La Vernia ISD discusses possibility of 4-day instructional week

Board will vote on Feb. 13 on whether or not to move forward with the 4-day plan

LA VERNIA, Texas – Over the past month, La Vernia ISD put together two focus groups meeting about the 4-day school week.

According to Monday night’s presentation, the group was made up of 48 people, including teachers, parents, business members, campus administrators and district administrators.

There were two parent surveys done.

The first polled parents based on initial reactions of the 4-day instructional week. The results showed almost 47% would be in favor, roughly a third of participants were against it, and almost 20% answered maybe.

The main concerns centered around adding time to the school day and year, quality or loss of instruction time, and child care.

When parents were polled again with the promise of addressing their concerns, the results only changed slightly.

This time, 57% of parents voted in favor of the 4-day instructional week, 22% answered no, and 20% said maybe.

Before the meeting, Ray Altamirano, a parent of three LVISD students said he was all for the change.

”I’m for it. I know some of the challenges the district was having with retention. Being out here some of the teachers that don’t live in town, they have to commute. It makes it a lot easier on them. As a parent, having an extra day with the kids at home I think is great,” Altamirano said.

Meanwhile, Amanda Neil, who was picking up her 7th grader, said she needs more information before she decides.

”For the kids, I haven’t seen the benefit. So I’m not convinced yet, but I kind of sit on the fence. I’m not saying absolutely not, but I’m just not totally for it yet,” Neil said.

Dr. Helen Whisenhunt, the chief instructional officer for the district, presented the information to the board.

She explained that the focus groups looked at student data such as attendance and substitute teacher trends in the district.

Both showed upticks on Friday. Most of the proposed calendar options presented included Fridays off.

However, it’s not clear how the change could impact student academics.

“The other districts in Texas at this moment that are practicing a 4-day instructional week do not have similar demographics to La Vernia ISD. Of all the ones currently doing it, there really isn’t anybody that’s completely comparable to us,” Whisenhunt said.

She said the district is working with the local YMCA to help with child care for working parents, along with transportation and meals.

While the focus group included several parents, board president Nancy Janysek and trustee Ryan Doege said they wanted to see one more town hall with parents before a decision is made.

″Feel like we don’t have a true enough picture of what all of our parents really, you know, I mean — I’m just concerned if we skip the town hall again,” Janysek said.

“That was gonna be my comment too and is — do we have any way of relaying this information to the to the community to get some feedback before the vote?” Doege said.

No decision was made Monday night, and the meeting was to prepare the board for a vote during its February meeting.

If the board gives the go-ahead, then they’ll begin working out logistics with staff and calendars.

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About the Authors:

Leigh Waldman is a news reporter at KSAT 12. She joined the station in 2021. Leigh comes to San Antonio from the Midwest after spending time at a station in Omaha, NE. After two winters there, she knew it was time to come home to Texas. When Leigh is not at work, she enjoys eating, playing with her dogs and spending time with family.