FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- As the 2019-20 school year winds down, the principal of Fort Rucker Schools took some time to reflect on recent historic happenings and to look ahead to the 2020-21 year, despite many unknowns.Dr. Vicki Gilmer, Fort Rucker Schools principal, said she’s proud of the way school staff, the students and their parents and the Fort Rucker community came together to make the last few months of the school year a success in the midst of the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.“What I’m going to remember most from all of this is the singleness of purpose from our amazing staff,” she said. “The mission was to support and continue to educate our kids in an exemplary manner, and that’s exactly what they did.”Once measures were taken to begin social distancing on post, the school staff immediately began teaching classes online via Google Classroom while simultaneously designing lessons and activities for the children to do online. They were also basically on call 24/7, helping parents and students with projects and lessons on weekends and in the evenings, Gilmer added.“I’m totally amazed at what all they have done,” she said, adding that the staff is also busy preparing for the move to the new school slated to open when school resumes Aug. 10 and learning the new technology that comes with the state-of-the-art facility. “They’ve gone to teaching online to also learning online – they’ve been asked and tasked with a lot, and they have really risen to the challenge, as they always do.”As the school wraps up its final week of the school year, the focus is on students who need extra time to turn in later assignments and end-of-year goodbyes, Gilmer said.“We’re marching on as traditionally as we can with our end-of-year activities – we’re doing everything we normally do, except it’s virtual,” she said, adding that pre-kindergarten students took part in water day, where they were online doing creative things with water. “It was truly amazing – we celebrated water day at home, but also with friends. Once you put your mind to it, you can problem-solve pretty much anything.”Of course, the staff’s attention is turning more and more towards the new school year that all hope will begin in the new school on post, Gilmer said.“The summer will be dedicated primarily to moving into the new location -- we’re very excited about that,” she said. “We’re really looking forward to getting ourselves into the new location and getting settled in, so we’ll be ready to receive our kids, be comfortable in our new school, have our logistics down and be ready to roll for the next year.”But whether or not that happens is still to be decided, Gilmer added, as the decision to whether the new school year starts in students’ homes or at the new school is still up in the air.“No one knows what the future looks like,” she said. “But what I can tell you with great certainty is that whether we’re online or on campus, we’ll be doing a terrific job. The hope, though, is that we’re in that new beautiful building.”To be ready for that, the staff, which will largely be the same staff from this past year, is currently training online on the new technology in the facility and determining the best ways to operate the new school, Gilmer said.“We have a lot of logistics we’re going to have to work on, with two locations coming into one,” she said. “Even simple things, like where bike riders go, or how walkers will enter the building. There is a lot of planning we’ll be doing this summer, so we’ll be ready for smooth operations once we begin.“I am so excited – it’s been a wonderful three-year process, but I’m ready to see the finish line and see us in that new beautiful school,” Gilmer added. “Our staff will teach here or there or anywhere, and be great at it, but to have such a wonderful facility, it’s just incredible. Our students will have the best facility around and we’re really excited to be a part of that.”She added she would like to thank a multitude of people for helping make the latter part of the school year such a success.“I would really like to thank the families of Fort Rucker,” she said. “I always use (U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence’s) phrase ‘Above the Best,’ but I truly do think that they have been above the best. We’ve had some tremendous support. The faculty has been outstanding, but so have the parents – it takes their dedication, as well, to make sure their child is up and online, checking Google Classroom and making sure assignments are turned in on time. I’d like to give a huge shout-out to our parents for their dedication in this process.“I’d also like to thank the Fort Rucker command and community,” Gilmer added. “They’ve done such a good job of having thorough, informed decision making that has really helped protect us and also helped us complete our mission.”