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Teaching teachers
Trevor Romain, an author and counselor specializing in children’s care, speaks Norfolk, Va., Nov. 1, regarding his experience with children who lost loved ones in. His experiences gave caretakers and educators an idea of what they might see from children with similar stories. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Austin Harvill/Released)
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Teaching teachers: communicating with educators and parents

Posted 11/9/2012   Updated 11/9/2012 Email story   Print story


by Airman 1st Class Austin Harvill
633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

11/9/2012 - LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va. -- For many individuals, knowledge constitutes only a small part of a complete education; people, communication and innovation merge to create a total educational experience.

With the concept of total education in mind, Joint Base Langley-Eustis school liaison officials, the Joint Military Service School Liaison Committee and Old Dominion University hosted an education summit at Norfolk, Va., Nov. 1.

The summit's purpose was to bring together parents, Service members, educators and others who devote themselves to the mission of higher education.

Bianca Martinez, a local news anchor and Navy spouse, wanted to use her public speaking prowess and experience as a military spouse to expose others to the world of education, no matter the circumstances of the parents, children or educators.

"[This summit] allows communication between educators and the military," said Martinez. "Communication is essential in a dynamic, military lifestyle."

After an initial briefing of events, summit leaders broke off into separate groups. These groups held in-depth discussions on three topics: resilience, special education and transitioning from base to base.

The briefings gave educators a preview into the lives of students with military parents. It taught them how to handle a child with a deployed parent, and what they could do for the child. It also gave parents information on how to ease the stress of a transition. Parents with special-needs children learned the ins-and-outs of how they can best treat their child in the Hampton Roads area.

With Langley Air Force Base, Va., lying in the heart of Hampton Roads and Fort Eustis sitting just north of the area, Dave Wiker, JBLE school liaison officer, found it essential to include the local installations on the action.

"The summit brought the public school community together with parents concerned about present-and-future educational issues in the Hampton Roads area," said Wiker.
JBLE organizations were paramount in connecting parents to the educational community and they also presented resources to the parents, which helped parents network with off-base outreach organizations.

"There have been other education summits on other military installations," said Wiker.

"This summit, however, was the first of this magnitude, and the first to partner with an outside university-using resources off-base."

Those resources were not exclusive to pamphlets and slideshows. Speakers and educators came out to share their experiences and wisdom to give parents a first-hand look into the power of a complete education.

Due to such positive feedback, Wiker hopes to make the summit an annual event.

On the issue of resiliency, Trevor Romain, an author and counselor specializing in children's care, believes that all children and their teachers can work together to combat the challenges presented in a military home.

Romain spoke about the importance of understanding a child, as well as the understanding of self required to be a better educator.

"Often, educators forget their purpose; why they chose to be a teacher," said Romain. "I want to give them tools to relieve their 'compassion fatigue' and ignite that passion for teaching again."

Caretakers and educators were not the only audience in the summit; military members sat in on every briefing to learn about what educational opportunities existed for their families.

From the standpoint of a Service member, U.S. Army Lt. Col Jamie Efaw, Fort Story Army support activities commander, found the information offered enlightening.

"My fifth-grader will be going to public school for the first time this year, since he has been homeschooled in the past," said Efaw. "This opportunity helped people like me relate to, and learn from, others' experiences."

For more information about educational opportunities, call the education center at (757) 764-2962.

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