Thursday, January 22, 2015

Extended Day Versus Year Round Schedule

Having attended multiple Jordan Board Study Sessions where elementary schedules have been addressed, I believe the Board would like to phase out the year round schedule over time.  See this KSL article

The Board decided that 5 schools, Columbia, Mountain Shadows, Hayden Peak, Oquirrh, and Riverton Elementary, will move from year round to traditional for the 2015-16 school year.  These schools have been told about this change.

The Board decided that 2 schools, Bluffdale and Riverside, will pilot an extended day schedule for the 2016-17 school year.  Bluffdale was chosen because it is a smaller year round school, but not small enough to go traditional.  Riverside was chosen because it is a large traditional school, that is on the verge of needing to move to year round.

The Board will decide on Tuesday, January 27 whether Butterfield Canyon and Herriman Elementary will move to a traditional schedule for the short term, a minimum of two years.  The Board is split on this issue.  Parents want to go traditional, even if only for two years, while teachers want to stay year round.  From discussions, if these schools go traditional for 2015-16, that schedule could be guaranteed for two years.  At that point, an extended day schedule may be needed to keep these schools on a traditional calendar.

Alpine District has been utilizing the extended day model for about 30 years.  Jordan District started year round in 1985, or 30 years ago.  Alpine opted for extended day to avoid year round.  Both models increase the capacity of the building. 

Year round increases the capacity of a school from 25-33%, depending on the number of classes per grade that are rotating classrooms.  Increased costs come in paying utilities all year and increased pay for administrators and cafeteria staff.  There are also busing costs for more days per year.

Extended day increases the capacity of a school from 10-15%.  Class size ratios are higher.  For instance, Jordan uses 27 as the number of students for sixth grade.  Extended day would use 32 students for sixth grade.  This varies by elementary grade level, and as now, there is not a top limit to that class size.  There are increased costs of paying teachers 13% more for working approximately an hour more per day (roughly equivalent to a secondary teacher being paid to work their prep hour).  Also, there are additional busing runs daily.  The Alpine model has four specialists per school in the middle of the day giving teachers 30 minutes of prep time per day.  Another additional cost.

Year round teaching day is 20 minutes longer than a traditional day, but 10 days shorter than a traditional year.  Extended teaching day is 60 minutes longer than a traditional day with the same number of days and breaks as other traditional schools in Jordan District.  Jordan currently has 40 minutes for lunch, while Alpine extended day allows 35 minutes for lunch. 

The Board has directed district staff to come up with an exact plan and budget for what extended day would look like in Jordan.  While they will use Alpine as a basis of where to start, I'm sure there will be changes for Jordan.

Teachers will need to look at all their options and consider whether they are interested in the extended day with additional teaching time for additional pay, 75 minutes with half the class at the beginning and end of the day, and being on a traditional calendar, or whether they want to stay in a year round or traditional day school.  The Elementary Teacher Transfer Fair is Monday, March 30 at Rose Creek Elementary. 

One of my biggest concerns, which is likely why Jordan went year round rather than extended day 30 years ago, is the costs.  Any additional costs come out of the same maintenance and operations budget that salaries, benefits, classroom supplies, and technology needs come out of.  Looking at the very big picture,  I do not want to sacrifice steps, lanes, and other benefits for employees to meeting extended day cost needs.