Teachers aren’t sold on a four-day school week, but the local union still approved the unique calendar at Sun Peaks new school because the number of hours spent in the classroom won’t be compromised.
The only way Jason Karpuk, president of the Kamloops-Thompson Teachers’ Association, could have nixed the proposal is if it violated the teachers’ contract with the province.
“How educationally sound it is I don’t know,” Karpuk said Tuesday. “But they’ve met all the contractual obligations.”
School trustees approved the four-day week in principle earlier this month despite the district’s trustees and staff expressing concern about the impact on children in school for shorter weeks but longer days.
It was decided that the new calendar would go ahead for the current school year with an evaluation to take place in June.
All parties involved were allowed to weigh in during the last couple of weeks. The proposal was formalized at a school board meeting Monday night.
This was good news for Sun Peaks parents, who enjoyed a four-day school week during the last two years when the school operated in partnership only with the Kamloops-Thompson School District.
The district took over operation of the school earlier this month, which meant the calendar needed official approval. Barb Kupferschmid, president of the Sun Peaks Education Society, said the longer days suit the resort municipality’s lifestyle, where many parents work shifts or odd hours.
Class will begin at 8:30 a.m. and run until 3:45 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Kupferschmid said this lets most moms and dads drop their children off in the morning and pick them up on the way home from work.
Karpuk said teachers worry the long days will be too much for young children, especially those in kindergarten through Grade 5. Kupferschmid said it hasn’t been an issue the last two years and shouldn’t cause concern again this year.
“Our children are quite active,” she said, adding busing them to nearby Heffley Creek elementary would make for an equally long day.
School trustees will take a wait-and-see approach. Board chair Denise Harper is concerned about the long days but said Sun Peaks parents asked for the schedule.
“It’s a matter of seeing how it works,” she said.