Livingstone Range School Division

4-Day School Week

The Livingstone Range School Division Board of Trustees will decide if implementing a 4-day school week is in the best interest of student success, budget efficiencies, and staff retention and recruitment

Trustees will consider the effect on student engagement, budgeting models, and stakeholder feedback to make a decision, likely in February 2025. If the decision is to move ahead with a 4-day school week, it is anticipated to begin in the 2025-2026 school year across the Division.

If you have comments, questions, or concerns please email 4dayweek@lrsd.ab.ca.

Overview

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Where did this idea come from?

  • Comments from parents on a November 2020 school year calendar survey showed interest in an adjusted school week
  • Results of a March 2021 survey where 41% of parents and 49% of staff were in favor of exploring a 4-day school week
  • Comments from an October 2022 school year calendar survey where 68% expressed interest in a 4-day school week

How will a decision be made?

The Board of Trustees will consider the effect on student engagement, will use budgeting models to look for projected efficiencies, and will gather stakeholder feedback. The Trustees will use this information to make the best decision in alignment with our Mission, Vision, and Core Values. It is anticipated that a decision will be made in February 2025. A final report will accompany the decision announcement.

What does a 4-day school week look like?

We are considering a true 4-day school week where students are in class 4 full days each week.  Typically this is a Monday-to-Thursday schedule, but where there is a statutory holiday during the week students will be in class four days that week (with Friday being a full day). Each day is lengthened by an average of 5-10 minutes (and with timetable efficiencies built in) to accommodate the Alberta Education requirements of annual hours. Teaching staff will work a fifth day approximately twice each month to effectively meet their professional responsibilities.

How can I get involved?

The Board of Trustees wants to understand and acknowledge stakeholders' perspectives and concerns. As part of our engagement plan the Division will reach out to these stakeholder groups between May and November 2024:

  • Parents/guardians
  • Staff
  • Student leaders
  • Elders and indigenous partners
  • Union executives
  • Parents/guardians of pre-kindergarten children
  • Community members

Draft Calendar

The potential draft 2025-2026 school year is designed to show staff and families what a likely 4-day school week schedule would look like. It is important to understand that the calendar is subject to change.

The Staff Calendar includes professional development, collaboration, and planning days. The Parent Calendar is simplified to show the days students attend school (green), statutory holidays (orange), winter and spring breaks (red), and the days students do not attend school (grey).

STAFF CALENDAR (FULL)

PARENT CALENDAR (SIMPLIFIED)

Stakeholder Engagement

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"We want to be in conversation with our stakeholder groups and really listen to their thoughts and feelings. As a Board, it is important to us that parents, staff, students, indigenous partners, and the community are part of this process." -Lori Hodges, Board of Trustees Chair.

The Division is exploring this idea, not promoting it. The Trustees will seek feedback from stakeholder groups to understand their perspectives and concerns. This information, along with budgeting models and the effect on student engagement will be considered as the Board makes its decision, likely in February 2025.

Date Stakeholder Group
May 2024 ATA, CUPE, Parents, Staff
June 2024 Indigenous partners
September 2024 Students, Community
October 2024 Parents, Staff
November 2024 Parents, Pre-Kindergarten Parents

In December 2024 we will compile reports of the feedback and share that with Trustees in January 2025.

We look forward to being in conversation with you!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Our team is working hard to answer more of your questions. Check back soon for more information.

Where did the idea for a 4-day school week come from?

Comments from parents on a November 2020 school year calendar survey showed interest in an adjusted school week. The results of a March 2021 survey showed 41% of parents and 49% of staff were in favor of exploring a 4-day school week. In comments from an October 2022 school year calendar survey, 68% expressed interest in a 4-day school week. Because of this, the Board of Trustees requested information presentations from Superintendent Darryl Seguin in September 2021 and December 2023.

What approval from Alberta Education would be needed to change to a 4-day school week?

In the province of Alberta there is no minimum number of days students must attend school. Instead, the requirements are around instructional time which for elementary students (Grades 1-9) is 950 hours and for high school (Grades 10-12) is 1000 required hours of instruction each school year

Who will make the decision about a 4-day school week in LRSD?

The Board of Trustees will seek input from stakeholders and recommendations from senior administration to understand all perspectives. Then, the Board of Trustees will decide if implementing a 4-day school week is in the best interest of student success, budget efficiencies, and staff retention and recruitment. It is anticipated that this decision will be made in February 2025.

What factors are being considered around a move to a 4-day school week?

The Board of Trustees have identified three key factors related to a potential 4-day school week:

  1. Student Success (effect on student engagement)
  2. Budget Efficiencies (projected savings)
  3. Staff Retention and Recruitment (effect on staffing)

In addition, the Trustees seek to understand the perspectives and concerns of stakeholders. This feedback will also be considered in the decision.

Is this idea driven by staff?

No. Originally, this idea came from parent calendar input survey comments. Subsequent surveys for parents and staff showed interest in looking at a 4-day school week. Trustees are considering the impact on students, families, and staff with the main criteria being whether it is in the best interest of student success, budget efficiencies, and staff retention and recruitment.

What is the timeline for considering and implementing a 4-day school week?

Since November 2020, the Trustees have been looking at available research and modeling regarding a 4-day school week. From May to November 2024, the Trustees will seek feedback from families, students, staff, indigenous partners, pre-Kindergarten parents, union executives, and community members. This information will be compiled and reported to the Trustees in January 2025. It is anticipated that the Trustees will make a decision in February 2025 whether or not to proceed with a 4-day school week. 

If the decision is in favor, a 4-day school week would begin in the 2025-2026 school year in all schools across Livingstone Range School Division.

What are the potential effects of a 4-day school week for students?

Research about the effects of a 4-day school week in North America is both limited and inconclusive. However, in our local context we anticipate potential benefits such as:

  • Increased student attendance. Our data shows that Fridays are consistently the lowest-attended school day of the week. A 4-day week may mean families are more likely to ensure consistent attendance.
  • Increased student engagement. Due to attendance and timetabling, students may be more actively engaged during the school day.
  • Improved academic results and graduation rates. Some jurisdictions have seen improved academic performance on a 4-day school week calendar. We would monitor and track this carefully should a 4-day school week be implemented.
  • Increased transition rates to post-secondary or workforce after graduation. With greater academic results and more time in a student’s week for dual credit, work experience, and other opportunities, we would hope to see greater success in transitioning after high school.
  • Improved school/home balance. Many parent comments have suggested that having their children home an additional day each week would provide greater opportunities for children to be involved in family activities such as agriculture, recreation, and vacations.

There is also an exciting opportunity to work with academic researchers to study the effects of a 4-day week on students, families, and staff. If implemented, we would be one of the first jurisdictions in Canada and there is great potential for contributing to post-secondary academic research.

What would a 4-day school week look like for students?

We are considering a true 4-day school week where students are in class 4 full days each week.  Typically this is a Monday-to-Thursday schedule, but where there is a statutory holiday on a weekday, students would be in school the other four days of the week (including a full day Friday). 

A potential draft calendar for the 2025-2026 school year has 157 instructional days for students. For comparison, the 2023-2024 school year has 180 instructional days. Those days would be made up by increased instructional time each day (on average, it would be an increase of 5-10 minutes) and creating efficiencies in school timetables. 

STAFF CALENDAR (FULL)

PARENT CALENDAR (SIMPLIFIED)

How will families with young children handle childcare when parents work 5 days per week?

DOWNLOAD CHILDCARE OPTIONS HANDOUT

We understand that childcare is a significant issue for families with young children. Of the eight communities in Livingstone Range School Division, six have local licensed childcare options that now have childcare capacity for children up to 12 years old. Potentially there may be expanded spots for Fridays. Other non-licensed options are also available.

The following list is provided for information purposes only; Livingstone Range School Division does not endorse these childcare providers and does not guarantee accuracy of this information. Contact providers for current details.

Claresholm

  • Kids Zone (K-Grade 6)
  • Monday-Friday:  6:30am-5:30pm
  • Licensed-subsidy available

Crowsnest Pass

  • Kids Kollege Nursery School (ages 3-5)
  • Little Mountaineers Learning Centre (ages 19 months - 5 years)

Granum

  • Little Leaders Learn and Play
  • Currently creating programs for 19 months - 12 years 
  • Monday-Friday: hours to be determined
  • Will be licensed with subsidy available

Fort Macleod

  • Hand in Hand Child Care
  • Before and After School Care (5-12 years old)
  • Monday-Friday:  7:00am-6:00pm
  • Licensed - subsidy available

Lundbreck

  • Currently no licensed child care is available

Nanton

  • Boys and Girls Club
  • Before and After School Care (5-12 years old)
  • Monday-Friday:  7:00am-5:30pm
  • Licensed-subsidy available

Pincher Creek

  • Pincher Creek Community Early Learning Centre
  • Before and after school care (0-12 years old)
  • Sage Location - currently working to provide before and after care
  • Canyon Creek Location - Monday-Friday: 7:30am-5:30 pm
  • Licensed - subsidy available

Stavely

Currently no licensed child care is available, although the Town of Stavely and Stavely FCSS are looking to partner with a provider.

Affordability grants and subsidies are available for licensed facilities. 

https://www.alberta.ca/child-care-subsidy

Other Options

Licensed and non-licensed day homes may also exist in your community. Families may also find creative solutions to childcare issues, such as trading babysitting with friends and neighbours or arranging for high school students to babysit on Fridays.

How would a 4-day school week affect virtual school and outreach school students?

For about a year and a half, LRSD Pursuits Virtual School, MHHS Gateway School, and Walshe Crossroads Campus Outreach Program have operated on a 4-day school week schedule. This has been very successful for students and staff. Students of these learning communities would see no change.

How would a 4-day school week work at Hutterite Colony schools?

Students at Hutterite Colony schools would have their Livingstone Range School Division teacher for the 4-day school week schedule. Individual colonies would make arrangements for students on the Friday that would work best in their context.

Would individual schools have their own calendar, potentially with additional days off?

No. The divisional calendar would be the standard, and schools would not be able to modify or request additional days off.

Could we instead have a 5-day week and end the school year earlier in June?

Alberta Education sets the dates for diploma exams and provincial achievement tests (PATs).  Because we cannot change those dates or administer those exams earlier in June, it is necessary to have a school calendar that includes the latest exam dates for students.

How would the school timetables change?

In a 4-day school week scenario, the four instructional days are lengthened by an average of 5-10 minutes. This is possible because of restructured timetable efficiencies such as fewer minutes between classes. A Division-wide timetable creates opportunities for streamlined timetables, as well as the potential of common virtual class blocks for some high school subjects.

Recesses and lunch breaks will still allow students time to use the bathroom, go outside, and eat their snacks or lunch.

  • Potential Elementary timetable: 8:30am to 3:34pm (365 minutes of instruction) with two 12-minute recesses and 35 minutes for lunch.
  • Potential Junior High School timetable: 8:30am to 3:33pm (365 minutes of instruction) with 3 minutes for class changes and 35 minutes for lunch. 
  • Potential High School timetable: 8:30am-3:36pm (385 minutes of instruction) with 2 minutes for class changes and 35 minutes for lunch.

Potential Elementary Timetable

8:30-9:10 Block 1 40 min
9:10-9:50 Block 2 40 min
9:50-10:30 Block 3 40 min
10:30-10:42 Recess 12 min
10:42-11:22 Block 4 40 min
11:22-12:02 Block 5 40 min
12:02-12:37 Lunch 35 min
12:37-1:17 Block 6 40 min
1:17-1:57 Block 7 40 min
1:57-2:09 Recess 12 min
2:09-2:49 Block 8 40 min
2:49-3:34 Block 9 45 min
  Total Instruction 365 min

 

Potential Junior High School Timetable

8:30-9:15

Block 1

45 min

9:15-9:55

Block 2

40 min

9:55-9:58

Class Change

3 min

9:58-10:38

Block 3

40 min

10:38-10:41

Class Change

3 min

10:41-11:26

Block 4

40 min

11:26-11:29

Class Change

3 min

11:29-12:09

Block 5

40 min

12:09-12:44

Lunch

35 min

12:44-1:24

Block 6

40 min

1:24-1:27

Class Change

3 min

1:27-2:07

Block 7

40 min

2:07-2:10

Class Change

3 min

2:10-2:50

Block 8

40 min

2:50-2:53

Class Change

3 min

2:53-3:33

Block 9

40 min

 

Total Instruction

365 min

 

Potential High School Timetable

8:30-9:50

Block 1

80 min

9:50-9:52

Class Change

2 min

9:52-11:12

Block 2

80 min

11:12-11:14

Class Change

2 min

11:14-12:19

Advisory/Flex

65 min

12:19-12:54

Lunch

35 min

12:54-2:14

Block 3

80 min

2:14-2:16

Class Change

2 min

2:16-3:36

Block 4

80 min

 

Total Instruction

385 min

How would a 4-day school week impact my child's bus route and times?

Students' school days would be lengthened by an average of 5-10  minutes on a 4-day school week schedule. We anticipated the morning pick-up times would remain nearly the same, with afternoon drop-off times being 5-10 minutes later than the current schedule.

A 4-day school week has the advantage of students being on the bus 20% less each week.

What impact would a 4-day school week have on athletic practices and tournaments?

Athletic practices can continue to be held on Monday through Thursday. Weekend tournaments within the Division and with teams outside the Division can also continue. Overall the number of Fridays that students are in school would be lower so that although student-athletes might miss more class time on instructional Fridays for tournaments, the number of Fridays they would be missing school would be fewer.

Families would typically be responsible for getting their student-athletes to the school for Friday and Saturday events, although bussing may provided in some cases.

Is a 4-day school week about saving money?

While the Board of Trustees will consider cost-savings in the final decision about a 4-day school week, it is only one of the criteria. There likely will be budget efficiencies in a 4-day school week, but whether that alone is enough to operate a balanced budget remains to be seen.

Each year the Division plans for a balanced budget, which is becoming more difficult with the current model of government funding and the increasing costs for staff, supplies, infrastructure, and operational expenses. For years the Trustees have advocated to the provincial government for adequate, sustainable and predictable funding that will help us provide an excellent educational experience for 'Every student, every day.'

How would the Division ensure support for students with a 4-day school week?

We understand that for some students, the safety, nutrition, routine, and support of a 5-day school week are important for their well-being and success.

  • School staff and counsellors would continue to be available during the school week to support and monitor student needs
  • We would continue to collaborate with community partners for complementary services (including Family Supports for Children with Disabilities, Alberta Mental Health, McMan services, Boys and Girls Club programming). 
  • We would continue to provide additional take-home food items for students, as needed and as resources allow
  • We would continue to connect families with community resources
  • We would continue to monitor student academic progress, attendance, and well-being strategies in the best interest of student wellbeing and success. 

What are the potential budget efficiencies of a 4-day school week?

As budgets become tighter for school jurisdictions in Alberta, finding cost savings is evermore important. There are potential budget efficiencies to be found in a 4-day school week, which are outlined below. Should the Trustees choose to proceed with a 4-day school week across the Division, a budget review process would determine actual cost savings. (Note: these estimates are based on current fuel and utility prices.)

Facility Savings

  • With fewer lights on, less water used, and thermostats set at lower temperatures for Fridays when schools are not in use, utilities savings are estimated around $50,000.
  • Savings in custodial supplies for facility cleaning based on 21 fewer operational days is estimated to be between around $5500.
  • Less wear and tear on the facility could result in the facility lasting longer and less funds required to maintain. 

Transportation Savings 

  • Students would be transported 23 fewer days, resulting in savings on school bus fuel of approximately $69,000 savings.
  • Less wear and tear on buses could result in repair and maintenance savings of approximately $34,000 annually.

Staff Savings

  • Moving Divisional meetings and professional development (such as Joint Health & Safety Committee; Professional Development Council; First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Working Committee, SIVA (Supporting Individuals through Valued Attachments) training, Literacy & Numeracy Leads meetings, and Administrative Council) to non-instructional days could save approximately $143,000 in substitute support staff and teacher costs.
  • Moving teachers closer to the maximum 916 hours of instruction per year creates efficiencies that could potentially save up to $247,800 per year.
  • While we are looking to maintain compensation for all staff, some may voluntarily choose to reduce their hours, which could result in savings. 

There are other potential savings that may not be quantifiable at this time.

Is the Granum School 4-day week a pilot for the entire division?

No. Granum School looked at multiple solutions to address declining enrolment in their community and ultimately the families voted to proceed with a 4-day school week. This happened independently of exploring a 4-day school week across Livingstone Range School Division. 

In the case of a division-wide move to a 4-day school week, the Board of Trustees will make that decision based on their determined criteria of student success, budget efficiencies, and staff retention and recruitment; it will not be a stakeholder vote. As part of their broader engagement plan for the Division, the Trustees will consult with Granum families and staff in late 2024 to understand the initial impact of a 4-day school week for that community.

Staff Snapshots

Staff Snapshots represent our current expected scenario for each staff group. The details are subject to change, should a 4-day school week come into effect. We've included a printable version for your convenience. 

Don't see your staff group listed? We are having consultation sessions with select staff groups to determine the potential impact of a 4-day school week. Check back soon.

Administrative Assistants

  • We are looking at options to maintain current wages and compensation, and options for staff who choose to reduce hours voluntarily.
  • Required to work operational days (177 draft 2025-2026 compared to 198 operational days 2023-2024) but may voluntarily reduce FTE. Staff would work a similar number of hours, but reconfigured during the week.
  • Scheduled operational Fridays for professional development, staff meetings, etc. Potentially flexible end times for site-based (1:30pm) and Divisional (3:00pm). Potentially flexible in-person and virtual opportunities.
  • Opportunity for uninterrupted work time and increased professional development on Fridays.

ADMIN ASSISTANTS SNAPSHOT

Bus Drivers

  • We are looking at options to maintain current wages and compensation, and options for drivers who choose to reduce hours voluntarily.
  • Continue to work according to Collective Agreement or contract. Required to drive instructional days (157 draft 2025-2026 compared to 180 instructional days 2023-2024). There are 8 scheduled instructional Fridays in the draft 2025-2026 calendar. Route times may be impacted with similar starting pick-up times in the morning and drop-off times moved 5-10 minutes later at the end of the day.
  • Drivers work on scheduled non-instructional Fridays (ie: professional development, safety training, staff meetings, transport buses for service work). Drivers may be required to take extracurricular trips.
  • Opportunities for more professional development and training.

BUS DRIVERS SNAPSHOT

Custodians

  • We are looking at options to maintain current wages and compensation, and options for staff who choose to reduce hours voluntarily.
  • Staff would work a similar number of hours on a similar schedule. Custodians would continue to work for extracurricular and community use.
  • Staff may shift their Friday hours to earlier in the day, depending on extracurricular and community use.
  • Opportunities for deep cleaning projects on Fridays with no students in the building.

This applies to LRSD-employed custodians. At this time, contracted custodians continue as per contract.

CUSTODIANS SNAPSHOT

Child & Youth Care Workers

  • We are looking at options to maintain current wages and compensation, and options for staff who choose to reduce hours voluntarily.
  • Required to work operational days (177 draft 2025-2026 compared to 198 operational days 2023-2024) but may voluntarily reduce FTE. Staff would work a similar number of hours, but reconfigured during the week.
  • Scheduled operational Fridays for professional development, staff meetings, etc. Potentially flexible end times for site-based (1:30pm) and Divisional (3:00pm). Potentially flexible in-person and virtual opportunities.
  • May potentially offer online connections with students. Potential for documentation and data entry to occur on Fridays and provide more in-person time for students Monday-Thursday.

CYCWs SNAPSHOT

Educational Assistants

  • We are looking at options to maintain current wages and compensation, and options for staff who choose to reduce hours voluntarily.
  • Required to work operational days (177 draft 2025-2026 compared to 198 operational days 2023-2024) but may voluntarily reduce FTE. Staff would work a similar number of hours, but reconfigured during the week.
  • Scheduled operational Fridays for professional development, staff meetings, etc. Potentially flexible end times for site-based (1:30pm) and Divisional (3:00pm). Potentially flexible in-person and virtual opportunities.
  • May potentially offer online literacy and numeracy enrichment with students.

EAs SNAPSHOT

Family School Liaison Counsellors

  • We are looking at options to maintain current wages and compensation, and options for staff who choose to reduce hours voluntarily.
  • Required to work operational days (177 draft 2025-2026 compared to 198 operational days 2023-2024) but may voluntarily reduce FTE. Staff would work a similar number of hours, but reconfigured during the week.
  • Scheduled operational Fridays for FSL consult meetings, professional development, school staff meetings, etc. Potentially flexible end times for site-based (1:30pm) and Divisional (3:00pm). Potentially flexible in-person and virtual opportunities.
  • FSLs would have 9-10 more days in schools with students as case consultations are moved to Fridays. May potentially provide online counselling sessions and connect virtually with students that need support. Counselling documentation and data entry could occur on Fridays thus providing more in-person time for students Monday-Thursday.

FSLs SNAPSHOT

Teachers

  • Wages and compensation remain the same, as per the Collective Agreement
  • Draft 2025-2026 calendar has 157 full instructional days (compared to 180 in 2023-2024) and 177 operational days (compared to 198 in 2023-2024). Continue to provide up to 916 instructional hours. Continue to have assignable time limit of 1200 hours. Limited Time Free From Instruction during the 4 instructional days. Teachers would work a similar number of hours, but reconfigured during the week.
  • Scheduled non-instructional Fridays for professional development, staff meetings, etc. Potentially flexible end times for site-based (1:30pm) and Divisional (3:00pm). Potentially flexible in-person and virtual opportunities. Non-operational Fridays is Time Free From Instruction.
  • May provide greater continuity for students when teachers remain in the classroom more often during the 4 days, as professional development and other meetings are shifted to Fridays. Could result in less sub planning. Potential for more staff collaboration time on Fridays.

TEACHERS SNAPSHOT