Story, photo by Tribune Staff
For the 21st year, Fort Sill committed units to work with local schools with the signing of the Army Partnership with Local Area Schools, or APLAS (Army Partnership with Local Schools) agreement, Aug. 5, at the Fort Sill Conference Center.
The pact provides volunteer Fort Sill Soldiers, Marines and civilians to mentor and tutor students and to help with school projects.
Brenda Spencer-Ragland, Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation director, said APLAS consists of four programs: mentorship, unit-school partnerships, leadership and parental involvement. It supports students' future success academically and physically to become model citizens.
To formalize the partnership between schools and the military units, each school principal along with their unit command team leader signed individual APLAS agreements, Spencer-Ragland said. A framed copy of the school's APLAS agreement will be displayed at the units and the schools.
The FMWR director read a portion of the APLAS certificate of agreement: "Together, we the Fires Center of Excellence and Fort Sill and the local area schools are committed to the future of our children. Through a co-operative effort, we will stand as strong and ready partners, dedicated to working together to improve the citizenship and learning experiences of children in Southwest Oklahoma's elementary, middle and high schools."
Because of the effective APLAS partnerships, this year and for the fourth time, Fort Sill received the Pete Taylor Award of Excellence in Education. "We are very proud of our efforts," Spencer-Ragland said.
One of the highlights of Fort Sill APLAS is that it offered an enhanced math and science curriculum to more than 2,300 students through Oklahoma Starbase and the Summer Escape science program, she said. This resulted in a 10-point increase in math and science scores for children who had attended those programs. And, Lawton Public School's Freedom Elementary School was the first and only school on an installation to achieve gold-level status in the Alliance for a Healthier Generation by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, she said.