Army North, Pershing Elementary sign covenant
December 12, 2011
FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- Leaders of Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, U.S. Army North, signed a covenant Nov. 8 with school officials at John J. Pershing Elementary School, and unveiled a new sign at the school commemorating the military and community partnership.
Lt. Col. Shannon Miller, commander, HHBN, and Command Sgt. Maj. Eddie Fields, senior enlisted leader, HHBN, signed the formal charter with Kathleen St. Claire, principal, Pershing Elem., before cutting a ribbon and unveiling a new sign at the school, as part of the Fort Sam Houston "Adopt-a-School" program.
"Although our unit has been partnered with Pershing Elementary since last school year, we wanted to establish the covenant with a formal charter -- and unveil our new sign -- because this truly is a partnership, a binding agreement between both communities, and truly takes commitment on everyone's part," said Miller.
The charter outlines terms and areas of responsibility for the school and the Army North battalion. Under the agreement, Army North volunteers will conduct regular school visits, coordinate for mentor and tutor volunteers upon request, coordinate installation usage for on-post program activities, and other requirements. School officials will provide training for mentors and tutors, provide mentoring locations, instructional supplies and other materials, and provide supervision of children during partnership projects and activities.
The partnership makes a difference for the students, said St. Claire.
"You enrich the lives of these children," said St. Claire, to volunteers from Army North at the ceremony. "You make an impact in the lives of our students. When they are 18- or 19-years-old they are going to remember you, and we hope that you are going to remember them."
The program has made a difference for the students at the school, and efforts like the Adopt-a-School program have improved scores at the school, said Debbie Andrew, Pershing Elem. case manager, Communities in Schools. The school improved to "Recognized" under the Texas Education Agency accountability ratings system after the last school year.
The four possible TEA rankings in order from best to worst are: "Exemplary," "Recognized," "Academically Acceptable," and "Academically Unacceptable."
Miller, who tutors Jalynn, a third-grader at the school, when she's not commanding the Soldiers of HHBN, said tutoring is a good change of pace and is rewarding.
"I think the difference is that you can see the progress your student is making at each session," said Miller. "I didn't realize at the onset that I'd have such an impact."