Four-day school brings childcare challenges, opportunities |

Four-day school brings childcare challenges, opportunities

Children at the Boys & Girls Club of Craig work or play on computers at the child care center last summer.
Eliza Noe / Craig Press file

Now that Moffat County School District has approved a four-day school week calendar for the next three school years, the next question is what childcare and youth program options will be available for students on Fridays.

Scott Pankow, Moffat County School District Superintendent, said the district put out a survey and held an open forum prior to voting on the schedule change. Access to childcare was included on the survey.

“It wasn’t a big concern on the survey or the open forum. We understand it will be an issue for some parents and we are sensitive to that,” Pankow said.

What was more expressed in the open forum, Pankow said, was from parents who wanted extra time with their children to travel, work on projects outside of school, or focus on animals for agricultural families.

When the district created the new school schedule, it was based on the four pillars of student success, teacher retention, and to uphold the vision and mission of the district. The four-day school schedule was something the community wanted, Pankow explained. Childcare is always on the radar, and was not an issue that would prevent the change from happening.

“We know there will be an impact on parents, and we have talked with the Boys & Girls Club and 4-H about some options to collaborate on half day programming on Fridays,” Pankow said.

There are still a lot of details to be worked out, but community organizations are getting on board and looking for opportunities.

“We are dreaming big and thinking about the best way we can serve the community differently and provide a place for youth to be with quality programming,” said Dana Duran, executive director of Boys & Girls Club of Craig.

Boys & Girls Club met with the district more than once to talk about doing a catch-up tutoring or mentoring program in the afternoon to help students who need additional support or academic help. Boys & Girls Club already has an informal homework-help program after school, Duran said, but this would be an expansion of that with more specific focus in the areas each student needs help.

Duran said Boys & Girls Club is also thinking of partnering with other youth-serving organizations and local businesses on a half-day adventure-based program that could take place Fridays. The idea would be for students to spend the morning doing activities outdoors and in the community and then to have access to academic support in the afternoon.

The Moffat County Extension Office is thinking of doing a 4-H Friday for youth to showcase a different 4-H Project area.

“I would really love to be a helping hand in the program available for those youth on Fridays when they don’t have school,” said Megan Stetson, County Extension Director.

There’s a wide variety of topics the program could cover including agriculture, natural resources, and health and wellbeing. Youth who are involved in the Friday program don’t have to be involved with 4-H, but it could be a natural introduction for youth to join if they are interested.

There is limited space at the Extension Office to offer a youth program, so 4-H Friday may be a partnership with the Boys & Girls Club or local daycares.

“It is going to be an expensive expansion to be able to provide services on all of those Friday, and we will do everything we can to meet the needs of the community,” Duran said.

For local organizations to expand their services an additional day, there is always a question about capacity. There is still more work to be done before these organizations can be certain what exactly the expanded Friday services will look like.

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