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NEWS | Aug. 23, 2016

JBSA School Liaison Offices advocate for military children

JBSA-Lackland Public Affairs

As the first week of the 2016-17 school year all across Joint Base San Antonio has wraps up, parents and students may be interested to learn about the various educational benefits available to military children, including a specialized office that assists in all things school related.

The personnel of the JBSA School Liaison offices serve the JBSA community by acting as a liaison between any school district that has as least one military child registered to it, to include each installation and homeschooling families, according to Lori Phipps, JBSA-Lackland school liaison.

“We advocate for military students grades K-12, advise our military families on education issues and build alliances within the community to support our military families K-12 education,” Phipps said. Basically, we are the puzzle piece that connects families, schools and our military community.”

Along with advocating for military children, JBSA School Liaison Office staff assists commanders, DOD employees and families in meeting the demands of the military mission and family by helping develop and maintain partnerships between parents, base leadership, and local schools.

“Our military students often face issues regarding enrollment, such as differences in age requirements, placement of courses or possibly having to repeat courses or being held back a year, attendance issues, or missing deadlines,” Phipps said. “One of the main issues that our office deals with regularly is graduation requirements and ensuring that our students that are transferring in will graduate on time."

For graduation requirement issues, the SLO staff must coordinate with various helping agencies to ensure the students. One such issue was the JBSA-Lackland SLO staff coordinating with the Lackland ISD Special Education District staff to ensure a student who transferred into the district during his senior year was able to fulfill his graduation requirements.

“We coordinated with the school liaison staff to ensure this student graduated on time,” said Jessica Crawford, Nationally Certified School Psychologist with Lackland Independent School District Special Education Services. “For this particular case, we were able to find a solution that allowed the student to walk across the stage here at JBSA-Lackland, but administratively graduated from his former school.”

Along with assisting with administrative issues, the SLO staff also helps to connect mentors to students, sponsors programs such as Build-A-Backpack to provide school supplies to military children, shares scholarship information to the base populous and hosts informational classes for parents and students. A comprehensive list of programs available through the SLO can be found at http://www.jbsa.mil/Resources/Military-Family-Readiness/School-Liaison-Office/.

The SLO staff is prepared to assist with any challenges military students at JBSA may face in order to help them reach their full potential and progress to higher education without worrying about administrative issues outside of their control.

“We work with all of the higher education facilities in the area and are guest lectures regularly at University of Texas at San Antonio, Texas A & M and Trinity Universities to expose pre-service teachers, counselors and school psychologist to the sensitive needs of our military families,” Phipps said. “As long as there are military kids in San Antonio, we will be here helping however we can.”

To ask any questions or for assistance with a school-related issues, contact the SLO at any JBSA location at: JBSA-Lackland at 671-8388, or JBSA-Randolph at 652-5321, or JBSA-Fort Sam Houston at 221-2214 or 221-2256.