April is the Month of the Military Child, but this takes on more meaning in our school. Secretary of Defense Casper W. Weinberger, in 1986, started this movement to remind others that military children also sacrifice and serve alongside their parents. Every year, the U. S. Department of Defense Military Community and Family Policy continue to their work in promoting our military-connected students.
- There are 12 million military children of active duty.
- Military families relocate 3 times more often civilian families, averaging every 1-3 years.
- Since 2001, more than 2 million children have had a parent deployed at least once.
- The average military child will change schools six to nine times during their academic career.
- About 90% of school-age military children attend public schools not sponsored by the Dept. of Defense.
- But…military children are twice as likely to join the military as civilian children. That shows how proud they are of their military parents!
Ashland Elementary has a different feel to our military supports since we have such a large percentage of military-connected students (last year up to about 45%). At Ashland, every month is the month of the military child! Students with parents that serve in the armed forces sacrifice and push through many challenges. Our duty as educators is to serve by providing the best education possible for their children.
Parents should never worry if their child is safe in school or getting a great education. It is our job as educators to help parents, especially military parents, to feel reassured and comfortable with how their child feels and is performing in school. Military parents have enough stress already serving our country and keeping our freedoms intact. Our way of serving is to ensure that each and every one of their children are being safe, kind, hard-working, creative, and fun; just like our shared vision reminds us.
Many of our parents are currently deployed and away from their children for long periods of time. We serve as secondary role models and supports on a daily basis for these students. We could never replace the role of their parent, but we strive to provide the safety net of love that helps the child to cope with the time away from their parent during the deployment.
At Ashland, our School Counselors, Mr. Carter and Mrs. Vohar, meet with students individually or in small groups to work through their feelings and concerns. Mrs. Woodyard, our MSTC, brings in extra instruction materials and training for our staff, such as the Lego Education Build to Express kits. Our classroom teachers work directly with families and learn about what parents need through daily communication. We have even taken a staff field trip to the National Museum of the US Marine Corps for professional development tto better understand the challenges military families face.
At Ashland, our PTO works literally every day to provide us with additional resources in school. Many of our PTO currently serve or are Veterans. They can’t help but continue to help those around them. We even have a Military Family PTO Liason, Mrs. Weber, who makes sure that we are as connected as possible to our families and what they may need.
At Ashland, we build partnerships with the armed forces in our community to be involved in school.
At Ashland, our parents video chat with our students in school while they are serving overseas.
At Ashland, many of our parents’ work attire includes combat boots. And they invest in their child’s education by sharing their experiences and working with students.
At Ashland, we have a unique way of surprising our students when their parents make it back home from being deployed for long periods of time!
At Ashland, parents often volunteer their entire day in school as Watch DOGS..
At Ashland, students show grit, determination, and tenacity. Parents are not the only ones that serve. Our students serve our country every day by giving everything they have to their families, school, and community. We wear purple to show support for our military kids.
At Ashland, we love our country and show pride in our matching red, white, and blue school colors!
We serve by providing supports, inviting family involvement, setting high behavioral and academic standards, and providing a positive school culture that welcomes in every student. When you come to Ashland, you are immediately a falcon and part of our school family!
There are about 1.3 million school-age military connected students in our country. Ashland has a higher percentage than most and we are proud to serve our military-connected families so they can better serve our country!