Welcome to the “new” Donnell-Kay Foundation website! I’m excited to unveil the site and to share a bit more of what this incredible team of people is working on and thinking about. And that latter piece – what we’re thinking about – is the part that really excites me. I want our website to be a place of discovery. A place where we share the ideas and early-stage thoughts we have with a wider audience, and for you to share your thoughts with us. What you won’t find here is an archive of completed reports and past projects.
In that vein, let me share one idea we’re starting to chase down. It is the opportunity that arises in those districts that have gone to a four-day school week. Although this idea has been around for decades, we saw rural districts in Colorado and other states in the west embrace the option in the wake of the 2008 recession in an attempt to cut costs. In fact, across the state of Colorado we have 84 districts – almost 50% of the total 178 — that now operate four instead of five days a week. As the recession has eased, adoption of the four-day week has actually accelerated, even as the early adopters have showed that cost savings are hard to achieve.
While some might lament this change (especially for parents who seek a safe and educative place on that fifth day for their children), we see instead an opportunity to engage with students, families and communities to better understand what they might envision for their kids on that fifth day. Could it be community or industry driven? Would there be opportunities for older students to engage in apprenticeships and skills training? Could there be enrichment activities that are coordinated through community resources rather than through schools? We imagine the answers to these questions differ depending on the particular community and the context they live in, and we hope to learn more from them in the coming months.
I hope you’ll come back to the DK website on a regular basis – to engage with us, to read our latest musings and to help us think outside of our normal limits. There is a deep need for innovative thinking to re-imagine teaching and learning – and we know we’re just scratching the surface so far.Contact Tony