Changing Education in WACO - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Changing Education in WACO

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A four day school week?

It sounds like a dream to most students, but it's a reality for nearly 500 students in the WACO Community School District.

"I started looking at the four day school week about five years ago," said WACO High School English teacher, Tom Ferguson.

Now, he's not just a teacher, he's the motor that's driving change in education.

While trying to find ways to save the district money, Ferguson realized that the traditional educational system needed changing. So he came up with a plan.

"We felt like if we could go to a four day school week with a plus one day, it would allow us to meet the needs of all out levels: Our talented and gifted students, down to our students who are struggling, and our average student." said Ferguson.

The plus one day is simple. On Fridays, there are no regular classes scheduled and students are not required to come to school, but teachers are available for office hours for extra help.

In addition, students can come to school to take college credit courses or just learn something extra. It's something that Ferguson says nearly 90 percent of students in the district are doing.

"It's been weird to get used to," says Senior Tympest Crawford. "Especially because the surrounding schools still have school on Fridays, so it's weird to know that Thursday is like my Friday to them."

Tympest says while this system was tough to get used to, it's paying off, even if she only gets a to enjoy it for one year.

"I think, being a senior, it's really nice to be able to take college courses during my regular school week," Crawford said. "It makes it better that I'm taking it with teachers I know and that I'm comfortable with."

But people in the WACO district seem to think that success with the four day week could mean something bigger for every student and teacher in the state and even the country.

"This has the potential to become a normal thing," says Sophomore Jackson Gerot. "I've heard almost all positive feedback for students, parents and teachers."

"I think if other schools read into our information and see how we're pressing forward," Crawford adds, "Then I think a lot of people will start the same trend."

That's why the district tracks things like attendance, work completion and test scores. Many teachers agree: times are changing and education must change with it.

"It's different. It's scary. It doesn't look like when I was in school," says Ferguson. "That's what throws people off. But things have to change based on the world we live in.  

 

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