Why schools are #betteratbenning

A student at E.A. White Elementary School uses a special program to self-publish her work as part of the school’s writing initiative. (Photo by Danielle Davis)

A student at E.A. White Elementary School uses a special program to self-publish her work as part of the school’s writing initiative. (Photo by Danielle Davis)

By Danielle Davis, Bayonet & Saber /

When it comes to elementary and middle school education, schools are better at Benning.

“Our schools provide world class instruction to all of their students in order to prepare them for the future. They’re able to provide students with any resources that they may need,” said Dr. Lisa Coleman, the Georgia/Alabama District community superintendent of the DoDEA Americas Southeast District.

“Our faculty and staff are all highly qualified. They’ve advocated for our children and want them to receive the best education that they possibly can. Kelisa Wing, one of the eighth-grade teachers at Faith Middle School, was recently named DoDEA Teacher of the Year,” she continued.

“They’re also well versed in the new ‘college and career ready’ standards,” she added.

“College and career ready” standards are based primarily on the Common Core State Standards, which is set grade-by-grade learning expectations for students in grades K-12, explains The Department of Defense Education Activity’s website. The standards are meant to enhance students’ mathematics and literacy skills ensure their opportunity for future success.

Third-graders Ethan Bushor (left), Joshua Stewart and Giovanni Haywood created a fireball toss game using a variety of materials including construction paper and cardboard with the help of Michael Connell, a Infantry Basic Officer Leadership Course student with the 2nd Battalion, 11th Infantry Regiment.

Third-graders Ethan Bushor (left), Joshua Stewart and Giovanni Haywood created a fireball toss game using a variety of materials including construction paper and cardboard with the help of Michael Connell, a Infantry Basic Officer Leadership Course student with the 2nd Battalion, 11th Infantry Regiment.

Arlene Harmon, a second-grade teacher at Dexter Elementary, believes that the adoption of uniform standards will help ensure that each student in DoDEA, no matter where they live, will have the same educational opportunities and experiences as their peers.

“The new standards establish clear, consistent and high learning goals and are focused on preparing students for success in college and future careers,” Harmon said.

In addition to the new “college and career ready” standards which were put into place by the Department of Defense Education Activity, the schools at Fort Benning employ 21st century learning.

In 21st century learning, the focus is on collaboration. Students are finding that every problem can’t be solved in isolation. Being able to work with others is very important. Not only will they need this skill in the classroom, but in the future in their careers, said Coleman.

Coleman also mentioned that the amount of funds that Fort Benning schools receive per pupil is also higher.

“Those additional funds allow us to provide even more resources for the students,” said Coleman.

Coleman said she is working diligently with the faculty and staff to make sure that they’re ready when then schools reopen.

“I want to strengthen communication between the parents and the schools so that the parents will become more involved and aware of what’s going on,” she said.

“My personal goal would be for the students to have a wonderful experience in our schools and for academic achievement for each of our students to increase,” Coleman continued.

“I want to be sure that I’ve done everything to facilitate their academic growth and development and to provide them a holistic experience. And that wouldn’t be possible without the awesome support of the faculty and staff here on Fort Benning,” she said.

Glenn Hughes, the DoDEA Americas Southeast District chief of staff, added that Fort Benning schools are in tune with the military Families and the special needs that military children may have.

“The faculty and staff understand the unique needs of military children and strive to meet them,” added Sarah Showalter, an educational technologist at Dexter Elementary School.

Fort Benning schools also offer a safe and friendly learning environment. They’re committed to high educational standards, Showalter continued.

Edwina Smith, the principal of Dexter Elementary School, said that she and the rest of the school’s faculty and staff work hard to cultivate a safe, learning environment where students and parents feel welcome.

“Our goal is that all students have access to a rigorous curriculum so that they can reach their highest potential,” Smith said.

In the upcoming school year, the school goals in writing and mathematics with the use of research-based strategies to increase student achievement will continue to be addressed, she added.

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