Fort Clayton ES History

Opened: 1963
Closed: 1999

Fort Clayton Elementary School was located on Fort Clayton Army Post. It was a three-story air-conditioned structure which was formerly used as a barracks for soldiers. The enrollment ranged from a high of 380 students in 1979 to 209 students by January 1990. The students were dependents of Army, Department of Defense, and various other military and civilian personnel.

Most students lived within walking distance of the school. All preschool and kindergarten children were bused. During the period of 1980-1989 approximately twenty percent of the school population received specific special education services including speech therapy, preschool for developmentally delayed children and a Primary Academic Enhancement Class (PAEC).

As a result of the 1981-82 self-study, physical improvements were made to the entire first floor of the school. The work was begun in April 1989 and completed in November 1989. The main office, educational prescriptionist’s office, PAEC, teachers’ lounge, and multi-purpose room were relocated. Two rooms for occupational and physical therapy were added.

During the 1980’s, the interior of the school was painted twice; new curtains were added; rooms were recarpeted; and new computers for students, teachers and administrators were purchased.

In 1981-1982 there were twenty-three teachers. Seven years later, in 1989, there were thirty-five teachers. Parents were involved in many aspects of the school to include the School Advisory Committee and the Parent-Teacher Organization. The Helping Hands program consisted of parents who donated time to perform clerical duties and assist with special programs, projects, and school activities. Community resources provided arts and crafts programs and access to a swimming pool, gym, bowling alley, library, theatre, and park. The Child Development Center provided a “Safe Program” for latchkey children of working parents.

Source: Schooling in the Panama Canal Zone 1904-1976, DoDDS Panama 1979-1989

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