Ohio school district moves to four-day-week and CANCELS Mondays in plan by super fit superintendent

Super intendent Eugene Blalock frequently posts 'super' workout videos for his students online

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Children in an Ohio school district will only attend classes four days a week leaving them to learn from home on Mondays to avoid their teachers getting ‘burnout.’

Board members in the North College Hill City Schools District in Cincinnati voted unanimously to adopt the ‘blended learning’ model which they said had been proven to work during the pandemic.

Teachers will still be expected to work on Mondays but can use the time to plan their week and complete other administrative tasks. 

Schools in the district – which refers to itself as ‘trauma sensitive’ – are working to provide limited childcare support for younger students and food packages for those who rely on them. 

Superintendent Eugene Blalock – who frequently posts ‘super’ workout videos for his students online and preaches the importance of ’emotional learning’ – said the move would help hire and retain stressed out staff. 

Super intendent Eugene Blalock frequently posts 'super' workout videos for his students online

He says the move to a four-day week will help hire and retain more staff

Super intendent Eugene Blalock frequently posts ‘super’ workout videos for his students online. He says the move to a four-day week will help hire and retain more staff.

‘I think this could be a model that could save the profession of education,’ he told WCPO 9 Cincinatti. 

‘Teachers are leaving the profession at alarming rates and the idea of being able to have some time some quality time dedicated time to just get some collaboration some planning is something that is intriguing to the teachers, and it actually has excited and re-ignited my teachers.’

He added he hoped it would give older students the time to pursue internships and opportunities at local businesses outside of school. 

The district is said to be the first in Ohio to implement a blended learning model.

It will begin from August 15 and will mean children only attend school Tuesday through Friday. 

On Mondays, pupils will have schoolwork to complete – though the district says it will be self-directed and will not require their parents’ help.

Third-grade teacher Raven Jackson welcomed the initiative. 

“We all worn out – like even the kids are worn out,’ she told 9 Cincinnati.

‘I think this Monday will help with that. Having doctors’ appointments, not having to use our sick time to take those days off.

‘At least we know Mondays we wouldn’t have to worry about having a sub, splitting our classrooms, putting that extra work on our teammates.’

It comes amid a nationwide teaching crisis which saw educators leave the profession in their droves during the pandemic.

Data from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that public education in the US lost around seven percent of its total teaching staff between 2019 and 2020. 

The North College Hill City school district serves around 1,400 students in pre-kindergarten through to 12th grade. There are 150 teachers employed with the district.

Blalock has acted as superintendent for the district since 2016 and prior to that he was principal of a school there. 

Superintendent Eugene Blalock said reverting to a four-day week could 'save the profession of education'

Superintendent Eugene Blalock said reverting to a four-day week could ‘save the profession of education’

Michelle Garton, pictured,  acts as an assistant superintendent in the district

Courtney Collins, right, is the director of public personnel

The board voted ‘unanimously’ to implement the four-day week. Pictured: assistant superintendent Michelle Garton, left, and director of public personnel Courtney Collins, right

The district serves 1,400 students and 150 teachers. Pictured: North College Hill High School

The district serves 1,400 students and 150 teachers. Pictured: North College Hill High School 

He posts frequently on his Twitter page, often uploading videos to his series ‘Super Workout with the Superintendent.’

In November, he shared a post saying ‘We don’t need more hours in school, we need to do school differently within those hours.’

In more recent posts he referred to North College as a ‘trauma-sensitive school district.’

A ‘trauma-sensitive’ school means staff are able to recognize how adverse early childhood experiences affect a child’s well-being.

On the district’s website, Blalock says its mission is to focus on ‘our students’ social and emotional needs.’

His ‘executive cabinet’ consists of assistant superintendent Michelle Garton and director of pupil personnel Courtney Collins. 

Blalock said the move to a four-day week was not financially motivated and instead focused on the retention of staff.

‘It was not about saving money, it was more about saving teachers and saving the profession and doing something different to help students,’ he told the Cincinatti Enquirer.

A survey of teachers revealed that teachers in the district craved a better work-life balance.

‘Time trumped money,’ Blalock said.

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