Kadena receives a new school Published Jan. 24, 2008 By Tech. Sgt. Rey Ramon 18th Wing Public Affairs KADENA AB, Japan -- A $23 million project funded by the Government of Japan will be completed by April 30 and will benefit students attending middle school here. The new Ryukyu Middle School will be one of three schools on-island to make space for sixth-graders at the middle school level. "The middle school is 95 percent complete," said Kim Crawford, 718th Civil Engineer Squadron chief of engineering. "However, the sporting facilities along with the rest of the grounds and landscaping are the last things to be completed." Construction began in June 2007 and both buildings total 153,320 square feet, she added. With the opening of the new middle school, the district zoning committee is looking into the distribution of students to ensure they balance out enrollments at the three schools. "The students will come from the elementary and other middle schools in the Kadena area but the final zoning has yet to be determined," said Laura Stoller, Department of Defense Dependents Schools communication officer. "It will be strictly a middle school, grades six through eight." Several years ago DoDDS made a commitment to move to the middle school model (grades sixth, seventh and eighth together). In order to do that, more space was needed than was available at Lester and Kadena Middle Schools. The decision was made to build a third school. Ms. Stoller said the middle school concept fosters programs that keep the uniqueness of its clientele at the forefront of every decision. "Developmentally responsive middle level schools are characterized by a shared vision, educators committed to young adolescents, a positive school climate, an adult advocate for every student, family and community partnerships, and high expectations for all," she said. Separate sections of the school will be reserved for the different grade levels. Each grade level will be divided into two teams, providing a "school within a school" approach. This allows teachers to know their students better. "We want to ensure that all of our middle schools can maintain the levels of programming that they have had up to this point and ensure that all of our students have the highest quality education that we offer," said Ms. Stoller. Many personnel were involved in setting up the new school from the collaborative efforts of the military community to the various DoDDS departments. "I am looking forward to fostering a true sense of community among the members of the Ryukyu Middle School family -- students, teachers, staff, parents and military," said Paul Currier, Ryukyu Middle School principal.