Some parents of Windsor Elementary School students strongly oppose an extended-day schedule at the school, but the Alpine School Board voted unanimously to start the schedule this fall.
During a board meeting at at Highland Elementary School on Tuesday, President Jan Lewis said board members have to go with the majority among parents, and after a year of study most Windsor patrons favor an extended-day schedule.
"We do want to be as sensitive as we can to these parents who have had some concern, and yet we are very aware we can't please everyone with these programs," Lewis said.
Superintendent Clark Cox said Alpine administrators have received several letters from Windsor parents who prefer an extended-year to an extended-day schedule. One administrator spoke with a parent for more than two hours but wasn't able to ease her mind about the new schedule.
Class sizes will remain between 29 and 33 students for core classes subjects like math and spelling but be as high as 40 students in specialty classes such as art, music and science.
That is what some Windsor parents object to.
Corrine McClean, who has two children attending Windsor, said she opposes the extended-day schedule because specialty classes will be too big for students to get the attention they need.
"I really don't feel like there are any problems in our (extended-day) program, and I think the implementation of our program will be a success," Principal Steve Cherrington said. Several Alpine District schools already operate extended-day schedules.
Parents who dislike the program enough to transfer children to another school can register them at any Alpine school that has room, Cox said, but the district will not provide transportation.
School officials began working on the program about a year ago, because they needed to increase Windsor's 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.
The extended-day schedule will divide each student's day into two parts, with 31/2 hours every day learning core subjects and two hours spent on specialty subjects.
Half of the students will 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 will arrive at 9:20 a.m. and begin with specialty classes. After lunch, they will study core subjects until they are released at 3:30 p.m.
Students will attend school the same number of hours each day as they do now, but teachers will spend an extra hour working each day.
Faculty members will teach either core subjects or specialty classes, rather than presenting up to eight subjects daily. Students will report to the same room for core classes and will rotate rooms for specialty subjects.