Thursday, November 18, 1999

Ewa school on course
for multitrack schedule

By Harold Morse


Aside from nuts and bolts on how it will work, multitrack scheduling to use school facilities 12 months of the year seems an accepted plan at Holomua Elementary School.

No significant opposition or criticism emerged last night at an information meeting at the school, the first elementary school to start staggered terms for different groups of students.

About 150 parents listened to detailed explanations on a four-track schedule with rotating terms for each track to keep three tracks in session and one on break year-round.

The Ewa school at 91-1561 Keaunui Drive was built for 850 students and now has 1,025. With multitrack it can accommodate about 1,100, planners say.

"Each track has 171 school days for students," said Principal Norman Pang.

To balance this amount of school time with the 176 in a nine-month academic year, each school day in multitrack will be five minutes longer.

"We are going to extend our school day," Pang said. "We found that we only had to add five more minutes to (the) school day to make up the minutes that your children would miss."

The day will start five minutes earlier, he said. Starting time is now 7:50 a.m. "I think we're going to start at 7:45, something like that."

Since Holomua has low tardy and absence rates, there should be no difficulty, he said.

The traditional May Day program will be eliminated because one track will be on break then. May Day activities will be replaced with shorter winter and spring performances, Pang said.

Grades 1-6 will rotate in multitrack schedule, but kindergarten students will not rotate or move, he said. Kindergarten students need to stay together, Pang said.

Parents of grade 1-6 students have until Nov. 30 to turn in preference forms for the track they want for their children, he said.

A lottery will determine which families get their first choice, Pang added.

The school will try to keep brothers and sisters on the same track to enable them to be on break at the same time, he said. "The staff members will be allowed to have their kids be on the track that they work on. ... We will keep the families together."

Holomua begins multitrack July 3. It will be the first Hawaii elementary school to go multitrack and the second overall.

The first was Mililani Middle School.

"We're in the forefront whether we like it or not," Pang said of Holomua's status as the first multitrack elementary school.

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