fifth- through 12th-graders in their classrooms that day -- the most recent enrollment figures for ACGC show 497 students in fifth through 12th grade.

Overall, the students seem to have a positive view of the four-day school week with 230 saying they had no trouble at all adjusting to the new schedule and 195 saying they had "a little" trouble. Only 11 students said it was "very" difficult.

Most -- 236 -- said their grades were not affected at all, 135 said grades were affected a little and 36 said their grades were very much affected by the four-day week. A vast majority said the week goes by faster with a shortened schedule.

When students were asked what they did with their free Mondays, 208 said they spent time with family and friends; 140 spent time doing homework; 130 spent more time working at outside jobs; 63 went to medical appointments; and 57 just took free time.

When it came to complaints, 264 students said what they liked the least about the four-day week was that school days were too long; 50 students said they were bored on Mondays; 24 complained about homework; and 65 had nothing bad to report.

The results were consistent across the different grade levels.

Superintendent Sherri Broderius also surveyed parents in November during a parent-teacher conference that showed strong parental support with 104 saying their child has adapted without any problems. Thirty-one said their child had "some difficulty. Only one said there have been "major problems" adjusting to a four-day week.

A majority of parents reported the schedule has either had a positive impact or no impact on their child's school work, homework, family life and whether they liked school.

A majority said the schedule had no impact on family transportation needs or participation in extra-curricular activities.

The final question asked if the district should stick with a four-day week or return to a five-day week. A majority -- 86 people -- wanted to stay with four days; 21 wanted to return to five days; 22 had no preference; and 14 didn't know.

Broderius said follow-up surveys will be conducted in the spring. The information will be sent to the state Education Department.

Carolyn Lange

A reporter for more than 30 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

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