Welcome to the Fifth Day Newsletter from Donnell-Kay!
View this email in your browser

Optimizing the Four-Day Week


Every day counts when it comes to the learning and future of our students, and that’s what the Fifth Day Newsletter is all about.
Four-day school weeks are a growing trend across the western United States, including in 88 of Colorado’s 179 school districts. Some shorten the week to save money, others do it to meet community needs or help with teacher hiring and retention. 

Many of those communities are using their additional day or the fifth day for something more. The Donnell-Kay Foundation visited these communities across Colorado implementing the four day schools week and decided investing in this work could help grow authentic learning from the ground-up. The foundation is in the midst of funding some of that work – and this newsletter will share those communities’ stories and ideas for how to use that fifth day creatively.
This is more than a newsletter though – this is a platform to share stories, highlight local and national trends, support your learning, and begin to create a professional community around the fifth day here in Colorado.

  • Do you have ideas you want to share? Feedback? Email us now!
  • Know someone who would like to be a part of this community? Please share the newsletter!

Fifth Day Design Thinking Workshop: A few highlights

Donnell-Kay’s Fifth Day project started with an RFP that went out to communities currently leveraging or looking to leverage their fifth day. We received 31 applications representing 27 communities from across Colorado. After a lengthy review process, eight communities were selected to take the next steps: a design thinking workshop in Denver and then deploying a two month design thinking process in their own communities. Over the course of a Saturday, they gained the tools and resources necessary to identify their students’ needs and interests and look for ways to align those interests with their communities' assets. 

Quotes from the Participants:

“I’ve realized that I didn’t want to fail or be wrong. I’ve been uncomfortable with not understanding the how, but now I realize that what I have really been looking for is the what.”

“The iterative process is freeing. I don’t have to hold on to something that isn’t working. I can keep what works and throw out the rest.”

“It’s difficult to not allow my own experiences and biases to get in the way as I interview the 'users' of my intended program. However I now know I must keep them in check to get to the heart of what 'users' or students want and need.”

Two Articles & DK's Perspective on the Fifth Day

The four day school week is a local issue and is also getting national attention. The two articles below highlight divergent opinions on what’s becoming a controversial topic.


Here’s a piece that offers a more positive perspective: Does moving to a four day school week allow schools and school districts to rethink and redesign their systems including their school year calendar? Does it provide teachers additional time for planning? How can community partners be leveraged in a four day school week? 


This article explains the arguments from naysayers: Does the four day school week harm lower income and at-risk students? Does it negatively impact lower income and at-risk student families? Has there in been a negative impact on assessment scores or student health and behaviors? Have districts saved money?
Though the Donnell-Kay Foundation sees both sides, it predominantly views this as an opportunity to provide communities with the time and space to build an innovative, next generation learning experience for students. We can do this by leveraging the existing resources and assets of our communities in pursuit of what students need and crave. Free of assessments, standards, and other rigid expectations and requirements, what is truly possible in that fifth day? We think the answer is: a lot!
Maybe a four-day school week makes the fifth day sound like a throw away. But everyone getting this email knows that's not at all the case. It's an opportunity even Lisa Simpson would love.
The FIfth Day Newsletter is a project of the Donnell-Kay Foundation. Learn more:
Copyright © 2017 Donnell-Kay Foundation, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp