BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. --
Air Force Global Strike Command base, community and school district leadership attended an education symposium at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, April 25-27, 2017.
The gathering of school and community leaders from across the command included base commanders, school liaison officers, spouses, representative school districts and community members.
They worked with command leaders to identify ways to ensure academic success for military and veteran children, which will be implemented in 2020.
“The object of the convening is to help develop action plans that can be taken back to the communities to improve things for educating military children,” said Jeffrey Beene, AFGSC director of staff.
AFGSC has eight installations with 12 school districts that touch those bases.
“Our command is comprised of pretty small communities when you think about the ICBM and bomber platforms, so our personnel tend to go back and forth a lot among our bases,” Beene said. “So we thought the novel way to approach this was not by focusing on a single large installation, but by a combination of communities that have a great deal in common.”
The assembly aimed to address the needs of military students in the public schools around the command and to build on partnerships between the schools, communities and the military. Upon returning home, participants will engage within their areas of influence to implement plans developed during the event.
“We really focus on college, work force and life readiness,” said Mary Keller, Military Child Education Coalition president. “We look at how we can get kids ready for post-secondary life by developing an integrated plan within the command for school-age children which allows for easier transitions during military moves.”
These initiatives would help children transfer credits more easily between school districts when their parents PCS.
Attendees focused on finding current education program strengths, places where programs can improve, and what solutions the programs need to overcome current barriers, said Keller.
Keller said her team’s research finds that the average military child relocates six to nine times from kindergarten through high school.
Through a facilitated process, the expected outcome of this convening will be a refined set of impact statements that advance: academics, advocacy and access to opportunity.