Community spirit and commitment to education remained strong in Bethany and resulted in the formation of Bethany Community Middle School. In 1997 the Rockingham Consolidated School Board adopted a school improvement and building plan to consolidate remaining K-8 schools into a consistent Elementary, Middle and High School system.
Bethany, a 700 student K-8 school, housed in the oldest building in the county (circa 1924) would gain a new elementary facility, but would send it’s 6-8 students to a new consolidated middle school of 1,000 located outside the Bethany community.
There was concern that the benefits of a smaller school with community involvement would be lost with this transition. A group of concerned parents and community leaders was formed to research the issue, and they became convinced that smaller, community schools and the K-8 structure was particularly important for this age range.
Throughout 1997 Bethany provided evidence and appealed to the School Board to amend their plan through letters, calls, petitions, endorsements, forums, and political action.