Colorado Springs Military Newspaper Group

Fort Carson Mountaineer

School year approaches, parents prepare

by Andrea Sutherland

Mountaineer staff

Parents crowded the halls of the School Support Services building July 29. Carmelita Holien, a school liaison officer, answered phones and parents’ questions as she sifted through paperwork.

“Summer is our busy season,” Holien said. “Summer is usually when Soldiers (have a permanent change of station move) … so we answer a lot of questions. We’ve been busy since May.”

School liaisons help Fort Carson Families locate and connect with school districts from Pueblo to Falcon, helping with in- and out-processing, transition and scholarship information, and deployment and reunion support.

“Families must register directly with the school,” said Holien, who has six school-age children. “We can answer general questions about schools.”

Important changes for children attending schools in District Eight include modifications to start and end times for all elementary schools, middle schools and high schools.

A Fountain-Fort Carson High School newsletter states the changes came about because educational research shows high school students learn more when school starts later. The newsletter listed a second reason was the funds — $450,000 per year — the school district would save on transportation costs.

“The decision was made to make our bus system more efficient,” said Joanne Vergunst, assistant superintendent of business services for Fountain-Fort Carson School District Eight. Vergunst said bus routes now run on a “three-tier” system, which better serves elementary, middle and high school routes.

Elementary schools start at 7:30 a.m. and release at 2:25 p.m. Carson Middle School begins at 7:40 a.m. and ends at 3 p.m. while Fountain Middle School starts at 7:55 a.m. and ends at 3:15 p.m. Fountain-Fort Carson High School starts at 8:30 a.m. and releases at 3:35 p.m.

Fountain-Fort Carson High School also added “zero hour classes,” an optional class that begins at 7:15 a.m.

“Zero hour classes are offered to provide students with more opportunities,” Vergunst said, listing benefits to student athletes as well as students with after-school jobs.

Students attending Fountain-Fort Carson High School may also enroll in new advanced placement courses in calculus, English literature and environmental science.

District Eight provides transportation to accommodate students attending zero hour classes as well as morning activity practices.

Upcoming events for parents

School Support Services offers numerous workshops and opportunities for Soldiers and parents.

• Soldiers interested in the Adopt-A-School program, which teams Soldiers with local schools to build community relations and improve the quality of education, can attend the Adopt-A-School Tailgate Tuesday from 3:30-5 p.m. at the Foxhole, building 1532 on Specker Avenue.

• Parents of first-time students can attend the Kindergarten Boo Hoo Breakfast Aug. 15 from 8-9 a.m. at the Cheyenne Mountain Child Development Center, building 6203 on Harr Avenue.

• Parents home-schooling their children may attend the Child, Youth and School Services Home School Open House Aug. 16 at Patriot School Age Services, building 6204 on Harr Avenue.

• Contact School Support Services at 526-9987 for more information on these programs.

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