Administrators at Orem Elementary School say their students will be better educated next year because the school board has given its approval for an extended-day schedule.

Alpine Board of Education members voted unanimously Tuesday to approve the schedule, which was backed by most of Orem Elementary's parents and teachers.Principal Marilyn Laughridge said that when Orem's teachers, parents and administrators started investigating extended-day and extended-year programs several months ago their aim was to develop a proposal that would improve instruction as much as it saved space.

"Much thought and preparation have gone into it," she said. "We have had a goal in mind, and that is to develop a program that will enhance the learning of students at Orem."

An outline of the program that was distributed to parents explains that the extended-day schedule will allow teachers to concentrate on their areas of expertise, and parents will have more opportunities for involvement in their children's education.

"You will be assured that the best teachers possible are teaching each specific specialty class teachers who have had additional training and have expertise in their areas," the outline says. "This will make subjects that may have been somewhat short-changed in the past really live for the students."

Extended-day allows faculty members to teach either core subjects or specialty classes, such as art, music and foreign language, rather than presenting as many as eight subjects daily. Students always will report to the same room for their core classes. They will rotate rooms for the specialty subjects, because some rooms will be set up specifically to teach those classes.

About half the students will begin the school day at 8 a.m. and attend core classes until 11:30 a.m., and following lunch they will attend specialty classes until their day ends at 2 p.m. A second group of students will arrive at 9:30 a.m. and go to specialty classes in the morning and core classes in the afternoon. They will go home at 3:30 p.m.

The schedule does not increase time spent in school for students, but teachers will work an extra hour each day. Three teachers will be transferred to other Alpine schools.

The program increases the school's student capacity about 20 percent, and that is important for a school whose enrollment is already about 100 students above capacity, Laughridge said.