Fort Kobbe ES History

Opened: 1979
Closed: 1999

Fort Kobbe Elementary School was located on the US Army Post of Fort Kobbe, on the west bank of the Panama Canal. The single-story, H-shaped concrete school was of modern construction and air-conditioned. Fort Kobbe Elementary School served a community composed of predominately military families from the Army and Air Force. When the school became part of the DoDDS system, significant facility and environmental improvements were made. These improvements included a new air-conditioning system, patio coverings, sidewalks, furniture for students and teachers, carpeting, bike racks, and more computers for the classrooms.

Enrollment dramatically shifted between 1979 and 1990. In 1981, the school population was 493 students. There were three to four classes for kindergarten to fourth grade and two classes for the upper grades. The principal was Richard Miller. In January of 1990 there were only 210 students enrolled. The students were in grades kindergarten through sixth grade, with 38% Army dependents, 58% Air Force dependents, and 4% civilian dependents.

During the 1987-88 school year, Fort Kobbe Elementary School was selected as a demonstration site for Computer Based Instruction. This two-classroom pilot project continued to expand until every classroom had computers. Extracurricular programs included afterschool gym, story time, computer club, Book Fair, Art Fair, Great Books club, Spanish club, and Typical Dancing classes.

The community and parents were actively involved in the school. Government agencies, which frequently offered services to the school, were Preventive Medicine, Medical Activity (MEDDAC), Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counseling, Howard Crash Fire Station, and the Howard Dental Clinic.

One Army battalion had an “Adopt a Class” program that provided monthly activities to include career awareness and hands-on field experiences. Parents participated in a Helping Hands program, initiated after school clubs and hobby groups, and gave presentations during the school day.

In May 1990, Fort Kobbe Elementary School received the Elementary School Recognition Program Award.


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

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