Dr. Mary Keller: Hi, I am Dr. Mary Keller with Military Child Education Coalition. And I am an educator too. I am here to talk about preparing teachers and counselors to serve children whose parent's serve our nation in the military.
Teaching military children can be complex and it's also inspiring. With over two million military connected children, half of whom are in US public schools today, it's a reality for which all educators should be prepared. As educators we are wired to serve children with unique needs.
For the military connected students we do need to equip faculty at the K12 level in a teacher preparation programs with well designed resource centers and training so that together we can make a sustainable difference. These children are resilient, but they face challenges like the transitions from school to school and home to home. Many spend their school years with a frequent new kid experience. In addition they face the anxiety of having a parent deployed, plus the adjustment associated with returns.
And sometimes a parent comes back profoundly changed or tragically does not come home; it can be a tall order even for the best teacher and counselor. This is precisely why we must consistently help our educators to both recognize and be ready to act when they see academic, social and emotional implications associated with mobility, deployment and reintegration as well as other unique stresses for our military connected students. Of course, lots of kids face challenges. And we should do all we can do be there for them too. But in this case, this unique population has specific needs. So we need to be well prepared in caring and understanding. Teachers and educators, counselors can make a difference. It is encouraging that many administrators are including awareness training into professional development. Through the interstate compact in support of the education needs of military children now signed by over 40 states, attraction is growing. Still implementation is at the local level and it's critical to ensure on the academic side that school records move efficiently, credits are accepted and new students have the appropriate class and program placement with these few bumps in the road as possible. Training educators to pay attention to military connected children and to be sensitive and responsive is essential. Together, we can make sure our education professionals are trained, can understand or recognize challenges, connect with parents and are prepared to add and also appreciate that military kids serve to.