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Tuesday, June 6, 2000

schools on verge
of majority

During the 2000-2001
academic year, 130 of 253 public
schools will be on year-
round calendars

List of schools changing times

By Crystal Kua


For the first time since modified school calendars became an option 12 years ago, year-round schools are about to outnumber those on the traditional academic calendar.

One hundred-thirty of Hawaii's 253 public schools will be on modified year-round calendars during the 2000-2001 academic year.

This school year, 105 schools have been on the special schedules. Next year, one school will go back to the traditional calendar.

Year-round schools have the same number of instructional days -- 184 -- as traditional calendar schools.

In exchange for a shorter summer break, they have more frequent breaks throughout the year.

The Board of Education has discussed limiting the number of schedules that schools may choose from, but so far no agreement has been reached.

That means the range of starting dates begins with the first wave of year-round schools on July 24 to the start of the official Department of Education calendar on Aug. 23.

Mililani Middle School and Holomua Elementary are on staggered multitrack schedules that run throughout the year.

Chuck Higgins, a department educational specialist who oversees the year-round process, said that to help bring consistency to schedules, schools within the same complex have worked toward a common calendar.

The largest number of year-round entries will come from the Big Island, where the number of schools on a year-round schedule will increase from three in the current school year to 15 next year.

"I think we've finally seen the uniqueness of the schedule," Hawaii District Superintendent Dan Sakai said.

He said meeting state standards and improving test scores is the academic drive behind the increase in year-round scheduling interest.

"This will add to reaching our standards and delivery of our curriculum," Sakai said.

One advantage for a shorter summer vacation is that students have less time to forget what they learned the year before. Breaks between quarters also allow students to come back each quarter relaxed and energized to learn, advocates say.

Different schedules, however, have been cited as part of the reason for the increased cost of operating student bus transportation as well as problems in scheduling summer school, summer activities and child care during the intersession breaks.

"We have the same concerns," Sakai said, adding that new year-round schools will look for guidance to schools that have already undergone the year-round process.

Sakai said in a less-urban setting such as the Big Island, the community plays a vital role in the success of this kind of endeavor.

"The community has to support this. It will affect businesses, transportation -- it's a buy-in for the whole dynamics," Sakai said. "We're excited."

Nationwide, more than 2 million students in 43 states are in year-round programs, according to the National Association for Year-Round Education.

Changing times

Twenty-six additional schools will have modified year-round schedules for the 2000-2001 school year. The schools and their starting dates are:

Central District

Bullet Nimitz Elementary, Aug. 7

Hawaii District

Bullet Hilo Union Elementary, July 31
Bullet Hookena School, Aug. 3
Bullet Kaumana Elementary, Aug. 1
Bullet Keaau Elementary, Aug. 2
Bullet Keaau Middle, Aug. 2
Bullet Kealakehe High, Aug. 7
Bullet Keaukaha Elementary, Aug. 2
Bullet Konawaena Elementary, Aug. 3
Bullet Konawaena High, Aug. 7
Bullet Konawaena Middle, Aug. 3
Bullet Waiakea Elementary, July 31
Bullet Waiakea High, July 31

Honolulu District

Bullet Kalihi Kai Elementary, Aug. 3
Bullet Liholiho Elementary, Aug. 7
Bullet Liliuokalani Elementary, Aug. 7

Leeward District

Bullet Campbell High, Aug. 4
Bullet Ilima Intermediate, Aug. 4
Bullet Kanoelani Elementary, Aug. 3
Bullet Kapolei High School, July 26
Bullet Nanaikapono, Aug. 3
Bullet Nanakuli Elementary, Aug. 3
Bullet Nanakuli High and Intermediate, Aug. 3
Bullet Pearl City High School, Aug. 4

Maui District

Bullet Lahaina Intermediate, July 26
Bullet Lanai High and Elementary, Aug. 7

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