FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- As Fort Jackson students head back to school next week, the new year will bring lots of changes, including a new principal, new staff and plenty of classroom transformations.

C.C. Pinckney Elementary School's new principal, Sherry Schneider, is already on the job, preparing to meet the third through sixth-graders whose education she'll be overseeing starting Aug. 19.

The Michigan native said she can't wait for classes to begin.
"The campus is gorgeous and everybody is so polite and friendly; it's fantastic," Schneider said. "I'm really excited."
Schneider, whose career in education spans back to 1990, said she's hoping to bring a sense of collaboration and team building to the school.

"I firmly believe that all students can achieve and learn," Schneider said. "We just need to find the right strategies and techniques, and the best way to do that is through collaboration."

She said her main objective is to foster an environment that helps students advance as they continue to move into the 21st century.

But as Schneider moves in to Pinckney, the second graders will be moving out.

Fort Jackson's second-grade students will be attending Pierce Terrace, where principal Brian Perry said he's excited to welcome the 7 and 8-year-olds.

"Bringing second grade to Pierce is keeping consistent with the structure of most (Department of Defense Education Activity) schools, which typically teach students in pre-K through second grade in one schoolhouse and students in third through sixth grades in another," Perry said.

Perry will also be welcoming a younger crowd, thanks to DoDEA's Reduced Kindergarten PTR initiative for school year 2010-2011, which provided for an additional kindergarten class in the school.

"By adding the new kindergarten classroom, we can decrease class size to 18 students or (fewer) per teacher," Perry said.

Students will also see a number of staff changes, Perry said, which means some teachers have changed grade levels.

"We developed what we thought were the best teams of teachers for each grade level," he said.

Pierce will also have a new media specialist, and a new assessor who will assess the educational needs of students. Both schools will reap the benefits of a fulltime school psychologist, as well as student information assistants who will help the school's secretaries register new students and maintain school records.

And in order to register, students must meet DoDEA's new immunization requirement that all enrolled students, as well as new students, need to show proof of having received two doses of the Varicella (chickenpox) vaccine.

But what the students might consider the most exciting change this year will be having recess before lunch.

Both schools will implement the new schedule when the students arrive next week. Perry said he hopes the change will encourage students to eat more, return to class calmer, and as a result, learn more.

For more information, and a chance to meet the principals and teachers, parents and students are invited to attend an open house from 3 to 5 p.m. Tuesday at both schools.