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Published September 05, 2013, 10:05 PM

Pelican Rapids re-considers 4-day school week

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - The latest test scores in Pelican Rapids have school district officials concerned. The district's scores are well below state averages – this, after Pelican switched to a 4-day school week.

By: Kay Cooley, WDAY

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - The latest test scores in Pelican Rapids have school district officials concerned.

The district's scores are well below state averages – this, after Pelican switched to a 4-day school week.

Ask any student at Pelican Rapids, and most of them will tell you the same thing.

Paul Strand - Senior: “I love it.”

Esther Saavedra - Senior: “I think it's pretty cool actually.”

Strand: “It gives us an extra day on the weekend- kind of like a pillow day.”

They're talking about their four-day school week, currently in its fourth year after the cash strapped district tried to cut costs, but cutting days.

Deb Wanek - Superintendent: “We want to be able to offer well-rounded education.”

But district officials want to know if it should continue.

Wanek: “One of the biggest concerns has been what does it do academically?”

After slightly higher standardized test scores back in 2012, the district saw a huge drop last school year.

Reading scores were down more than 20 percent, and nearly 15 percent below the state average. And math, about ten percent below the average.

Wanek: “We are lower than some of the surrounding area schools, but our demographics are different too.”

Despite decreasing test scores, after implementing the four-day school week, the district has seen an increase in attendance and graduation rates, as well as fewer kids acting up.

Wanek: “I feel bad if people that that we are providing an inferior education when really in reality we have more minutes and more instructional time, and programs that we wouldn't have had if we didn't have this restructuring.”

Strand: “I think it's been a really positive thing for our school.”

So the district plans to meet with parents for public input.

Saavedra: “I think everybody is up for the four-day week.”

If public input is positive, district officials will send the Minnesota Department of Education an application to continue the four-day week for three more school years; it could be approved or denied.

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