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CO, officials tie loose ends

By Cpl. R.J. Driver | | August 16, 2011

School board officials, the principals from all the Laurel Bay schools and the superintendent met with Col. Brian Murtha, Air Station commanding officer, to discuss last-minute matters in preparation for the upcoming school year.

The group covered topics such as school closures, the new curriculum and professional teacher development, which could have the biggest effect of all.

Going into the school year, students and their families can expect a lot of ‘new’ things - new dress code, new teachers, new principals, new schedules, but most importantly, a new curriculum.

According to the superintendent, Samantha Ingram, the Department of Defense Education Activity, better known as DODEA, adopts a new form of curriculum each year. This year, they will be implementing a new math, social studies and literature curriculum.

As a result, school schedules were altered to accommodate more professional training for teachers. The first Tuesday of each month, students will be released an hour early, something parents were not too keen on at first.

Ingram expressed it is imperative for the teachers to have this time to better learn the new curriculum because at the end of the day, “they need to be able to provide the best education for our military children.”

Once Murtha was up-to-speed on the matter, the next topic was covered – school closures.

Alice Howard, the air station’s community plans and liaison officer, referred back to last year when a storm hit Beaufort and local schools closed down, but the fate of Laurel Bay schools was still up-in-the air.

“We didn’t know who was going to make that call,” Howard explained. “The local schools were closed, and we thought it would be fitting to close base schools as well, but didn’t know where to get that answer.”

Murtha ended the confusion by clearly stating, “I will make that decision.” Ingram followed by affirming, “we are here to serve the command. If the commanding officer says he needs his Marines at work and schools need to be open, schools will be open regardless of whether or not local schools are.”

A half hour discussion came to a close with Murtha happily stating, “I’m ready to get school going. I like seeing the happy faces of the children in the mornings.”