Windsor Elementary School will likely begin an extended-day schedule next fall, despite opposition from some parents who think the program will mean class sizes will be too large to control.
Windsor Principal Steve Cherrington told the Alpine School Board during a regular meeting at Sharon Elementary School Tuesday that after months of research, most parents and all of the school's teachers want to start an extended-day schedule.Melody McNamee, Windsor PTA president, said parents on both sides of the issue are willing to work together.
"Some of our patrons are very excited about this change, and some of them are very apprehensive about this new change at our school, but they're willing to work to make it work," she said. "School administrators have done a lot of listening to concerns of parents. I feel that the program they have developed is the best for our school."
School officials began working on the program about a year ago, because they needed to find a way to increase Windsor's student capacity. Boundary changes recently approved by the district for the northeast Orem area will bring more than 200 additional students to the school next year, increasing enrollment to 942, Cherrington said.
If the school board approves the school's extended-day plan at its April 26 meeting, this will be Windor's last year on a traditional schedule.
The extended-day schedule would divide each student's day into two parts, with three-and-half hours spent every day learning core subjects like math and spelling and two hours spent on specialty subjects such as art, music and science.
Half of the students would begin their school day at 8 a.m., reporting to core classes in the morning and spending the afternoon in specialty classes until they go home at 2 p.m. A second group of students would arrive at 9:20 a.m. and begin with specialty classes. After lunch, they would study specialty subjects until they are released at 3:30 p.m.
Students would attend school the same number of hours each day they do now, but teachers would spend an extra hour working each day.
Faculty members would teach either core subjects or specialty classes, rather than presenting as many as eight subjects daily. Students would always report to the same room for their core classes. They would rotate, however, to different rooms for the specialty subjects.
Class sizes would remain between 29 and 33 for core teachers, but specialty subjects would be taught with as many as 40 students in each class.
That is what some Windsor parents object to.
Corrine McClean, who has two children attending Windsor, said she opposes the extended-day proposal because specialty classes will be too big for students to get the attention they need.
"I don't want this program for my children," she told board members Tuesday. "I don't like this program nearly as much as I like even the year-round program. Both my children would do much better in the size class they're currently in."
About 11 percent of parents who participated in a poll at Windsor said they oppose the extended-day proposal, but Tom McDonald, chairman of the parent involvement council, said 89 percent either favor the program over extended-year or have no objections to either schedule.