The 2023-2024 school year is the first of its kind for Estrella schools as they move to a four-day school week. The Liberty Elementary School District (LESD) approved the move in November of last year, making it one of the first in the state to make the change.
LESD serves more than 4,500 students in grades K-8 in Goodyear and Buckeye, including Estrella schools Westar Elementary and Estrella Mountain Elementary.
The decision to move from a traditional five-day week to four comes after years of discussion, surveys and research. After a failed budget override in 2022, district officials were forced to look at new cost-saving measures and the four-day work week was suggested. However, research showed shortening the school week wouldn’t result in significant cost savings, but it would, however, provide them a strong tool for teacher recruitment and retention. District officials believe the change will entice teachers to the area who are looking for a better work-life balance. Arizona remains at the forefront of a nationwide teacher shortage.
Estrella families can rest assured, the shorter week will not result in decreased instruction. Students will instead have an extra 40 minutes added to each school day in exchange for Fridays off. Teachers will be required to work every other Friday to accommodate for meetings, lesson planning, and other responsibilities.
The move to a shorter week was supported by 61% of parents surveyed. The 39% opposed to the change cited childcare as their primary concern. As a result, the district is offering structured care programs on Fridays to ensure the needs of these parents are met. For those that supported the change, Fridays off will allow more time for children and families to bond, develop talents, hike and explore the surrounding Sierra Estrella mountains together, travel and more.
For more information on their discussions and the pros and cons researched see here:
A link to the LESD calendar can be found here.
Find your new home at Estrella.com and discover why 7,600 families already call this diverse, welcoming West Valley master-planned community home. Located in Goodyear, Arizona amongst pristine mountains and a dramatic desert landscape, Estrella amenities include multiple Residents’ Clubs, resort-style pools and a waterpark, 72 acres of lakes, 65-plus miles of paths and trails, the Yacht Club of Estrella, the award-winning Nicklaus Design course at the Golf Club of Estrella, community welcome center, and more than 50 neighborhood parks.