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Investing In Children's Futures: Primary, elementary schools get back in swing in 2015

by Nathan Pfau

The Army Flier
Fort Rucker | January 12, 2015

With all the presents opened and resolutions for the new year made, it’s time for the children on Fort Rucker to go back to school.

Fort Rucker Primary School and Fort Rucker Elementary School welcomed their students back with open arms Tuesday as winter break came to an end, and both schools are making sure the second half of the year is filled with learning and activities to keep the children’s minds and bodies active for the remainder of the school year.

As children returned from the two-week break, Vicki Gilmer, FRES principal, said she’s looking forward to the rest of the year and the students shared her excitement and enthusiasm as she welcomed them back.

“It’s going to be a great second half of the year with lots of learning, lots of hands on and lots of fun,” she said. “Just coming back the kids are always excited. When they come back from winter break they come back with lots of enthusiasm and they know what’s coming next, so you don’t really have to fire them up because they’re already excited and ready to go.”

Children of the primary school were met with the same enthusiasm as they embark on the second half of the school year, said Silvia Thornton, FRPS music teacher.

“We had some sleepyheads coming back and some of them have traveled pretty far over the break, but there hasn’t been too much hesitation for the children coming back,” she said. “A lot of them are eager to get back and they were so excited when they got off the busses this morning. I think they were ready to come back.”

The children are going to need that enthusiasm because both schools have years full of events and learning experiences planned.

Fort Rucker Primary School will celebrate its 100th day of school Jan. 23. On tap for the celebration is a pet food and supply drive, where children donate food and supplies for animal shelters in the surrounding communities.

“It’s all about giving back to the community and it’s another way that the children can learn about helping. They really love helping the animals,” said Thornton.

Also, the children of the FRPS chorus will perform at the African-American History Celebration kickoff at the post exchange Jan. 30 at noon.

Parents are welcomed to get involved with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) Night Feb. 12 from 5-6 p.m. The night will be a “Fairy Tale Study” where parents will go to their children’s pods and work with them on a project using lessons they’ve learned from STEM, and make something and figure out what to do to build their project.

Feb. 20, in a partnership with Corvias Military Housing, the school will host a Deployment Tea at 11 a.m. at Allen Heights Community Center, which is an event dedicated to families of deployed Soldiers.

“We invite the families of the deployed Soldiers to come out for tea and sandwiches to honor them for the sacrifices they make as a family,” said Thornton. “It’s another way for us to honor them and show that we’re thinking about them.”

March 2-5 will be Dr. Seuss week at the primary school, and during that week Col. Stuart J. McRae, Fort Rucker garrison commander, will be at the school to read to children.

Fort Rucker Elementary School is also getting the new year off to a good start with some fun learning.

“We’re really excited about this year and we’re continuing with our great traditions, but something new for us is we started our robotics team last year,” said Gilmer.

The FRES Robo Panthers will be competing this year in the state’s First Lego League Robotics tournament in Huntsville Jan. 24.

The students had to learn to build the robot from scratch and program it to perform certain tasks. After placing second in a district competition in Alexander City, the children and school are excited to be going to the state competition, said the FRES principal.

Feb. 20 will see the “Time to Shine” rally, which is designed to get students ready for the upcoming Terra Nova Testing week from Feb. 23-27.

“Our kids have always done phenomenally well and always score above the national average,” said Gilmer. “We use that time to show off what we can do and shine.”

In March, the students will be celebrating all things STEM, and will kick off the month with the Invention Convention Kickoff March 2 where special guest Travis Perry, inventor of the Chord Buddy who was recently featured on the TV show “Shark Tank,” will speak to the students about the importance of STEM.

March 23 will kick off the school’s STEM week and the students will enjoy STEM Fest March 27, which is a “fun filled day of discovery, design, interactions, inventions and more,” said Gilmer.

Although there is a lot of fun and interaction for the students of Fort Rucker schools to look forward to, both Thornton and Gilmer said that the focus is on learning and investing in the future of the children.


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