Houston Independent School District’s Transition to a 4-Day School Week: Effects on Students and Teachers

Jourdan Simmons, Student Writer

The Houston Independent School District (HISD) recently has contemplated making the decision to change their school week from five days to four days. This decision has sparked discussions among parents, educators, and students about the potential effects of this change on the academic success and well-being of students and teachers. This article aims to explore the benefits and drawbacks of a 4-day school week and its impact on the HISD community.

The decision to transition to a 4-day school week in HISD was made in response to a shortage of teachers and the need to reduce transportation costs. The new schedule, which will be implemented in the 2023-2024 school year, includes longer school days from Monday to Thursday and a day off on Fridays.

Proponents of the 4-day school week argue that it offers several benefits to students and teachers. First, longer school days allow for more in-depth instruction and greater flexibility in scheduling extracurricular activities. Second, having Fridays off can reduce student and teacher burnout and provide more time for family activities and community involvement. Third, the reduced number of school days can lead to cost savings in transportation, food, and maintenance.

Critics of the 4-day school week point to several potential drawbacks. First, longer school days can be tiring and may lead to decreased student engagement and learning. Second, the shorter week may lead to a loss of instructional time, which can impact student achievement. Third, parents who work full-time may struggle to find childcare on Fridays.

While the effects of the 4-day school week on student achievement are still unknown, some studies have shown that students in districts with a 4-day school week perform similarly to those in districts with a 5-day school week. However, research also suggests that students may experience decreased attention and motivation during longer school days, leading to a potential negative impact on learning.

Teachers in HISD have reported both positive and negative effects of the 4-day school week. On one hand, the longer days allow for more instructional time and greater collaboration with colleagues. On the other hand, the longer days can be tiring and may lead to burnout, and the shorter week may result in a heavier workload and less time for planning and grading.

Overall, the transition to a 4-day school week in HISD has both benefits and drawbacks. While it offers greater flexibility and cost savings, it may also lead to decreased student engagement and burnout among teachers. The true impact of this change will depend on how it is implemented and the extent to which students, teachers, and parents are able to adapt. As the 2022-2023 school year progresses, it will be important to monitor the effects of this change on academic achievement, student well-being, and teacher retention.



  1. “Houston ISD to adopt four-day school week starting in August.” Houston Chronicle. https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Houston-ISD-to-adopt-four-day-school-week-starting-16882245.phpLinks to an external site.
  2. “Four-Day School Week: Research and Policy Implications.” Education Commission of the States. https://www.ecs.org/wp-content/uploads/Four-Day-School-Week-Research-and-Policy-Implications.pdfLinks to an external site.
  3. “The Pros and Cons of a Four-Day School Week.” Edutopia. https://www.edutopia.org/article/pros-and-cons-four-day-school-weekLinks to an external site.
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Empty classrooms soon loom as the district thinks about 4 day week