For Some Kids, Monday Means Back to School
The calendar says mid-July, but summer vacation ends for more than 700 Moore County students when year-round school begins at four elementary schools Monday.
“Staff is back at work this week preparing for the new year-round school year to begin,” school system spokes-man Tim Lussier said. “We had about 680 students enrolled in the program last year, and our total so far for the new school year is at 725. Pinehurst Elementary will be adding a second kindergarten class for 2012-2013, so that could bump those numbers up even more.”
The four locations — Southern Pines Primary, Pinehurst Elementary, Southern Pines Elementary and West Pine Elementary — held an open house earlier this week to acquaint students with their schools.
Mary Scott Harrison, principal at Southern Pines Primary, said her school is prepared for the new year-round students.
“It’s a little tricky to get everything in place, but it all works out,” she said. “We will certainly be ready when the kids arrive.”
Harrison expects about 230 students in grades K-2 to attend the year-round program at her school this year. She said that longevity plays a role in balancing the traditional and the year-round systems under one roof.
“We have been doing the dual track for 12 years now, and after that length of time we have a good system in place. There’s not been a lot of staff turnover during that time, and that has helped in making this work.”
Having two systems to choose from is wonderful for parents, Harrison said, although “what is good for one family may not be for another.”
“For kids who have a lack of intellectual stimulation during the summer, getting them back in school early is probably a good thing, while children who are more intellectually active will grow academically during the time that traditional school is taking a break. There is excellent staff in both programs, and I certainly wouldn’t want anyone to think that one approach is better than another.”
Family dynamics can also play a role, Harrison said.
“In some families it doesn’t work because they might have older kids who don’t have the year-round option. Sometimes it’s not a good fit when there are children from the same family in two different systems.”
Beginning Monday, students on the year-round calendar will attend classes for approximately 40 days, followed by a two-week break in the fall. After attending classes through mid-December, year-round students will have a two-and-a-half week holiday break. The January-February calendars for traditional and year-round students are identical until late March, when year-round students have a two-week break for Easter, one week longer than those enrolled in the traditional calendar.
May schedules are the same for both calendars, with students enrolled in each program ending the school year on June 7. Year-round students are enrolled in school for the same number of days as students on the traditional calendar.
Year-round students enjoy the same holidays as students on the traditional calendar, Lussier said, and the instructional program is the same for students on both the year-round and traditional calendars. Special academic programs are provided for both tracks.
“Year-round schools are based on available space,” Lussier said, “with students living in a school’s attendance area receiving priority to attend the school in their district.”
Moore County Schools held meetings last January to provide information on the year-round option to the public. A districtwide survey was also conducted to receive feedback from families regarding the year-round program, with results showing a mixed reaction to whether or not they believed the nontraditional school schedule was for them.
Positive responses ranged from 29.9 percent at Westmoore Elementary School to an 80.1 percent approval rate at Southern Pines Primary.
“School Superintendent Aaron Spence plans to continue to discuss the public’s interest in year-round schools,” Lussier said. “That option is there as long as support and conditions allow.”
Contact John Lentz at (910) 693-2479 or email@example.com.
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