Dime Box ISD starting 4-day weeks this school year

Dime Box is one of those charming "blink and you'll miss it" Texas towns.

The school district is Pre-K through 12 on one campus and this year, Superintendent Nicholas West is trying something different.

"You can set up your schedule where you meet your State requirements in a 4-day week," West said.

Dime Box ISD is trying a "flex" 4-day week, which means Mondays are optional but the school will still be open.

"There are 25 of the flex Mondays. We're giving the teachers eight of them off," West said. "So you kind of do the math, that works out to about a third of your staff will be gone each Monday."

In turn, school time on Tuesday through Friday is a little bit longer: 7:45 a.m. to 3:50 p.m.

West says Mondays won't be your typical school day. Students who need a little extra help with their grades may show up, or at least be encouraged to show up.

"We will make requests for students: you do need to be here, this is the extra help that is provided," West said. "But we also know that there are many families that are working and that are busy and they expect to have a full 5-day school week and so those students are going to be here too."

The district is starting a Monday bowling team and students will be able to take more field trips.

"The Alamo, the Capitol. These are places we don't get to take kids to see very often," West said.

Alysia Saldana is Dime Box-born and raised. It's her senior year.

"I think it's a good idea. I think it will give the kids opportunities to get a job and work on those Mondays," she said.

That's what Saldana says she'll be doing on Mondays unless she needs a little extra studying help.  

"It would be good for me for math because I suck at math! Any extra help I would need and I would take," Saldana said.

West got asked many times why Friday wasn't chosen as the flex day.

"The thing about it though is Friday is a very busy day in the school business," West said. "You've got football, you've got all types of extracurricular activities."

West says when this was decided on in the spring, there was some pushback, but that's changing he says. He also points out the 4-day calendar is being talked about around the state and the country.

"As with any change, everybody's nervous, reluctant, then as the stories spread as far west as San Francisco, it became excitement and pride that the name of Dime Box was out there," West said.

Because it's the beginning of the year, West says they will have school the next two Mondays and after that the flex week really starts.