PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — In an effort to reduce burnout, one Philadelphia school is moving to a four-day work week for teachers.
Starting in the fall, teachers at Sankofa Freedom Academy Charter School in Kensington will work a four-day week, either Monday through Thursday or Tuesday through Friday. Students will continue to go all five days.
School CEO Dr. Ayesha Imani says this is an attempt to curb teacher turnover. Every year, five or six of Sankofa’s 30 K-12 teachers don’t return.
“We, as well as schools all over this country, are having problems with teacher retention,” she said. “Especially in urban areas, where the work can be — certainly the work is extremely rewarding, but it’s also extremely challenging.”
She says teachers and aides will help to cover classes on their colleagues’ off-days.
“It’s not that these teachers will just be in the nail salons,” Imani said. “These teachers will still be the teachers that they are — which are people who are really committed to their children.”
Teacher salaries will stay the same, and teachers will work a half-hour longer on their four days on.
Reading specialist and fifth-grade team leader Katina Mackey is looking forward to the new schedule.
“I love the fact that it is like a self-care day built in to the work week for teachers,” she said. “We’re very concerned about teacher burnout.”
She says the new schedule will allow constantly stressed teachers to recharge.
“It’s like the computer with 20 tabs open. You’re trying to always think about how you can best serve the scholars who you stand in front of every day,” she said. “And this gives teachers the opportunity to have a day of rest, of replenishing themselves.”
If the new schedule works, Imani says she’d like to explore ways to give Sankofa students a four-day week as well.