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Europe Features


Area: Europe
District: All Europe
Headline: DODDS students urged to make healthy choices
Sub Headline:
Date: August 28, 2012
Byline: Michael Abrams and David Rogers
Source Name: Stars and Stripes
Source Link: http://www.stripes.com/dodds-students-urged-to-make-healthy-choices-1.187250#
FeatureLead: Students returning to DODDS-Europe schools this week had a lot to digest: new teachers, new classrooms and new emphasis on healthier meal and lifestyle choices.
FeatureText:

Students returning to DODDS-Europe schools this week had a lot to digest: new teachers, new classrooms and new emphasis on healthier meal and lifestyle choices.

On Tuesday, U.S. Army Europe commander Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling and his wife, Sue, kicked off "Fueling the Future," a health and nutrition initiative starting at Patrick Henry Elementary School in Heidelberg. After Sue Hertling led the students through a morning exercise, the children walked or ran two laps around the football field track with the general.

"Exercise and better nutrition will make smarter and healthier kids," Hertling said.

Noting that many children have had a parent or parents downrange, Sue Hertling said, "I think the kids should make the connection between stress management and movement."

The "Fueling the Future" program includes using nutrition in various lesson plans, and students will have at least one activity per month. Plans include field trips to the commissary to learn about shopping for good nutrition, cooking classes by members of the military culinary arts team and physical training with soldiers.

"We hope to learn a lot from this school," the general said regarding plans to expand the program to other schools.



Hertling said the school lunch program's new requirement of having at least one fruit or vegetable is "a critical first step in a nationwide fight against child obesity. It all has to start with a first step."

The Exchange School Lunch program, run by the Army and Air Force Exchange Service, follows regulations and nutritional guidelines set by the Department of Agriculture. Nutrition standards require meal options to meet strict limits for calories and saturated fat and must include more whole grains, less sodium and a wider variety of vegetables. AAFES said that, starting this school year, students must, for example, choose at least one serving of fruit or vegetable.

At the Robinson Barracks Elementary/Middle School cafeteria in Stuttgart, students can choose either a preset meal with limited options or an á la carte menu. The cafeteria meal, which is $2.40 for kindergarten through sixth-grade students and $2.55 for seventh- and eighth-graders, has a meat or vegetarian entree with fruit and vegetables on the side. On the menu Tuesday was macaroni and cheese, a chicken patty sandwich or salad as the entree, with green beans, orange slices and sweet potato crinkles as the sides.

"For the most part, the kids will throw away a lot of the food," said Leslie Johnson, a cafeteria monitor. "Fruit and vegetables. They don't want it."

The à la carte choices include chicken wings, french fries and cheese sticks.

That option is "more expensive, not nutritious," Johnson said. "Some kids will come over here and spend $5 for just a hamburger and fries. And then they have to buy a drink on top of that."

Debbie McAuliffe, whose kindergartner and fourth-grader attend Robinson Barracks Elementary/Middle School, says her friends pack their children's lunches. McAuliffe and her fourth-grade daughter, Sydney, say children don't find the school lunches appealing. Parents are concerned about the insufficient amount of nonprocessed food, McAuliffe said. However, she plans to keep money on the school lunch accounts for emergencies.

Exchange lunch program prices remain the same as last school year. Parents can track their children's school lunch balance, make changes and add funds at mypaymentsplus.com, or at exchanage store customer service departments.

Feature Image - Small: U.S. Army Europe commander Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling walks around the track with Patrick Henry Elementary School students Tuesday morning after he and his wife kicked off
Feature Image 1 - Large: U.S. Army Europe commander Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling walks around the track with Patrick Henry Elementary School students Tuesday morning after he and his wife kicked off
Feature Image 1 - Caption: U.S. Army Europe commander Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling walks around the track with Patrick Henry Elementary School students Tuesday morning after he and his wife kicked off "Fueling the Future," a health and nutrition initiative at the Heidelberg, Germany school. Sue Hertling led the students through an exercise routine to start off the morning.
Feature Image 1 - Credit: Michael Abrams, Stars and Stripes
Feature Image 2 - Large: Sue Hertling, wife of U.S. Army Europe commander Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling leads Patrick Henry Elementary School students through an exercise routine at the school Tuesday morning.
Feature Image 2 - Caption: Sue Hertling, wife of U.S. Army Europe commander Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling leads Patrick Henry Elementary School students through an exercise routine at the school Tuesday morning. She and her husband were at the Heidelberg, Germany, school to kick off "Fueling the Future," a health and nutrition initiative. "I think the kids should make the connection between stress management and movement", she said.
Feature Image 2 - Photo Credit: Michael Abrams, Stars and Stripes
Area: Europe
District: Bavaria
Headline: Prep gridders try out for all-star team
Sub Headline:
Date: August 27, 2012
Byline: Rusty Bryan
Source Name: Stars and Stripes
Source Link: http://www.stripes.com/sports/prep-gridders-try-out-for-all-star-team-1.187100
FeatureLead: The attendance was sparse but the intensity thick Sunday afternoon when 17 Europe-based gridders attended a Football University combine and clinic under the tutelage of two NFL alumni.
FeatureText:

ANSBACH, Germany – The attendance was sparse but the intensity thick Sunday afternoon when 17 Europe-based gridders attended a Football University combine and clinic under the tutelage of two NFL alumni.

According to FBU's international recruiting director Steve Quinn, the purpose of the combine, one of five scheduled for Europe this month, was to identify candidates for FBU's initial Team Europe all-star team. The plan is that Team Europe will play all-stars from other nations in games scheduled for January as part of the organization's annual U.S. Army All-American Bowl activities in San Antonio, Texas – FBU's "Top Gun" program.

"We had seven clinics in Europe last year," Quinn said, "and we determined there was enough interest and talent to put together a team from Europe."

Although just 17 players, most of them from German and Austrian clubs, attended the combine here, Quinn said they included a handful of prospects for Team Europe. He said FBU identified a core of 12 players for the first Team Europe from a combine in the U.K. last spring, and added four more from Saturday's sessions in Hanau. FBU traveled to the Netherlands on Monday and was to conduct further sessions in Brussels on Tuesday and Bristol, England, on Wednesday.

Sunday, six players were identified as Team Europe prospects, five of them from Austria and one, dual-citizen David Vidovic, a sophomore running back from Hohenfels. Vidovic, a 5-foot-11-inch, 175-pounder, was named co-MVP of the combine.

All of them no doubt will be hoping for exposure such as that earned by Briton Alex Jenkins, who, Quinn said, received offers from several NCAA Division I schools based on his Top Gun performances last year.

College offers, however, are just the icing on the cake, according to Quinn.

FBU, which bills itself as offering instruction "by position, by professionals and by invitation only," is more concerned with coaching than recruiting.

"We don't focus on exposure," Quinn said. "We teach technique. Technique beats talent any day of the week."

Sunday's event culminated in an hour-long clinic on tackling technique devised and conducted by former NFL coach Thurmond Moore, who was the defensive coordinator of the Buffalo Bills from 2001-2003 and has served on the staffs of the Rams, Raiders, 49ers and Cardinals in addition to several colleges. Moore is director of FBU's Tackling Academy, which promotes techniques designed for safer and more effective methods of bringing down the ball carrier.

Moore was assisted in his instruction by Cecil Martin, a former Wisconsin Badger who played fullback for the Philadelphia Eagles and now furnishes color commentary for Sky Sports' NFL telecasts in addition to his duties with FBU.

"I love doing this," Martin said as he helped guide the players through drills designed to help them focus on using their lower bodies as the source of power to make the tackle.

"It was great," said Ansbach sophomore running back Dorian Jones about the unusual drills. "I got better and everybody got better."

Added his teammate, senior free safety Kevin Rouse, who attended German schools until transferring to Ansbach last year, "It was a great drill. (Moore's) a great teacher."

Feature Image - Small: Football allstar clinic
Feature Image 1 - Large: Football allstar clinic
Feature Image 1 - Caption: Football University clinician Thurmond Moore, a former college and NFL coach, puts players through his drill at a tackling clinic he conducted Sunday at Ansbach, Germany.
Feature Image 1 - Credit: Rusty Bryan, Stars and Stripes
Feature Image 2 - Large: Football University staffer and Sky Sports commentator Cecil Martin, a former Philadelphia Eagles fullback, guides players through a tackling drill Sunday at Ansbach, Germany.
Feature Image 2 - Caption: Football University staffer and Sky Sports commentator Cecil Martin, a former Philadelphia Eagles fullback, guides players through a tackling drill Sunday at Ansbach, Germany.
Feature Image 2 - Photo Credit: Rusty Bryan, Stars and Stripes
Area: Europe
District: All Europe
Headline: DODDS students converge on schools in Europe as classes kick off
Sub Headline:
Date: August 27, 2012
Byline:
Source Name: Stars and Stripes
Source Link: http://www.stripes.com/news/dodds-students-converge-on-schools-in-europe-as-classes-kick-off-1.187124#
FeatureLead: It was the first day of the last year of Heidelberg High School’s existence. But this was no time for nostalgia; it was time for class.
FeatureText:

It was the first day of the last year of Heidelberg High School's existence. But this was no time for nostalgia; it was time for class.

"Where are you going?" Heidelberg High School principal Kevin Brewer asked as teens stood in the school foyer studying their schedules for a clue to the location of their first class in the new school year. "Who's your teacher?

"Third floor, all the way to the top. You can't miss it," Brewer said to one. "Right here, first door on your right," he directed another.

Department of Defense Dependents Schools-Europe welcomed in a new school year with some schools destined for eventual closure and others expecting larger enrollments in the future.

At Vogelweh Elementary School in Kaiserslautern, Germany, a few hands tentatively went into the air when teacher Kristine Cephus asked her first-graders if "they were a little nervous, a little scared."

"Me too," she assured them. "There's a lot of you, and there's one of me, but I promise you we're going to have a great year."


About 900 students are enrolled at the pre-kindergarten through fifth-grade school, spread among four buildings on 10 acres.

Some classes will be team-taught this year, said principal Sandy Meacham, including a first-grade class that has about 36 students, two teachers and an afternoon reading coach.

Attitudes among children varied.

In fourth-grade teacher Melanie McNeill's class, Trevor Elftmann, new to Vogelweh, declared: "I don't like school. I'd rather be home."

McNeill said gently that one of the year's challenges was to get Trevor to like school, while the other was to get all of her students to love reading.

In Wiesbaden, 6-year-old Lucas Torres smiled as he clutched his Schultüte, or school cone — a common German gift to children entering the first grade — and headed off to Hainerberg Elementary.

His mother, Kelly, said he couldn't be more excited. "Normally, I have a hard time getting him out of bed, but this morning he jumped out," she said.

Hainerberg Elementary's population this year has swelled by about 200 students to 800. The spike is tied to Army transformation plans, which resulted in the recent closure of Mannheim Elementary School and the upcoming closure of Heidelberg schools as U.S. Army Europe headquarters completes its move to Wiesbaden next year.

"We are really excited, we've had a lot of growth in the community," said Principal Penelope Miller-Smith.

In Aviano, Italy, the first day of school caused a traffic jam at the base gate. Inside the schools, lines moved more quickly, directed by teachers and administrators. Both the elementary school and the middle/high school have new administrators.

"I think I was probably more nervous than the kids," said Melissa Hayes, who begins her first overseas assignment with DODDS as elementary school principal.

Brad Seadore is the new high school principal, moving to Italy from Wiesbaden. Seadore, whose wife, Karen, is the DODDS Europe athletic director, has been in the system since 1989, but it is his first time as principal. He takes over a high school that's lost 10 percent of its enrollment, with just more than 180 students to start off the year.

In Naples, Paul Augustine held the hand of his fourth-grade son as he dropped his seventh-grader off at middle school.

"They were excited about coming back," Augustine said.

For many teachers, the first day of school is a time to help children adjust to their new surroundings.

"Military kids go through so many changes in their lives, and this is one more thing," said Teresa Gunn, a fourth-grade teacher at Vilseck Elementary School in Germany.

Shortly before the start of class at Patch High School in Stuttgart, hundreds of students milled about outside, getting re-acquainted after the summer break.

Gianni Hudson, a 16-year-old junior, said he looked forward to reconnecting with friends, but the prospect of hours of homework was less enticing.

"Dread and happiness," Hudson said.

Patch principal Danny Robinson spent the morning directing confused students.

"Let's go. First period," Robinson shouted above the din. "Thirty seconds. Don't be late."

Back at Heidelberg, some students lamented that this would be the school's last year. Its impending closure marks the end of what was once a quartet of American high schools opened in Germany after the end of World War II. Berlin, Munich and Frankfurt high schools all closed decades ago.

Next year, junior Joshua Yarborough, 16, will attend school in Wiesbaden.

"I'm not happy," he said. "I've lived in Heidelberg for 12 years. It's the best."

For Brewer, Heidelberg's principal for the past six years, this first day felt different. It was quieter, he noted, with only about 400 students streaming through the doors — half the number of earlier years.

"It's subdued. Bittersweet is the wrong word," he said. It's just … different."


Reporters Nancy Montgomery, Steven Beardsley, Mark Patton, Kent Harris, Jennifer Svan, Cristina Silva and John Vandiver contributed to this report.
Feature Image - Small: Back to School 2012
Feature Image 1 - Large: First-grader Jessica Bradley, 6, waits for school to begin with her father, Sgt. Philip Bradley, of the 2nd Cavalry Regiment. Monday marked the first day of classes at Vilseck Elementary School in southern Germany.
Feature Image 1 - Caption: First-grader Jessica Bradley, 6, waits for school to begin with her father, Sgt. Philip Bradley, of the 2nd Cavalry Regiment. Monday marked the first day of classes at Vilseck Elementary School in southern Germany
Feature Image 1 - Credit: Steven Beardsley, Stars and Stripes
Feature Image 2 - Large: Heidelberg (Germany) High School senior Kylee Miller points the way to a classroom for her freshman brother, CJ, and Summer Warren, also a freshman. Monday was the first day of the final school year at HHS.
Feature Image 2 - Caption: Heidelberg High School senior Kylee Miller points the way to a classroom for her freshman brother, CJ, and Summer Warren, also a freshman. Monday was the first day of the final school year at HHS.
Feature Image 2 - Photo Credit: Michael Abrams, Stars and Stripes
Area: Europe
District: All Europe
Headline: Students at Department of Defense schools returning to changes, challenges
Sub Headline:
Date: August 26, 2012
Byline: Jennifer H. Svan
Source Name: Stars and Stripes
Source Link: http://www.stripes.com/news/students-at-department-of-defense-schools-returning-to-changes-challenges-1.187044#
FeatureLead: Whether aspiring to a career in aerospace engineering or fashion design, this year's incoming freshmen in DODEA schools will have to earn more math credits to get a diploma.
FeatureText:

KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — Whether aspiring to a career in aerospace engineering or fashion design, this year's incoming freshmen in DODEA schools will have to earn more math credits to get a diploma.

When they start school Monday, most of the more than 86,000 students at 194 military schools worldwide will see better Internet access in schools and more technology in the classroom, from individual-issued laptops for students at some Pacific schools to special education tablets in Europe to additional virtual classes.

At many places, students also will see a change in school leadership, with new principals at 25 schools in Europe and 16 in the Pacific. Many of the staffing changes are due to reassignments or promotions within Department of Defense Education Activity, officials said.

DODEA is introducing four new high school math courses with a focus on algebraic concepts and applications. One, Algebraic Modeling, is a yearlong course and will be offered at all DODEA high schools. Schools have the option to add the other three new math classes within the next three years, said Diane Bishop, DODEA math coordinator. The other courses are Advanced Functions, also a full-year course, as well as Engineering Applications and Financial Literacy, both semester-long courses.

In the future, the four courses could be offered virtually at some schools, Bishop said.

"These math courses show the application to the real world," said Faye Batey, instructional system specialist for career and technical education for DODDS-Europe. "It's not learning algebra for the sake of learning algebra."

Students in Algebraic Modeling might, for example, be asked to interpret the key characteristics of a linear equation in the context of a real-world problem, according to DODEA standards for the course.

Bishop said the course is intended to help students who struggle with algebra by giving them more hands-on experience with mathematics.

The emphasis on high school math comes as DODEA looks to better prepare its students for college math and the workforce in a technological age where skills in math are increasingly essential.

Currently, about 60 percent of DODEA seniors do not enroll in a math course, Bishop said.

"That is what has driven three of the credits needing to be taken at the high school level," she said. "If students don't take math their junior or senior year, then they generally struggle in mathematics in college."

Many states now require four years of math, Bishop said.

A report published in March by the Education Commission of the States notes that 12 states plus the District of Columbia require four math units for graduation, a number that increases to 18 states for the Class of 2020.

At least three states require students to complete a math course each year of high school to ensure students are engaged in rigorous math content their final year of high school, the report says.

U.S. students continue to perform poorly on standardized math tests compared with many of their foreign peers. DODEA students are no different, and on some tests they've scored even below their national counterparts. DODEA seniors in 2011, for example, scored 19 points below the national average on the math portion of the SAT, a standardized test weighed in the admissions process by many stateside colleges and universities.

"DODEA's concerned about this, but so is the nation," Bishop said, citing President Barack Obama's STEM initiative, aimed at improving education in science, technology, engineering and math and making American students more competitive in the worldwide job market.

Another change that DODEA hopes to finish by the end of the school year is an overhaul of its graduation requirements, which haven't been updated since 2004.

"The revised regulation will address national trends in rigorous secondary education and prepare our students for success in post-secondary life in the 21st century," DODEA Director Marilee Fitzgerald says in a statement posted on DODEA's website.

DODEA officials say they've sought input from teachers, counselors and administrators. They're also interested in hearing from community members (at: graduation.dodea.edu) by Sept. 30 on topics such as minimum graduation requirements, grade point average, course requirements and diploma types.

The new regulations, among other changes, will better define the process for granting waivers to students to graduate without meeting all requirements, said Faatimah Muhammad, DODEA coordinator for the Advancement via Individual Determination , the Gifted and the Advanced Placement programs.

That issue was identified as a problem during an investigation that began in late 2010 at Ansbach Middle/High School in Germany, where numerous errors on student transcripts were found and dozens of students who didn't meet requirements were allowed to graduate without documentation of a formal waiver.

The new regulation could also increase the number of credits students need to graduate, but Muhammad said that requirement is under review.

Students in the European and Pacific theaters should notice improved Internet access this year. Plans call for outfitting most, if not all, schools with wireless Internet by this fall, school officials said. In Europe, that wireless connection will be high-speed, increasing "from 10 to 100 megabytes per second in our schools," said Russ Claus, DODDS-Europe acting deputy director.

"We're not to the point yet where students can bring their own device and hook into the Internet," but the schools are moving in that direction, he said.

Students at the eight Europe schools that were part of DODEA's pilot "one-to-one" laptop initiative last spring will be issued laptops again this school year, Claus said, but the program won't be expanded this year in Europe.

The program will begin this year in the Pacific, where students at Seoul American High School, South Korea; Nile C. Kinnick High School, Japan; Lester Middle School, Okinawa; and Guam High School will be issued laptops, officials said.

Other initiatives using technology include issuing about 50 portable tablets to three schools in Europe for special education purposes. Students with autism, hearing impairments, learning disabilities and other special needs will use the devices to augment and enhance their communication and other skills in the classroom, Claus said.

Schools in Europe and the Pacific plan to expand their course offerings through video teleconference machines, which allow students to take classes remotely, officials said. In Europe, some high schools will offer advanced placement courses in calculus, statistics, government and history through a video teleconference link with another school, Claus said. In the Pacific, students at schools in Japan and Guam will get to take an advanced music course remotely that is being taught at Kadena High School on Okinawa, school officials said.

Feature Image - Small: Students at Department of Defense schools returning to changes, challenges
Feature Image 1 - Large: Students at Department of Defense schools returning to changes, challenges
Feature Image 1 - Caption: Bria Gregory, right, who will be a senior at Kaiserslautern High School when the school year gets under way Monday, talks to school registrar Cynthia Moore after filling out registation forms Wednesday.
Feature Image 1 - Credit: Michael Abrams, Stars and Stripes
Feature Image 2 - Large: Students at Department of Defense schools returning to changes, challenges
Feature Image 2 - Caption: Kaiserslautern Elementary School nurse Summer Gulickson unpacks materials in the nurse's office Wednesday as she prepares for the new school year that starts Monday.
Feature Image 2 - Photo Credit: Michael Abrams, Stars and Stripes
Area: Europe
District: All Europe
Headline: As military shifts, so do school structures
Sub Headline:
Date: August 26, 2012
Byline: Jennifer H. Svan
Source Name: Stars and Stripes
Source Link: http://www.stripes.com/military-life/education/as-military-shifts-so-do-school-structures-1.187031
FeatureLead: The start of the 2012-13 school year for Defense Department school students in Europe is bittersweet for pupils in Heidelberg, where three military schools are slated to close next year.
FeatureText:

KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — The start of the 2012-13 school year for Defense Department school students in Europe is bittersweet for pupils in Heidelberg, where three military schools are slated to close next year.

Heidelberg High School, Heidelberg Middle School and Patrick Henry Elementary School will shutter at the end of this school year as the military community there nears closure and most troops and their families leave Heidelberg, school officials announced this month.

"It will certainly be the end of a very long history and a time of our U.S. presence in this beautiful community," Nancy Bresell, director of Department of Defense Dependents Schools-Europe said during a call-in show on American Forces Network radio Wednesday morning.

Over the next five years, about 36 schools in Europe could be affected by military transformation, Bresell said, depending on which military communities lose or gain troops.

As the military adjusts its force structure over the next several years, DODDS-Europe expects between 12 and 14 schools, including those in Heidelberg, to close, school officials said this week.

Bitburg Middle School will also close at the end of this school year, said Bob Purtiman, DODDS-Europe spokesman.

Driving that decision, Purtiman said, is the high cost of maintaining a school building for a small number of students. As of August, about 112 children were enrolled in the school's grades five to eight. The middle school, along with an elementary school and high school at Bitburg, would have closed in several years anyway, Purtiman said. The Air Force announced it plans to return the Bitburg housing annex to the German government by 2016. DODEA has been awarded funding to build a new high school and middle school, and expand and renovate the elementary school at Spangdahlem Air Base, which is about 10 miles from the Bitburg installation. Those schools are tentatively slated to be finished by early 2017 and are expected to absorb the remaining Bitburg students.

In the interim, DODDS-Europe is considering schooling options for middle school pupils at Bitburg when their school closes next year, including busing them to Spangdahlem, or reconfiguring the Bitburg elementary school to a K-8 program, Purtiman said.

"We're looking at what's in the best interest of the kids," he said.

Elsewhere in Germany, plans call for school closures in the Army communities of Schweinfurt and Bamberg by June 2014, Bresell said Wednesday morning. The Army announced earlier this year that the Schweinfurt and Bamberg Army garrisons would close no later than 2015 as part of broad restructuring of military forces in Europe. The 170th Infantry Brigade, based in Baumholder, and the 172nd Separate Infantry Brigade, out of Grafenwöhr and Schweinfurt, also will be inactivated.

Plans to replace schools in Baumholder have been deferred or put on hold, as school officials wait to hear the Army's plans for the community, said Jose Tovar, chief of DODDS-Europe facilities.

The school system is projecting a 30 percent reduction in the student population this fall at Baumholder, school officials said, as many troops and their families have left Baumholder ahead of the 170th's inactivation in October.

Other school construction plans in Europe are moving forward.

Over the next six years, DODDS-Europe plans to recapitalize about 50 percent of its schools and is seeking about $1.6 billion in military construction funds from Congress, Tovar said. Many of the buildings being replaced are 30 to 50 years old and have been described by school officials as being in failing condition.

An elementary school and middle school are under construction for the SHAPE community in Mons, Belgium, Tovar said. A construction contract for a new SHAPE high school was recently awarded, he said. All three schools should be finished by summer of 2014.

A new Kaiserslautern High School was to be built by this winter but those plans have been delayed by about 3½ years due to a design revamp, Tovar said. Plans now are for the school to be completed in fall 2016, he said.

The original plan did not include 21st-century features, which are now part of all new school designs in DODDS-Europe, Tovar said. Those features include multi-use classrooms; "learning neighborhoods," in which clusters of classrooms are grouped around a shared instructional area; student common areas; and buildings that incorporate sustainable design, such as solar panels and a green roof.

"There is a fundamental shift in the way a school is laid out under the 21st-century model," Tovar said.

Traditional schools had a lot of wasted space, and classrooms were isolated, he said.

"Our facilities need to be flexible and adaptable and multiuse," he said. "We're trying to design facilities that will last 50 years."

A new football stadium and a multipurpose kitchen building, the latter to be used by Kaiserslautern middle and elementary students, should be finished by March, Tovar said.

At Wiesbaden, a curriculum building that will house science labs, art and music rooms, and Junior ROTC, should be completed by February 2013, Tovar said.

Feature Image - Small: As military shifts, so do school structures
Feature Image 1 - Large: As military shifts, so do school structures
Feature Image 1 - Caption: The new multipurpose room being built at the Kaiserslautern school complex. It is due to open early 2013.
Feature Image 1 - Credit: Michael Abrams, Stars and Stripes
Feature Image 2 - Large: As military shifts, so do school structures
Feature Image 2 - Caption: Construction on the new Kaiserslautern High School stadium is progressing and should be ready to see action in spring 2013. The artificial grass field will be surrounded by an eight-lane track. It will also have facilities for field events. At far right is Kaiserslautern Elementary School and next to it is a new multipurpose room that is under construction. A new high school and elementary school are scheduled to be built in the near future.
Feature Image 2 - Photo Credit: Michael Abrams, Stars and Stripes
Area: Europe
District: All Europe
Headline: DODEA schools expanding technology, math opportunities
Sub Headline:
Date: August 26, 2012
Byline: Mark Patton
Source Name: Stars and Stripes
Source Link: http://www.stripes.com/news/dodea-schools-expanding-technology-math-opportunities-1.187035
FeatureLead: With the help of robots and real-world cyber scenarios, Defense Department schools are boosting their efforts to improve students’ science, technology, engineering and math skills with an expanded curriculum.
FeatureText:

WIESBADEN, Germany — With the help of robots and real-world cyber scenarios, Defense Department schools are boosting their efforts to improve students' science, technology, engineering and math skills with an expanded curriculum.

Last school year, the Department of Defense Education Activity launched a pilot program as part of a nationwide initiative started by President Barack Obama in 2009 to spur students to excel in those fields.

This year, DODEA will offer at least one STEM-based class in robotics engineering, biotechnology engineering, gaming technology and green technology engineering at 18 schools, up from 11 schools last year.

"DODEA's main goal for STEM education is to increase the number of students, particularly those from traditionally underrepresented groups, who are prepared for post-secondary studies and careers" in the fields of math, science and technology, DODEA spokeswoman Elaine Kanellis wrote in an email to Stars and Stripes.

The biggest increase in STEM offerings this school year is in robotics engineering, tapping into students' interest in robots. Five schools in Europe, two in the Pacific and one in the U.S. are adding the course to their curriculum.

Wiesbaden and Vilseck high schools recently offered a Robotics Summer Camp for seventh- to ninth-grade students.

Frank Pendzich, a robotics engineering teacher at Wiesbaden High School, pointed out that his campers could have chosen to sleep late but instead chose to spend a week of their summer designing, programming and building robots.

"That intellectual curiosity is really what drives innovation," Pendzich said. "It gives me hope."

Faye Batey, instructional system specialist for career and technical education for DODDS-Europe, said the robotics engineering class is an example of using a tool that interests students to teach the engineering design process.

DODEA schools in all three theaters are getting the same training, equipment and materials for the four STEM pilot courses, Batey said.

The schools differ in their STEM events. Batey said the U.S. schools have the advantage of partnering with resources in their immediate area, and each school does its own STEM event, whereas in the Pacific, each of the four districts works on its own. DODDS-Europe introduced a STEMposium last school year that brought together students from all areas. It used military and local resources to provide a real-world scenario to challenge students to solve problems.

"What works best in Europe may not always work in Pacific and vice versa, but we do collaborate," Batey said.

The military's relationship with DODEA schools is also helping to promote STEM.

For example, the Wiesbaden-based 5th Signal Command is launching its Cyber STEM Initiative, or CSI-Europe. Kristopher Joseph, 5th Signal Command spokesman, said students will have the chance to work with 5th Signal employees to solve real-world cyber challenges. Joseph said the program will start in Wiesbaden, but the long-term plan is to expand it throughout Europe.

Feature Image - Small: DODEA schools expanding technology, math opportunities.
Feature Image 1 - Large: Mason Payeur, who will be going into the seventh grade at Wiesbaden Middle School in Germany, makes adjustments to his robot at the Robotics Summer Day Camp at Wiesbaden High School earlier this month.
Feature Image 1 - Caption: Mason Payeur, who will be going into the seventh grade at Wiesbaden Middle School in Germany, makes adjustments to his robot at the Robotics Summer Day Camp at Wiesbaden High School earlier this month. "It's been real fun, best camp I've been to this summer," Mason said.
Feature Image 1 - Credit: Mark Patton
Feature Image 2 - Large:
Feature Image 2 - Caption:
Feature Image 2 - Photo Credit:
Area: Europe
District: Bavaria
Headline: High-powered coaching drives DODDS' volleyball camp
Sub Headline:
Date: August 15, 2012
Byline: Rusty Bryan
Source Name: Stars and Stripes
Source Link: http://www.stripes.com/sports/europe/schools/high-powered-coaching-drives-dodds-volleyball-camp-1.185763
FeatureLead: “We want to train in reality,” said Kessel, the Colorado Springs, Colo., resident who’s contributing his 42 years of top-level coaching experience to the third annual Asia-Continental Europe Volleyball Camp here.
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VILSECK, Germany — To USA Volleyball's director of sport, John Kessel, drills are a means to an end — performance in the game.

"We want to train in reality," said Kessel, the Colorado Springs, Colo., resident who's contributing his 42 years of top-level coaching experience to the third annual Asia-Continental Europe Volleyball Camp here. "We don't want to have the players look good doing the drills and not look good during games."

Kessel made his point during opening day drills Monday at the five-day camp for high school players run by Vilseck coach Brian Swenty. Kessel's version of the skills camp seeks to maximize players' contact with the ball.

The process isn't as cut-and-dried as the outsider probably thinks.

"We looked at films from the 2008 Olympics," said Kessel, who'll be going to the 2012 London Paralympic Games as a jury member for sitting volleyball when this camp is over. "Players touch the ball one-hundredth of a second when they hit the ball and less than a tenth of a second on a set. We totaled it up, and the average player was in contact with the ball for just 27.4 seconds for the entire Games."

So little ball contact hurts the learning process, Kessel said.

"You learn by doing, not by watching," he said. "My kids probably spent 16 years watching me drive a car, but did they know how to drive after all that watching?"

Kessel's goal here, therefore, is to maximize the number of times campers get to handle the ball.

"Contacts per hour," Kessel called those moments. "Sports theorists call them 'opportunities to respond.' "

Just as limiting to players' chances to perform is volleyball's geography – two posts anchored to the floor with a net strung between them.

"If you go to a gym, there are six baskets hanging down," Kessell said. "Basketball players use all of them, working on their shots. Here, we had one net with 48 players and one ball."

Kessel's solution was simple, and it doubled the opportunity for players to put into practice what they learn. Kessel strung tape from the middle of the net to each wall, making two courts instead of one.

Swenty and his staff strung tape the same way at each facility the camp uses – the high school gym and multipurpose room, and the post gyms at Vilseck and nearby Grafenwöhr.

In addition, Kessel laid out three outdoor courts on the high school soccer field and rigged ropes across the width of two tennis courts at the school to turn them into four volleyball courts.

"We call them Kesselisms," said Swenty, who welcomed 170 campers to this year's event and therefore can use every court he can get.

In addition to his instant production of courts, Kessel implemented drills designed to keep as many players as possible working the balls.

Swenty met Kessel, the author of more than a dozen books on coaching, when Kessel worked with the Wounded Warrior Games last spring at Ramstein. Kessel calls his work with the Wounded Warriors Program at Fort Carson, Colo., one of his passions.

"I asked if he would be interested in working with our camp," Swenty said, "and he said he'd check his schedule."

Not only was the schedule agreeable, but Kessel arrived with his son, Cody, a sophomore outside hitter at Princeton, and his daughter Mackenzie, a freshman at Maine's Bowdoin College, who are helping with the instruction.

Kessel began his stay in Vilseck by conducting a two-day weekend coaching clinic for DODDS coaches.

"It was wonderful," said Swenty. "He's the coach of coaches."

Added Patch coach John Kohut, who took classes from Kessel years ago in Colorado, "He's our guru."

Campers, from first-timers to former attendees, also were impressed by the instruction they're receiving.

"It's awesome," said Vilseck freshman-to-be Hadiya Bishop. "We get to do a lot more."

Added rising Heidelberg junior Morgan Villmaier, who attended the camp last year, "It's a lot better. I'm learning lots of different things."

Brussels senior Victoria Jackson also liked what she saw.

"It's a very good way of teaching," said the first-year camper. "To be coached by someone from USA Volleyball is really exciting."

Feature Image - Small: DODDS' volleyball camp
Feature Image 1 - Large: DODDS' volleyball camp
Feature Image 1 - Caption: Volleyballs were flying everywhere in Vilseck, Germany, as 170 participants turned out for this year's volleyball camp.
Feature Image 1 - Credit: Michael Abrams, Stars and Stripes
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Area: Europe
District: All Europe
Headline: International players descend on DODDS-Europe football camp
Sub Headline:
Date: August 13, 2012
Byline: Rusty Bryan
Source Name: Stars and Stripes
Source Link: http://www.stripes.com/sports/europe/schools/international-players-descend-on-dodds-europe-football-camp-1.185645
FeatureLead: The annual DODDS-Europe Football Camp opened with the most decidedly international flavor in its 25-year history.
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ANSBACH, Germany — The annual DODDS-Europe Football Camp opened here Sunday with the most decidedly international flavor in its 25-year history.

"We have the Italian national team here, and teams from Belgium, Austria and Germany," said camp director Marcus George, the Ansbach head coach who organized the first of these annual preseason instructional events while coaching at now-shuttered Fulda in 1987. "I'd say about 35 percent of the (340 or so) campers are international players."

The large international contingent allows the Silver Jubliee edition of this four-day event to stage a first, George said.

"A German all-star team is going to scrimmage the Italian national team on Wednesday," he said. "That'll be a treat for all of us to watch."

As well as allowing coaches a chance to gauge their progress. Most of the international players are as new to the game as 16-year-old offensive guard Domenik Schultz of the Oberpfalz Spartans, who's been playing the game just one year.

"I think the camp will be very useful," said Schultz, who's eager to learn more about the intricacies of interior-line play the camp teaches.

For Schultz and all of the campers and the 60 volunteer coaches, the focus will be on improving each player's fundamental skills with an eye toward the 2012 season. For the DODDS-Europe players here, the campaign begins with six small-schools games on Sept. 8 and ends Nov. 10 with the All-Star game revived last year. The annual Super Six European championship triple-header is scheduled for Nov. 3.

"Teams that don't come to camp are behind the power curve," George said. "Players here will get a thousand repetitions that you simply don't have time for at your own practices, when you're busy installing your system and doing a lot of other things. And they won't get the level of coaching expertise they'll get here, either."

The reps and expertise are important even for veteran stars such as Vilseck running backs Carlton Campbell and Sean Peebles, who both spent the summer before their senior years at Stateside camps.

"You need to stay sharp," said Campbell, who along with his backfield mate is attending his third camp here.

Added Peebles, "I enjoy coming. This is where we blend together as a team."

For newcomers, the camp's lessons might prove even more important, according to rising Hohenfels freshman Skylor Field.

"I've heard it's fun," said Field, a wide receiver who sees his first camp as a comfortable way to get his feet wet in varsity football. "They work on making you better."

Feature Image - Small: DODDS-Europe football camp
Feature Image 1 - Large: DODDS-Europe football camp
Feature Image 1 - Caption: Aaron Wright of Hohenfels pulls in a pass despite the defense of an Italian defender. The DODDS European Football Camp at Ansbach, Germany, was an international affair this year, with players from Italy, Germany and Belgium participating, along with the players from DODDS-Europe schools.
Feature Image 1 - Credit: Michael Abrams, Stars and Stripes
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Area: Europe
District: Heidelberg
Headline: Holzmaden's Jurassic Park: DODDS students dig deep at Jurassic shale pit near Stuttgart, Germany
Sub Headline:
Date: July 17, 2012
Byline: Daniel L. L'Esperance
Source Name: Stars and Stripes
Source Link: http://www.stripes.com/travel/holzmaden-dodds-students-dig-deep-at-jurassic-shale-pit-near-stuttgart-germany-1.183191
FeatureLead: When was the last time you were able to pack up the kids on a sunny morning with a promise that everybody would soon be roaming with life-size dinosaurs and coming home with a bag full of fossils?
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When was the last time you were able to pack up the kids on a sunny morning with a promise that everybody would soon be roaming with life-size dinosaurs and coming home with a bag full of fossils?

When I found out my second-grade class would be among five from Böblingen Elementary Middle School on Panzer Kaserne in Stuttgart, Germany, to go on a fossil dig, I was the one who couldn't sleep the night before.

When I was a kid growing up in Kalamazoo, Mich., the first thing I hunted were fossils. They were perfect for a kid like me: small, full of history, rare, and — best of all — free. Behind my house there was an old excavation site that my neighbor pals called "The Pit." It was full of the craziest, most beautiful fossils a kid could dream of. If I was lucky, I'd walk home with treasures to share with my family and friends. Those were the good old days.

Fast forward to 2012 in the area around Holzmaden, Baden-Württemberg, Germany, where amateur excavators can find fossils in fields of slate. This is the perfect field trip. The kids in my class were beside themselves with anticipation. Through my own love of all things old (and you can't collect anything older than a 180-million-year-old fossil!), I got my students excited about digging into the earth and pulling out a treasure. I taught them what it takes to create a fossil: life, death, mud, pressure and millions of years to turn those carbon molecules into minerals.

Both the fossil museum, Urweltmuseum Hauff (Hauff Museum of the Prehistoric World) and the fossil pit, Schieferbruch Ralf Kromer, are located minutes off autobahn A8 in the direction of Munich, 18 miles from Stuttgart. Just punch the address of the museum (Aichelberger Straße 90, 73271 Holzmaden) into your trusty GPS and follow your satellite.

The museum, established and owned by three generations of a family named Hauff, is unmistakably exciting. Lock the car doors as you arrive or your kids (young and old) will be bolting for the Dino Park before you can shut the engine off.

Don't fight the kids on this one; head straight out to the park, where you will walk with the (almost) real thing. On the banks of a lake amid primeval scouring rush, ginkgo and sequoia trees, life-size statues of dinosaurs from the Mesozoic period can be found: Diplodocus, Stegosaurus, Iguanodon and Deinonychus, Plateosaurus and Allosaurus. One dinosaur is hidden in an excavation field.

The kids were properly grossed out as they saw a very realistic-looking pack of ravenous raptors taking down a helpless herbivore. Life and death can be so dramatic. Nearby, I reluctantly stared up into the vacant eyes of an Allosaurus. I would not have been surprised if she had blinked at me dumbly like that raptor on "Jurassic Park."

The museum building offers an optional movie outlining the series of geological changes that create fossils, whether fauna or flora. Most of the fossils you will uncover at the quarry will be types of shells from the Jurassic Period.

On the bottom floor, you'll find yourself taking a quick walk through time — millions of years in a single stride of fossil exhibits starting at the early prehistoric Caucasus Period through the Iron Age. You'll learn here what many don't know — that mastodons roamed throughout what is now Europe in huge herds.

If you have children with you, take a well-deserved "pit stop" (get it?) before you hop back into your car to begin your 10-minute drive from the museum to the fossil pit. The portable john at the site is at best functional but serves its purpose.

We arrived at the fossil pit with the proper paleontologist equipment, including hats, sunglasses and sunscreen to fight off the German summer sun. After paying a small fee (2.50 euros for adults and 1.50 euros for children), we enjoyed our bag lunches deep in anticipation of the hunt ahead. Serious fossil hunters can pay an additional euro for a hammer and 1.50 euros for a hammer and chisel. Hammering and chiseling aren't absolutely necessary to discover fossils, but they do add to the fun. A hard-working second-grade paleontologist pounding away with his hammer and chisel discovered some of the finest fossils found the day of our trip.

It didn't take long before everyone had as many fossils as he or she could haul. Just when we thought life could not get any better, the ice cream man came driving up. He had the best Italian ice north of Milan! This was the life — I never had ice cream delivered to me as a kid when I was getting dusty in "The Pit."

After I worked my way through a bowl of pistachio, melon and lemon Italian ice, it was time to drag my fossils back to the bus and head back to school with the other teachers and our happy young fossil hunters. The trip home after a long day out is usually a great opportunity for the students to fall asleep. Not this day; everyone was too pumped up as they showed off their finest fossils and retold their hunting stories.

I couldn't wait to show my wife the treasures I had found that day. It appears my inner child is still every bit a fossil hunter.

Feature Image - Small: DODDS students dig deep for fossils
Feature Image 1 - Large: Holzmaden's Jurassic park: DODDS students dig deep for fossils
Feature Image 1 - Caption: Adults and children from Böblingen Elementary Middle School in Stuttgart get in on the fossil hunting at the Urwelt-Museum Hauff. The museum is named for the Hauff family, which has been involved in fossil excavation in the area for three generations.
Feature Image 1 - Credit: Daniel L. L'Esperance
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Area: Europe
District: Mediterranean
Headline: DODDS swimmer set to compete in Olympics
Sub Headline:
Date: June 21, 2012
Byline: Kent Harris
Source Name: Stars & Stripes
Source Link: http://www.stripes.com/sports/dodds-swimmer-set-to-compete-in-olympics-1.180984
FeatureLead: Sarah Alfalaij, a senior-to-be at Bahrain High School, will be competing in the 50-meter freestyle in this summer's Olympic games
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Sarah Alfalaij just finished her junior year at Bahrain High School and, like many DODDS students, she'll be traveling this summer around Europe; her itinerary includes the Summer Olympics in London — as a participant.

Alfalaij, whose father is Bahrani and whose mother is American, will be representing Bahrain in swimming in the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.

"It's a sport I enjoy," she said in a recent phone interview. "I'm really good at it."

Probably not good enough, however, for a medal, she said.

"I'm not going to win first or the gold," she said. "There's a lot of really good swimmers with better times than mine. I'm just going to try to post my personal best time."

Under the complex qualification rules set out by the International Federation of Swimming, FINA, countries whose swimmers do not make either the official Olympic Qualifying Time in their respective events, nor the easier to achieve Olympic Selection Time, may be authorized to send up to two swimmers to fill "Universality Places," provided they have competed in specified events and are approved by FINA, according to the organization's website.

Alfalaij's best time in the 50-meter freestyle is 31 seconds, she said. The selection time posted on the FINA website is 26.15 seconds.

Tariq Salem, one of Alfalaij's coaches, said in a phone interview he's hoping that his swimmer not only improves her best time, but soaks up the atmosphere of the games and sees how other top athletes conduct themselves.

"She's only 17," he said. "She has a long career ahead of her."

That career will include her senior year at Bahrain. Her father, Abdulrahman Alfulaij, is a psychologist at the University of Bahrain. Her mother, Carrie Alfalaij, is an American who works for the Defense Logistics Agency on base. Younger brother Ryan plays tennis — one of many sports she tried out before deciding to go with swimming.

Alfalaij is a Bahraini citizen who has attended DODDS schools for several years.

She is believed to be the first athlete ever to compete in the Olympics while still enrolled in a Department of Defense Dependents School.

Not bad for someone who's been competitively swimming for only about three years.

There have been DODDS students who have competed in the Olympics after their school years were over, but DODDS has no record of anyone being in the Olympics while still enrolled, according to public affairs officer Bob Purtiman.

Salem said he saw her potential the first time he saw her swim in a local competition several years ago. But he said it takes more than natural talent and hard work to succeed in the sport.

While Alfalaij's training routine — about two hours in the pool a day, running and gym work on top of that — is a strong commitment for a high school student, it's nothing compared to what many of the sport's top athletes endure, he said. Many spend six hours a day in the pool, and they almost never take a day off.

Salem said Alfalaij's career would benefit strongly from attending a university with a good program in the States and the family is looking into that.

Bahrain isn't exactly a world power when it comes to competitive swimming. It has never won a medal in the sport, Salem said. Alfalaij won't be the first female swimmer competing for the country, though. The country has sent two swimmers each year to the games since 2000 and Alfulaij said she has every intention of going multiple times.

"I still have a long way to go," she said, pointing out that one potential competitor in her event, American Dana Torres, is 45. She said she'd also like to compete in other freestyle or breaststroke events if her times improve.

Bahrain principal Doug McEnery said regardless of how Alfalaij does in this summer's event, it's a great opportunity.

"Just the fact that you're getting to represent your country and get to compete against the best in the world is pretty nice," he said. "And she really represents the Olympic ideals. Not just as an athlete, but how she conducts herself all the time."

Feature Image - Small: DODDS swimmer set to compete in Olympics
Feature Image 1 - Large: DODDS swimmer set to compete in Olympics
Feature Image 1 - Caption: Sarah Alfalaij, a senior-to-be at Bahrain High School, likes competing in the breaststroke as shown her during a recent practice. But she'll be competing in the 50-meter freestyle in this summer's Olympic games - likely the first DODDS student ever to be an Olympian while still in high school.
Feature Image 1 - Credit: Photo courtesy of Carrie Alfalau
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Area: Europe
District: All Europe
Headline: NCAA Notice for Incoming Athletes
Sub Headline:
Date: June 14, 2012
Byline: DoDDS-Europe Athletic Activities
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FeatureLead: All perspective student athletes must sign up with the NCAA Clearinghouse if they plan to pursue an athletic scholarship.
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All perspective student athletes must sign up with the NCAA Clearinghouse if they plan to pursue an athletic scholarship. This link provides parents and athletes all the information that they will need to learn about the Clearinghouse and required course work during their HS career.

Incoming 9th graders, the "Class of 2016", will have different requirements and therefore should review this information at their earliest opportunity to insure that all NCAA requirements are met. It is also imperative that parents and athletes work closely with their school counselor in determining what must be done to comply.

 

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Feature Image 1 - Large: NCAA Signup Announcement
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Area: Europe
District: Heidelberg
Headline: Mannheim Elementary closes for good after 66 years
Sub Headline:
Date: June 8, 2012
Byline: Michael Abrams
Source Name: Stars & Stripes
Source Link: http://www.stripes.com/news/mannheim-elementary-closes-for-good-after-66-years-1.179871#.T9MJYu4tLes.mailto
FeatureLead: Mannheim Elementary School closed for good on Friday with a celebration and a picnic capping its 66-year history.
FeatureText:

Mannheim Elementary School closed for good on Friday with a celebration and a picnic capping its 66-year history.

Students danced the "Bobcat Boogie" and sang songs, while former students reminisced about their time at the school.

When it opened in 1946, 55 students were enrolled, according to the Department of Defense Dependents Schools-Europe website. During the height of the Cold War, enrollment was more than 2,200, making it the largest school in the Department of Defense Education Activity, according to the website. For its final year, 139 students went to class.

The Mannheim military community is in the final phase of closure due to the realignment of U.S. forces in Europe.

 

A Short History

The first school in the Mannheim area was opened on 14 October 1946 in a house in Feudenheim. Enrollment was 55 students. The enrollment increased and the school expanded into two houses which were used until 1949. In that year the school moved into a renovated barracks in Funari Barracks and continued there until the opening of the new school building in Mannheim-Kaefertal in October 1952.

The large yearly increases in enrollment necessitated the construction of another school building in Mannheim-Kaefertal which was completed in August 1955. Because of the large overall increases in the HACOM schools it became necessary to convert Mannheim School #1 into a high school.

Operation of the Mannheim High School began in September 1956. The enrollment at the elementary school for kindergarten and grade 1 through 6 was 1276 students, and for the high school it was 504 students. Enrollment for the elementary school during our closing year has been 139 students.

 

Remembrances, Timeline

For our Alumni, please send us your remembrances, thoughts, and images. Let's celebrate together the special years you have spent at this school and community. As you email them to us we will post them here.


Contact and Info

Address:
Mannheim Elementary School
Unit 29938
APO, AE 09008

Telephone:
Within Germany: 0621-730-4705
Within Europe: 00-49-621-730-4705
From U.S. : 011-49-621-730-4705
DSN: 380-4705 or 380-4369

Fax:
Within Germany: 0621-723-905
Feature Image - Small: Mannheim Elementary School Celebrates
Feature Image 1 - Large: Mannheim Elementary School Celebrates
Feature Image 1 - Caption: Students from Mannheim Elementary School in Germany sing and dance the "Bobcat Boogie" to start off the school's closing ceremony. The school closed Friday, after serving the community for 66 years. When it opened in 1946, 55 students were enrolled. During the height of the Cold War, enrollment was more than 2,200, making it the largest school in the Department of Defense Education Activity. For its final year, 139 students were enrolled.
Feature Image 1 - Credit: Michael Abrams, Stars and Stripes
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Area: Europe
District: All Europe
Headline: Deployed parents can watch the 2012 DoDDS-Europe high school graduations live
Sub Headline:
Date: June 1, 2012
Byline: DoDDS-Europe Public Affairs
Source Name:
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FeatureLead: Deployed parents can watch the 2012 DoDDS-Europe high school graduations live
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WIESBADEN, Germany – Some deployed service members will be able to view their high school graduating seniors via live webcasts on graduation day.

The Department of Defense Dependents Schools – Europe, U.S. Army Europe, and the U.S. Army 5th Signal Command have combined assets, talents, and technologies to enable the live webcasts via the Internet. The effort will allow 12 graduation ceremonies to be viewed by more than 60 deployed parents in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other locations around the world.

The first graduation ceremonies will be webcast on June 7 from Ansbach and Bamberg High Schools, Germany. The last webcast occurs on June 14 from Vilseck High School, Germany. Schools identified as participating in this year's program include:

  • June 7 – Ansbach and Bamberg High Schools
  • June 8 – Heidelberg, Lakenheath, Hohenfels, Kaiserslautern and Ramstein High Schools
  • June 9 – Aviano and Bitburg High Schools
  • June 10 – Wiesbaden High School
  • June 12 – Schweinfurt High School
  • June 14 – Vilseck High School

Using web technology, deployed parents will be able to see their graduating senior cross the stage and view student messages recorded for the occasion. The collective effort is intended to give graduating students and deployed parents the opportunity to share in this life event. This is the ninth year the effort has been undertaken. Planning for this year's webcast began in January. Seniors who had, or anticipated having parents deployed at graduation, were identified through the high schools and the coordination process began. The ceremonies will be available for downloading after the conclusion of the ceremony.

Here is the website information where the graduations can be viewed.

Feature Image - Small: Graduating Seniors
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Area: Europe
District: All Europe
Headline: DODEA initiates pilot laptop program for students
Sub Headline:
Date: May 28, 2012
Byline: Jennifer H. Svan and Mark Patton, Stars and Stripes
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FeatureLead: Laptops will be issued to students in select schools, hoping the pilot program will match the success of similar programs in state schools that have made steady gains in student achievement.
FeatureText:

KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — The Defense Department school system is issuing laptops to students in select schools, hoping the pilot program will match the success of similar programs in state schools that have made steady gains in student achievement.

Department of Defense Education Activity began issuing laptops to every student and teacher in 10 of its military schools this spring with the intent of expanding the program to all DODEA high schools and middle schools.

"The purpose is really simple," said DODEA Director Marilee Fitzgerald. "It's to employ technology in ways that improve teaching and learning through increased student engagement."

Eight of the 10 schools in the initial phase are in Europe, and the two others are stateside, at locations with at least 50 percent wireless capability, DODEA officials said. A limited expansion is planned next school year in the Pacific, where broadband and wireless capabilities are catching up to that of Europe's schools.

"Specific sites have yet to be determined," DODEA spokeswoman Elaine Kanellis said in an email.

Students can take notes on their laptops in class, access online research and digital textbooks for school projects, participate in distance learning courses, and download teacher-recorded audio and video lessons, among other uses, Fitzgerald said.

"This is a way we can level the playing field for our children," she said, bridging the digital divide between students who have computers at home and those who do not. Students sign out the laptops for the school year and can take them home.

Fitzgerald doesn't like to call the "one-to-one laptops" a technology initiative. "This is about curriculum instruction and maximizing what we can do for the benefit of the kids," she said, with the goal being gains in student achievement.

Though new for DODEA, one-to-one computing programs have been adopted by numerous school districts across the United States with varying degrees of success. DODEA officials said one-to-one programs have existed for 22 years, and six states have state-wide programs.

Mooresville, N.C., boasts one of the most successful laptop programs in the nation, DODEA officials said. The agency's director joined the long list of educators who have visited the district to observe the program, which, according to a February story in The New York Times, has quietly emerged as a national model of the digital school.

In Mooresville, 88 percent of students across grades and subjects met proficiency standards in 2011, compared with 73 percent three years earlier, according to The Times.

A study published last year of the program in Maine, which distributed laptops to all middle school students beginning in the 2002-03 school year, attributed improved writing performance on standardized tests.

The Maine Education Policy Research Institute cited results of a 2005 test that showed students who reported using their laptops in all phases of the writing process received the highest test scores, and students who reported not using laptops in writing had the lowest scores.

Teachers also reported substantial benefits from the program, indicating the laptops have helped them teach more in less time and with greater depth, and allowed them to individualize their curriculum and instruction more, according to the study.

"The use of the device needs to match curriculum and learning needs," said David Silvernail, one of the authors of the study. "The device must be a better way to teach and learn specific content or skills and the assessment must match what is learned and how."

At Wiesbaden, where juniors and seniors got laptops in March, and freshmen and sophomores received theirs in April, response from teachers and students was mixed. "I like having everything compacted into just a laptop instead of papers, binders and stuff," said senior Andrew Hemphill, 17.

He acknowledged being nervous when one of his teachers, Tracy Wegleitner, in her first year teaching Advanced Placement psychology, sociology and world history, made her classroom paperless.

But, Andrew said, "it's worked out pretty well so far."

Of her decision to phase out paper note-taking in class, Wegleitner said, "If you've got a tool that's going to allow you to do everything and take notes and keep notes, why don't we go ahead and do it?"

With publishers offering textbooks online, DODDS email database allows her to post assignments online, set up class walls and offer instant chats.

Senior Alexandria Beverly said she's not too keen on doing everything on her laptop. "Instead of paying attention to [the teacher], we're paying attention to the computer, because we're typing fast," she said, adding that it's harder to type notes than write them.

"Most of my classes, it's become more of a distraction," said senior Joseph Griffith, 18.

In Europe, about 3,600 Dell Latitude laptops were being issued this spring to every high school student and teacher at Hohenfels, Schweinfurt, Bamberg, Patch, Wiesbaden, Vicenza, Alconbury and Kaiserslautern schools, said Russ Claus, DODDS Europe deputy area superintendent.

The approximate $651 cost per student includes the laptop, batteries and charging station. DODEA is spending about $2.8 million for 4,600 computers in 10 schools.


Feature Image - Small: Student with school provided laptop
Feature Image 1 - Large: Student with school provided laptop
Feature Image 1 - Caption: Wiesbaden High School senior Andrew Hemphill, 17, gets his laptop booted up before a class at the school. Wiesbaden is one of 10 DODDS schools where students and teachers are being issued laptops they use during the school year as part of a pilot program.
Feature Image 1 - Credit: Mark Patton, Stars and Stripes
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Area: Europe
District: All Europe
Headline: Schweinfurt takes gold at Europe-wide culinary competition
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Date: May 15, 2012
Byline: Erin Bolinger, Schweinfurt High School
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FeatureLead: The high school's culinary arts team here competed for the first time ever and earned gold in two categories at the All-Europe Culinary Faire
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SCHWEINFURT, Germany — The high school's culinary arts team here competed for the first time ever and earned gold in two categories at the All-Europe Culinary Faire May 8-10 at Sembach Middle and Elementary School.

Eight schools from across Europe competed including teams from Bitburg, Heidelberg, Kaiserslautern, Naples, Ramstein, Vilseck and Schweinfurt. Teams consisted of four students with one alternate.

Schweinfurt's culinary arts team included 10th grader Tyquell Kennedy, Yafreisy Ortiz and Kaitlyn Mayo of the 11th grade, and 12th grader Michael Motto.

The competition consisted of six events. Baumholder took first for the Quiz Bowl and Apple Carving while Ramstein dominated in the Cake Decorating category. Schweinfurt ruled the Knife Skills and Culinary Arts, taking gold in each.

"Who are we going to trust our knives to?" asked competition officials.

Schweinfurt appeared the underdog among all the teams wearing brightly colored and embroidered chef coats and other accessories. Undeterred by their hodge-podge garb, they went in and did their best with $10 economy coats, three pairs of borrowed shoes and million-dollar smiles and attitudes.

Teams competing in Culinary Arts had twenty minutes to gather ingredients and set up their stations. They were then given one hour to cook the entire menu, and an additional 20 minutes to clean up. Teams had to incorporate chicken breast, broccoli and rice into their menus and work within a $25 budget.

"The diversity was amazing. Everyone was so different. All these kids from different schools came together and completely blew the judges away. It was the best experience I've ever had," said Mayo.

Even though each team was out to win they still found a way to interact with one another.

"My favorite part was the interaction we had with all the other schools," said Kennedy. "Everyone took basically the same ingredients and we came up with so many different things. I didn't think so many things could be done with those three ingredients. I loved how teams came up with creative ways around the restrictions of the rules, such as figuring out how to make a soufflé without an oven."

The judges were especially impressed with the communication and teamwork from the Schweinfurt team. They were even more impressed when they learned that one of the SHS cooks, Yafreisy Ortiz, spoke only Spanish.

"When we first started together it was difficult for me to even ask for something as simple as a plate. It took a lot of gestures and talking to each other. Now when I need a plate it appears in front of me. We are four individual people, but when we cook together we are one," Ortiz said.

Breaking the language barrier only strengthened the teamwork

"At first I was scared that the language thing was going to hold us back, but we realized that we had to work even harder together to make it happen and it pushed us to do even better than we would have. It actually made us stronger as a team," Mayo said.

The Schweinfurt High School cooks overcame their underdog status and communication barriers to place first in two coveted categories. These four contestants worked hard for months to prepare for their one chance to be called All-Europe Culinary Arts champions.

"My team's common languages are professionalism, teamwork, and respect. They demonstrate daily what it means to work in a modern kitchen and I could not be more proud of them," said Culinary Arts instructor and head chef, Hana McWilliams.



Editor's note: Erin Bolinger is a junior at Schweinfurt High School and a student in the Career Practicum class. Erin is a contributing writer for the USAG Schweinfurt Public Affairs Office. Laura Masci is a Spanish teacher at the high school.

Feature Image - Small: Schweinfurt takes gold at Europe-wide culinary competition
Feature Image 1 - Large: Schweinfurt takes gold at Europe-wide culinary competition
Feature Image 1 - Caption: From left, Tyquell Kennedy, Kaitlyn Mayo and Yafreisy Ortiz of the Schweinfurt High School Culinary Arts team work feverishly at a food preparation event at the All-Europe Culinary Faire May 8-10 at Sembach Middle and Elementary School. The SHS squad took gold in two of the competition's six categories.
Feature Image 1 - Credit: Laura Masci, Schweinfurt High School
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Area: Europe
District: All Europe
Headline: Culinary competition tests DODDS-Europe students skills
Sub Headline:
Date: May 11, 2012
Byline: Stars and Stripes
Source Name:
Source Link: http://www.eu.dodea.edu/news/1112/www.stripes.com/news/europe/germany/culinary-competition-tests-dodds-students-skills-1.176935
FeatureLead: Teams from eight high schools in Germany and Italy prepared a starter, entrée and dessert that were judged on
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 EMBACH, Germany — DODDS-Europe's aspiring chefs competed here in a culinary arts fair this week that tested their ability not only to prepare but also present a meal.

Teams from eight high schools in Germany and Italy prepared a starter, entrée and dessert that were judged on taste and presentation by a food inspector, a preemptive medicine specialist and two soldiers who have experience cooking for generals.

Only allowed to use two burners, the future chefs could use their imagination on the recipes, but all meals had to include chicken breast, rice and broccoli.

Some of the delicious tasting and smelling dishes they concocted were Italian style rolled chicken medallions, sweet potato broccoli chicken curry and chicken mango curry.

Besides cooking, students demonstrated their knife skills on a variety of vegetables, slicing them in julienne, chiffonade and brunoise style.

There was competition in cake decorating, apple carving and napkin folding. They also tested their culinary knowledge in a quiz bowl.

Baumholder senior Dyami Pike took the competition and his cooking seriously.

"After graduation, I can't see myself doing anything other than this career," he said as he cleaned his kitchen space with teammate Andrew Hooks after the competition.

Another senior, Kaitlyn Miller of Bitburg, was lamenting that she wouldn't be able to participate next year.

"I wish I was still a junior so I could do it all again," she said.

As a reward for all their cooking, the students were treated to an evening of fine dining at a local restaurant.

Feature Image - Small: Culinary Arts
Feature Image 1 - Large: Culinary Arts
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Feature Image 1 - Credit: Michael Abrams, Stars and Stripes
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Feature Image 2 - Caption: Bitburg's Yveth Murillo, left, and Cheyenne Pillatzke cook their team's dishes at the DODDS-Europe Culinary Arts Faire in Sembach, Germany.
Feature Image 2 - Photo Credit: Michael Abrams, Stars and Stripes
Area: Europe
District: All Europe
Headline: "School Talk" with Director Marilee Fitzgerald
Sub Headline: May 8, 2012, CET
Date: May 8, 2012
Byline: DoDDS-Europe Public Affairs
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FeatureLead: On Tuesday, May 8th, Ms. Marilee Fitzgerald, Director of the DoDEA, spends time addressing the issues that matter most to parents and students in DoDDS-Europe schools on Blog Talk Radio. [ www.blogtalkradio.com/dodea ]
FeatureText:

 "School Talk" with Marilee Fitzgerald is a monthly forum for the community of the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) and your chance to interact directly with DoDEA's leaders as they discuss topics related to educating the children of America's service members.

The broadcast is available live on the web at www.blogtalkradio.com/dodea for DoDDS-Europe schools on the second Tuesday of each month at 3 PM, CET. Listeners can call in or email questions/comments. Be sure each month to catch Ms. Marilee Fitzgerald, DoDEA Director as she addresses the issues that matter most to employees, parents, and students

In the May 8th episode, Director Marilee Fitzgerald introduces DoDEA's new show, "School Talk"; shares some observations, priorities, and points of celebration for the system; addresses how parents, students and teachers can become involved in the discussion; and talks to the 2012 DoDEA teacher of the Year, Angela Wilson.

 

Mark your calendars and bookmark the URL:

How can you access the show?
  • Telephone: For callers (347) 884-8340
  • Callers overseas can use Skype to call in from their computers as well.

 

Future schedule

Each broadcast will be made at 3:00 pm CET

  • June 12, 2012
  • July 2012 - No Broadcast
  • August 14, 2012
  • September 11, 2012
  • October 9, 2012
  • November 13, 2012
  • December 11, 2012
  • January 8, 2013
Feature Image - Small: School Talk with Marilee Fitzgerald
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Area: Europe
District: All Europe
Headline: May: Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month
Sub Headline:
Date: May 1, 2012
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FeatureLead: We celebrate and pay tribute to the many contributions made by generations of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to America's society and culture.
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During National Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we celebrate and pay tribute to the many contributions made by generations of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to America's society and culture. This year's theme is, "Striving for Excellence in Leadership, Diversity and Inclusion." The theme was chosen to focus on the Executive Order on Diversity and Inclusion signed by President Obama on August 18, 2011.

The designation of the month of May by Congress to commemorate Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders was based on two considerations as follows: 1) the first immigrants from Japan landed in America on May 7, 1843; and, 2) the transcontinental railroad, built largely by Chinese workers, was completed on May 10, 1869.

According to the 2010 Census data projections, the Asian American and Pacific Islander populations will more than double by the year 2050. There are approximately 17.3 million Americans, of Asian descent. That number is expected to grow to 40.6 million by 2050. Similarly, there are more than 1.2 million residents who claim Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander descent and that number is expected to increase to more than 2.6 in 2050.

Take the opportunity this month to learn more about the immigration experience of Asian and Pacific Islanders. For example, most Americans are familiar with Ellis Island. But what is not commonly known is that Angel Island Immigration Station, located in San Francisco Bay, served as an immigration checkpoint from 1910 until 1940. Dubbed the "Ellis Island of the West," approximately 175, 000 Chinese immigrants were detained and processed at Angel Island. Thousands of immigrants from Japan, Korea and the Philippines were interned on Angel Island as well as upon their arrival to America. This immigration station was scheduled to be demolished until the discovery of Chinese character carvings were found on the walls. This site is now a museum dedicated to the education of the immigration of Asians and Pacific Islanders.

 

Presidential Proclamation

Generations of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) have helped make America what it is today. Their histories recall bitter hardships and proud accomplishments -- from the laborers who connected our coasts one-and-a-half centuries ago, to the patriots who fought overseas while their families were interned at home, from those who endured the harsh conditions of Angel Island, to the innovators and entrepreneurs who are driving our Nation's economic growth in Silicon Valley and beyond. Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month offers us an opportunity to celebrate the vast contributions Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have made to our Nation, reflect on the challenges still faced by AAPI communities, and recommit to making the American dream a reality for all.

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders comprise many ethnicities and languages, and their myriad achievements embody the American experience. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have started businesses, including some of our Nation's most successful and dynamic enterprises. AAPI men and women are leaders in every aspect of American life -- in government and industry, science and medicine, the arts and our Armed Forces, education and sports.

Yet, while we celebrate these successes, we must remember that too often Asian American and Pacific Islanders face significant adversity. Many AAPI communities continue to fight prejudice and struggle to overcome disparities in education, employment, housing, and health care. My Administration remains committed to addressing these unique challenges. Through the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, we are working to expand opportunities for AAPI communities by improving access to Federal programs where Asian American and Pacific Islanders are currently underserved. To learn more about the Initiative, visit www.WhiteHouse.gov/AAPI.

As we also take this occasion to reflect on our past, we mark 70 years since the Executive Order that authorized the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. Last month, I announced my intent to posthumously award the Presidential Medal of Freedom -- the country's highest civilian honor -- to Gordon Hirabayashi, who openly defied this forced relocation, and bravely took his challenge all the way to the United States Supreme Court.

This year, we also commemorate the 100th anniversary of the first Japanese cherry blossom trees planted in Washington, D.C., an enduring symbol of the friendship shared between the United States and Japan and a reminder of America's standing as a Pacific nation. Over the centuries, we have maintained a long, rich history of engagement in the Asia-Pacific region, and our AAPI communities have been essential to strengthening the economic, political, and social bonds we share with our partners around the world.

This month, we reflect on the indelible ways AAPI communities have shaped our national life. As we celebrate centuries of trial and triumph, let us rededicate ourselves to making our Nation a place that welcomes the contributions of all people, all colors, and all creeds, and ensures the American dream is within reach for all who seek it.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim May 2012 as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. I call upon all Americans to visit www.AsianPacificHeritage.gov to learn more about the history of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and to observe this month with appropriate programs and activities.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this first day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand twelve, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-sixth.

BARACK OBAMA 

 

Feature Image - Small: Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month
Feature Image 1 - Large: May: Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month
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Feature Image 1 - Credit: U.S. National Archives
Feature Image 2 - Large: May: Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month
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Feature Image 2 - Photo Credit: U.S. National Archives
Area: Europe
District: All Europe
Headline: DoDDS-Europe Students Participate in RSI Program
Sub Headline:
Date: April 27, 2012
Byline: DoDDS-Europe Public Affairs
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FeatureLead: Three students will attend the prestigious 29th Annual Research Science Institute (RSI) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology this summer.
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ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA — Three Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) students will attend the prestigious 29th Annual Research Science Institute (RSI) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology this summer.

The three students that will attend the program are:

  • Bryce Kaw-uh, Incirlik Unit School, Mediterranean District
  • Paul Mitchell, AFNORTH International School, Isles District
  • Devan Tisdale, Wiesbaden High School, Heidelberg District

All three students attend DoDEA schools in Europe.

Each summer, 80 of the world's most accomplished high school students gather at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for the Research Science Institute (RSI). RSI is a summer science & engineering program that combines on-campus course work in scientific theory with off-campus work in science and technology research.

Participants experience the entire research cycle from start to finish. They read the most current literature in their field, draft and execute a detailed research plan, and deliver conference-style oral and written reports on their findings. (Source: RSI)

Principals from each of the three DoDEA students selected had high prose for their students.

Dr. Terry Greene, principal of Incirlik Unit School, offered congratulations to Kaw-uh. "We're so proud of Bryce! He honors our school with this achievement." Dr. Greene said. "He is the perfect combination of scholar, scientist, collaborator, and leader. Congratulations to Bryce and his family!"

Dr. Gloria M. Hajat, Principal AFNORTH International School praised Paul Mitchell on his selection. "You have been selected among a superior group of students, who have distinguished themselves in mathematics, science, and engineering. Your hard work and dedication to your academic studies is truly admirable."

Sharon O'Donnell, principal of Wiesbaden High School, extended her congratulations to Tisdale. "On behalf of Wiesbaden High School I would like to extend congratulations to Devan on his acceptance to the RIS program! This is a well deserved honor."

O'Donnell said. "This opportunity will shape his future in ways beyond his imagination. We are very proud of Devan!"

From June 24 through August 4, 2012, the three DoDEA students will join77 of their peers from across the nation by participating in college-level classes taught by professors from leading American universities. During the first week of the six-week program, participants are involved in extensive Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) classes to enhance their research skills. Over the course of five weeks students are engaged in a research internship, working under the close mentorship of top scientists and researchers on individual projects. During the last week of the program, each student prepares a written and oral presentation of their project.

Students interested in participating in RSI next summer should talk with school officials to find out more about submitting an application. More details will be available later in the year on DoDEA's website

To learn more about RSI visit the CEE's website.


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Headline: On 'Soldier Day' children try out parents' life while deployed
Sub Headline:
Date: April 26, 2012
Byline: Stephen Beardley
Source Name: Stars & Stripes
Source Link: http://www.stripes.com/news/on-soldier-day-children-try-out-parents-life-while-deployed-1.175606#
FeatureLead: Students at Rainbow Elementary School learn what it's like to be a soldier as their parents prepare to deploy with the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade out of Katterbach, Germany.
FeatureText:

KATTERBACH, Germany — On the cusp of his third deployment, Sgt. David Kirkpatrick is preparing to leave two sons behind, each with his own understanding of where Dad is going.

While 9-year-old Hunter knows many of the details, brother Lucas, 7, is aware only "that Dad's going away for a while," the father said.

On Thursday, Kirkpatrick and his family participated in Soldier Day at the Army post here, a joint effort by the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade and the local Department of Defense Dependents Schools elementary school. The goal was to explain the unit's upcoming deployment to children by introducing them to routine tasks their parents will perform downrange.

The brigade, a helicopter unit stationed in Katterbach, is currently deploying for operations in Afghanistan and Kuwait.

"We were trying to somehow find a way to lessen the stress on the children, and, if you will, demystify the deployment process," said Percy Wilson, school counselor at Rainbow Elementary School, which organized the event with the 412th Aviation Support Battalion.

Inside one of the post's large hangars, more than 300 children moved through 18 stations. Each station focused on a separate task or concept, such as physical training, map reading and preparing a Meals, Ready to Eat.

Children ran an obstacle course, practiced marching in step and sat behind the wheel of a Humvee, where they eagerly slammed on the horn. Soldiers hoisted them into the cockpit of a Black Hawk helicopter.

At one booth, Staff Sgt. Michael Lukeman and Sgt. Chris Huesing, both of the 412th ASB, pointed to a map of Afghanistan, explaining where part of the brigade was bound. They passed around photos of the operating base, noting it had both a Burger King and Pizza Hut.

The photos — of the camp, helicopters and Afghan landscapes — often won more attention than the explanations.

"At this age, from what we understand, it's better for them to visualize it," Lukeman said.

Children's understanding of, and feelings toward, deployment depend on their age and the extent to which their parents explain what's happening, according to teachers and parents here.

Kirkpatrick, of Company A, 5th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment, said his boys become apprehensive only when they sense unease from the adults around them.

Wilson, the school counselor, said children remain calm about deployments when their parents are calm. Rainbow Elementary also tries to prepare students, he added, teaching about deployment and showing a "Sesame Street" video on the topic.

"Their level of knowledge of deployment is pretty good," Wilson said. "Their level of understanding — who knows? They know Mom and Dad are going to Afghanistan or Iraq. They know they're going to be gone for a long time. They know they can talk to them on Skype."

Third-grader Sydney Hogue, 9, said her father had already deployed, although she didn't know where. He "flies medical," she said.

Lying on her belly before a large farewell banner at the Family Readiness Group station, Sydney scribbled a message, though she wasn't sure whom it was for. "Be carefull," it read.

Feature Image - Small: Soldier Day
Feature Image 1 - Large: Soldier Day
Feature Image 1 - Caption: Sgt. David Kirkpatrick, left, points to a photo of an operating base in Afghanistan for his son, Hunter, second from left, during Rainbow Elementary School's "Soldier Day" on April 26, 2012. The event was an effort to alleviate fears about parent deployments by introducing children to the daily routine of a soldier. It was held at the Army post in Katterbach, Germany, home to the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade, which is soon to deploy to Afghanistan and Kuwait.
Feature Image 1 - Credit: Stephen Beardsley, Stars & Stripes
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Area: Europe
District: All Europe
Headline: DoDEA Schools Launch New STEM Initiative
Sub Headline: April 22-27: Confront Disaster, Engage Your Mind, Save the World!
Date: April 6, 2012
Byline: DoDDS-Europe Public Affairs
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FeatureLead: A new Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) initiative is launched in DoDEA schools worldwide. The STEM initiative is a partnership between students and educators, and Federal STEM professionals.
FeatureText:

ARLINGTON, VA - The Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA), in collaboration with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), launched a new Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) initiative in DoDEA schools worldwide. The STEM initiative is a partnership between DoDEA students and educators, and Federal STEM professionals.

"OPM is proud to support DoDEA's STEM Initiative," remarked OPM Director John Berry, "STEM skills will be critical to meeting the challenges of this century. We're glad our current Federal employees can help prepare and inspire tomorrow's leaders and problem-solvers."

"This partnership is focused on real life, problem-based learning opportunities for students to use today's tools to solve tomorrow's problems -- crossing disciplines and having global implications," said DoDEA Director Marilee Fitzgerald.

"The events will usher in a new era of collaboration, cooperation, and communication between DoDEA schools and STEM professionals in our government and in industry," Fitzgerald said, "which complements DoDEA's focus on 21st century teaching and learning."

"Not only will the events expose students to the practical application of STEM disciplines, they will also serve as the catalyst for our students to prepare for the higher levels of math, science, engineering, and computer programming coursework necessary for college, career and life readiness," Fitzgerald said.

The students will focus on disciplines such as Green Technology Engineering, Robotics, Biotechnology, Geophysics, Nuclear Engineering, and Environmental Engineering. They will participate in hands-on learning environments facilitated by DoDEA educators in 16 DoDEA locations worldwide from April 16 - May 11, 2012.

These lessons and activities will be recorded and broadcast to DoDEA students and teachers. The lesson plans developed and used for these STEM events will be collected and stored in a database that can be accessed by DoDEA teachers.

This initiative will showcase a large event held in Oberwesel, Germany from April 22-27. Ninety students from our schools across Europe will join DoDEA educators and a "Dream Team" of five Federal STEM professionals who have been selected from agencies Government-wide including the National Science Foundation, the Centers for Disease Control and the Environmental Protection Agency to participate in the preparation and execution of these lessons. The activity will center around a hypothetical disaster to which the students must use their creative science, technology, engineering, and math skills to produce solutions.

The students will have an opportunity to tour a European Space Center. The Federal STEM professionals will also travel to DoDEA schools to talk with students about opportunities to work for the Federal Government and provide information on coursework that might be helpful to plan for a job as a Federal STEM professional. They will also provide tips on securing an internship in a Federal agency.

A list of all scheduled events and additional information can be found at http://www.dodea.edu/curriculum/profTech.cfm?cId=stem

"The level of competence we have attracted to support our students and teachers is phenomenal -- national and International award winners, Ph.D.s, career veterans of large programs, high ranking officials from all over the U.S. and Pacific," said Dr. Mark Bignell, Chief, Arts, Information & Careers branch, who has oversight for the DoDEA STEM initiative. "We expect great things from this collaboration."

 

Feature Image - Small: STEM, Science Technology Engineering Math
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Feature Image 1 - Caption: Robotics Camp Wiesbaden High School Summer 2011.
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Area: Europe
District: All Europe
Headline: Lakenheath High School hosts National History Day
Sub Headline:
Date: April 5, 2012
Byline: by Staff Sgt. Connor Estes
Source Name: 48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Source Link: http://www.lakenheath.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123296898
FeatureLead: Students from across the U.K. participated in the National History Day contest hosted by Lakenheath High School.
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ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England -- Department of Defense Dependents Schools Europe students from across the U.K. participated in the National History Day contest hosted by Lakenheath High School on April 3, 2012.

National History Day is a national academic program for students in grades 6 through 12.

Students select a historical topic and create exhibits, websites, documentaries, performances and research papers related to a theme. This year's theme was revolution, reaction and reform in history, in which students submitted 75 entries.

"Student involvement in history is important because it helps them understand the past and how it impacts their lives today," said Juliet Ramos, DoDDS Europe secondary social studies specialist.

The contest hosted 110 students in the LHS gym, including students from Alconbury Middle and High school, Lakenheath High School, Lakenheath Middle School and Liberty Intermediate School.

According to Romos the contest promotes reading, writing, research skills and building connections with fellow students interested in history.

This was the first time that U.K. DoDDS-E schools came together in one place for the National History Day contest.

"The students were thrilled to have a district level competition and the chance to display their projects to a wider selection of judges and audience because they've been limited to only school level competitions the last two years," Ramos added.

Previously students were required to send in their project on a DVD as travel was not funded. This year's event is different because students could participate in person no matter where in the district they were located.

"My favorite part of the event is that I can see these different projects, interact with students from other schools and learn history together," said Henry Yocum, Alconbury middle school student.

Students were graded on historical quality, clarity of presentation and adherence to the theme.

"This is a good way for students to actually go into history and present it in a creative way that we like and a great opportunity to compete with other schools, which made it more diverse," said Dominee Roehm, LHS student.

 

Feature Image - Small: Lakenheath High School hosts National History Day
Feature Image 1 - Large: Lakenheath High School hosts National History Day
Feature Image 1 - Caption: Students from RAFs Alconbury and Lakenheath showcase their exhibits during the National History Day contest at the Lakenheath High School gym April 3, 2012. National History Day is a national academic program for students grades 6 through 12. The competition benefits students by promoting reading, writing, research skills and building connections with fellow students interested in history.
Feature Image 1 - Credit: Staff Sgt. Connor Estes
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Area: Europe
District: All Europe
Headline: Honors Music Festival Culminates in Kurhaus Concert
Sub Headline:
Date: April 4, 2012
Byline: Mark Patton
Source Name: Stars & Stripes
Source Link: http://www.stripes.com/news/dodds-festival-meshes-students-love-of-music-1.173549
FeatureLead: Students from 21 DODDS schools in Europe and Bahrain tuned their instruments and their voices at a week-long annual music festival.
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 OBERWESEL, Germany — Students from 21 DODDS schools in Europe and Bahrain have been tuning their instruments and their voices this week at an annual music festival, preparing for a study-capping concert Thursday at the historic Wiesbaden Kurhaus, where celebrated orchestras and even Elvis Presley have performed.

A total of 160 high school students from Department of Defense Dependents Schools are taking part in the annual DODDS-Europe Honors Music Festival.

"With the love of music that we all have, it just meshes us all more together and it makes us feel sort of like one big family for five days; it's really an amazing feeling," said Incirlik junior Krystal Bowen, who plays French horn.

The voices of the Honor Chorus and the instrumentalists making up the Honor Band were chosen from the more than 400 recorded applications submitted this year, the most ever, according to the festival's project officer, Hope Matthews.

Guest conductors also travel from the United States to help instruct and inspire the musicians. This year, Edith Copley, professor of music and director of choral studies at Northern Arizona University, and Thomas Fraschillo from the University of Southern Mississippi, were the guest conductors for the chorus and band, respectively.

"I know it says brass band, but it needs to be soft," Fraschillo advised the band members during Tuesday rehearsals of Pierre La Plante's "American River Songs."

Despite the seriousness and demand for perfection, conductors also used touches of humor to get their point across.

"I don't need nuclear oboe," Fraschillo quipped to Ramstein freshman Sam Ervin when his C note wasn't coming out clean.

At Chorus rehearsals, Copley's light-hearted approach had the students laughing as much as singing.

The chorus rehearsed a variety of pieces, including "Dixit Maria" by Hans Leo Hassler and the whimsical "Animal Crackers, vol. II" by Eric Whitacre.

Ramstein senior Spencer Coakwell, who sings tenor in the chorus and plans to attend Brigham Young University to study film, said the variety of songs keeps things interesting.

"Events like this really teach you how to feel the music, which takes it to the next level," Coakwell said.

Brussels senior Claire Rumery, an alto singer with the chorus, who will be attending the University of Northern Colorado where she hopes to study musical theater, can relate, citing her favorite piece the choir is performing this year, the World War I-inspired "Flanders Fields."

"I get into music a lot," Rumery said. "Whenever I'm on stage, I just kind of imagine if that were me and imagine if I was in those shoes of the people who had to go through all the suffering" in the war.

The kid's love for music was evident everywhere, even during breaks, when students continued to sing and practice.

"After rehearsal, the music's just still in your head, so you can't help but to hum it or sing it," said Coakwell.

After days filled with rehearsals, the musicians kept their groove going in the evening, participating in talent shows and dances. They were also treated to performances from military bands.

"A lot of the people I hang out with are sports people, so when I say 'Oh, I can't go to this, I have rehearsal or I have practice,' they don't understand that, in my life, music comes first," Rumery said.

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Area: Europe
District: All Europe
Headline: DODDS students delve into political process at Model U.S. Senate
Sub Headline:
Date: March 30, 2012
Byline: Mark Patton
Source Name: Stars & Stripes
Source Link: http://www.stripes.com/news/dodds-students-delve-into-political-process-at-model-u-s-senate-1.173101
FeatureLead: More than 100 DODDS-Europe high school students spent the week at a hotel in Raunheim, Germany, playing the roles of senators and other government officials for Model United States Senate, or MUSS.
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RAUNHEIM, Germany - "It's so frustrating; people are so unwilling to compromise."

SHAPE junior Clarissa McLaren was among more than 100 high school students from DODDS schools across Europe who learned firsthand this week how hard it is to get legislation through Congress.

Role-playing Senators and other government officials, students from 16 Department of Defense Dependents Schools-Europe participated in a weeklong Model United States Senate.

McLaren portrayed Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl, R-Ariz. She expressed her frustration after a Democrat-proposed "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Employment Rights Act" narrowly passed the mock Senate.

The students spent their days proposing and voting on bills, holding committee meetings, forming alliances and urging President Barack Obama, portrayed by Naples junior Bryan Pfirrmann, to veto or sign legislation into law. There were even mock press conferences, teachers playing the roles of Senate pages and live streaming coverage from the student video team.

Students were also faced with dilemmas on how to advance their positions and sway peers from across the aisle.

Karen Webber, Advanced Placement government teacher at Wiesbaden High School and a project officer for the model senate, said the students research the senators they are portraying and the political parties before the event, so they have an idea of how their real-life counterparts would act on certain issues.

In some cases, the stances of the senators the students were portraying conflicted with their own views.

"It's ridiculously challenging because I don't agree with the person I'm playing whatsoever," said Heidelberg senior Nathan Schiele, who was portraying Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. "It's really hard to suppress everything I believe."

Although Schiele — who hopes to one day be elected to the U.S. Senate on the Democratic ticket representing Washington state — may not agree with McConnell's voting tendencies, he said the experience of playing a Republican only makes his debate skills stronger.

"I absolutely love to debate and to get feedback from people who are able to hold their own in an argument, especially an intense political argument," Schiele said.

Some of the bills on the agenda provided plenty of intensity on the mock Senate floor. Women in combat, stem cells, border security, military spending cuts, wind turbines, legalization of prostitution and alternative energy tax are just a sampling of the issues the students tackled.

Some students at the mock senate said this year's presidential and congressional elections make it the perfect time to learn more about the government.

"Especially in a time when you're not happy with what the government is doing, it's really important to understand what they're doing and what you can do to help change what's going on," said Wiesbaden senior Katy Kem, who was portraying Vice President Joe Biden.

Schiele said he was impressed with some of his peers and would like to see them pursue a career in politics.

"There are quite a few people who I'd love to see actually in Congress, because I think that their views, though I may not agree with them, would definitely be a lot better than some of the people we have today," Schiele said. "Polarization has just gotten so bad; it would be nice if everyone just kind of started coming together a little bit more."

Feature Image - Small: Model United States Senate
Feature Image 1 - Large: Model U.S. Senate
Feature Image 1 - Caption: More than 100 DODDS-Europe high school students spent the week at a hotel in Raunheim, Germany, playing the roles of senators and other government officials for Model United States Senate, or MUSS.
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Area: Europe
District: All Europe
Headline: April 2012: Month of the Military Child
Sub Headline: Take Time to Honor Military Kids' Service
Date: March 30, 2012
Byline: Elaine Sanchez
Source Name: American Forces Press Service
Source Link: http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=67789
FeatureLead: Americans pause to recognize the nation's 1.8 million military children during the Month of the Military Child.
FeatureText:

WASHINGTON, March 30, 2012 – Children of U.S. service members around the world will be honored throughout April for their contributions to their families' well-being and sacrifices on behalf of the nation, a Defense Department official said.

Each April, Americans pause to recognize the nation's 1.8 million military children during the Month of the Military Child.

"It's really important to recognize that military children also serve," Barbara Thompson, director of military community and family policy, children and youth, told the Pentagon Channel and American Forces Press Service.

It's also important, Thompson said, to take time to let military children "know how proud we are as Americans that they … are supporting mom or dad in uniform, who is making great sacrifices for this country."

While frequent moves and school transitions can be challenging, Thompson said she believes the most challenging endeavor a military child has to endure is a parental separation due to deployment.

"While we've made great strides with technology and Skype … it's not the same as having your mom or dad at your baseball game or high school graduation or one of your birthday parties," she said.

These separations can have a "serious impact" on military families' well-being, Thompson noted, particularly on the children. Younger children may experience separation and attachment issues, while older children may engage in risky behaviors, she explained.

Thompson noted a specific concern for children from Guard and Reserve families. These children, living in every community around the nation, may be lacking nearby support. A military child may be the only student in a school with a deployed parent, she said, and the school oftentimes isn't even aware.

"School districts are key partners," Thompson said. "That's where 92 percent of our school-age kids are located. They need to know they have military children in their schools."

To combat a sense of isolation, officials have posted information online to educate teachers, school administrators and parents on supporting military children.

On installations, child development centers, youth programs and the New Parent Support Program are geared for providing "safe havens" for military kids, Thompson said.

The department already has made strides by partnering with other agencies and organizations, she said. DOD works closely with Zero to Three's Coming Together Around Military Families initiative, and with Sesame Street's military support programs such as Talk, Listen, Connect and Military Families Near and Far.

Officials have partnered with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and 4-H to increase the programs and resources for school-age military children, Thompson added.

The DOD also has partnered with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, land-grant universities and the Cooperative Extension System to reach out to military children in communities, she said, noting 70 percent of military kids live off of installations.

While they're making progress, DOD officials can't tackle these issues alone, Thompson said. It will take the efforts of an entire nation -- from individuals and communities to government agencies and private companies -- to accomplish this goal, she added.

Every American can help to support military families, she said, and no effort is too small. A neighbor can help a parent with a deployed spouse by pitching in with a carpool, driving children to an extracurricular activity, or mowing a military families' lawn.

Schools can set aside special days to honor military kids' contributions, and communities can sponsor a play or picnic, or simply find the military families in their midst to thank them, Thompson said.

She suggested people visit the White House's Joining Forces website to find service opportunities that support military families in their neighborhoods.

Taking care of military parents has a positive and direct impact on their kids, Thompson noted.

"It's important to care for the stay-at-home parent with a deployed spouse," she said. "They're the first responders for these children. If the stay-at-home parent isn't being nurtured, it's very hard for him or her to nurture those children."

While military life can be challenging for children, it also offers tremendous opportunities for growth, Thompson said.

"We know that it's challenging to move every two to three years and uproot and make new friends and adjust to a new environment and a new community," she acknowledged. "But those are also opportunities for growth and resilience, to learn very quickly how to make friends and adapt and be flexible."

Thompson said she's spoken to military children now in college who reflect back to their experiences with a different perspective.

"While challenging in the moment, it really prepared them for being away from home, for forging new relationships and seeking new interests," she said.

Thompson encouraged people to take time this month to honor military children for their sacrifices, whether it's with an event or words of gratitude.

"One of the things that's disconcerting is we know that 1 percent of our population is in uniform and is serving, and the other 99 percent of the country takes full benefit of that," Thompson said. "As a community, we owe it to our children to honor them and to protect them."


Original Article: Related Links:
Feature Image - Small: April: Month of the Military Child
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Area: Europe
District: All Europe
Headline: Honors Music Festival Culminates in Kurhaus Concert
Sub Headline:
Date: March 29, 2012
Byline: DoDDS-Europe
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FeatureLead: High school students, representing 21 DoDDS-E high schools around Europe, will converge for four days of rehearsal and instruction.
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Department of Defense Dependents Schools - Europe musical instruction will celebrate an annual milestone with the convening of the DoDDS-E Honors Music Festival, April 1-6, in Oberwesel and Wiesbaden, Germany.

More than 160 high school students, representing 21 high schools around Europe, will converge on Oberwesel and Wiesbaden for four days of rehearsal and instruction. Students will rehearse at the Jungengästehaus in Auf dem Schönberg, Oberwesel. The event will culminate with a public performance in the Friedrich von Thiersch Saal of the Wiesbaden Kurhaus on April 5, at 7 p.m. Tickets may be picked at the door one hour prior to performance or at the Wiesbaden Tourist Information Office. The contact number is 0611-1729-780. Tickets are free, but are required for admission. Reserved tickets not claimed by 6:50 will be given to the public.

Participants have been selected through an audition process that adjudicated the work of 400 young musicians. The training and performance will involve a band contingent of 75 and a choir of 86. Students have been prepared for the event by their music instructors.

The guest conductors for the final performances will be Dr. Thomas V. Fraschillo, University of Southern Mississippi, who will lead the band, and Dr. Edith A. Copley, Professor of Music and Director of Choral Studies at Northern Arizona University, who will conduct the chorus. Dr. Fraschillo wrote the arrangement for "Aria di Chiesa" a band piece that will be performed on the program.

 

Guest Conductors

Dr. Edith A. Copley

 Dr. Edith A. Copley joined the Northern Arizona University music faculty in 1990 and is Regents' Professor and Director of Choral Studies. She conducts the highly acclaimed Shrine of the Ages Choir and teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in conducting and graduate choral literature.

NAU choral ensembles under her direction have toured internationally to Western Europe, Peoples Republic of China, Australia, and New Zealand. In addition to her responsibilities at NAU, Dr. Copley conducts the Master Chorale of Flagstaff, an auditioned 100-voice community chorus that performs major choral/orchestral works each spring with the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra (FSO).

Dr. Copley is a life member of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), and is currently past-president of the ACDA Western Division. She has received numerous honors, including NAU School of Performing Arts Centennial Teacher of the Year Award in 1999, Arizona Music Educator of the Year in 2004 and the Arizona ACDA Outstanding Choral Director Award in 2007.

Prior to her appointment at NAU, Dr. Copley served as the assistant and interim principal conductor of the May Festival Chorus that performs with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Cincinnati Pops. Dr. Copley has her own series with Santa Barbara Music Publications and is in high demand as a festival clinician and guest conductor in the US. She has also conducted international choral festivals in Germany, the Netherlands, Japan, Luxembourg, Tasmania, Australia, and China.


Thomas V. Fraschillo

Thomas V. Fraschillo has served as catalyst and mentor for the teaching profession for 43 years. His high standards of performance have had a sustained influence on ensembles at every level, and his performances serve as models in both the professional or academic arena throughout the world. Through his recording, publishing, conducting, and lecturing in the United States, Europe, Asia, and Australia, he is considered an international musician/scholar.

Fluent in Italian, his publications, translations from the original Italian of Alessandro Vessella's Studi di strumentazione (Instrumentation Studies), and La Tecnica dell'orchestra contemporanea (The Technique of Contemporary Orchestration) by Alfredo Casella and Vittorio Mortari, have put his name in music libraries of the entire English speaking world.

Dr. Fraschillo has attained a significant level in the realm of international leadership in that has served as a past president of the prestigious American Bandmasters Association following a long line of distinguished conductors in that office. Other offices have been the presidency of the world's largest organization for band directors, the National Band Association, and President of the CBDNA Southern Division. Under his leadership the University of Southern Mississippi's Wind Ensemble has been featured on frequent public radio broadcasts in Mississippi, on Performance Today, a program of PRI (Public Radio International), and has performed for many regional and national conventions including two of the American Bandmasters Association and three of the College Band Director's National Association.

Dr. Fraschillo is constantly in demand as a conductor and lecturer throughout the world and attracts a steady stream of graduate students to the University of Southern Missippi to study in its doctoral programs.

Feature Image - Small: Honors Music Week
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Area: Europe
District: Mediterranean
Headline: Vicenza Middle School teacher DODEA Teacher of the Year
Sub Headline:
Date: November 11, 2011
Byline: Kent Harris
Source Name: Stars and Stripes
Source Link: http://www.stripes.com/news/europe/vicenza-middle-school-teacher-dodea-teacher-of-the-year-1.160522
FeatureLead: Vicenza Middle School teacher Angela Wilson remembers the teachers who changed her life
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VICENZA, Italy – Angela Wilson remembers teachers who changed her life.

There was the first-grade teacher in Utah, who taught her to read and fueled a desire to learn.

"I don't remember learning how to read, but I remember that I loved her," the 37-year-old Vicenza Middle School language arts teacher said.

Her ninth-grade teacher in Hawaii convinced her to take speech class, leading a quiet teenager to open up.

"It changed my life," she recalled Thursday. "My kindergarten teacher had asked my mom if I was deaf, I was so quiet and shy."

A few decades later, Wilson is the one inspiring students: Her efforts have been recognized by the Department of Defense Education Activity, which has selected her as the 2012 DODEA Teacher of the Year.

It's recognition that colleagues and students say she deserves.

"She's a dynamic teacher," said Kim Stephenson, who teaches across the hall at the newly opened school. "She encourages and inspires the kids."

"She keeps us interested," said seventh-grader Kylah Hinton, a recent transfer from Fort Lee, Va. "She's got good projects that are challenging, which is good, because if they're easy, they're boring."

Wilson has been teaching for 11 years, in schools in Utah and Illinois and DODEA schools in Daegu, South Korea and Incirlik, Turkey, before coming to Vicenza three years ago.

She comes from a family of teachers: Two sisters are teachers, her father's a university professor and her mother is a Head Start director in Utah. Her husband, Chance Wilson, teaches math across the hall from her. Her brother took a different path, becoming a lawyer.

In one aspect, her teaching philosophy is fairly simple:

"You have to form a connection," she said. "Students have to know they're valued in your classroom." Once that connection is made, "you have to connect them to the material in creative and fun ways."

She will be DODEA's representative in the national teacher of the year selection in Washington D.C. in the spring.

Feature Image - Small: Teacher of the Year. Angela Wilson
Feature Image 1 - Large: Teacher of the Year, Angela Wilson
Feature Image 1 - Caption: Angela Wilson, a seventh-grade language arts teacher at Vicenza Middle School, asks students a question Thursday during a study session. The 37-year-old was named the 2012 Teacher of the Year for the Department of Defense Education Activity.
Feature Image 1 - Credit: Kent Harris, Stars and Stripes
Feature Image 2 - Large: Teacher of the Year. Angela Wilson
Feature Image 2 - Caption: Students and teachers at Vicenza Middle School have been celebrating since one of their own, seventh-grade language arts teacher Angela Wilson, was selected as the 2012 Teacher of the Year for the Department of Defense Education Activity.
Feature Image 2 - Photo Credit: Kent Harris, Stars and Stripes
Area: Europe
District: Kaiserslautern
Headline: Say No To Bullies Day
Sub Headline:
Date: November 2, 2011
Byline: Michael Abrams,
Source Name: Stars and Stripes
Source Link: http://www.stripes.com/news/say-no-to-bullies-day-1.159564
FeatureLead: Kaiserslautern middle and elementary schools marked their "Say No To Bullies Day" on Wednesday by wearing pink, making posters, watching videos, learning about cyberbullying and pledging to stop bullying in school
FeatureText:

Kaiserslautern middle and elementary schools marked their "Say No To Bullies Day" on Wednesday by wearing pink, making posters, watching videos, learning about cyberbullying and pledging to stop bullying in school.

At the middle school, seventh-grade counselor Michelle Weston taught a class on the possible dangers of bullying on the Internet, while in the computer room sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders pledged to stop bullying in school by signing a poster that was later hung in the school’s main hallway.

At Vogelweh Elementary, pupils also pledged to stop bullying, and in Susan Osinski’s fourth-grade class, children were instructed to bully – then to apologize. For every insult they could think of, Osinski tore off a piece of a red paper heart, representing a classmate’s heart. After the heart was torn to pieces, the pupils apologized and the heart was taped together again.

Feature Image - Small: Say No to Bullies Day
Feature Image 1 - Large: No Bullies
Feature Image 1 - Caption: Vogelweh Elementary School fourth-graders sign a pledge poster as Kaiserslautern schools marked their "Say No To Bullies Day" by wearing pink, making posters, watching videos, learning about cyberbullying, and pledging to stop bullying in school.
Feature Image 1 - Credit: Michael Abrams, Stars and Stripes
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Area: Europe
District: Heidelberg
Headline: DODDS-Europe Cross Country Championship
Sub Headline: It's almost all Patch in Schwetzingen
Date: October 29, 2011
Byline: David Rodgers
Source Name: Stars and Stripes
Source Link: http://www.stripes.com/sports/it-s-almost-all-patch-in-schwetzingen-1.159163
FeatureLead: It was a victorious day for Patch at the DODDS-Europe cross country championships Saturday at the Tompkins Barracks training area in this Heidelberg suburb.
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SCHWETZINGEN, Germany - It was a victorious day for Patch at the DODDS-Europe cross country championships Saturday at the Tompkins Barracks training area in this Heidelberg suburb.

Patch teams took first in both boys and girls Division I competition, with the top four female runners across the line wearing Panthers colors.

Wiesbaden senior Ryan Fisico took first among the boys and remained undefeated for 2011, finishing the 5-kilometer run at 16 minutes and 24 seconds. And in a surprise upset, Patch sophmore Baileigh Sessions passed her previously undefeated teammate, Morgan Mahlock, to win first in the girls race coming in at 19:13. Mahlock came in behind her at 19:32.

Fisico said he was nervous as he spent most of the race trying to catch Naples' John Fain.

"John Fain definitely gave me competition, and that was good," Fisico said. "John Fain had the pace going for I think the first 3 kilometers. And from there I took off. I just surged. It was definitely hard to pass him and I respect him for that."

Fisico wants to run for Stanford University next. He has already applied and hopes to get a response in a few months.

Sessions has come in second behind Mahlock all season. The two trained closely together and find that competition feels like just another run together.

"I was just kinda going on Adreniline for most of it," Sessions said. "And it was just kinda a surreal feeling but it was good."

Mahlock, who didn't appear disappointed at all, said she ran her usual speed in this race but Session suddenly sped past three quarters through the race.

"We've been good competition for one another," Mahlock said. "I'm super glad for her. I'm glad it was my own teammate. We're really good friends."

"She's really been my mentor the whole season," Sessions said about Mahlock.

Both plan to run track in the spring and will continue training until then.

Sessions and Mahlock aren't the only talented girls at Patch as the team took the Division I title with 20 points, far ahead of Ramstein's 83.

The European championship may not be hosted in Tompkins Barracks training area next year, where it's been hosted for at least 15 years, according to Coach Sharon Brady, Heidelberg cross country coach.

As part of the drawdown of the Heidelberg garrison, the training area will soon be turned over to the local German community.

"We don't know if we're going to have access to it next year," Brady said. "Plus, with the school downsizing, we don't know what kind of support we'll have to run it because all the people out here are Heidelberg parents."

Brady said the number of runners on her team will be cut by half next year, so there will be less parents of team members to help organize races.

"All this was them," Brady said. "All the concessions, all the course marshals. Everything out here, we bring out. The tent, the generator, the grills."

The course is popular with both runners and spectators because of a wide starting area and the visibility of runners by spectators throughout the race.

Feature Image - Small: 2011 European Cross Country Championship
Feature Image 1 - Large: DoDDS Europe 2011 Cross Country Championship
Feature Image 1 - Caption: Patch sophomore Baileigh Sessions is awarded the gold medal for finishing first at the 2011 European Cross Country Championships Saturday at the Tompkins Barracks training area in the Heidelberg suburb of Schwetzingen, Germany.
Feature Image 1 - Credit: David Rogers
Feature Image 2 - Large: 2011 European Cross Country Championship
Feature Image 2 - Caption: Patch runners,from right to left, Baileigh Sessions, Morgan Mahlock and Julia Lockridge took the top three medals among the girls at the 2011 European Coss Country Championships on Saturday at the Tompkins Barracks.
Feature Image 2 - Photo Credit: David Rodgers
Area: Europe
District: All Europe
Headline: Contest allows student experiments to be flown on the International Space Station
Sub Headline:
Date: October 18, 2011
Byline: DoDDS-Europe Public Affairs
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FeatureLead: Contest allows student experiments to be flown on the International Space Station.
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WIESBADEN, Germany - The European Space Agency, National Aerospace and Space Administration and You Tube have teamed up for a contest that will allow winning entrants the opportunity to have their experiment conducted on the International Space Station.

The contest opened on Oct. 11, 2011, and will continue to accept submissions in the form of a two-minute duration video through Dec. 7. Students age 14 to 18 can become researchers in their own right by proposing up to three separate original entries on the official YouTube Space Lab contest website. Participants can enter as either individuals or in teams of up to three people. Entries must include an experiment question, hypothesis, method, and expected results. Activities like this serve to support and highlight what DoDDS Europe schools have planned as part of the agencies Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics initiatives for the 2012 school year.

European regional winners will win a visit to the training facilities of the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany. This will include scientific discussions and a personally guided tour led by European astronauts.

As an award, six regional finalists will get to travel to Washington, D.C., to participate in a zero-g flight. On March 13, two global winners will be announced. The global finalists will get to travel to either Russia, where they can engage in an authentic astronaut training experience, or Japan to watch their experiment blast off into space. They also receive the grand prize of having their experiments performed on the space station and live streamed for the public via YouTube.

This competition aims to inspire students to look beyond their daily studies and ask their own questions of the universe around them. Proposed experiments will focus on either life sciences or physics with the hope that the entrants will take their experiences with them as they continue in their education, perhaps towards careers in math and science.

For more information visit the following websites:

Feature Image - Small: The International Space Station seen from Space Shuttle Discovery
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Area: Europe
District: Bavaria
Headline: Garmisch signs anti-bullying policy, leads pilot program for U.S. Army
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Date: October 18, 2011
Byline: John Reese
Source Name: USAG Garmisch Public Affairs
Source Link: http://www.army.mil/article/67419/Garmisch_signs_anti_bullying_policy__leads_pilot_program_for_U_S__Army/
FeatureLead: Garmisch Elementary-Middle School was the site of a pilot program for an IMCOM-Europe anti-bullying program in coordination with Department of Defense Education Activity schools.
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GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany, Oct. 18, 2011 -- Principal Debbie Parks and Deputy Garrison Manager Jeff Darrow signed an anti-bullying policy Tuesday before the student body of Garmisch Elementary-Middle School.

Garmisch Elementary-Middle School was the site of a pilot program for an IMCOM-Europe anti-bullying program in coordination with Department of Defense Education Activity schools. The White House held a conference on preventing bullying in March to spread the message that everyone plays a role in bullying: the bullies, the bullied, and the bystanders and adults who can stop it.

"We've been working for about 10 months on this policy by having training, meetings, and working with the community to come together for a policy that works for all of us here," said Parks.

After a quick, neat piano act by Zachary, Julia, and Nicholas Baines playing the same keyboard simultaneously with their hands crossed, the policy signing was opened by Judi Patrick, U.S. Army Europe School Liaison Officer.

"We're excited to announce the kickoff of our year-long bullying prevention pilot during this time as October is the National Bullying Prevention Month," said Patrick. "We have only to look at the headlines today in the media to understand the tragic stories of children who have committed suicide after being bullied."

Patrick said that Parks and her teachers had worked hard to initiate the program. When school counselor Esther Hardy took the stage to ask the students questions about what they'd already learned about bullying, dozens of hands shot up

"Respect!" shouted several enthusiastically.

Nickelodeon supported the anti-bullying campaign with information for kids about how to handle cyberbullying, said Patrick.

"According to recent data, half of the young people ages 14-24 said they've been a victim of cyberbullying," said Patrick.

After the ceremony, Parks spoke candidly about the bullying she dealt with herself when she was a girl.

"My middle school years were very difficult for me because I was an ugly, skinny, braces, acne child and I was made fun of a lot," said Parks. "It was a really difficult time and I have empathy for what kids are going through and how to make a better world for them, and not let them experience what I had to experience."

In the current issue of the DoDEA newsletter, Acting Director Marilee Fitzgerald stressed the importance of the program.

"Our teachers, counselors, and administrators are eager to work with you and your children to make all schools bully-free zones," said Fitzgerald. "Together, we can build a strong community and pave the path for a safe, secure, and sound community for all of our students."

This pilot was a true indication of the partnership between the Army and DoDDS in Europe, said Patrick.

"This pilot was a true indication of the partnership between the Army and DoDDS in Europe. Together with our garrisons and DoDEA, we can provide every child and youth with the opportunity to learn and grow in a safe and nurturing environment both in and out of school," said Patrick. "I am excited about implementing this program in all of our Army garrisons in Europe during this school year."

Feature Image - Small: Garmisch Elementary-Middle School Students
Feature Image 1 - Large: Garmisch Elementary-Middle School
Feature Image 1 - Caption: Dressed in their Bavarian dirndls and lederhosen, students at Garmisch Elementary-Middle School join together for an anti-bullying campaign.
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Area: Europe
District: Kaiserslautern
Headline: Baumholder Rolls as European Football Season Begins
Sub Headline:
Date: September 8, 2011
Byline: Rusty Bryan
Source Name: Stars and Stripes
Source Link: http://www.stripes.com/sports/baumholder-rolls-as-european-football-season-begins-1.154648#
FeatureLead: Midseason form arrived on opening night in the Baumholder Bucs' 41-6 victory Friday over the AFNORTH Lions
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BAUMHOLDER, Germany – Midseason form arrived on opening night in the Baumholder Bucs' 41-6 victory Friday over the AFNORTH Lions.

"We've been working hard," Baumholder coach Carter Hollenbeck said after his team rode three red-zone takeaways, a red-zone stand, a punishing ground game and a turnover-free performance to victory in the Division II-North opener for both teams. "What you saw tonight was a year's experience for a team which played 19 freshmen and sophomores last season."

Baumholder's roster on Friday night listed 16 freshmen and sophomores, but it didn't hurt a bit that two of those sophs were running back James Milledge and quarterback Christian Kubas, both of whom were regulars as freshmen in 2010.

Milledge, a 6-foot, 195-pound load, ran for touchdowns of 15, 20 and 71 yards on a night which saw him gain 166 of Baumholder's 408 yards on the ground. Kubas ran five yards for the first six of his team's 35 unanswered points, then hit Breon Herbert with a 45-yard TD pass over the middle, kicked three extra points and connected with junior Ben McDaniels on a two-point conversion pass.

"It all happened because of our line," said Kubas, who performed flawlessly behind the protection of his front-men. "The line makes everything happen in football."

McDaniels, who also scored on an exquisitely blocked 45-yard reverse, agreed with his quarterback.

"I give a lot of credit to the line," said a jubilant McDaniels, whose contributions Friday weren't confined to the offensive side of the ball. He came up with one of the Bucs' decisive three red-zone takeaways when he intercepted a J.D. Pollock pass on the Bucs' 18-yard line 3 minutes, 59 seconds before halftime. In the third period, he deflected a Daniel Cordova pass on fourth-and-six on the Baumholder 10-yard line to hand possession to his team.

Baumholder defenders also recovered two fumbles deep in their end of the field to defuse two other drives. The first came with Baumholder leading 6-0 in the first quarter, when Dasante Brown came up with a bobbled pitch at the Bucs' 30-yard line. The play began as a third-and-eight on the Baumholder 18.

Sophomore Nobleman Soule claimed the second fumble recovery, falling on Tony Legare's bobble at the Baumholder 20-yard line.

"Those turnovers lifted my spirits," said All-Europe senior defensive tackle Robert West. "We haven't beaten AFNORTH in five years."

West added that he drew more from the victory than just the end of the drought.

"Playing against a team as physical as AFNORTH is a good way to get the season started," West said. "Hitting is what football is all about."

Hitting was what this game was all about, especially in the battle between the bruising Milledge and AFNORTH's burly Legare. Legare, a 5-10, 250-pound prototypical fullback who gave a near-clinic on inside power running before exiting with a fourth-quarter injury, rammed into the Buc defenders 15 times for 78 yards.

Even so, AFNORTH, which got its lone score on a 21-yard run by Dante Brown with 8:36 to play and did not complete a pass in five attempts, managed just 275 yards on the ground Friday against Baumholder's newly buff defense.

Hollenbeck "had them in the weight room all summer," said Baumholder assistant Erik Majorwitz. "Last year, we averaged 160 across the front. This year, with move-ins and our summer work, we're over 200.

"We're not Bitburg-esque yet," Majorwitz grinned, referring to the massive two-time defending European D-II champion Barons, who average more than 250 pounds across the front, "but we're getting there."

Feature Image - Small: Baumholder and AFNORTH Football
Feature Image 1 - Large: Baumholder and AFNORTH Football
Feature Image 1 - Caption: Sophomore quarterback for Baumholder, is tackled by two AFNORTH players, Friday night at Baumholder, Germany.
Feature Image 1 - Credit: Joshua L. Demotts
Feature Image 2 - Large: Baumholder and AFNORTH Football
Feature Image 2 - Caption: A junior running back for the AFNORTH Lions, is tackled by the Baumholder Buccaneers, Friday night at Baumholder, Germany.
Feature Image 2 - Photo Credit: Joshua L. Demotts
Area: Europe
District: All Europe
Headline: New faces, returning stars getting ready for football season
Sub Headline:
Date: September 8, 2011
Byline: Rusty Bryan
Source Name: Stars and Stripes
Source Link: http://www.stripes.com/sports/new-faces-returning-stars-getting-ready-for-football-season-1.154470
FeatureLead: One new team, three winning streaks and head-coaching changes at seven schools - control the scoreboard as high school football kicks off its 2011 season Friday in Baumholder
FeatureText:

Prime numbers - one new team, three winning streaks and head-coaching changes at seven schools - control the scoreboard as high school football kicks off its 2011 season Friday in Baumholder.

That new team, Schweinfurt, doesn't even have a nickname yet. But whatever the team is called it begins play a week from tomorrow in Aviano. Ironically enough, Schweinfurt will go into its first season of all time behind sophomore quarterback LaJuarren Burks, who played last year on Mannheim's final team of all time.

Schweinfurt coach Travis Reynolds is one of the new pilots entering the DODDS-Europe football lists this season. In Division II, co-head coaches David Dickens and Ethan Engel will guide Bamberg, and Tony Harris takes charge at SHAPE. Division III's new blood consists of Brent Cogswell at Alconbury and Jim Crowell at Rota, and among the big schools, the newcomers are Aaron Scalise at Kaiserslautern and Larry Daffin, who coached last season in the Houston area, at Heidelberg.

Daffin's involved in an attempt to keep one of those three winning steaks going. Heidelberg went 8-0 last season en route to the D-I title, the same record Sigonella posted in winning Division III. But Europe's longest skein belongs to two-time defending D-II champion Bitburg, whose Barons have won 14 straight since opening the 2009 season 0-2.

Here's a division-by division look at the 2011 season:

Division I

Daffin's first edition features an All-Europe duo in quarterback in Kevin Gray, a 59 percent passer, and linebacker Wayne Dawkins and includes three players from the roster of 2010 D-II runner-up Mannheim - one of them playmaker Calvin Baisden, a receiver. But challenges galore await the Lions in 2011.

Although he cautions against counting out the Lions, and cites Patch and K-town as potential contenders, Vilseck coach Jim Hall believes the D-I race "…has to come down to Wiesbaden and Ramstein…"

Wiesbaden, which took the Lions to double-overtime in last year's D-I title game before falling 23-20, returns All-Europe running back Daniel Harris Jr., who rushed for 1,416 yards and 18 TDs in 2010. Paving the way for Harris, reports Warriors' coach Steve Jewell, will be 6-6, 250-pound Gabe Diaz, and a trio of 230-plus pounders - Anthony Brown, William Heiges and Daniel Mattner.

Ramstein, which benefits from coach Carlos Amponin's phalanx of talented volunteer assistants, welcomes back quick-footed All-Europe defensive lineman Young Mon Oh, who averaged six tackles a game last season and blocked four punts. And Oh has plenty of company when it comes to experience - no fewer than 32 Ramstein lettermen are out this year, including tailback Jon Groteleuschen and speedy wideout-DB Jaap van Gaalen.

Although few are picking them for the title game, Vilseck, Lakenheath and Patch will have plenty of experience to call on - 22 lettermen return for the Falcons, 15 for the Lancers and 12, including burner Justin Johnson-Rich, for the Panthers. New K-town coach Aaron Scalise has just seven lettermen out, and the Filton Pride, who surprised the league before wearing down at playoff time, return just eight seniors. Among them, though, is All-Europe linebacker Fernando Carvalho.

Division II

Even insiders have a hard time seeing anything except a third straight European title for Bitburg.

"Bitburg lost very few players off the championship team, and the players returning had one more year to lift (weights) with Coach Laue during the offseason," emailed AFNORTH coach Greg Blankenship recently. "Easy to pick Bitburg as favorite."

No fewer than four All-Europeans - 275-pound tackle Darian Billups, 8.6-yards-per-carry running back Kyle Edgar, linebacker Zach Nichols and defensive lineman Austin Schmidt - will lead the Barons in 2011.

Challengers to Bitburg, Blankenship thinks, are perennial power Ansbach and International School of Brussels, which … "returns the entire backfield which shredded Ansbach (22-12 in last year's playoffs).

Blankenship foresees a playoff rematch this year between ISB and Ansbach, which returns All-Europeans in running back Derrick Flake and linebacker T.J. Propp.

"The next three teams are all about even," continued Blankenship in citing Baumholder, which has an All-Europe DT in Robert West; Naples, with a defense anchored by linebacker Sam LeVault, and AFNORTH, led by All-Europe DB J.D. Pollock, who'll quarterback the Lions this year.

Hohenfels, Aviano, Vicenza and Schweinfurt figure to battle for the two playoff berths not expected to be occupied by Ansbach and Naples in II-South, while SHAPE will attempt to supplant AFNORTH, Baumholder or ISB for the fourth playoff spot in II-North.

Division III

Bamberg joins the nine-man wars this season, but the conventional wisdom predicts Alconbury and Sigonella will meet in the finale in a rematch of the D-III title game Sigonella won 19-12 last November.

Both teams, however, suffered significant personnel losses over the summer, and it's no stretch to see Menwith Hill, led by quarterback Schuyler Backlar and linebacker Lawrence Alston, both all-conference choices in 2010, moving into one of those slots.

Rota will get an early indication of where it stands in a scrimmage Saturday against Aviano, while Brussels, in Tim Mobley's second year at the helm, will field a team composed mainly of freshmen and sophomores. All-conference linebacker Dakota Deverill leads the way for youthful Brussels.

In D-III, the regular season wraps up Oct. 15, with the top four playing in the semifinals on Oct. 22. Those winners will be idle Oct. 29, the week before the title game.

The D-II regular season also ends Oct. 15, with quarterfinals scheduled for Oct. 22 and semifinals Oct. 29. In D-I, the regular season ends Oct. 22, with the top four advancing to the semifinals on Oct. 29. The Super Six championship tripleheader is scheduled Nov. 5 in Baumholder.

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Feature Image 1 - Caption: Players celebrate last season's Division II title after defeating Mannheim.
Feature Image 1 - Credit: Michael Abrams
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Area: Europe
District: Bavaria
Headline: Program lets Bamberg, Schweinfurt students keep in touch
Sub Headline:
Date: September 3, 2011
Byline: Dan Blottenberger
Source Name: Stars and Stripes
Source Link: http://www.stripes.com/news/europe/germany/program-lets-bamberg-schweinfurt-students-keep-in-touch-1.154050
FeatureLead: Lessons are taught from one location, and students in a class at another school are able to participate via video teleconference.
FeatureText:

SCHWEINFURT, Germany — Students in the Defense Department school system are fortunate if they get to spend all their high school years in one location, since their military parents are frequently moving.

Rodolfo Bernardino, who lives in Schweinfurt, was one year away from finishing his four years at Bamberg High School. But the decision this summer to open a new high school in Schweinfurt meant he would no longer be attending Bamberg High. Instead, he would be in the first class to graduate from the new Schweinfurt High School.

Bernardino worried that he would no longer get to spend time with his Bamberg schoolmates.

Department of Defense Education Activity officials, meanwhile, were looking for ways to ensure educational continuity for students. Both concerns were at least partially addressed through a new program unofficially called "Blended Learning," which allows Bernardino to see some of his friends via video teleconference every other day during the school week in his Advanced Placement U.S. government class.

The Bamberg-Schweinfurt class is the first of its kind in DODEA, officials said.

Lessons are taught from one location, and students in a class at another school are able to participate via video teleconference. When the students have questions, they raise their hands and the teacher sees them on a video monitor.

A second monitor allows both classes to see the same visual elements. Students in the remote classroom also can scan their work, so the teacher can see it and give instant feedback, officials explained Friday during a demonstration at the Schweinfurt school.

"I think it is a fantastic class," said Bernardino. "I think it is very pleasant to see my friends, my former classmates in Bamberg — it is very interactive."

Elaine Engel, who teaches the class in Bamberg, is familiar with students in both classes from previous high school years. Six of her 14 students are joining via video conference from Schweinfurt. As a teacher, she has to be mindful of the virtual environment.

"This format will be worthless if you just teach from a textbook," she said in a telephone interview Friday. "This style demands discussion and interaction."

She also says teachers and students need to learn to slow down a bit and take turns in the virtual format. She noted that this is the "wave of the future" and it is taking place in universities and schools across the U.S.

The program also allows students to participate in subjects that may not be available in their location, officials said.

Marilee Fitzgerald, acting director for DODEA, was among those taking part in the demonstration class Friday. She is visiting Europe-based schools during the first week of the new school year.

She heard several suggestions on how to improve the program. For example, at times, the screens are out of focus and students find themselves having to yell into the speakers in order to be heard.

"We will make it better," she told students from the classroom in Schweinfurt. "You need to be good critics. This kind of technology in your classroom helps you access information that you might not otherwise get, because your class sizes are too small," she told the joint class.

"We are moving out of the 20th century where everyone learned the same thing on the same page on the same day and moving to something that is far more student-centered," she said.

Feature Image - Small: Schweinfurt and Bamberg Students
Feature Image 1 - Large: Schweinfurt and Bamberg Students
Feature Image 1 - Caption: Schweinfurt (Germany) High School students participate Sept. 2, 2011, with students in Bamberg in a video teleconference class taught by Elaine Engel. The class is the first of its kind in DODEA, according to school officials.
Feature Image 1 - Credit: Dan Blottenberger
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Area: Europe
District: All Europe
Headline: Attendance Policy DODEA implements system-wide attendance policy
Sub Headline:
Date: September 2, 2011
Byline: Matthew Burke
Source Name: Stars and Stripes
Source Link: http://www.stripes.com/news/pacific/dodea-implements-system-wide-attendance-policy-1.153932
FeatureLead: Defense Department schools have implemented a comprehensive system-wide attendance policy in line with most public schools across the U.S. school officials announced Thursday
FeatureText:

Defense Department schools have implemented a comprehensive system-wide attendance policy in line with most public schools across the U.S. school officials announced Thursday.

The new policy, which takes effect immediately, mandates that students be in class for 180 instructional days. Absences can be excused for medical reasons, deaths in the family and unique family circumstances, the policy states.

A monitoring plan will be instituted for students with pre-approved excused absences that are deemed excessive by school officials and interventions performed to ensure students remain caught up with their work, Department of Defense Education Activity officials said.

Attendance in Department of Defense schools has always been dealt with on a local level from school to school, but now there will be uniform guidelines for everyone to follow, acting Principal Deputy Director for Department of Defense Education Activity, Dr. Nancy Bresell, said in an email.

"Our new system-wide policy will help military communities focus on the importance of school attendance and provide the support and interventions when needed to ensure that every child attends school and has the opportunity to grow and learn in our classrooms," Bresell said.

School officials began crafting the policy, which mirrors public school policy, in the spring, Bresell said. Following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, thousands of DODEA students in Japan missed days and weeks of school, even when the schools remained opened.

"School attendance issues have been identified as a serious issue for children throughout the U.S., and military children are no exception," she said.

Bresell said there are generally 181-183 school days planned each year, so the new policy allows for almost no unexcused absences. However, the unique circumstances of military children would be taken into account when determining if an absence should be excused or not. Missing a day of school if a parent is deploying could fall under a unique family circumstance, according to an outline of the policy online.

"The policy also aligns with the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children standard that school systems respect the unique needs of military families when considering requests for excused absences," Bresell said.

School officials in Sasebo agreed the children of servicemembers are unique in their obligations to family, but they welcomed the policy.

"We're just going to work with the families," said Joy Jaramillo, principal at Jack N. Darby Elementary. "It's something we have to work out with them but it's needed."

E.J. King High School principal Dr. Gail Awakuni said that her administration had already been operating under a plan similar to the new policy, and it would mean little more than finally having it in writing.

"That's been our mission so it's not going to change our operations in any way," she said.

Bresell said DODEA officials are in the process of informing parents and administrators of the new policy and because it is new, they will elicit feedback in May. DODEA could then adjust the policy if need be, she said.

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Area: Europe
District: All Europe
Headline: Monday's Assignment: Back to School in Europe
Sub Headline:
Date: August 29, 2011
Byline: Dan Blottenberger
Source Name: Stars and Stripes
Source Link: http://www.stripes.com/news/monday-s-assignment-back-to-school-in-europe-1.153614
FeatureLead: For some students, the first day of school Monday meant returning to familiar territory, but for others, it was all new
FeatureText:

SCHWEINFURT, Germany - For some students, the first day of school Monday meant returning to familiar territory, but for others, it was all new.

For children whose families just arrived, adjusting to a new community also means new school, new friends, new teachers. And in Schweinfurt, Germany, it was all about a new high school in the Department of Defense school system.

A small group of former Mannheim High School students waited for the doors of the Schweinfurt High School to open, excited to be the first senior class at the new school.

"We are making history," said student Madea Brewer.

The Mannheim high school and middle school closed at the end of the last school year in June, as area bases close and U.S. Army Europe soldiers are being relocated.

Former Mannheim students also are attending Heidelberg middle and high schools this year. But Stephanie El Sayed, Heidelberg Middle School principal for the past five years, started the first day the way she always does: with a line dance before the first bell at 8:04 a.m.. "We did the Cupid Shuffle," El Sayed said. "Something that doesn't hurt my knees."

The dancing will continue all week, then sporadically throughout the year, she said. "It's part of our team building. It's something all the kids can learn," she said. "And we like to dance."

The elementary school in Mannheim will close at the end of this school year. But 220 students started there Monday.

"It's our last year," said principal Sharon Overstreet, as she watched the children gather in front of the school, "but we are going to have fun."

At bases across Germany, in Italy and England, parents and children streamed through the doors of DODDS-Europe schools, which has a combined enrollment of more than 34,000 students.

In Naples, Italy, it still felt like summer, hot and muggy. Lt. Cmdr. Nate Price, escorting his five children to the elementary and secondary schools, said sending the kids back to school had ups and downs.

"As my wife said yesterday, it's great to get them out of the house, but it's not great packing the lunches," he said.

In England, Leslie Sacchi, who has taught at RAF Lakenheath for 17 years, said many of the students are new to the school, which she said had a turnover rate of about one-third to one-half.

"Today is definitely a big day, Sacchi said. "It's exciting because it's a transition in life. The kids are coming back to see old friends and make new ones."

At Robinson Barracks in Stuttgart, school officials welcomed some 730 pupils to class at Robinson Elementary/Middle School.

Second grader Jackson Melton, pleased that he was allowed to ride his bike to school, had a one word answer when asked whether he was nervous: "No."

At Vogelweh Elementary School in Kaiserslautern, Germany, principal Sandy Meacham saw some new faces in the halls; enrollment this year is at 972 students, up from last year's 948, in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade.

Teachers and pupils were busy: There were supplies to unpack, classroom rules to explain, school tours to go on, introductions to be made and friendships to renew.

"They set up their routine and get to know their community," Meacham said. "The classroom teacher sets the tone for a great year."

At Grafenwöhr Elementary School, principal Crystal Bailey said the 300 or so students were eager to return.

"Oh my gosh –- they've been excited for weeks," she said. "But I think the parents are more excited."

Sydney Thornbrugh, 12, was already thinking college on her first day of seventh grade at Netzaberg Middle School.

"I guess I'm basically looking forward to getting as many high school credits as possible," she said.

The Netzaberg school system is in its fourth year, opening in 2008 to accommodate a growing population in the Grafenwöhr Training Area.

At Smith Elementary School in Baumholder, Sgt. Corey Hayes, who returned from Afghanistan on Saturday for Rest and Recuperation leave, said he was thrilled to see off his 6-year-old son, Camron, who was starting first grade. Hayes held his son's hand as they searched for Camron's teacher and classroom.

"I feel wonderful that I got to be here for his first day of school," he said. "It's like birthdays or Christmas, you don't want to miss these."

Stripes reporters Seth Robbins, David Hodge, Jennifer Svan, John Vandiver, Geoff Ziezulewicz, Steven Beardsley and Nancy Montgomery contributed to this report.

Feature Image - Small: Back to School 2
Feature Image 1 - Large: Schweinfurt High School
Feature Image 1 - Caption: Students are greeted by school administrators and garrison officials on the first day of school at the new Schweinfurt High School.
Feature Image 1 - Credit: Dan Blottenberger
Feature Image 2 - Large: Back to School 2b
Feature Image 2 - Caption: Mom and daughter embrace after the first day in the second grade at Grafenwoehr Elementary School. The school enrolled roughly 300 children for the school year, the principal said.
Feature Image 2 - Photo Credit: Steven Beardsley
Area: Europe
District: All Europe
Headline: DODDS-Europe baseball stars hold own in States
Sub Headline:
Date: August 5, 2011
Byline: Rusty Bryan
Source Name: Stars and Stripes
Source Link: http://www.stripes.com/sports/dodds-europe-baseball-stars-hold-own-in-states-1.151298
FeatureLead: A team of Europe-based high school baseball players will open its run at the Colt League World Series in Lafayette, In knowing that they already have held their own against some of the nation's best.
FeatureText:

A team of Europe-based high school baseball players will open its run at the Colt League World Series in Lafayette, Ind., late Saturday night (Central European Time) knowing that they already have held their own against some of the nation's best.

Coached by Larry Tannenbaum of Stuttgart and Frank Acosta of Kaiserslautern, the team, known as the CASE (Competitive Athletic Sports Europe) Eurostars, is coming off a fourth-place finish at the AAU Underclassmen Baseball National Championships which ended last Sunday in Fort Myers, Fla.

The Eurostars, who are calling themselves the Ambassadors Baseball Club this week, feature 10 All-Europeans on their roster. They open their World Series run at 11 p.m. Saturday CET against the Colt League's North Zone champions from Steger, Ill. Advertisement

Patch High School stars Andrew Buxkemper, C.J. Kellogg and Trevin Stein supplement the team's 10 All-Europeans – Dylan Measells, Jack Smith and Ryan Tannenbaum from Patch; Dustin Labit and Justin Pendergrass from Ramstein; Ian Acosta and Aaren Blossom from Kaiserslautern; Matt Flood and Austin Schmidt from Bitburg, and Alex Weaver from Heidelberg. All 12 played prominent roles as the Eurostars amassed 7-3 record in pool and bracket play in the AAU event in Florida.

According to parent Robert Weaver, the Eurostars allowed themselves room to demonstrate the resiliency they would ride to their eventual fourth-place finish by dropping their opening pool-play game 11-0 to the Gators of Florida on July 26. They rebounded from that loss to down Massachusetts AAU champion South Shore 7-3 and the Palmetto Baseball Club of South Carolina 15-6 to advance to a second pool.

Once again, the Eurostars lost their opener, this time 3-1 to the same South Shore club they'd beaten earlier. However, the Eurostars won their next two games, 12-9 over Team United and 7-3 over the Royals, both from Jacksonville, Fla. The victories advanced the Eurostars to the tourney's single-elimination phase, where a third straight opening loss would bounce them from the tourney.

The Eurostars appeared poised to do just that when they fell behind the Northeast Hurricanes of Nebraska 7-0 after two innings. But according to Robert Weaver, the Eurostars struck for two runs each in the third and fourth innings and tied game 8-8 in the sixth to force extra innings. They won 9-8 in eight innings.

The Eurostars, who were voted the tourney's sportsmanship award by the other players and coaches, then claimed the rubber game against South Shore, 8-2, to reach the tourney semifinals. There, they fell 6-3 to perennial youth baseball power East Cobb of Georgia. According to Robert Weaver, the Eurostars, who trailed the eventual tourney champs 5-0 in the early going, put the tying runs on base in their last at-bat and scored the most runs any team managed against East Cobb.

To follow the team's progress this week on the web, go to www.pony.org and click on the Colt League World Series link.

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