Greg Hudnall, principal at the Provo Vocational High School, felt a bit like a patriot Monday night as the Provo School Board voted unanimously to change the school's name to Independence High School.
"The name `alternative' or `vocational' has such a negative connotation," Hudnall said. "Our goal as a staff is to move away from the negative ideas."According to Hudnall, the name change will have a positive effect on the students, faculty and staff and will help them prepare for future goals - to become the third high school in Provo.
"In the future, we see our school as a small high school, competing with the other 1A schools in the state and with other possibilities," he said.
The vocational school began in 1983 with 32 students meeting in trailers on the Provo High School parking lot. Currently there are 232 students enrolled at the school housed at a separate facility in south Provo.
For Hudnall, Monday night's special school board session was a double success, as board members voted to adopt a year-round schedule for the school, beginning July 16.
Year-round sessions would be a series of 45-day in-class training with a 10-day intercession period followed by a five-day vacation period. The intercession would allow students to utilize their learned classroom skills in real-life situations. At the same time, students would earn extra school credit.
For instance, Hudnall explained that students who studied about plants in school would have the opportunity, by way of field trips, to identify those plants in real life. Homemaking students would cook during campouts, using the basic skills they had be taught in the classroom.
With the extended school year students would have extra opportunities to earn the credits they need for graduation. They would also have more accountability, and teachers and students would have the needed breaks.
"Teaching at-risk kids is hard," Hudnall said. "With this format five teachers would work during the intercession period while others could work on curriculum and be rejuvenated and refreshed."
According to Hudnall, it would cost an additional $15,000 to fund the new schedule. But he added that $16,000 in funding is available through currently used programs.
Hudnall also introduced to the board the need for a new facility to be built in the near future for the school. He wants a school in the southwest quadrant of Provo, where 85 percent of his students reside.
"We would need a building the size of an LDS Stake Center, with 10 to 12 classrooms, woodshop, metal shop, cooking room, gymnasium and offices," he said.
Hudnall said the school would be used from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. for instruction and from 3 to 10 p.m. as a place for students to go for social and recreational activities similar to a Boys Club or YMCA.