News>PASS helps military parents of school children
SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- Tammy Cox addresses a workshop audience March 16 at the Airman and Family Readiness Center for military parents of school children as part of the PASS program. (Photo by Bob Fehringer)
3/30/2011 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- Linda McNabb and Tammy Cox presented a workshop March 16 at the Airman and Family Readiness Center for military parents of school children as part of the PASS (Parent Advocates for Students and Schools) program.
According to Brenda Wells, an A&FRC staff member, the interactive session stressed the importance of advocating for military children, following the "Chain of Concern" (parent, teacher and child in a partnership, each supporting the other) when communicating with school personnel.
"There are 1.4 million military-connected children; 800,000 are school-aged children," Ms. Wells said. "Seventy-five percent of all school-aged students attend schools located off-base and 15 percent of military-children require special education. Children with mobile lifestyles move about three times more frequently than their civilian peers, and children often attend as many as thirteen schools in 12 years."
In 2010 Mrs. McNabb organized PASS to oversee an adaptation of the Military Child Education Coalition Parent to Parent program which utilizes a force of volunteers to educate parents in effective parental advocacy.
"Military parents know that effective student transitioning from one school district to another can be challenging," Ms. Wells said. "Helping our families more effectively plan for, and transition into, new school environments will help them better manage the demands of military lifestyle--frequency of relocations and family separations."
During the lunchtime presentation, parents munched on pizza and salad as McNabb and Cox spoke about Parent's Chain of Concern, the school support system, and the military support system.
"We're here to give you the best tools to be your children's advocates," McNabb said.
She then touched on her experiences as a volunteer at her children's school and how it helped her understand the education system and those who teach in it.
"As a school volunteer, I got to appreciate the teachers," Mrs. McNabb said. "Not only do they have to be teachers but they have to be nurses, and dads and moms, and policemen and counselors. They have 35 kids, at times, in their classroom. That's a lot for one individual."
Mrs. McNabb then talked about dealing with the school support system, of teachers, counselors, principals etc., the military support system of school liaisons and helping agencies and communication.
Tammy Cox followed with information on scheduling conferences with teachers.
"When your child has special needs, it doesn't have to be an educational problem, your teacher needs to know this early," Mrs. Cox said. "Don't wait until your child breaks down in the middle of class.
"Or when your child's grades drop suddenly," Mrs. Cox continued, "whatever the reason, you need to find out as soon as possible."
Mrs. Cox continued speaking on various topics such as praising a teacher for interesting projects, helping a child with homework and email etiquette when dealing with teachers among others.
The workshop continued with a panel question-and-answer period covering PASS information and general education topics.
"The PASS vision is to help parents understand how valuable they are in the process of their child's educational journey." Ms. Wells said. "PASS will strengthen parents individually and as a collective body. This group of advocates can unite as a team and walk forward to benefit their schools, working hand in hand to ensure teamwork with educators to benefit all students."
For more information about PASS contact the Airman and Family Readiness Center or School Liaison Officer at 256-8668 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Linda McNabb is the wife of U.S. Transportation Command Commander Duncan J. McNabb. Tammy Cox is married to Brig. Gen. Samuel D. Cox, commander 618th Air and Space Operations Center, Scott Air Force Base, Ill.