The Advantages of a Four Day School Week

  1. The financial savings to districts that jump on the four-days-per-week bandwagon can be tremendous, regardless of the size of the district.
  2. Compacting school into just four days a week leaves more time for kids to spend with family, friends and outside interests.
  3. Most states allow districts to opt into a four-day week, either through flexible requirements, explicit administrative rules, or a waiver approval process.
  4. Four-day school week provides an opportunity for extra rest and a less stressful environment.
  5. Teachers have more time to prepare lessons and collaborate during the day.
  6. Allows students to relax or to be more productive.
  7. Proponents of four-day school weeks say that even though cost savings are minimal, they are achieved.
  8. Looking forward to a three-day weekend each week leads to greater work-life balance for teachers, which leads to improved staff morale and a positive impact on what is taught in classrooms.
  9. Opportunities for an extra work day at an after-school job, engaging in volunteer activities or pursuing additional educational goals.
  10. Anecdotal evidence also suggests that attendance improves; parents and teachers can schedule doctor’s appointments and other weekday commitments for Fridays rather than during school days.
  11. Kids said they enjoyed having more time for play, rest and even homework, while high schoolers tended to pick up extra shifts at their part-time jobs, or volunteer to boost their college prospects.
  12. Students who are athletes don’t miss as much class and have less work to make up when events occur on a day off.
  13. 4-day week for schooling is that it offers teachers and students an additional day for rest every week.
  14. District administrators also claim that the appeal of a four-day work week helps recruit teachers in areas where it is consistently difficult to attract new staff.
  15. More rest then equates to dealing with less stress over the course of a school year.
  16. Fewer days spent in class might mean fewer discipline referrals for students.
  17. Students feel less pressure because they have more time to study at their own pace at home, especially in the later grades.
  18. Students are more rested and focused and therefore less likely to disrupt class, be off task or engage in other behaviors requiring discipline.
  19. There were also reduced sick days requested by their teaching staff.
  20. Attendance has improved for teachers and students.
  21. Their graduation rates slowly increased year after year when they switched to a 4-day school week.
  22. An increase in academic achievement also has been associated with a four-day school week.
  23. Reported that their test scores improved when they shifted to this alternative schedule as well.
  24. Gradual increase in its graduation rate since adopting the new school week.
  25. There are potential reductions in the financial costs of running a school district.
  26. A reduction in system spending may be a significant factor considered when moving to a four-day school week.
  27. There is the potential of reducing transportation costs by up to 20% by shifting the schedule.
  28. Better teacher and student morale.
  29. Reduced discipline referral frequency.
  30. Transportation costs including fuel, bus maintenance and driver salaries are reduced.
  31. For school districts struggling with funding issues, the potential savings here could save the budget.
  32. If facilities are used only four days per week instead of five, there is a significant reduction in utility costs to the system.
  33. Staff recruitment is easier with the 4-day school week for school districts.
  34. Money spent to fund school breakfast and lunch programs are reduced by 20 percent, as is spending associated with all hourly cafeteria and custodial workers.
  35. The school districts in the state have stable student achievement levels on their standardized tests.

10 Types of Parents at a Parent Teacher Meeting

 Parent teacher meeting is for interaction between parents and teachers to help the child. But some parents really give a hard time to the teacher. It’s a day when a most naughty and mischievous child transforms into the innocent one in front of parents. It’s also a day when a new form of parents is revealed which you never knew existed. I have attended many parent teacher meetings and there are different types of parents at a PTM.

  1. Can’t let go parents – These parents do not leave until they discuss everything about their child family with the teacher. Sometimes I really wonder what are they talking about for so long when I still have to figure out what to ask the teacher. Such helicopter parents should be given a slot at the end of the session. Also, there should be a time limit for each parent with the class teacher I feel its more waiting than the actual meeting. There are long queues to meet the teacher and these ‘can’t let go parents‘ are the ones who are responsible for this extra waiting time.
  2. Know it all parents – These parents just smile, nod and say ‘I KNOW MADAM’ at the end of each sentence by the teacher. Even if the teacher is complaining about their child, they just smile and inform the teacher that they know everything and there is nothing new. I really wonder why they even come for the meeting when they already know everything.
  3. A hurried parent – These parents are always in a hurry. So they just greet the teacher, ask how the child is doing and sign the parent form and leave. They are the unenthusiastic ones who wonder – why school keeps a PTM and what’s the use of a PTM?
  4. Scolding parents – A terrified child and an angry looking parent is a common sight in these meetings. These parents have a very serious face throughout the meeting and a child who looks like he can cry any minute. They won’t even wait for teachers to give the feedback as they are busy scolding their child.
  5. Talkative parents – These types of parents won’t let teacher talk as they have a lot of things to share with the teacher. They talk as if they were just waiting for the next PTM to share everything about the child. This is an opposite case of ‘know it all parents’ as in this case, the teacher is the one who smiles, nods and listens.
  6. Sad parents – Whenever I see such parents, I feel like going and giving them a hug. They look as if the world is coming to an end and now no one can save them and their child. They enter the school with a sad face and leave the school with a sad face. When teachers see such parents, they actually take their complaints back to cheer them up.
  7. Complaining parents – These parents think that their child has no problem but it’s the school that has a problem. Before the teacher gives any reviews about the child, they start complaining about the school. According to them, everything from infrastructure to staff and from curriculum to teachers is wrong and that’s the reason their child is not performing well.
  8. Ghost parents – These parents miss many parent teacher meetings and sometimes don’t show up after emails from teachers. So, when they finally show up for the meetings, the teacher makes sure to lock the door before they run away.
  9. Interrogating parents – These parents have a long list of questions ready for the teacher- When is the field trip? When are the exams starting? Why there was no extra period this week? Why do you allow latecomers? What is the plan for sports day? It is more like an interview for the teacher than a parent teacher meeting. Even when teacher answers all the questions, they still have this unsatisfactory look on their face. If the teachers by any chance see this parent outside the school, I am sure she will either run or hide from them.
  10. Not on the same page parents – These parents are never on the same page and often say different things at the same time to the teacher. They do not agree to each other’s point of view and end up fighting in front of teachers. As a result, either only mom is talking or only dad. The other parent is just a silent parent who came there just to support the other one.

Have you observed different types of parents at a parent teacher meeting? Which type of parent are you?




Sometimes it’s hard for parents (and even teachers!) to determine if certain struggles or behaviors are just a normal part of the learning process, or an indicator of a deeper issue. Certain problems can serve as red flags that a cognitive skill weakness may be causing serious learning struggles and holding a child back.

Cognitive skills are the underlying mental tools that make up IQ and include skills like logic & reasoning, attention, memory, processing speed, and auditory and visual processing. If one or more of these skills are weak, reading and learning can be difficult. If a cognitive skill weakness is the underlying cause of problems in school, the struggles will not ease until those weak skills are addressed.

So, as you head into conferences, or any time you talk to your child’s teacher, listen for these red flag phrases:

“I know he’s smart, but …”

  • His work doesn’t show it.
  • It’s just not coming out.
  • He makes sloppy mistakes.

This is one of the most frustrating aspects of weak cognitive skills for parents and teachers: a smart child locked inside a struggling student. This phrase is a good indicator that several cognitive skills are very strong, while others are deficient and causing a bottleneck for learning.

“He’s below grade level in reading.”

Most reading struggles can be linked to weak cognitive skills. Studies show 85 percent of all learning-to-read problems are caused by weak phonemic awareness skills, which give us the ability to hear, blend, unglue, and manipulate the smallest sounds in a word. Reading struggles can also be caused or compounded by deficiencies in visual processing, memory, attention, and processing speed. If your child continues to struggle in reading, it can eventually lead to problems in other subjects, too.

“He takes a long time to…”

  • Finish schoolwork.
  • Answer questions.
  • Follow directions.

Some kids take longer because they’re perfectionists, but weak cognitive skills are generally to blame if a child is always the last student done with an assignment, can’t seem to complete tasks, or takes hours to wrap up standard homework loads.

“He continues to struggle with…”

  • Math facts.
  • Paying attention.
  • Following directions.

Some struggles are normal when learning anything. But if your child takes a longer-than-average amount of time to master grade-level learning, a cognitive weakness is most likely the root cause.

While ongoing struggles in reading and math are often clear signs of a cognitive weakness, other behaviors are also strong indicators. Red-flag behaviors that may come up in a parent-teacher conference include:

  • The inability to stay on task
  • Bouncing from idea to idea
  • Making sloppy mistakes
  • Turning in incomplete work
  • Not turning in assignments at all
  • Impulsiveness
  • General attention issues
  • Spelling problems (including forgetting words after mastering them)
  • Problems with if/then analogies
  • Struggles following instructions
  • Difficulty comprehending numbers, directions, answers
  • Trouble discerning left and right
  • Poor ability to use maps
  • Hesitation to read aloud
  • Poor organization skills
  • Forgetfulness
  • Avoiding prolonged mental efforts
  • Dislike or disinterest in school

If you hear any of the red flag phrases at conference time, or if the teacher says your child has several of the above signs, it may be time to schedule a cognitive skills assessment. After determining which skills are weak, you can focus on the most effective way to target and train those skills.

While certain games, exercise, and activities can help strengthen weak cognitive skills, one-on-one personalized brain training targets specific brain skills that, when at their strongest, make learning easier and more efficient.


10 Things Parents Just Don’t Understand About Teachers

I’ve eaten at hundreds of restaurants in my life, but I’ve never worked at one. My wife was a waitress in college, so when we go out to eat and I complain about something, she’s usually able to offer me an explanation.

The table next to ours received their food first because they ordered soup and sandwiches and we ordered pizza.

That family was seated ahead of ours because a table for four opened up, but there isn’t yet room for our party of six.

The restaurant may appear sparsely populated, but our food could be taking a long time because there’s a backlog of take-out orders.

Until you do a job, you can’t appreciate all that goes into it.  It’s this fact of life that accounts for many of the misconceptions parents have about teaching. So here are 10 things parents might not know.

We Have Less Control Over Things Than You Think We Do

The state adopts standards that we have to teach. The Board of Education approves programs that we’re required to use. The district’s administrators are under pressure to improve test scores, and that filters down to us. We may be “there for the kids,” but we’re also employees. So while we may want to teach your child other things and in other ways, we usually have less discretion than you suspect. When you complain about our math program,  you put us in a difficult position. We might very well agree with you, but saying so would be unprofessional.

We Do It All Ourselves

Teachers don’t have office assistants. We type all of our own newsletters and emails. Because we have many other urgent things to do, we likely typed that newsletter in ten minutes, while being interrupted three times, and then quickly read it over once before hitting print and running out of the room to pick up our students from some other class. Those typos aren’t because we’re idiots. They are the predictable result of never having enough time to do all aspects of our jobs at the level we’d like to.

We Forget Stuff

There are a LOT of things that happen during the day. We may read an email from you right before the office interrupts with an announcement and a girl picks a scab and comes running for a Band-Aid. The contents of your email can quickly become forgotten amid the hustle and bustle of our days. We don’t recall everything that happens. If we send an email home explaining that Tommy had a rough day, don’t be surprised if we’re unable to recall the six things Tommy specifically did that led to the email. All we remember is he was disruptive.

We’re Really Busy

We don’t have office jobs. We have a computer, but there’s a very good chance we won’t sit in front of it the entire day. If you email at 10 a.m. asking us to tell Timmy to ride the bus home after school and you don’t get a response back, you should call the office. We either didn’t check our email or we read it and forgot (see We Forget Stuff above).

We’re More Annoyed Than You About Buying School Supplies

We don’t like asking you to provide notebooks, pencils, folders, Kleenex, hand sanitizer, and all the other things on those beginning-of-the-year supply lists. But our schools aren’t buying them for us, and we already spend plenty of our own money on things we shouldn’t have to. If you don’t want to buy the stuff on the list, that’s fine. But don’t complain to us about it.

We Don’t Really Want to Take Your Kids’ Toys

We know it’s unrealistic to expect you to double-check your kids’ backpacks every morning and that most toys arrive in our classrooms without your knowledge. But please understand that when we take your sons’ toys we’re doing it because they’re distracting, and if we allow one there will ten more tomorrow. So please, if your child takes a toy to school and it’s taken away from him, don’t bail him out by coming to school and asking for the toy back. Let him learn his lesson, at least for a week.

We Might Not Want Your Help

Schools like to talk about how they want more parent involvement, and some parents generously offer to help in classrooms. Sometimes, it’s greatly appreciated. But other times, it’s more work for us. We’re used to doing things ourselves. We’re not very good at delegating. And if we know you’re coming every Wednesday at 2:00 p.m., we have to find something for you to do. We’ve also had parents who caused more problems than they solved. They joked around and distracted students, made too much noise when they were in the room, and modeled bad behavior. We don’t want to correct your behavior in front of the class, but we also don’t want our students disrupted. Sometimes, we don’t want to take the risk, so we don’t ask for your help.

If We Meet With You Before or After School,  We’re Working for Free (and We Might Resent It)

If we need to talk to our doctors, we must do so on their time. If we call a business after it’s closed, we have to wait until tomorrow to get service. Even professionals like realtors or financial advisors who will meet with us after hours are doing so with the expectation of a pay-off in the future. If we meet with you before school, we’re probably thinking about all the things we need to do before students arrive. If we’re meeting with you after school,  we’re tired and want to go home. We’ll be professional, but we’re no more happy about it than you would be if your boss asked you to stay and work for free.

There’s Not Much I Can Do To Punish Your Kid

Some of you want us to handle all things school-related, but there’s little we can do when your child regularly misbehaves. Our principals may think we’re ineffective if we send your kid to the office too often. Taking away recess is counterproductive and punishes us just as much as your child. Other more creative consequences may be met with criticism from you, despite your pledge to stay out of school matters. If your child isn’t doing her job at school, you’re in the best position to punish your kid because you can take away the things she really likes. You’ll send a stronger message by taking away her iPad, making her go to bed thirty minutes early, or not allowing her to attend a sleepover on Saturday than we will by giving her a lunch detention. If we’re telling you about your kid’s poor behavior, it’s because we want you to do something.

We Sugarcoat

If we tell you that your kid was disrespectful to his classmates, we’re really telling you that your kid was a jerk. If we describe your child as “difficult to motivate,” we’re calling him lazy. If we say Jill had a difficult day, we mean she was a major pain in the keister. Whatever we tell you, assume it was twice as bad as it sounds.