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The Stampede

The student news site of Wiregrass Ranch High School

The Stampede

The student news site of Wiregrass Ranch High School

The Stampede

A new solution to school absenteeism

Pasco County School Board officially approves 4-day weekends in hopes of decreasing numbers of absent students.
Kurt+Browning+explains+the+school+boards+decision+to+add+four+day+weekends%2C+in+order+to+make+parents+lives+easier.
(Kimberly Khalaf)
Kurt Browning explains the school boards decision to add four day weekends, in order to make parents lives easier.

The fight against absenteeism in Pasco County School is in full swing as a new plan has been approved for the upcoming 2024-2025 school year. The new changes include 4-day weekends in order to dedicate an entire day to “Professional Learning Days,” for teachers.

New extended weekends will be October 12-15, February 14-17, as well as April 18-21, as seen in the new calendar for next year. The district adds these in hopes parents will schedule trips or appointments, instead of skipping school the day before a break. After sitting down with the superintendent of the pastor county school board, Kurt Browning, the reasoning behind the changes became apparent.

“The whole premise behind it was if you’re going to take a trip,” Browning stated, “then do it on one of these predetermined weekends so that all the preparation your teachers have made isn’t in vain, and kids aren’t getting behind.”

The new calendar (shown above) for the 2024-2025 school year will include several dates within the first semester for professional learning days.

The issue of absenteeism first came to the attention of the Board due to how unstructured half-days had become. With most teachers treating half-days as more time to grade papers, the district wanted to add a day to ensure teachers had the time they needed to learn and converse about methods of teaching and curriculum.

When it comes to adding a significant change to a school calendar, the process includes analyzing every detail. The Calendar Committee within the district, along with other members of the board, took into account the increasing amount of absenteeism after the COVID-19 pandemic. As Browning stated, there were, “only about 70% of the kids back and there were still 30% of kids still home.”

This new transition will also be used as a way to replace half-days in the first semester, in order to add an entire day of “professional learning,” with half-day meetings in the second semester.

“It’s an opportunity for teachers and staff to have smaller pushpins of stuff they may need,” Browning explained. “My big deal was making sure teachers were early enough in the semester that’s they learn new things, and then they have time to implement those things.”

Browning, along with the entirety of the school board have high hopes about the coming change next school year, and will continue to use this method if it is successful. According to Browning, the four day weekends ultimate priority is to allow parents and students to have the vacation time they need in order to still take advantage of every day of the school year.

”Teachers work hard, parents work hard, and kids work hard,” Browning said. “We all need to have time to recharge our batteries.”

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About the Contributor
Emmaly Simmons, Student Life Editor
Emmaly is a junior at Wiregrass and this is her second year writing for The Stampede.  She did competitive cheer for 6 years, is a member of the  WRHS Color Guard and a part of the Marching Band Bulls. Some of her hobbies are writing, reading, and cooking. After high school, Emmaly would like to attend the University of Florida, majoring in Journalism and English and minoring in Business. She is excited to be writing for The Stampede this year!
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    Mrs. SwainJan 30, 2024 at 8:59 pm

    Amazing job Emmaly!

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