Over the past few years, Texas school districts have seen an increase in demand for new approaches to learning. In 2023, Life School was one of a few districts to have made the switch to a 4-day school week. Among the motivators was a goal to attract experienced teachers during an ongoing Texas teacher shortage. Teachers are known to be one of the biggest contributors to overall student success in the classroom. While 4-day did make an impact on average years of experience among teachers, it also made a big impact elsewhere. Parents repeatedly emphasize its effect on childrens’ mental health and overall well-being.
Many Life School students and parents report reduced feelings of stress and burnout. A shorter school week means fewer days of intense academics, allowing everyone to recharge over the long weekend.
“It helps keep my stress level down because school and classes are very stressful and can take a negative toll on mental health,” one student shared.
“My child doesn’t feel burned out, and [is] excited to go back after the weekend,” a parent notes of their student.
As a result of the additional time, students and staff can return to school feeling refreshed and better equipped to take on challenges. Fewer days in class also leads to better concentration and productivity. Students have room to manage their time more efficiently, focusing on academics during the school week and avoiding feeling overloaded by assignments.
“It gives my child the opportunity to catch up on any assignments he may have missed throughout the week,” says another parent.
While a 4-day school week is relatively novel in k-12 education, school districts are adapting an approach that has already demonstrated benefits in other industries. In 2023, the University of Cambridge produced a study from 61 UK companies (representing over 2,900 employees) that implemented a 4-day work week from June to December of 2022. The results on physical health and mental health were clear. More than 40% of employees noticed an improvement in their mental health and reported that feelings of anxiousness and negative thoughts decreased. An overwhelming 71% of employees reported that the extra time to recharge resulted in lower instances of burnout.
As Life School continues to adapt to the needs of families, the 4-day school week offers several compelling benefits for both students and teachers in an age where emotional well-being is increasingly strained.
Life School is a tuition-free, public charter school with campuses in Carrollton, Cedar Hill, Lancaster, Mountain Creek, Red Oak, Oak Cliff and Waxahachie, TX. Life School develops leaders with life skills through strong academics, character training, and partnerships with parents and the community. Its mission is accomplished in part through the financial support of donors who provide scholarships and embrace making students ready to learn, ready to lead and ready for life.
Parents who are interested in enrollment can visit lifeschool.net/learn-about-life. Partners who would like to support Life School financially can give online at lifeschool.net/give.