The Student Newspaper of Paint Branch High School


The Student Newspaper of Paint Branch High School


The Student Newspaper of Paint Branch High School


MCPS Should Have a 4-Day School Week (pro/con)


Students and teachers come to school 5 days out of the 7 days in the week, the more learning your brain does the more it thinks and the slower it is able to process new information. Fatigue and stress can create problems for students and staff, and the solution to those problems is a 4-day school week schedule.

That extra day that students aren’t in school could really impact students and teachers all across MCPS in a positive way. One of these many positives is a significant reduction in stress and fatigue. While education is vital for students, the system is flawed. Public schools all across America put stress on students by giving them minimal flexibility to be able to balance their work and life.

An extra day would provide students an opportunity to catch up on missing work, study for a really important test that’s coming up, or use the day for rest and recuperation. The same goes for teachers who work intensively with their students with some working with well over a hundred students. For teachers, an extra day would provide time to grade, develop lesson plans, and would provide time for staff and other school meetings.  The current structure of schools is stressful, and the results of this extra school day would create less stress in the classroom, and make sure that students get quality education and produce the best outcome in the learning environment.

The 4-day school schedule would also improve the attendance of students and teachers. Teachers and students would have more time to spend with their families, handle any personal responsibilities that they have to get scheduled like medical appointments, and other personal or family commitments. This would likely cause student and teacher attendance rates to increase because they would have more time to use for anything that could cause an absence, thus reducing the need for any non-health related absence. 

Running schools for four days instead of five would save money for MCPS. Since students would be at home and not at school the cost of bus transportation to and from school provided by MCPS would decrease by 20 percent because 1 out of the 5 days buses wouldn’t run. Also, schools would see a significant decrease in their utility bills as schools would use less water and electricity because there would be few people in the building. This savings could be used to fund other necessities for the schools in MCPS. For example, the money could be used to fund hands-on learning field trips or for creating more engaging activities. Another option would be to use some of the money to provide higher quality school food for students; proper nutrition can heavily impact a student’s learning capability so this could be a valid use of the funds as well. 

A 4-day school week can teach students how to better balance their time. With the more freedom that is provided for students and teachers because of the extra day off, it gives students and teachers more time to plan out and work on what they know they might be lacking in. For example, if a student knows that they are sleep deprived they can use this extra day to catch up on some sleep, or if they know that they aren’t caught up or don’t understand what is going on in a certain subject they can use the time to study. Thus, creating a better time management skill set and understanding of Work-Life Balance. The shorter week would put a great emphasis on classroom management and learning material, overall causing students to excel in their studies.

One issue that may concern opponents of a 4-day week is students falling behind. To prevent MCPS students from falling behind, schools could add 15 minutes to every class period on the 4-day school week. This would add up to 1 hour and 45 minutes of more instruction and learning time in the school day.

Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) should Adopt a 4-day school week to enhance student and teacher well-being, reduce stress and fatigue and improve attendance rates, and create a more balanced and effective learning environment.



Raise your hand if you love summer break. Now imagine that break lasting just a few weeks. Well, if MCPS moved to a 4-day school week, that thought could become a reality. 

Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) currently uses a five-day school week schedule where students attend school for 180 days. If MCPS were to continue this same 180-day schedule but switched to a 4-day week, it would mean more than 30 days would have to be added to the school year to satisfy the 180-day requirement. On the surface, a 4-day school week sounds great to people who easily get stressed and often have more on their plate than just school, but a closer look shows that it is not a great idea. 

We have seen this idea before. During the Covid-19 outbreak MCPS – at all levels – used Wednesdays as an asynchronous day of learning where students could get help from their teachers, but attendance was not taken. From my experience with this, most high school students did not use this day for help but saw it as just an off day. When you give students the choice to work or take time off, they will take the time off. 

This extra day off – as students see it – also does not make sense for students who really need extra help.  If a student did need help with their work they would go in during lunch, which is why the lunch period is free to them. This extra day off means less student-teacher interactions, which is bad for everyone. Tests would have to be given out a day earlier. Studying would have to be done more frequently to just keep up in the curriculum. Overall, too much stress would be on that student just to accomplish normal assignments due to the loss of that one day.

If MCPS did go to a 4-day week that used, like they did during the pandemic with Wednesday as the no school day, it would mean that students would have to go from Tuesday to Thursday, which leaves a gap in their learning, which is especially important for younger students.

Additionally, a change to a 4-day week would make the school year much longer because there are laws around how much time a student needs to spend in classes. Normally this equates to 180 school days, so if MCPS uses the same schedule for school days, the 180 days would create a shorter summer than usual. This takes me back to my opening question about how you feel about summer. Think about the excitement you have as summer approaches and what it would feel like to lose that. 

This one change in how schools run would create many more issues and would need a lot of political support. And for what – one extra day? The bottom line is, a 4-day week means less interaction for students with teachers and peers, which would make it harder for that student to learn.

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About the Contributors
Omar Akbari, Sraff Writer
Most high school students don't think about, let alone have plans past today, but for 17-year-old Paint Branch senior Omar Akbari this is not the case as he has very meaningful plans for his future. Omar says that in the next ten years he “wants to be stable, have a good job, have a home, and be happy with a family.” For Omar, stability is a cornerstone of his aspirations. He's not content with merely going through the motions either as he's actively planning for a future that promises both personal and financial stability. In a world often characterized by uncertainty, Omar's unwavering commitment to stability serves as a testament to his maturity and foresight. One of Omar's foremost goals is to secure a good job that not only sustains him but also allows him to build a comfortable life. He understands the importance of hard work and dedication in achieving this goal, and he's willing to put in the effort to make it a reality. Beyond having a job that he looks forward to in the future, Omar dreams of having a place to call home. The idea of a stable, comfortable living environment is more than just a distant dream for him, it's a tangible goal. He envisions a home where he can find solace and create lasting memories with his family. Perhaps what sets Omar apart the most is his unwavering commitment to happiness. He understands that true success isn't solely measured by wealth or status but by the joy and contentment you get from living life. Omar's determination to find happiness in every aspect of his journey reflects a wisdom beyond his years. As he goes through his senior year at PB  with aspirations of stability, a good job, a loving home, and genuine happiness after college, Omar seems certain to achieve the goals he has set for himself.
Bereket Debebe, Staff Writer
If you speak a language other than English, then you know how important it is to one's identity. For Paint Branch senior Bereket Debebe that begins with the language of Amharic, which he has been speaking his whole life . His exposure to Amharic comes from Ethiopia, a small country in the horn of Africa where he was born and his parents are originally from.  Even though he and his family are from Ethiopia, they have resided in Maryland for around 13 years. Other than spending time in the U.S. and his native Ethiopia, he likes to vacation in Finland where he spent a few weeks this past summer going on daily jogs in his mornings to catch the sunrises or using trains to look at the farmland of the country. he likes to use Instagram the most in terms of posting content, something he did a lot more during his trip to show everyone at home what he was doing. During numerous plane, car and train rides throughout the summer, he listened to a lot of music to pass the time. As for what he was listening to, he notes that  his favorite solo artist is Lucki , a hip hop musician with popular songs like¨ Kapital Denim¨ and ¨Super Urus¨ just to name a few.  He enjoyed many different cuisines while on his trip to  Finland but Medium Rare, a restaurant in Washington, D.C remains his favorite.  He is a big red meat fan and he cannot get enough of this steakhouse.   If his life were a song, he mentions that the title of the song would be  “Continuous Progress.” He mentions this to show how involved he is in bettering himself day by day. This thinking aligns with his spirituality as he is a  devoted Orthodox Christian. In fact, if he could have coffee with any one person, he says he would choose  God in human form. He exclaims that he would  want to  speak with his god and explain his everyday troubles while also noting the joys he endures along the way.  He endures this joy with sometimes bright colors and other times not so much, which makes sense as his  two favorite colors are black and purple which he notes usually represent  his mood and how it can swing from time to time in an instant. Perhaps most importantly for this Panther senior is that he  wants to be remembered as a kind person. His  goal in this sits well with his thinking that he always wants to be remembered for good. By: Omar Akbari

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