TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE PLETHORA OF MILITARY PARENT RESOURCES
There’s no end to the number of resources available for military parents. In fact, several key organizations provide information and insight about transitioning from one post to another and how to mitigate the impact on your child’s school experience. But there are just as many examples of spouses who have worked on their own to support military students. One spouse, Kiera Gallagher, shared her experience at Fort Bragg:
“Before we moved to Bragg, we were stationed at Schofield Barracks, HI and I taught at Wheeler Middle School on Wheeler Army Airfield. My sister moved to HI and taught at the same school. My sister, Maggie, still teaches 6th grade at Wheeler. Together, we created a club called ‘Aloha Ambassadors’.
“We saw a need when new students entered our school. Before our club, students were given a tour by an adult and then released to their classes. We found that students felt lost and disconnected on the first day. Transitioning adolescents need positive peer and teacher interactions on the first day in order to feel connected. Maggie and I create a leadership seminar once a month for the ambassadors. I collaborate with my sister through Google classroom. We invite community speakers, as well as a psychiatrist from Tripler Army Medical Center who teaches our ambassadors how to emotionally connect, support, and advocate for themselves and their new peers. Our ambassadors have grown into advocates. The ambassadors are trained how to make connections instantly and then ask the questions, "how can I get this student connected?" "Which teacher, coach, or club advisor do I need to make an introduction to the new student?" "Which group of friends can I introduce this student to based on their interests?" The new students are connected the moment they walk on campus, at recess, lunch, and for the remainder of the year.”
And Kiera’s work in Hawaii has helped her form similar groups and resources for military families at Fort Bragg:
“I currently am the ESL teacher, 6th and 7th grade Social Studies teacher, and the NJHS advisor at Albritton Middle School on Fort Bragg. We do similar activities to Aloha Ambassadors. I find that if educators teach military students how to advocate for themselves, they will learn how to dig their roots deep upon arrival at their new school.”
For additional resources, visit the websites below, read their publications for more information and get in touch if you have questions.