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Department of Defense Dependents Schools-Europe has announced that seventh- and eighth-grade students will move with the high school students from Mannheim to Heidelberg starting in the fall. Sixth-graders will have a choice of whether to move or stay put, DODDS-Europe said.

The Mannheim military community is scheduled to close over the next year or two, leading to the closure of the community’s schools. Most of its soldiers will be gone for good by next summer.

Based on a survey of affected families in Mannheim, the remaining seventh- and eighth-grade students in Mannheim will attend Heidelberg Middle School, according to a DODDS-Europe news release.

Sixth-graders will have a choice of attending Heidelberg Middle School or staying in Mannheim, but moving to the Mannheim Elementary School building, which is being reconfigured so it can be used by older students as well, the release said.

DODDS is abandoning its plan to teach pre-kindergartners to eighth-graders in the same reconfigured facility this coming school year, the release said. The change was instituted to give students a full-range of academic, athletic and extracurricular opportunities, DODDS stated in the release.

The 2010-2011 school year was the last for Mannheim Middle School and Mannheim High School. Mark Twain Elementary School in Heidelberg also closed its doors, as that community begins its preparations for closure in a few years.

In further explaining its decision, the DODDS release indicated the accelerated departure of school-age children from the Mannheim area would have led to smaller-than-desired classroom sizes for older students.

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