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Quality education for JBLM families

Clover Park School District works to meet family needs

Clover Park is one of the two high schools (along with Lakes) in CPSD. Photo credit: Christina Butcher

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Uprooting and moving across the country can be one of the most stressful components of changing duty stations for servicemembers and their families. The transition can be especially frustrating for school-age children who are forced to start over in a new city, at a brand-new school, among people they've never met.

Clover Park School District (CPSD), which provides education for the Lakewood and Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) areas, knows all about challenges like this and is highly qualified to help servicemembers and their families get the most out of their children's education.

"Social adjustment for students coming to a new base and new school, adjusting to new curriculum, processing transferred records and a lag in getting medicines to allow students to start school with the appropriate supports needed are all challenges specific to military families that Clover Park School District deals with," said Ron Banner, the CPSD assistant superintendent for elementary schools.  

With more than 30 percent of its students coming from military families living at JBLM, CPSD is heavily affected by the nearby military presence and is the official school district for families living on JBLM. Families living on base can enroll their children in one of CPSD's six elementary schools:  Evergreen, Hillside and Rainier Elementary Schools are located on JBLM Main, while Beachwood and Meriwether Elementary Schools are found on JBLM North. Carter Lake Elementary School is near McChord Field. CPSD's middle schools, all of which are located off-base in Lakewood, are Hudtloff, Lochburn, Mann and Woodbrook Middle Schools.

Along with Clover Park High School and Lakes High School, CPSD has a combined middle and high school called Harrison Preparatory, a college preparatory school focused on providing a global perspective to students. CPSD offers a Running Start Program to its high school seniors, allowing them to attend college courses on a nearby campus while earning both college and high school credits for their final year of high school.

Special programs like these, as well as the district's robust Army and Air Force Junior ROTC programs at its high schools, are part of what make CPSD uniquely able to accommodate the educational needs of military families.

"One of the most important things the AJROTC program provides for a lot students ... is that it gives them something they're familiar with: the military construct, which they can adapt to very quickly," explained Lt. Col. Allen Patty, one of the AJROTC instructors at Lakes High School. "They're immediately familiar with about two hundred other kids who are integrated into the high school through many different constructs, like band and sports ... and international honors society. For a new student coming in ... the program gives them a safe place to settle into."

Since 1985, close to 100 CPSD students have received appointments to military academies after completing high school.

To ensure quality education for military families who are transitioning in or out of JBLM, CPSD partners with the Military Child Education Coalition (MCEC), a continuing education provider working with children of military and veteran families who have been affected by family separation and transitions.

"District staff have attended the MCEC national conferences and been invited to present at the annual conference," said CPSD assistant superintendent for secondary schools Brian Laubach. "Staff also benefit from information in monthly (MCEC) newsletters, which benefits military families."

Families living on JBLM can find additional educational support at School Support Services, a program that assists families relocating to and from JBLM by providing information about local schools, assisting with school issues, making referrals, offering personal support, coordinating with local school districts and helping families enroll their children in extracurricular clubs and teams.

For more info about CPSD, visit

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