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Pacific edition, Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Korea district’s nearly 4,000 students will see some changes when they return to Department of Defense Dependents Schools on Monday.

Among them will be a new annex — and a new name — at Daegu American School, and a new discipline system for Seoul American Elementary School.

The discipline plan defines and ranks offenses based on severity, and sets punishments for each category of offenses. Students can receive harsher punishments based on the number of times they have committed an offense.

About a dozen parents attended a forum in January to address bullying at Seoul American. About 60 people attended another meeting in February about bullying at Korea District schools, with parents specifically citing Seoul American Elementary School for disciplinary and classroom problems.

School officials said they would add extra monitors and train them to deal with bullying behavior.

A committee of administrators, teachers and parents reviewed and rewrote the Seoul American discipline plan.

It aims to give parents a clearer understanding of consequences related to certain offenses and repeat offenses, said Tony Harris, chief of staff for the Korea District Superintendent’s Office.

DODDS officials declined to comment on the plan, which was discussed with parents during orientation sessions earlier in the week. They said written copies of it would be sent home with students after school begins.

Around the district, Korea schools are at 84 percent capacity and have “ample” space for all required students, Harris said. Enrollment for students from non-command-sponsored families and families unaffiliated with U.S. Forces Korea will be considered, he said.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new building at Daegu American — formerly Taegu American — will be held at 11 a.m. Monday. The building houses music rooms that will allow the school’s music program to triple in size, kindergarten classrooms, two computer labs and a state-of-the-art JROTC center that includes an indoor firing range.

“We had outgrown the previous building,” said Corrine Vail, education technologist at Daegu American School. “This has allowed us to expand classrooms and update programs.” Vail said officials changed the school’s name to match the updated English translation for the city of Daegu.

Charles Toth, superintendent of Korea District schools, said the district will focus on improving math and reading skills this year, and on meeting the Department of Defense Education Activity’s Community Strategic Plan, its school improvement process.

“Personally, I am approaching the upcoming school year with great anticipation, much enthusiasm, and high expectations,” he said.

Other changes include:

Facility improvements, include newly installed artificial turf at Seoul American High School’s athletic field, and ongoing construction on Osan Middle School plus an addition to Osan High School is under way. An expansion of the Foreign Language in the Elementary School program (FLES) from kindergarten through third grade at Seoul, Osan and Humphreys; from kindergarten through second grade at CT Joy Elementary School; and kindergarten and first grade at Daegu Elementary School. FLES students study Spanish for 90 minutes a week. An expansion of the math pilot program in elementary schools, including the addition of a second math coach to provide training to all math teachers for grades two through five. An updated reading program for students in kindergarten through fifth grades who need additional reading and language support. New equipment for the district’s video technology program.

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