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New school year: Parent, student participation vital to ‘fantastic’ experience

Cheryl Evans, office automation, helps Jennifer Cooper, Army spouse, to register her children for the 2014 school year as her daughters, Sienna and Evelyn, look on. (Courtesy Photo)

Cheryl Evans, office automation, helps Jennifer Cooper, Army spouse, to register her children for the 2014 school year as her daughters, Sienna and Evelyn, look on. (Courtesy Photo)

Published: July 17, 2014

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (July 17, 2014) -- Fort Rucker Elementary School officials are ready to welcome students back to school Aug. 5, and even though teachers return July 31 there is much to do before the bells ring to begin class.

FRES will hold its annual Sneak a Peek Aug. 4 from 3:30-4:30 p.m., which is the parents’ and students’ opportunity to get a look at the school, meet teachers and find rooms before the first day of school, said Vicki Gilmer, principal.

“Sneak a Peek is great way for us to open our doors and invite parents and students in and make this a true community,” she said. “Parent and student participation is vital to student success, and we provide every opportunity possible to help welcome our Families and provide them with an easy transition and a fantastic school experience.”

It is also a great opportunity to open up the line of communication right from the start, she continued.

“Parents and students are welcomed into the classroom prior to school starting, and are instantly encouraged to become valuable partners with the school and staff,” she said. 

Sneak a Peek helps to ease some of those first-day jitters for children and parents, and Gilmer added that it is also great for working parents who may not get an opportunity to come on the first day of school.

“Students do not have to worry about ‘where do I go?’, ‘what does my teacher look like?’ and more,” added the principal.

Parents can open a lunch account or reload an account, join the parent teacher association and  look at other services provided for FRES Families at Sneak a Peek.

“This event really helps to make the new year start off on a positive note and allows more participation,” said Gilmer.

Student registration for the new school year is currently open, and office staff is at the school Mondays-Fridays 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. to welcome Families.

Parents can pick up the registration packet and can fill it out at home or on site. Items needed for registration include: housing lease, orders from the sponsor, birth certificate and immunization card.

“Registration time varies from Family to Family.  Some members choose to sign up quickly and head back to work, while others have questions about procedures at FRES and wish to take a school tour,” said Gilmer.  “Whatever is needed to provide the Family with a good registration experience is provided.”

With the first day of school approaching, Gilmer said that the best way for parents and children to prepare is to think, act and be positive.

“It is difficult, at first, to get back into the routine of getting up early and getting ready for a full day. I encourage parents to be positive and also help organize their student for success,” she began. “An easy strategy is to pick out outfits the night before and gather school items – lunch boxes, backpacks – before the morning rush.  Plan ahead on what is for breakfast or plan to eat breakfast at school.  Doors open for breakfast eaters at 7:15 a.m.”

Parents are welcomed to join their students when taking them to their class. All students may enter the school at the 7:30 a.m. bell unless they are eating at school. There are three entry points into the school in the morning – the car rider gate and second grade hall, which are on the Farrell Road side, are open from 7:15-7:45 a.m.

“Parents who wish to come inside the building must enter though the front door, for security purposes.,” added Gilmer.

Staff members are located at all three entry points to help guide and supervise the students, and each hallway is also supervised to help students, as well.

The side doors and gates are shut at 7:45 a.m., and all visitors after that must enter through the front door.

“We are looking forward to another fantastic year serving the Families of Fort Rucker.  FRES has been ranked No. 2 out of all Department of Defense Education Activity schools stateside and overseas by AdvancED,” said Gilmer. “We know serving our military Families is both an honor and privilege. At FRES, we always strive to provide the best education and support.”

This year’s school supply list can be picked up at the school or online at

This article was originally published at

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