Sasebo's unit school will be split into two
Stars and Stripes June 12, 2003
SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — In the fall of 2003, Ernest J. King Unit School students will begin another school year — receiving an in-depth course on mitosis, the biological term for splitting and becoming two.
King School splits this summer, and Sasebo Elementary School is born.
The newborn school is for pre-kindergarten through sixth-grade students now at King. The seventh through 12th grades will comprise Ernest J. King High School.
In its current status as a “unit” school, all the grades at King are part of one school.
Linda Connelly, King School’s principal, sees the change as a benefit for students, she said.
King, located in the main base housing sector at Sasebo Naval Base, has four classroom buildings and a high school gymnasium.
Both the School Advisory Committee and the Parent Teacher Organization “thought this was a good thing,” Connelly said. “The staff overwhelmingly thought this would be a positive thing for kids.”
Connelly projected the main building at King will be used by pre-kindergarten through third-grade classes, and the adjacent two-story building will house the seventh and eighth grades, along with the cafeteria.
The library will remain in the three-story facility behind the main building, along with middle and high school classes and special classes and labs.
In the four-story building across the street, the second floor is reserved for the fourth grade and one third-grade class. The third floor is slated for the fifth and sixth grades, and the fourth floor for middle and high school classes.
“Splitting King Unit School will result in expanded specialist curricular time for elementary students and additional course offerings for middle and high school students,” she said.
Additionally, she said, the split will result in more staff slots for the elementary grades, among those an elementary school principal, a second librarian and a second school nurse.
“I think this is a very good idea,” said Connita Hill, secretary of the Parent Teacher Organization and mother of three students ranging from the sixth to the 10th grades.
“The little kids in the elementary school will feel more like they have their own identity.”