This spring's graduating class at the Frederick Area School will be the first that has worked with a four-day schedule all through high school.
It's the Frederick Area School District's fourth year with a four-day week. According to data from the South Dakota Department of Education, the number of districts that have four-day school weeks in the state has more than doubled since the 2008-09 school year.
Representing almost a quarter of districts, 38 schools in the state have changed over to a four-day schedule.
In Frederick, students attend school from 8:15 a.m. to 3:40 p.m. Monday through Thursday.
"Coming from a five-day school week, I wasn't sure how I could integrate my leadership philosophies with what there was in place," said first-year Superintendent Bev Myer.
It was also a change for Justin Downes, who is serving as Frederick Area School's principal for the first year.
"The most common misconception is they think that we're working less, but there are longer extended class periods," he said. "When I was a teacher before becoming principal, I was able to get through more curriculum."
About 162 of 186 students are bused in, Myer said. She said busing is a huge cost consideration.
The district has three bus routes that are each 40 to 45 miles long. Providing the service four days a week instead of five, means cost savings.
According to district profiles compiled by the Department of Education, the district saved more than $14,000 on transportation expenditures in the first year of four-day operations.
There are also some savings in the payroll, which takes up about 80 percent of the district's budget, Myer said. Having a four-day week, means saving on hourly employee payroll.
"We can infuse those extra dollars into our technology," Myer said.
All high school students are given iPads to use in and out of the classroom for educational purposes.
Science teacher Sarah Sumption said she has enjoyed the four-day week because longer class periods allow her to have more flexibility with lesson plans, especially when it comes to doing labs with the students.
"Friday becomes a day to catch up on things, and the day is spent helping students, creating individualized education programs and having staff meetings," Myer said.
Sumption said she has seen a change in the students, too.
"Their attitudes are better, and they seem more focused," she said.
Every other Friday, teachers are available from 10 a.m. to noon to help students. The Friday sessions are called enhancements.
Senior Jared Minard takes advantage of the extra time with teachers to catch up on classwork.
"I mainly catch up on homework," he said. "I try to go every time."