District Administration November 2017 - 28

MAKING ROOM for the

Fletcher, director of culture and services at School District 49 in Colorado
Springs, where one-quarter of the students have military connections.
"Students can run into situations
where, for example, something's not a
problem in Georgia, but they move to
Colorado and they're getting in trouble
for it," says Fletcher, a retired U.S. Air
Force officer who also serves as the district's military liaison. "We make the rules
very transparent."
The district has for the last three
years employed two "military family life
consultants"-a pair of social workers
who focus on the specific social-emotional needs of military families. For
example, the consultant could refer a
student to more comprehensive counseling if they are struggling to cope with a
parent's deployment to a combat zone or
serious injuries.
The consultants will also make sure
families are aware of all the resources the
military will provide to students with special needs, Fletcher says.
The district staff also includes military
student transition consultants who help

BUDDY SYSTEM-The Military Child Education Coaltion trains students to
serve as mentors for classmates from military families who have moved to a
new school. The program is intended to prevent bullying, isolation and other
issues students may face when relocating.

children adjust to the district and prepare when they have to relocate. Other
military-focused programs in the district
screen students for learning disabilities
and introduce them to career options.

Hints from around the world

Schools connected to overseas U.S. military bases often try to restrict class
sizes-to about 18 or 20 pupils-so teachers can develop closer relationships
with their students.
A teacher's primary obligation is to make sure newcomers integrate into
their classes as quickly as possible, says Amy Peaceman, who recently retired
after 41 years of teaching in Department of Defense schools.
"A couple of students are assigned to new kids the first couple of days
to walk them through the school and make sure they get from one class to
another," says Peaceman. "We make sure they're starting to make friends and
that they have several people with whom they're really comfortable."
Because the military is more diverse than ever, teachers try to foster an
environment that is accepting of differences, and that recognizes students'
multicultural backgrounds as assets. To this end, teachers work hard to prevent
bullying and intervene immediately should they see any sign of it.
Teachers also try to make sure students have a thorough understanding
of international news-from outbreaks of violence to global political developments-that might impact their families directly or indirectly. Psychologists and
counselors are available to talk to students about how to handle the emotions
and stress these events may cause.
28 November 2017

"When members of the military have
their families with them in other parts
of the world and are more isolated, they
get a lot of services," Fletcher says. "The
environment we're shaping here is giving those military kids the support they
would get if they were out there on base."
To ease transitions, other districts have
developed buddy programs in which students who have been in the district show
their new military-connected classmates
around, says Simerly, of the Military
Child Education Coalition, an organization that provides social-emotional and
academic programs.
Many military-impacted districts
also maintain lunch-buddy programs, in
which students volunteer to eat with military-connected classmates who are new
to the school.
Understanding military culture
In the the Steilacoom Historical School
District south of Seattle, about 40 percent
of the students have military connections.
Through a partnership with Joint Base
Lewis-McChord, administrators added
new programs-such as preventative
District Administration



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of District Administration November 2017

District Administration November 2017 - Cover1
District Administration November 2017 - Cover2
District Administration November 2017 - 1
District Administration November 2017 - 2
District Administration November 2017 - 3
District Administration November 2017 - 4
District Administration November 2017 - 5
District Administration November 2017 - 6
District Administration November 2017 - 7
District Administration November 2017 - 8
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