Getting ready to go back to school



by Christopher Kratzer
Dispatch staff writer


7/20/2012 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- The new school year is just around the corner and service members that are relocating to the river region have plenty of education opportunities available for their children.

Randy Stokes, the school liaison officer, has important information on schools in the River Region and can help guide parents in getting children enrolled in the right place.

"My duties as the school liaison officer are to be a conduit between the military community and the surrounding school districts, and to be an advocate for our military children," Stokes said. "I'm providing them the most updated information on the schools located in the area. That includes both public and private."

Even though Stokes has a wealth of information, parents should do their research to make sure they find the best school for their kids.

"The best advice I can give to our families is to do your homework prior to relocating to the area. When it come to schools speak to me, go on Military Homefront and check the school web page. Most importantly, go to the school and speak to the principal and staff. That is where you get the real feel of the school," he said.

Parents who want their children educated on base can visit the Maxwell Elementary Middle School Monday through Friday 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m. to register for class, according to Cynthia Ferguson, the school's principal.

School begins for kindergarten through eighth grade on Aug. 8, with preschool beginning Aug. 22.

Parents who want to get a preview of the school and the upcoming year can come to "Sneak-a-Peak" on Aug. 7 from 2:30-3:15 p.m.

"During this time parents may pick up their child's information packet, which will include the name of their teacher, their homeroom, Parent Handbook and other informational materials," Ferguson said. "Families are encouraged to tour the school at this time so children will have a better idea of where their homeroom is on the first day of school, if they haven't already done so."

Maxwell Elementary Middle School also offers plenty of ways for parents to become involved. Ferguson hopes parents will take the opportunity to get involved in their children's education.

"Parents can become involved with the school by volunteering in their child's classroom, being a member of the parent teacher organization, becoming a substitute teacher or running for school board. Substitute teaching positions are periodically advertised on the www.usajobs.gov website."

Parents wanting to run for school board can pick up an application at the school front desk. Applications must be returned to the school by 4 p.m. Aug. 6. Elections will take place during the "Sneak-a-Peak" event.

Parents wanting more information can contact Randy Stokes at 953-7696 or Maxwell Elementary Middle School at 953-7804