Students, teachers ponder Wednesday half days


Courtesy photo

This Pre-calculus class, like all classes, would be affected by half days. These students only have about half the time they would normally have on full days which takes away from their instructional time in class.

For the past two years, Hartford Public Schools has had half days every Wednesday.

But a decision was made by the Superintendent’s office to eliminate weekly half days for the 2022-2023 school year and to instead have two half days per month, and there are a total of 17 half days for the year.

However, there is a possibility that weekly half days could be brought back for the 2023-2024 school year.

Many teachers have said that they would like to have weekly half days next year.

“I would be very happy if we had half days every week next year,” said engineering teacher Dennis Obie.

“I have mixed feelings about weekly half days. I liked the extra time in meeting with students, and it gave extra time for collaboration between teachers,” said english teacher Jennifer Todisco.

Weekly half days were discontinued mainly due to poor attendance. Students would not come to school on most if not all half days. If weekly half days are brought back next year it is very important to come to school on those half days.

Mr. Obie has said that he would like to have weekly half days next year because it would allow students to have a mental health day to catch up on makeup assignments, and teachers would be able to collaborate between departments and modify their lesson plans.

Ms. Todisco agrees that weekly half days would be beneficial to students to catch up on late assignments, especially because there is now a study hall after school on half days which allows students to seek help on assignments, but they have to utilize it. Students can’t look at it as just days off from school, because attendance is key.

Students have also said that they would like to have half days every week next year.

“I mean more half days would help students who have anxiety or school stress, like for higher level classes it’s good to have a break mid-week”, said Madeline Dube ‘25.

“If they were on Wednesday I would want it to be by the week like it is right now, but if we had them on Fridays I would like it to be every week”, said Caitlin Pampreen ‘24

But despite what you may think there are some people who are not wild about having weekly half days next year.

“If it were going to be a weekly thing, I would want the schedule to work so that the half day is accounted for in-class time,” said biology/conceptual physics teacher Jacklyn Snide.  “Because how we currently have it, blocks one, three, four, and five are getting less instructional time if you think about the weeks when we have half-day Wednesdays they are losing out on about forty minutes of instructional time a week versus the Tuesday/Thursday classes.”

This is correct. On a half day, classes are only 47 minutes. However, Ms. Snide said that she does not dislike the idea of weekly half days but she feels that we would have to find a way to move the blocks around so that it accounts for the lost time.