BY LOUISE R. SHAW
Clipper Staff Writer
FARMINGTON — There is often a mix of emotions when school starts in August, but when it starts in July, those emotions are even more pronounced.
“We’re excited,” said Sarah Martin, who helped her son, Jack, find his first-grade Spanish-immersion classroom. “We think it will help with his Spanish, so he doesn’t lose any of it over the summer.”
“I hate it,” said Jami Smith, as she perused the list posted on the door for her children’s class assignments at Eagle Bay Elementary in Farmington. “We cherish our summers.”
This is the first year that Eagle Bay students will be on a year-round calendar.
The change was necessary due to enrollment growth. Six portables have already been added to the school, and the next step Davis School District uses to deal with population growth is the switch to a year-round calendar, which means only three-quarters of the students will be in session at any one time.
Buffalo Point in Syracuse and Sand Springs in Layton also switched to the year-round schedule this year, joining Bluff Ridge in Syracuse and Foxboro in North Salt Lake.
Three schools resumed the traditional calendar after being on a year-round schedule, including Antelope in Clearfield, Lincoln in Layton and Syracuse.
“We’re off to a good start,” said Julie Peters, principal at Eagle Bay, after conducting a welcome-back meeting for parents.
To ease the transition from the July 24 holiday to being in school again, students were involved in dance, art and other outdoor activities on the morning of the first day.
Students from Farmington Junior High, who would themselves be in school if not for the year-round calendar, were on hand to help out.
“We like to work with kids,” said Katlyn Larsen, as she and her friends led sixth graders in the Macarena. The mother of one of her friends is a teacher at Eagle Bay, and another friend has a brother there.
Aiden Nash is starting sixth grade. He said his older siblings are sitting on the couch at home or golfing while he is at school.
The new schedule is hard because “we don’t get as much summer,” said Ellie Salmon, also a sixth grader.
“I understand the reason for it,” said Shane Roylance, a father of two elementary and two junior high students. “But I’m not ready for the kids to be in school yet.” Vacations can be complicated when his elementary school-age children get out just as his junior high-age children are starting school, he said.
Eagle Bay has 15 new staff members and teachers, according to Peters.
“All the teachers are on board and all the parents have calmed down,” she said. “We’ve gotten a lot of the kinks out and it is positive for most everybody here.”
Susan Moon, school secretary, looks forward to working full-time and anticipates a quarter fewer phone calls and a quarter fewer parents and kids needing help. Only 750 of the 960 children living in school boundaries will be in session at any one time.
Due to the schedule, teachers in the upper grades will need to change rooms as each track ends and a new group comes in.
“We share classrooms, so that when we are done, we pack up everything” and move to a new room, said Jon Midget, a fifth grade teacher who has taught on the year-round schedule before.
“I actually like it,” he said. “The students don’t have three whole months to forget everything.”