EDEN — The current buildings of Draper Elementary School in Eden and New Vision School of Science, Math and Technology in Madison will both close following the school board’s vote on Nov. 20.
The board voted 5-3 to close the two facilities with Virginia Hoover, Lynn Tuttle and Ophelia Wright voting opposed. This decision, however, leaves two major questions unanswered.
Where will the Draper students go?
And will the New Vision year-round magnet school move into Dillard, displacing those students to Huntsville and Stoneville elementary schools, or will they co-exist as both a traditional school calendar program and a year round program together under one roof?
Draper Elementary School will close, based on this vote, but the board has not decided where the students will go.
Superintendent Rodney Shotwell’s recommendation to the board was to divide Draper students between Lincoln and Central elementary schools. This proposal was initially presented as Eden Scenario 3 as a compromise between two other scenarios.
Scenario 1 proposed altering the attendance zones for all of the northern and northwestern elementary schools in the county.
In that scenario, Draper students would go to Central. Some Central students would go to Leaksville, and some Leaksville students would attend Douglass.
In Scenario 2, nearly all current Draper students would transfer to Lincoln.
This scenario would require adding mobile units to the Lincoln school site to accommodate the new students, but the other schools in the Eden zone would remain untouched.
New Vision and Dillard
Despite the decision to close New Vision, the district will continue to operate a year-round school, Superintendent Rodney Shotwell told RockinghamNow after the board meeting.
The board discussed two possible Western Rockingham County scenarios.
Shotwell’s recommendation to the board was to transfer Dillard’s students to Huntsville and Stoneville elementary schools. Then New Vision would transfer its entire student body to the newer Dillard facility. Dillard students would have priority in applying to the year round Madison school.
During the meeting, however, the board discussed the possibility of Dillard’s traditional students sharing the facility with New Vision’s year-round students. In this scenario, both programs would operate side by side under one roof with one principal.
This idea stems from comments made by parents and teachers.
This would not be the first time Rockingham County Schools has hosted a traditional program and a year round program under one roof.
What ends up happening, Shotwell told the board, is that staff would be required at the school throughout the year as the two programs would operate on different schedules.
New Vision operates on the same number of days as the traditional schools in the county, but on a different schedule. The primary difference is when vacations take place and for what extent of time.
When will the schools close?
The board did not decide when these schools would close. According to Shotwell, the intention is for the schools to close in the fall, but the vote did not finalize that decision.
Shotwell expects the board will clarify some of these questions at their January meeting.
As part of this vote, the board also agreed that they will close Moss Street Elementary School for the 2018-2019 school year provided that the district reaches an agreement to lease the facility to UNC-Greensboro for use as a laboratory school.
This decision does not mean that the school would stop operating. This means that Rockingham County Schools would relinquish control of the school to UNCG for them to develop this partnership school.
Through this partnership, UNC-Greensboro will begin leading the effort to introduce and expand creative, cutting edge initiatives at the low-performing school. The university would undertake this project in partnership with Rockingham County Schools.
The district began looking to close Dillard, Draper and South End elementary schools based on the results of the Integrated Planning for School and Community study and the Transportation Impact Assessment Report, both conducted by North Carolina State University’s Operations Research and Education Laboratory.
The IPSAC study examined expected future growth over the next 10 years, evaluated capacities of all schools and identified options to better utilize schools and reduce costs.
The TIA report examined how redistricting options would impact bus routes, average student bus ride time, number of buses needed and the state transportation reimbursement
These studies along with the parent advisory committee and Rockingham County Schools identified one possible redistricting scenario closing Dillard and three scenarios repurposing Draper, taking into account enrollment compared to school capacity, transportation distances for students, respecting neighborhoods, efficient busing and the age and condition of schools.
RCS took South End off the table following the district’s decision to plan a UNC-Greensboro-led partnership magnet school at Reidsville’s Moss Street Elementary.
For more information on OREd studies at Rockingham County Schools and redistricting options and maps, visit www.rock.k12.nc.us and click on RCS Pathway to Transparency.
Contact Justyn Melrose at (336) 349 -4331, ext. 6140 and follow @JMelrose_RCN on Twitter.