Aspen Elementary School will begin an extended-day schedule next fall, the Alpine School Board decided Tuesday.
District administrators say the change is the best way to deal with rising enrollment without constructing new buildings. Alpine also needed one more school on a productivity schedule by next year to comply with a Legislative mandate.Another Alpine school, Suncrest Elementary, apparently was interested in developing a productivity schedule, but the state did not approve the school's request for a development grant.
School board member Linda Campbell said that without that grant for Suncrest there was little choice but to have Aspen change its schedule.
"I thought, "Well, maybe the parents at Suncrest would be happier about it than the parents at Aspen,' but the state didn't approve the grant," she said.
Board member Jan Lewis and Aspen parents have nothing to be unhappy about.
"I have seen very many positive things happen in those school communities (that are involved with extended day)," Lewis said. "I certainly do not see this as something we have to have forced on us. It is an opportunity to have parents more involved in the school system."
The extended-day schedule will divide each student's day into two parts, with 3 1/2 hours learning core subjects like math, English and social studies, and about two hours on specialty subjects such as art, music and science.
About half of the student body will arrive at 8 a.m. and end the school day at 2 p.m. Other students, including all children who are bused, will begin the day at 9:30 a.m. and continue to 3:30 p.m.
Students will attend school the same number of hours each day that they do now. Faculty members will teach either core subjects or specialty classes, rather than presenting as many as eight subjects daily. Students will report to the same rooms for their core classes. They will rotate rooms for specialty subjects.
Class sizes will remain between 29 and 33 students for core teachers, but specialty subjects will be taught with 40 or more students in each class.
Superintendent Steven Baugh said many parents contacted district officials with concerns about the change at Aspen, but their questions apparently were answered satisfactorily. No one spoke during a public comment session just before the board voted on the change.
"We're aware of the pressure as we look at some changes," Baugh said. "There have been a number of questions, but they've been taken care of. Patrons seem to have been very supportive."
11 Alpine Schools
Aspen Elementary School 925 W. 20th North, Orem, will become the 11th Alpine District school on an extended-day schedule next year.