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NEWS | Oct. 21, 2015

JBSA school liaison officers advocate for military children

Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Public Affairs

Whether it’s helping children adjust to a new school or connecting them to educational resources, members of the Joint Base San Antonio School Liaison Office serve the needs of 25,000 military-connected students in the JBSA area.

Members of the school liaison office serve as advocates for military students who are enrolled in 23 school districts in the San Antonio area and their families, providing services that help children transitioning to a new school and connecting them to resources to help with their learning, said Angela Green, 802nd Force Support Squadron school liaison officer at JBSA-Randolph.

Green has worked with children for more than 20 years, including as a teacher in the Head Start program and at the Randolph Child Development Center. She is also a military spouse with two children who have moved from school to school.

Green said she assists military parents who are new to the area with enrolling their children in school, including information about the school, school contacts, the records they will need, what immunizations will be required and educating them about the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Children.

The compact is an agreement among the states to minimize and resolve school transition issues for military children transferring from one state to another, including eligibility, enrollment, placement and graduation.

“We try to initiate every opportunity to help their transition be as smooth as possible,” Green said.

Members of the JBSA School Liaison Office also talk to school administrators, counselors and teachers about the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Children and what it covers, Green said.

“If educators understand the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Children and know about those laws, it’s much easier for the transition of our families,” Green said.

In addition, Green said staff members need to be aware of the issues and challenges facing children of  military members and their families.

According to statistics provided by the JBSA School Liaison Office, military students are frequently on the move, with Air Force families moving an average of every 2.9 years and military schoolchildren attending nine different schools before they graduate.

 “We are not asking for special treatment for our military children,” Green said. “We want them to understand what our families are going through.”

Green said she provides information about educational resources and programs that can help both students and parents, including Military One Source, Military Child Education Coalition, Student Online Resource and the Exceptional Family Member Program, which helps military schoolchildren with special educational needs.

Allana Hemenway, Randolph Elementary School principal, said Green is a helpful resource on programs and services that can help students at the school and their families.

“If we have a military student that may be in crisis, she will help us access the resources to assist the parent and child,” Hemenway said. “Our military members can have a stressful life and career. We want to make sure we are doing what’s best for their child at school by working with Ms. Green.”

Hemenway said Green keeps the lines of communication open between the school and the parents.

“She’s that bridge between us and our parents,” she said. “It’s nice to have her support to cross over the bridge to meet the parents. It benefits the educational experience of the child and that’s what it’s all about.”

Green is one of three school liaison officers in the JBSA School Liaison Office, including Lori Phipps at JBSA-Lackland and Keith Toney at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston. Green can be reached at 652-5321, Phipps at 671-3722 and Toney at 221-2214.