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ROCKINGHAM COUNTY / ALL-YEAR SCHOOL HAS WON CONVERTS
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ROCKINGHAM COUNTY / ALL-YEAR SCHOOL HAS WON CONVERTS

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Many parents in western Rockingham County have said yes to year-round school.

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Western Rockingham City school officials say they have enough interest from parents to start a voluntary year-round school program in elementary schools next July.

About 63 percent of parents who responded to a survey said they were interested in the program - which would replace the traditional school year with a schedule of nine-week sessions separated by three-week breaks.School officials hope interest is actually even higher. Some parents did not respond to the survey, said Roy Pipes, superintendent of Western Rockingham City schools.

By next July, Pipes hopes to begin at least one year-round class in each grade at Stoneville Elementary, Dillard Primary and New Vision Intermediate schools.

The Rockingham County merged school board still must approve the plan, but Pipes said he expects no problems. Rockingham County Superintendent Ira Trollinger, who will take over when the county's four school systems merge in July, already has voiced support.

Schools might open enrollment for the program as early as next spring.

``We're thinking close to 40 percent of our students will be in year-round school next year,' Pipes said. The program would be strictly voluntary. On both the year-round and traditional calendars, students would be in school about 180 days each year.

Other North Carolina school systems, including Wake and Guilford counties, are trying year-round school, and so far, they've reported success, Pipes said.

The main advantage of year-round school: kids are less likely to fall behind in their studies, school officials said. On the traditional calendar, most remediation is packed into the summer months. In year-round school, there is a week of remediation at the end of each nine-week session.

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