Holomua is the state's firstBy Brett Alexander-Estes
elementary school to begin
offering year-round instruction
Some students, after only a few weeks summer vacation, go back today to Holomua Elementary School in Ewa Beach -- the first elementary school with multitrack scheduling.
Holomua Elementary, which will be starting its 2000-2001 school year, follows Mililani Middle School as the state's second school to institute a 12-month rotating schedule of instruction.
While Hawaii's traditional and multitrack schools both provide 181 days of instruction each academic year, multitracks offer more frequent breaks --15 days off for every 45 days of classes.
To facilitate tracking, Holomua students have been tagged "red," "yellow," "blue" and "green" by school administrators.
But today, when Holomua students were to march off to school, most were to have new blue uniforms.
That's because today also marks the beginning of mandatory blue uniforms at the school.
The royal-blue T-shirts and polo shirts match the school's colors, said Holomua Principal Norman Pang. He said 86 percent of school parents favored the uniforms.
But while the issue of uniforms was open to discussion, multitracking was "a must," said Roberta Ono, Holomua curriculum coordinator.
Both Ono and Pang said that last year's enrollment of 1,038 students exceeded Holomua's capacity and that multitracking was the only way to accommodate the growing student body, expected to reach 1,300 within four years.
With multitracking, one-fourth of students are on break at any given time. This allows the school to be put to maximum use year-round and serve 133 percent of its capacity.
Multitracking could have reduced crowding last year, when two first-grade classes shared the same room. But Pang said both the school and the community believed the new schedule would put multiple demands on existing facilities, and that more time was needed to prepare for the change.
About 800 students, all on "red," "blue" and "yellow" tracks, were to report to Holomua today.
"Green" track students, about 300, start school July 24.