Return to Headlines

Schools merge in less than a year

From  left  to  right:  Assistant  Cole  Hurst,  Assistant  Principal Dr. Susan Rodgers and Scott Spencer. In less than a year, Shiloh Elementary and Sun Val-ley Elementary have merged and have become Shiloh Valley Elementary and Shiloh Valley Primary. The new school will start its inaugural year on Monday, Aug. 26 joining all Union County Public Schools on the first day of school. Shiloh Valley Primary is taking the place of Sun Valley Elementary and Shiloh Valley Elementary is replacing Shiloh Elementary. The two schools, separated by a chain link fence, have divided between Pre-K through second grade (Shiloh Valley Primary) and third through fi fifth grade (Shiloh Valley Elementary). Dr. Susan Rodgers is the principal of Shiloh Valley Elementary and Scott Spencer is the principal over Shiloh Valley Primary. Rodgers said conversations about a merger began in February of this year. She said a quick approval by the Board of Education on March 5, got the ball rolling on merging the schools. Because this merger sets a precedent for Union County Public Schools, the principals reviewed mergers that occurred within the occurred School district and Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools to learn how to combine schools. Both principals said the former schools were schools of choice that offered the same services and programs. Rather than being in close proximity and offering the same things, the schools decided to combine. Shiloh Valley Primary has about 580 students. When Spencer was principal of Shiloh Elementary School, it had 535 students. The former Sun Valley Elementary, had nearly 700 students attended. Now, Shiloh Valley Elementary has about 600 students. Spencer said during the merger, everyone was conscious of the former schools’ history and wanted to respect it while trying to create a new culture. Shiloh Elementary had existed for more than 100 years and Sun Valley Elementary existed for ten years, according to Spencer. Spencer said the transition from two schools to one went smoothly because “everybody wants it to succeed ... to the staff, to the community. “He and Rodgers said there were few headaches or frustrations while merging the schools because of the large amount of support the schools received from the school district, administration and faculty at the schools and from parents and students. Spencer said parents were receptive to the idea of the schools combining, because some attended split elementary schools as children. Also, the former schools hosted parents nights, gathering their input and feedback. “Based on those results, we knew we had the community’s support to be able to move forward with the model,” Rodgers said. Rodgers said out of a long list of items marked in red that needed to be completed during the merger, there’s only one item left and that is to start school. Because the merger was well-documented, should the school district need to merge schools in the future, it has a model on how to do that, according to Rodgers. Now that the schools have combined and each location has different grade levels, it’s become easier for both principals to oversee their designated grade levels and plan new services and programs. Dual language immersion classes are new to Shiloh Valley Elementary and are offered at 12 other elementary and three middle schools, this year. At Shiloh Valley Elementary, “elementary students learn to speak, listen, read and write in the partner language. Math, language arts, social studies and science are taught in the partner language,” according to the Union County Public School website. Shiloh Valley only offers Spanish dual language immersion classes as of this school year. In addition to the dual-language immersion classes, parents of the elementary school can expect students to participate in the Leader in Me and EmpowerED programs, according to Rodgers. Shiloh Valley Primary School is located at 5200 Rogers Rd, Monroe.

Holly Morgan. The Enquirer Journal