Clipper Staff Writer
FARMINGTON — Increased enrollment is driving a decision to move two Davis County schools to a year-round calendar.
Endeavour Elementary in Kaysville and Heritage Elementary in Layton will start the alternative schedule in the fall of 2014, according to information provided to the Davis School Board on Tuesday.
John Sheffield, elementary school director for the district, told board members that staff met with 12 principals in the district to discuss growth trends, utilization of space, special program needs and additions to existing buildings.
At one time, 17 district schools were on a year-round schedule. As populations change or new schools are built, that number has been reduced.
Next year, the district plans to have six schools on the non-traditional schedule, which means nine weeks on and three weeks off, rather than nine months in school with summer off.
Bluff Ridge and Buffalo Point in Syracuse, Eagle Bay in Farmington and Sand Springs in Layton will continue on their year-round program.
Foxboro Elementary in North Salt Lake will switch back to a traditional calendar for the 2014-15 school year, when a new elementary school is scheduled to be completed in Woods Cross.
Students in schools on the year-round schedule are divided into four tracks and only three of the tracks are at school at any one time, allowing better utilization of school facilities.
Ninety percent of schools around the country that use a year-round calendar do it for the educational benefits, said Sheffield.
“Year-round school has been a sound educational opportunity for kids,” said Craig Poll, assistant superintendent. “Look at it as an opportunity to enhance learning.”
Schools have been built with restrooms and lunch rooms to accomodate a certain number of students.
When they exceed that number, it’s not possible to keep adding portables because playgrounds and lunchrooms get crowded.
“It’s more kid-friendly and more school-friendly to have one fourth of the kids off at any one time” when school populations exceed building capacities, he said.
The schedule can bring challenges to families that have children in both elementary and secondary schools, said Tamara Lowe, board president.
Construction of new schools takes time and money, she pointed out.
Future population trends are also considered when contemplating new schools.
“We don’t go build a new school if it will have to be vacated as populations change,” said Poll.
Beth Johnston, principal at Endeavour, said they tried to avoid the calendar change, but having 1,000 students all in school at once puts a lot of pressure on all the staff.
Endeavour was built in 2010 and in three and a half years, its student population has gone from 400 to 1,000, she said.
She indicated there are seven second-grade classes with 29 students in each class.
“We are using every nook and cranny,” said Johnston, “even our special ed room is being used for a third-grade class.”
There are six portables already at Endeavor, a school originally built for 667, with an extended capacity of 816 with portables.
“To have the excellence, the technology, to have the space, it will be worth it to go to this schedule,” said Johnston.
Teachers, parents and students at the affected schools will be receiving more detailed information about the change over the next few weeks.