WIESBADEN, Germany - From SMART Boards and upgraded science labs to ongoing construction projects, the Department of Defense Dependents Schools Europe facilities in Baumholder and Wiesbaden are keeping pace with the needs of students and teachers. A,A School officials are readying their classrooms and curriculum for the first day of school Aug. 30. The first day of kindergarten is set for Sept. 7. The first day of Sure Start is Sept. 16. A,A As the Department of Defense Education Activity begins the 2010-2011 school year, schools worldwide will undergo construction and renovation projects aimed at modernizing school facilities. A,A A,A "DoDDs is going to do everything it needs to do to keep the schools up and running until they're replaced," said Bill McGann, facilities manager for the Wiesbaden schools. The $3.7 billion, multi-year Military Construction program is designed to bring all 970 Department of Defense Education Activity school facilities up to acceptable quality standards. A,A Projects in the Wiesbaden area include a new gymnasium at Wiesbaden High School and plans to replace the Hainerberg Elementary and Wiesbaden Middle schools. A,A Baumholder schools Baumholder Middle High School "We're looking forward to another great year," said Assistant Principal Richard Jimenez as he and fellow administrators geared up for the first day of school at Baumholder Middle High School. Both he and Principal Danny Robinson return to lead the staff at the Baumholder school which was seeing early enrollment numbers at about 250 students, he said, down from last year. A,A Jimenez said administrators expected more parents to come in the coming weeks. "Please come in and register as soon as possible," said Jimenez, explaining that having the correct enrollment numbers is crucial to ensuring adequate staffing. A,A Parents and students are invited to a new student orientation at the school Aug. 27 at 11 a.m. where they can pick up class schedules. "Free hot dogs will also be available," he said. A,A Wetzel Elementary School Both Principal Helen Hughes-Balilo and Assistant Principal Cathy Marziali return at the helm of Wetzel Elementary School (Editor's note: Hughes-Balilo named DoDEA Principal of the Year and Micheline Huntley honored as Teacher of the Year - see page 7). A,A "Our school is open and ready to go - and we're ready for another great year," said Hughes-Balilo. "Our registration is down a little bit - but a lot of new people are coming in." A,A Like the middle high school, Wetzel did not see any major construction projects during the summer months, she added. A,A Smith Elementary School Administration of Smith Elementary School also sees no turnover this school year, with Dr. Darren Johnson returning as principal and Michelle Woodfork remaining in place as assistant principal. A,A A Meet and Greet will be held for parents and students Aug. 27 from 1:30-2:30 p.m. at the school. A,A Administrators said the school will implement a new lunch hour approach this school year allowing students to attend recess before eating lunch. The change is aimed at improved playground and cafeteria behavior. A,A "As we prepare for the deployment we are mindful of the stresses that families and children may experience," said the school's principal. "If you are concerned about your child, please speak with one of our excellent counselors, Natarsha Baker or Natasha Turner. In addition, we have a full-time family psychologist and a part-time school psychologist to help with the needs of children and families." A,A Kaiserslautern DSO DoDDS-Europe's Kaiserslautern District, which oversees schools in Baumholder, welcomes new District Superintendent Dr. Dell McMullen (Editor's note: See McMullen's welcome message on page 6). McMullen, who began teaching with the Muscogee Country School District in Columbus, Ga., in 1973, has served as the superintendent of the Georgia/Alabama District since 2002. A,A Dr. Elizabeth Dunham is the Kaiserslautern District's assistant superintendent. Wiesbaden schools Aukamm Elementary School Aukamm Elementary School saw the complete renovation of seven classrooms on its first floor. The remodels included fresh paint and new ceilings, floors and cabinets. A,A "And by the time school starts, we hope to have SMART Boards in every classroom," said Principal Sue Gurley who returns for her second year at Aukamm Elementary School. A,A The interactive whiteboards are some of the latest technology popping up in DoDDS-Europe classrooms. A,A "It's an interactive way to keep children engaged in the curriculum," said Gurley who has 24 years of experience as an educator and administrator with DoD schools. A,A Aukamm invites parents for a new student orientation Aug. 27 at 11 a.m. and an open house Sept. 7 starting at 5 p.m. A,A Hainerberg Elementary School Hainerberg Elementary School had a brand new science lab constructed over the summer along with a leveled-literacy library. The school also had security upgrades installed to include new cameras and monitors. A,A "Visitors are only supposed to gain access through the main door," said McGann, facilities manager for Wiesbaden schools. "The security upgrades are for remote entry into the schools." A,A Hainerberg Elementary also welcomes new Principal Penelope Miller-Smith, who takes over after the departure of Dr. Barbara Hickman. Miller-Smith has more than eight years experience teaching in the classroom. She is currently working on her doctorate degree in evaluation, measurement and research with Western Michigan University. A,A Bradford "Brad" Seadore returns as the school's assistant principal. A,A Hainerberg hosts a new student orientaA,Ation Aug. 26 at 2 p.m. and an open house Sept. 2 at 1 p.m. A,A Wiesbaden Middle School Wiesbaden Middle School welcomes Chuck Fannin as the new principal. He replaces Alexia Venglik who retired after five years as Wiesbaden High's principal and more than 20 years as an educator. Fannin comes to Wiesbaden from the Anchorage School District in Anchorage, Ala. He has 25 years of experience as an educator. A,A Wiesbaden Middle School students can expect to enjoy a closed campus this year with lunch being served in the new cafeteria. The school is also switching to a new student management system for more effective tracking of students. School officials ask for parents' patience with the new system which may impact student scheduling and registration. A,A The middle school holds a new student orientation Aug. 27 at 2 p.m. and an open house Sept. 8 at 4 p.m. A,A Wiesbaden High School Wiesbaden High School is undergoing some major construction as crews work on the two-year project of building a brand new gymnasium. A,A "There'll be a lot of adjustment," said Principal Sharon O'Donnell, who returns for her second year at Wiesbaden High. A,A Students are asked to follow the signs and avoid construction zones. Students will enter the high school through Gate 9 near the new back parking lot and buses will follow a new pattern for picking up and dropping off students. A,A O'Donnell added that parents should be aware that parking will be extremely limited. Because of the construction and shuffling around of some classrooms, the high school band program will be held in Wiesbaden Middle School. A,A "We won't let construction affect the curriculum," O'Donnell said. A,A And the school's Air Force JROTC program will stick around for one more school year before transitioning into an Army JROTC program. A,A Colleen Larkin returns as the school's assistant principal. A,A Wiesbaden High holds a new student orientation Aug. 26 at 11 a.m. and an open house Sept. 9 at 5:30 p.m. Heidelberg DSO The DoDDS-Europe Heidelberg District welcomes back District Superintendent Frank Roehl (Editor's note: See Roehl's welcome message on page 2) and incoming Assistant Superintendent Steve Sanchez, who most recently served as the principal of Kubasaki High School in Japan. A,A For more information Information and links to local schools are available by visiting the garrison's home page at www.wiesbaden.army.mil, clicking on the "Links" link at the top of the page and then the "DoDEA (With links to local schools)" link. For information on school supplies needed visit www.eu.dodea.edu/home/supplies.php.