By Nathan Pfau, Army Flier Staff WriterAugust 7, 2014
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (August 7, 2014) -- It's that time of year again when children strap on their backpacks, get on their bikes, hit the bus stops and make the trek back to school to start a new year.
Fort Rucker's primary and elementary schools welcomed students back to school Aug. 5 to get a fresh start on a new year of learning and fun, said Vicki Gilmer, Fort Rucker Elementary School principal.
"It is outstanding to have school back in session again," said Gilmer. "You love that summer break, and the first few weeks it's quiet and you get to clean up and get ready, but then it gets kind of lonely.
"When you get those kids back and you see them with their smiles on, their backpacks on and their readiness to get back, it's just an awesome feeling," she said.
Joanna Marsh, FRES student, said she's eager to get back in the classroom and start learning again.
"Summer was nice and it was fun having a lot of time off, but I miss a lot of my friends and my teachers because they are really nice," she said. "I'm excited about school this year and seeing what I can learn."
Marsh's mother, Brenda, walked with Joanna to school and said the first day of school always comes with its jitters, but it's something that she looks forward to all summer.
"It's nice to have the children around for the summer and it's nice to get to spend that time with them, but it's also nice to know that they're getting a good education and getting to be in a more social setting when school starts," she said. "It's tough seeing my little girl grow up and it's happening so fast, but there's no place else I'd want her to go to school. I love the teachers and I love her classmates."
A lot of preparation goes in to planning for a new school year, starting from the day the last class leaves at the beginning of summer.
"After that very last day we start breaking down the classrooms, cleaning them out and making sure they're dusted, floors are waxed and everything is shined and cleaned from top to bottom," said the principal. "Then we start reordering supplies, looking at curriculums and seeing if there's anything out there that's better to help the children learn in a fun, safe environment."
That aspect of safety is important to the schools, as well, and Deborah Deas, Fort Rucker Primary School principal, said that more than 99 percent of parents who responded to a recent survey said they felt their children were safe and secure while receiving an excellent education.
"It is so important that parents observe and understand our students are safe while learning," said Sylvia Thornton, FRPS music teacher. "We are partners with our parents as we educate the total child."
Before hitting the classrooms, students and parents were invited to join in the schools' Sneak-a-Peek, where they get a chance to meet the teachers and see their classrooms beforehand.
"Our hallways were full of excitement as students, parents and teachers were excited to meet each other," said Thornton. "It's also a good opportunity for parents to find out information about volunteering in the classroom, additional resources available to assist students and (answer any questions they might have.)"
The Sneak-a-Peek, along with the first day of school is vital, as first impressions can set the tone for the year, said Gilmer.
"We're all in this together -- we're a community of learners -- and we're going to start off with a bang," said the FRES principal. "We really want to convey our motto -- success for all. We really want success for every single student who walks in here and their Family, so that's what we're aiming for."