Curundu JHS History

Opened: 1966
Closed: 1999

Located in the community of Curundu, Curundu Junior High School was adjacent to Panama City. It was a five-building, air-conditioned modern structure complex. Changes in the 1980s included fencing around the entire school complex. Many structures were replaced including the roof, the gym floors, gym bleachers, carpeting, and intercom.

A computer and typing center were installed. A new football field was constructed. New storerooms were installed under the stairways. Individual lockers were installed in the boys’ and girls’ locker rooms. Ramps were added for building access. Exterior upgrades included lighting, signs, and benches.

Enrollment declined from a high of 1,410 students in 1979 to only 734 students in January 1990. During the 1980s, the school had a principal and two assistant principals. In 1979, when the school became part of DoDDS, there were ninety teachers. The facility housed 1,250 students in grades seven through nine for the 1981-82 school year. The principal was Seymour Barkowitz.

By 1984, due to enrollment decline, there were sixty-eight classroom teachers, four counselors, and an ancillary faculty of six. In 1989, the number of teachers declined to thirty-seven, with two counselors and nine ancillary faculty.

Several new courses were integrated into the curriculum in the 1980s. A career center provided students information on new and emerging careers through a schoolwide career exploration program. A reading program, METRA, was piloted in the 1979-80 school year and implemented in the 1980-81 school year.

In this program ninth grade students tutored seventh and eighth students on a one-to-one basis during one quarter of the school year. Adaptive and developmental physical education programs were implemented. Bowling was added to the curriculum and students were bused to the Curundu lanes to participate in the program.

In 1989, Curundu Junior High School earned the Secondary School Recognition Award. The Department of Education awarded this honor to the top schools in the United States. The school met all the written standards and successfully completed a site visit by a team from the Department of Education. Only the top two or three schools applying in each state received the award each year.


Source: Schooling in the Panama Canal Zone 1904-1976, DoDDS Panama 1979-1989 and DoDDS School Information Guides

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