School a stable force for students on the go
By Suzanne Roig
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Suzanne Roig
Maj. Gen. William R. Shafter Elementary School is not just mortar and bricks, but a haven of stability for its transient student body.
Its role beyond the school building is important as nearly all the students there have one or both parents in the military. That means there's a lot of coming and going and moving and transferring, said Sam Ko, the school's principal.
But it doesn't have to mean the school should lower its standards. In fact, it's raised the bar, Ko said.
"Our greatest concern is the movement," Ko said. "The military has been very supportive by making counselors available and the parents are very supportive of the transition issues. With the recent deployments, we've had to deal with stable families turning into single-parent families."
So in addition to learning the 3-Rs, all students have the full-time attention of a Primary School Adjustment Program counselor. Most schools provide that in only kindergarten through second grade.
The school also offers many activities for students to take part in, including student council, Junior Police Officers, Greeter's Club, Library Club, Reading Buddies, Classroom Buddies and Litter Picker Uppers.
And for parents and children, the school has bingo and pizza nights, Family Literacy Bags, and Children As Authors programs.
"It's different for continuity because unlike other schools we don't have a stable set of parents to rely on to help out year in and year out," Ko said. "We have parents for two years. We try to always make the school the constant for the students."
Reach Suzanne Roig at email@example.com.