DEVERS, Texas — Devers ISD's school board voted unanimously for the district to switch to a four-day school week starting next school year. The change comes after months of debates and conversations with parents.
Ultimately, the district felt that this was in the best interest of the students and staff members. The school is made up of fewer than 200 students and more than 90 percent of parents were in favor of the decision.
"As the superintendent, you don't want to ever do anything that would make you not successful, make the kids not successful," said Devers ISD superintendent Elizabeth Harris. We would not ever do anything to jeopardize our kids' success or teachers' success."
The majority of the student population's parents work in refineries or they come from a home where only one parent works. Harris believe the four-day school week is about much more than saving money financially.
"We feel like we are doing what needs to be done for kids, for parents, for a little extra parent time," Harris said.
As of 2016, the Texas Education Agency switched from requiring 180 instructional days to 75,600 minutes per school year. That gave districts the freedom decide which days students attend school.
Devers ISD plans to add 35 minutes to every school day starting next school year.
Pre-K teacher Brooke Fajkus said she welcomes the new schedule.
"If that means we stay extra to help a kid that's what we do here," she said. "It is a family and that is the only way to put it."
Fajkus said she believes that it's only a matter of time before other districts switch to a four-day school week. As of now, there are only a handful of districts across the state who are on a 4-day school week.
Prior to making this decision, Harris said she consulted with districts leaders across the state about the most effective way to transition to a 4-day week. Fajkus said what happening in Devers could be a sign to come for other districts across the county.
"Teachers are going to be able to get everything done," she said. "And still strive for the best for our kids. we're going to still push Monday through Thursday and pretty much reward them for a day off.