EDEN — As Dillard Elementary School and New Vision School of Math, Science and Technology prep for a merger, the school board smoothed over one major point of friction at its March 20 meeting. The merged school will officially operate on a hybrid calendar.
The unanimous vote followed months of debate regarding the fate of the traditional and year-round Madison schools.
“On behalf of both schools coming together as one, thank you to everyone here, and we'll begin our planning accordingly,” said Superintendent Rodney Shotwell to the school board after the vote.
The hybrid calendar serves to provide the benefits of both the traditional and year-round schedule while still keeping students in school for 168 days just like the traditional calendar.
With more frequent breaks than the traditional calendar, the hybrid calendar provides the same relief that the yearlong calendar provides while still offering enough time in the summer for families to take trips or enroll in enrichment programs.
The approved hybrid calendar welcomes students back on July 30, about a month earlier than traditional school students who will return on Aug. 27.
The merged school’s first break in the fall will start when students leave school on Friday, Sept. 21, running about three weeks until students return on Monday, Oct. 15.
In winter, students will head home on Friday, Dec. 21, and return about two weeks later on Monday, Jan. 7.
Finally, students would take a two-week spring break, leaving school on Friday, April 12 and returning Tuesday, April 30.
Summer vacation for all Rockingham County Schools, including the merged school, is set to begin when students leave school on May 31.
“I would like to say that people in the community have said, that attend traditional schools, that they really like the hybrid schedule themselves, said Lorie McKinney, a member of the school board.
Previously, when the school board voted unexpectedly to allow Dillard students to stay at their facility when the New Vision students move in, concerns arose over running two schools on different schedules out of one building.
Teachers at both schools came together to brainstorm ways to ease the transition, eventually coming to the hybrid calendar concept.
The hybrid calendar also serves to alleviate the financial concerns of running a two-calendar school.
With a traditional and year-round school running simultaneously at one facility, there would only be about six weeks that students would not be in the facility rather than the usual 16 weeks.
With the school running more days each year, costs related to wage hours and utilities would rise.
The one-school, one-calendar solutions resolves that issue.
Now, with less than four months until the hybrid school opens for its first year, Rockingham County Schools is still working on another major milestone: naming the new merged program.
In a recent survey, community stakeholders pitched names like the New Dillard School of Math Science and Technology, Madison-Mayodan Elementary School and Rockingham County STEAM Academy.
The superintendent previously told the public that the district would still like to preserve the John W. Dillard name to honor the man who spent more than 40 years in the Western Rockingham County school system.