Three middle schools in Kaiserslautern area will merge into one
By JENNIFER H. SVAN | STARS AND STRIPES Published: November 18, 2019
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — About 750 students at small middle schools in the Kaiserslautern area will attend the same school on Vogelweh as of the next academic year, when three schools are merged into one, a top school official said.
The merger will mean longer bus rides for students currently at Landstuhl and Sembach middle schools, which have enrollments of 185 and 103 students, respectively, said Steven Sanchez, the superintendent of the Department of Defense Education Activity Europe East District.
Students at Kaiserslautern Middle School already go to school on Vogelweh but will move with the others to the former Vogelweh Elementary School building, which is on the other side of the base.
The benefits of attending a bigger school outweigh the longer commute, Sanchez said.
“There are many more things we can offer in a larger school that we cannot offer in three smaller schools,” such as more academic offerings and more after-school clubs and activities, the DODEA superintendent said.
No teaching positions are likely to be cut as a result of the consolidation, Sanchez said.
“We’re talking the same number of kids, so my thought is we’ll need approximately the same number of teachers,” Sanchez said.
The consolidation has been in the works since last year, Sanchez said. It was announced last week in an email sent to parents.
The move is necessary to allow construction projects for new schools in the Kaiserslautern area to proceed, including a new Kaiserslautern Middle School on Vogelweh. Students in the old Vogelweh Elementary School building will attend the new school once it’s completed, which is expected in about five years.
The former Vogelweh school building, which used to have an enrollment of hundreds of students from pre-K to grade six, has sufficient space for the interim middle school. The school shuttered last spring to make way for a new elementary school building, which opened its doors at the start of this school year.
Among the handful of emails Sanchez said he’s received from parents about the consolidation, one expressed a wish for Landstuhl to retain its small middle school.
“It’s kind of a community school … and we understand that,” he said. “What we’re trying to communicate is this really will bring more opportunities for students.”
The more than 800 students who attend the largest military middle school in the Kaiserslautern region, Ramstein, are unaffected by the changes, DODEA officials have said.
More than 700 students from three DODEA middle schools in Kaiserslautern will attend school starting next fall on the campus of the old Vogelweh Elementary School in Kaiserslautern, Germany. The schools' consolidation is necessary to proceed with plans to build new 21st-century schools in the area.
JENNIFER H. SVAN/STARS AND STRIPES