MARINE CORPS AIR STATION BEAUFORT, S.C. -- Classes will resume aboard Laurel Bay Aug. 15 for all students except pre-kindergarten, who begin classes Aug. 29.
The new school year brings a laundry list of changes and improvements to the schools. From new teachers to a new curriculum, students can expect a better learning experience and familiar faces.
“This year, all the new changes will help bring our classrooms and the student’s experience up to speed with the surrounding areas,” said Chuck Yahres, retiring principal of Bolden Elementary School. “Most of the changes made this year are intended to be uniform with the surrounding schools.”
Before they even enter the schools, the students will notice two significant changes – earlier starts and new uniforms.
“Once again, the uniform change has to do with [Laurel Bay schools] becoming uniform with the surrounding schools,” Yahres explained. “Students will be able to wear red, white or blue polo shirts along with khaki pants. No rips or tears and students must wear a belt. We are really enforcing the belt rule this year.”
Even the students’ shoe collection has to fall in line. Clean and sleek will be the new fashion.
“Students are not allowed to wear shoes with designs on the sides,” Yahres said. “No flowers or flames, just basic designs – keep it simple.”
Although the new uniform rules are somewhat familiar to returning students, parents may have a hard time finding the proper gear for their children.
“Most parents in the area find good deals on uniform items at Wal-Mart and Target,” said Tamira Menzies, a Marine spouse and mother of three. MCX also carries uniforms for school.
This upcoming weekend is also a tax-free weekend in South Carolina. Therefore, parents can find the items they need at a lower price for their children.
With the earlier starts, some parents may be worried about how their children will get to class on time. Laurel Bay schools provide bus transportation with priority in mind.
“Laurel Bay is considered a walk zone and the Naval Hospital, Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island and Pine Grove are high priorit bus zones,” said Dan Littlejohn, the contractor for Keller Motor services, speaking of the Tri-Command bus transportation.
Children aboard Laurel Bay are expected to be able to walk to school in a worst case scenario.
According to Littlejohn, the children who get picked up at the child development centers will fill allotted spaces given to Elliot and Galer elementary students.
“As of right now, the spaces have not been allotted, but the children will be loaded on a space available basis,” Littlejohn explained.
Once children make it to their respective classes, they will notice a few new things, one in particular being the smartboards, which are digitized whiteboards used to enhance the teaching and learning experience.
“New teachers have been hired and we’ve acquired new smartboards which directly go hand-in-hand with the new curriculum we adopted,” Yahres said. “The smartboards bring our classrooms into the 21st century, which is exactly where it needs to be.”
Although new, the teachers will make a direct impact.
All Laurel Bay teachers and staff will also be in attendance for the back to school rally at the Officers’ Club aboard the Air Station at 8 a.m. Aug. 10. The staff will be greeted by a representative of each of the three Tri-Command bases as they welcome in a new school year.
“This year, just as every year, students can look forward to getting a great education, regardless of the changes,” Yahres concluded.