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Family Matters Blog: Department Modules Help Civilian Kids

By Heather Forsgren Weaver
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 23, 2010 – Heather Forsgren Weaver of American Forces Press Service is a regular contributor to Family Matters. Heather's been heavily involved in this blog from the start. She edits, helps write and posts content on a daily basis.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Children participate in a ribbon cutting at the new school on U.S. Army Garrison Camp Casey, Sept. 15, 2010. U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Mardicio Barrot
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

In this blog, Heather writes about modules developed by the Defense Department's Education Activity that are now being shared with civilian public schools.

Modules Can Help My 'Boyfriend'

I have a "boyfriend" and it isn't my husband of 13 years. It the 6-year old across the street. "Mike" is autistic. One of the things Mike does is sit at the front door and wait for "Miss Heather" to come outside. If I am home, his mother will call and ask me to come outside and go to the mailbox. That's usually all I have to do for Mike to stop being fixated on where I am.

This year Mike started kindergarten after two years of special preschool. His progress has been amazing. I've now just learned about something else that might help Mike. When I get home tonight I am going to ask Mike's mother if his school has access to special-education modules developed by the Defense Department’s Education Activity.

Elaine Wilson wrote about the modules in her American Forces Press Service article, "DOD Supports Military Children in Public Schools." 

"The modules were developed so they could be used on a widespread basis," Kathy Facon, the activity's chief of educational partnership, told Elaine in a recent interview. "Much of the information can be applied to any teachers, not just those in special education."

The 16 modules cover a broad range of topics including mediation and conflict resolution, and classroom behavior management strategies. Teachers can self-pace through the modules, or a facilitator can use the guide to present to several teachers.

As a civilian, I am awed at how much our military does to help the community. These modules are just another example of something developed to help military children in military schools that can be used by anyone – maybe even Mike's teachers.

The activity is doing a lot for military kids who attend public schools. For example, some of the $96 million in grants to school districts is going to be used for additional counseling support and virtual-learning opportunities, Elaine wrote.

There is also an online resource, "Students at the Center" that is designed for both military families and the schools military children attend.

For military parents, the resource offers tips on navigating the public-education system and information on report cards, school performance and district achievement levels.

For school leaders, the resource has information on military families and how public-school leaders can facilitate a safe and stable environment for military students.

"We've brought information that was available in many different formats into one location," Facon told Elaine.

Online information developed by the activity for both military families and public school leaders is available on the "Military K-12 Partners" website.

The activity also wants to learn from the public-school system, Facon told Elaine.

"Many public schools have fabulous programs that we can replicate as we share our own programs," she said. “We want students to be performing to their best potential, and we want to make sure students from military families can do that anywhere."

To comment on this blog, please visit the Family Matters blog.

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