Survey Mixed on Year-Around School
BY HANNAH SHARPE
Some families would like to see year-round school expanded to other parts of the Moore County school system, while others still prefer a traditional calendar.
On Tuesday, the system's year-round task force reviewed the results from a survey conducted among parents of elementary school students to gauge the interest in expanding the option of year-round school.
The school system administered the survey via a ConnectEd phone call Feb. 2, asking one question: "Would you be interested in your child attending a year-round program if one were offered at an elementary school in your area at some time in the future?"
Participants answered "interested" or "not interested." The survey also asked participants to list which school their child attends. Versions of the survey were also available online and as a form issued by schools.
The results of the survey will not affect how year-round programs will operate for the 2012-2013 school year. But Brian Phillips, assistant superintendent for elementary education, said Thursday that the results do give the school system some direction on how to move forward.
"The results show that it warrants further study," he said. "The board [Moore County Board of Education] can now look at the data to see what direction we need to move in."
Schools with participants who showed the most significant support for the option were those that already offer year-round tracks: Pinehurst Elementary, Southern Pines Primary, Southern Pines Elementary and West Pine Elementary.
Pinehurst Elementary had 122 (58.9 percent) of 207 participants answer "interested," while 85 (41.1 percent) answered "not interested" for 513 students.
Southern Pines Primary's participants demonstrated the highest level of support for the program, with 129 (80.1 percent) of 161 participants answering "interested" for a student population of 453.
Southern Pines Elementary had 93 participants (73.8 percent) out of 126 answer "interested" for a student population of 410.
Both Southern Pines schools have more year-round students than traditional students enrolled.
Results Vary Widely
West Pine Elementary School had the highest number of participants in the system, with 246 responding for a population of 563 students. Of those, 246, 141 (57.3 percent) were interested in the program and 105 (42.7 percent) were not.
Carthage Elementary School and Aberdeen Elementary School were the two schools without a year-round program whose participants showed some interest in the option.
Carthage Elementary had 83 (55 percent) out of 151 participants show interest, while 68 (45 percent) were not interested. The school has 397 students.
Aberdeen Primary had 73 participants (54.1 percent) out of 135 say they would be interested in the option, while 62 (45.9 percent) answered "not interested." The school has 325 students.
Less interest was found at Aberdeen Elementary School, where 48 (46.2 percent) of the survey's 104 participants said they were interested and 56 (53.8 percent) were not. The school's student population is 311.
West End Elementary School, Sandhills Farm Life Elementary School and Vass-Lakeview Elementary School saw responses roughly split among participants.
Of West End's 149 participants, 72 (48.3 percent) answered "interested," and 77 (51.7 percent) answered "not interested." The school has 383 students.
Sandhills Farm Life Elementary School had 204 responses for a 547-student population with 107 (52.5 percent) interested and 97 (47.5 percent) not interested in the option.
Vass-Lakeview had 112 (50.9 percent) of its 220 participants say they were interested, while 108 (49.1 percent) said they were not interested. The school has 611 students.
Other participants in the system overwhelmingly said they were not interested in seeing the program come to their respective schools.
Of Westmore Elementary School's 144 participants, 101 (70.1 percent) answered they were not interested, and 43 (29.9 percent) were interested. The school has 416 students.
At Highfalls Elementary School, 75 (60.5 percent) of 124 participants were not interested, while 49 (39.5 percent) were. The school has 285 students.
Both are K-8 schools.
Robbins Elementary School had the lowest level of participation in the survey with a participant-to-student-population ratio of 127 participants to 435 students (29.2 percent). Seventy-one participants (55.9 percent) answered "not interested," and 56 (44.1 percent) answered "interested."
Cameron Elementary School also had more participants (45 out of 85) answer "not interested," while 38 (41.2 percent) answered "interested." The school has 240 students.
'Pleased With Results'
Phillips said that the school system was surprised by the number of responses received and that members of the year-round task force were "pleased with the overall results." He said the data is debatable because not all parents of students participated in the survey, and the school system cannot conclude whether or not those parents would support the option.
In January, the year-round task force led an informational campaign to let families learn about the option. Brochures were sent home with all elementary students, and informational meetings were held around the county to give parents the opportunity to talk to parents of year-round students about the program's benefits.
The school system is preparing to begin the transfer process for families interested in enrolling in current year-round programs.
Online applications for transfers will be available March 1.
Phillips said that the system will hand out packets about year-round school to families during kindergarten registration on April 20.
He added that at Pinehurst Elementary and West Pine Elementary, more efforts will be made to let families on the traditional calendar know about the year-round option at their schools.
In January, the Board of Education approved changes to the year-round transfer policy in the Pinehurst student attendance areas, allowing students living in the Pinehurst Elementary and West Pine Elementary attendance areas to enroll in the year-round program at either school.
"We're going to target those schools just to let them know about the option," Phillips said.
He plans to host a parent night at each school next month to give parents a chance to ask questions and find out what they need to do if they intend to transfer from the traditional calendar to year-round.
Contact Hannah Sharpe at email@example.com.
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