ARIZONA NEWS

Valley school district switches to 4-day workweek to recruit, retain staff

Mar 23, 2023, 4:35 AM | Updated: 5:38 am

(Facebook Photo/Cartwright Elementary School)...

(Facebook Photo/Cartwright Elementary School)

(Facebook Photo/Cartwright Elementary School)

PHOENIX — A Phoenix-area school district is switching to a four-day workweek to attract new employees and entice current ones to stay on the job.

Students in the Cartwright School District already attend school Monday through Thursday. Teachers, cafeteria workers, bus drivers and other staff members will follow the same schedule starting the upcoming school year.

“A lot of it is an employee-relations effort to make sure that we’re trying to recruit and retain the best qualified employees that we can get,” Jeff Stratman, the district’s deputy superintendent of human resources, told KTAR News 92.3 FM.

So far, those efforts appear to be working.

Stratman said the district is getting a lot of interest from perspective employees. Current employees also appear to like the new four-day workweek.

“We’ve seen in our renewal of our contracts for our certified employees for next year a low turnover rate, lower than we’ve seen in previous years,” he said.

The Cartwright School District implemented a four-day school week for students during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the district, surveys of families showed longer weekends “energize our scholars and allows them to return on Mondays ready to learn.”

The district said it’s hoping the same for all staff members.

Stratman acknowledged many teachers work long hours outside the classroom.

“Some of that can’t be prevented,” he said. “But it is our goal to try to give them that restful three-day weekend, so they come back recharged and really go at it during the four days that we have them.”

He added the district will “try not to be overtaxing during the four days” by building in the appropriate amount of planning time and time for professional development opportunities.

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Valley school district switches to 4-day workweek to recruit, retain staff