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Cumberland Parents Fight To Keep 'School Within A School' Program

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CUMBERLAND COUNTY — Two year-round programs are about to disappear from the Cumberland County School System and some parents are not pleased.

Armstrong Elementary School has a year-round and traditional calendar school under the same roof.

In a traditional school, all students attend classes on the same schedule. In a school within a school concept, some students stay on the traditional calendar while other students follow the year-round schedule of 9 weeks on and 3 weeks off.

The school system said that the concept just did not attract enough students to the year-round programs as it had hoped.

School administrators think that the school should offer one program or the other, and it is choosing the traditional schedule.

"They would not force traditional parents into non-traditional schools, and now they're forcing non-traditional parents into traditional programs. We don't want that," said parent Chasitidy Rice.

Two and a half years ago, the Cumberland County school superintendent hoped the year-round program would catch on.

"He came to us as a proponent of year-round and asked us to try this and we have fallen in love with it and would like to continue this program," said teacher's assistant Robin Kivett.

School spokeswoman Sara Piland said that planning for two schools under one roof is too difficult. She said that planning gets short-changed because the teachers are on different schedules.

"Year-round is a choice for parents and we do notwant to be placed in a position of force assigning students to a choice program," Piland said.

Sherwood Park Elementary's

year-round program is also expected to be dropped.

Parents hope to convince the board to keep both programs at the schools. If that does not happen, students in both year-round programs will be assigned to the traditional schools.

The superintendent is expected to make a recommendation to the school board on Dec. 11.