Marines

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Col. Daniel Lecce, commanding officer of Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, addresses parents of Heroes Elementary School children during a town hall meeting held at the Russell Marine and Family Services Center Aug. 16. During the meeting, Lecce went over North Carolina district leadership, timelines, construction status, elementary school staff and enrollment numbers as well as the welcome back letter to all Heroes students.

Photo by Cpl. Miranda Blackburn

Town hall meeting held to discuss progress of new Heroes Elementary School

16 Aug 2011 | Cpl. Miranda Blackburn

Heroes Elementary School, sitting off of Brewster Boulevard on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, will soon be the education center to pre-kindergarten through fifth grade students who previously attended the Tarawa Terrace I Primary School and to those who reside within a section of Berkley Manor, north Paradise Point, Knox Cove, Heroes Manor and Midway Park housing areas.

At a town hall meeting Aug. 16, Col. Daniel Lecce, commanding officer of MCB Camp Lejeune, met with parents of Heroes Elementary School children at the Russell Marine and Family Services Center to discuss the upcoming school year.

During the meeting, Lecce went over North Carolina district leadership, timelines, construction status, elementary school staff and enrollment numbers as well as the welcome back letter to all the new school’s students.

“It is not all perfectly good news, but mostly good news,” said Lecce.

While all other base schools and schools in the North Carolina district with begin Aug. 25, Heroes will not be able to open until Sept. 6.

The decision was made based upon the last progress update from the contractor indicating the classroom wings would be completed and the building could be furnished over Labor Day weekend.

According to a letter from Harriet Hunter-Boykin, assistant superintendent, “To ensure that our Heroes students are engaged in the education process during the time prior to Sept. 6, we will be providing each family with a packet that lists online resources for children and outlines some activities that our schools will sponsor for Heroes students prior to the opening day.”

To make up for the missed school days, the school will use some of the teacher training time on Wednesday afternoons, or bank days, when students get out earlier, instead of shortening school holidays or extending the school year.

Although the school will open to students Sept. 6, Lecce advised that there will be minor distractions in the beginning.

The media room is slated to be complete by Sept. 9 and while the school cafeteria is complete, the kitchen cannot be fully certified until Sept. 19. Until then, school breakfast and lunch will be provided by TTII.

The last construction project to be finished is the school gymnasium, which is slated to be complete October 15. Physical education classes will be conducted either outdoors or inside school classrooms until the project is finalized.

One of the major concerns coming from parents during the meeting was bus schedules.

 “We all need to work together on this,” said Lecce. “It will take some trial and error in the beginning to figure out exactly what times students will be picked up and dropped off due to traffic at the main gate.”

Bus schedules were handed out during the meeting and will be available on the base website, school website and Facebook page.

All Heroes students will be bused for safety reasons said Lecce.

A diagram of pick-up and drop-off points was also provided to parents who prefer to drop their children off on their own.

“Thank you for your understanding and patience as we work to open school, provide a safe, secure and educationally rich environment for your children,” said Hunter-Boykin.

A student and parent orientation will be held Sept. 1 from 2 to 3:30 p.m. at Heroes Elementary School to provide more information about the opening of the school and to answer questions not addressed at the town hall meeting.