Educators Important in Military Children's Lives
By Rudi Williams
American Forces Press Service
HOUSTON, July 14, 2006 It's important that teachers and other school officials understand factors affecting children of military families, a senior Army general said here yesterday.
A military lifestyle often is characterized by frequent moves and parents who are deployed for long periods of time, Army Gen. David D. McKiernan, commander of U.S. Army Europe, told attendees at the Military Child Education Coalition's Pete Taylor Partnership of Excellence Award dinner.
Army Gen. David D. McKiernan, commander of U.S. Army Europe, speaks to attendees at the Military Child Education Coalition's Pete Taylor Partnership of Excellence award dinner July 12 in Houston. Photo by Rudi Williams
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
"The importance of teachers, principals and counselors understanding the differences between military and civilian children can make the difference in a child's life," McKienan told the more than 500 conference attendees. "It can also make a difference between labeling a student as a problem student and understanding the stresses at home and working with the child."
McKiernan noted that the Department of Defense Education Activity runs 109 schools in 55 communities in Europe, and each one is unique. The activity works with each community and adjusts school schedules to account for military activities, he said.
As the U.S. military adjusts its footprint in Europe and units and troops return to the United States, the education activity is heavily involved in the planning process, McKiernan said. "As our Army rebases in Europe and within the U.S., this type of detailed planning will be of vital importance to ensuring our children have quality schools and educational programs," he said.
During the dinner, McKiernan announced the five winners of the Pete Taylor Partnership of Excellence Awards. Taylor was a founder and chairman of the Military Child Education Coalition, a nonprofit group that works to better educational opportunities for military children. Taylor, a retired Army general, recognized the importance of partnerships between local school districts and their nearby military installations, McKiernan said. The awards recognize communities, educators and military installations that work together to improve education for military children.
Heidelberg school district and the Heidelberg military garrison in Heidelberg, Germany, were lauded for their program, "The Real World ... What are you doing?" The program aims to prepare students for college and careers.
The 52nd Fighter Wing, its 52nd Mission Support Group, and Bitburg High School in Bitburg, Germany, were lauded for their "Commander's Honor Roll" project, which recognizes students' scholastic achievements. The community projects will receive $1,000 each from MCEC to further their initiatives.
Fort Campbell, Ky., and several on-base and surrounding school districts received a community-partnership award of $7,000 in recognition and support.
Two Texas communities each received $5,000 to further partnerships: Fort Bliss and the El Paso Independent School District, and Fort Sam Houston and the Fort Sam Houston Independent School District in San Antonio.