Update 8/23/22 2:30 PM:

Dr. Timothy W. Tharp, of Savage, reached out to have his findings also included in this article. In 2014, while working toward his Doctorate in Education at the University of Montana, Dr. Tharp used population data and utilized the data from standardized tests taken by Montana Students over a seven-year period. Dr. Tharp concluded after the third year of schooling, with a 4-day a-week model, student achievement dropped significantly. If you'd like to read Dr. Tharp's full dissertation, click the button below.


Four-day school weeks have become a big topic this year, as they offer up more time for kids to "be kids". That extra day would be great for picking up extra hours at work as a teen or getting into a fun hobby, but unfortunately, the extra free time may actually be worse for your children.

There have been studies to suggest that shortening the school week may be causing your children harm.

What's better? 4 or 5 days?

When it comes down to cost savings or attendance, there isn't much of a difference. Certain educators swear by the fact a 4 day week has improved their personal class attendance, however, in the big picture, the difference has been minimal. As for academic success, Oklahoma and Oregon both had studies performed on the 4 day school weeks. In these studies, they found a primarily negative impact on academic success at schools with a 4-day week. If you'd like to learn more about those impacts or read the story on it, check out the button below to an article from Brookings.

What other concerns are there?

Things many may not think about, such as free school meal programs, access to gym equipment, social in-person interaction with friends, and even conversations with adults to help build their future social structure are being limited to 4 days a week. It may not seem like 1 day is a big deal, but that 1 day will add up in time.

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In Colorado, a study from the Journal of School Health found the 4 day week came with positive outcomes:

  • Improved Student Engagement
  • Decreased Substance Use Behaviors
  • Decreased Non-School Screen Time
  • Increased Physical Activity

... and came with negative outcomes:

  • Increased Bullying
  • Increased Sexual Activity
  • Decreased Sleep
  • Limited Breakfast Consumption
Photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash
Photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash

Overall, we need more research into this schooling setup. I remember when schools decided to begin releasing kids on Wednesday at 2 PM, and we LOVED it. Parents were not the happiest, as it was causing issues in their schedules, but as a kid, I always looked forward to an early release Wednesday. Did we get less done in class? Oh yeah. A lot less. But it gave us that extra joy for the rest of the week.

So, which counties in Montana have used a 4-day-a-week schedule?

In the 2021 to 2022 school year, 175 Montana Schools participated in the 4-day-a-week program. Here's a complete list of counties across Montana participating in this schooling program:

  • Big Horn 
  • Blaine 
  • Carbon 
  • Carter 
  • Cascade 
  • Chouteau 
  • Custer 
  • Dawson 
  • Fergus 
  • Flathead 
  • Gallatin 
  • Garfield 
  • Granite 
  • Hill 
  • Jefferson 
  • Judith Basin 
  • Lake 
  • Lewis & Clark 
  • Lincoln 
  • Madison 
  • McCone 
  • Mineral 
  • Missoula 
  • Musselshell 
  • Park 
  • Phillips 
  • Powder River 
  • Powell 
  • Ravalli 
  • Richland 
  • Roosevelt 
  • Rosebud 
  • Sanders 
  • Sheridan 
  • Silver Bow 
  • Sweet Grass 
  • Teton 
  • Treasure 
  • Valley 
  • Wibaux 
  • Yellowstone

What are your thoughts on this 4-day school week? Does your school participate? How does it affect your kids? Let us know in the App!

See Goregous Photos of Montana's 'Glass Home'

Even though it recently sold, The Farm at McCauley Butte is one of the most expensive and most expansive in the state, located just outside Missoula on the Bitterroot River. Take a look at this breathtaking estate.

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