CROSBY — The Crosby Independent School District Board of Trustees approved moving to a four-day instructional week starting next school year, at their board meeting Monday night.

Crosby ISD is the largest district in Texas to make the decision and the first in Harris County.

The change will help recruit and retain both school teachers and bus drivers, accoring to Crosby ISD Superintendent Paula Patterson.

When the 2023-2024 school year begins, Fridays will be considered student holidays, the district said. Teachers and staff will work one Friday a month for “staff development.”

An additional 20 to 25 minutes will be added to the school days to compensate for the three-day weekend.

Crosby ISD superintendent Paula Patterson said she hopes the move to a four-day school week will attract more teachers to the district. Crosby ISD started this school year down 40 teachers and they expected that number to get worse next year.

“We want to find, recruit and retain the best teachers in the state in the classrooms for our students,” Patterson said. “The change immediately makes Crosby ISD a top destination for educators in Harris County. Our move will attract even more exceptional teachers for our students, leading to high-quality academic outcomes. We also believe this move will increase our recruitment of bus drivers, who are vital in getting our students to and from school safely and on time.”

The vote for the new instructional calendar was closer than people may think with four board members giving the new instructional calendar approval and three others giving it a thumbs down. Crosby ISD board of trustees members Karen Thomas, school board President J.R. Humphries, Lisa Kallies and Phillip Chapman voted in favor of the 4-day school week.

“In my personal view, the 4-day calendar recommendation from Superintendent Patterson and her administration was a bold, strategic move that evolved after much deliberation with her team as well as with feedback from the staff, the students and the community at large,” said Board of Trustees President J.R. Humphries.

The majority of parents that were present during the vote Monday supported the move, but the district’s latest survey found 41% of respondents wanted to stick with a five-day school week because they were concerned about the inability of families to find and pay for childcare.

“I do feel for those family members that don’t have someone to stay at home with them, but at the end of the day, we’re going to have a whole lot less days if we don’t have teachers in the classroom,” Angela Hayes said. “So four good days are better than five days where teachers are absent or not able to be there.”

There will be a transition between 4 and 5 day schedules next year. Beginning with the upcoming fall semester, the month of August will operate under the regular, 5-day schedule. Then, from September through mid-April, Fridays will be student holidays. The 5-day schedule will resume from mid-April to the end of the school year in May.

The 2023-2024 school year begins Aug. 7 for Crosby ISD, though the four-day schedule won’t start until September.