By Nathan Van Schaik, U.S. Army Garrison Schweinfurt Public AffairsMarch 13, 2013
SCHWEINFURT, Germany -- A final school configuration for the 2013-2014 school year here is out.
Students in Sure Start and kindergarten through the sixth grade will attend Schweinfurt Elementary School on Askren Manor. Seventh through 12th grade students will attend classes at Schweinfurt Middle/High School in Yorktown Village, according to officials with the Department of Defense Education Activity, the organization overseeing U.S. schools at overseas military installations.
Planning for the configuration began as early as October of 2012, said Beth Potter, Schweinfurt's school liaison officer. In December, Bavaria District Superintendent, Dr. Liz Dunham, began canvassing school administration, faculty, parents and students in Schweinfurt and Bamberg about different configurations.
"We started by asking the Schweinfurt and Bamberg communities if they wanted to combine the schools," Dunham said. "The outcome was that both Schweinfurt and Bamberg clearly wanted to keep the high schools separate."
Before 2011, Schweinfurt high school students attended classes at Bamberg High School. The Schweinfurt High School was established in the summer of 2011.
Dr. Dunham moved the proposal forward through DoDEA-Europe and finally at DoDEA headquarters in Washington D.C. Final approval of that proposal came through March 7, she said.
The configuration serves to stand as a win-win for both the elementary school and the middle high school.
"At the elementary school, this expands advanced technology opportunities, class space and room for physical activity -- all to ensure that we provide high-quality education programs until the school closes," said Dr. Lee Hill, the principal at the elementary school.
The impact of the new set-up at the middle/high school will largely be felt by the student body.
"Moving the 7th and 8th grade students to the High School increases the projected enrollment from 98 to 166, which allows for a viable program for both middle school and high school students," said Bavaria District Superintendent, Dr. Liz Dunham, in a letter to parents dated March 7.
Grades seven through 12 secondary configurations are common in DoDDS Europe, she said, noting that three of the other four high schools in the Bavaria District are seven through 12 schools, too.
"We look forward to developing a robust educational program that will meet the requirements of DoDEA standards for our new 7th-12th students this coming fall," said Dr. Vince Diaz, the principal at Schweinfurt High School. "Additionally our new configuration will allow the Razorbacks staff to expand leadership and extra-curricular opportunities for all students. This is also a unique opportunity for our high students to serve as mentors for our incoming middle school students. We look forward to the support of our parents and community."
Because the garrison here will close and be returned to host nation officials by the fall of 2014, the 2013-2014 school year will be the last one.
Currently, both schools service about 1,000 students. But that number is expected to drop to about 600 next year, said Garrison Commander, Lt. Col. Michael Runey, at an All Hands employee meeting last month.