Commentary

September 20, 2013

Education opportunities plentiful for Edwards children

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Christy McCoy
School Liaison Officer

Branch Elementary students make paper helicopters under the direction of Mickey Bowen, 412th Test Wing Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics outreach director. Bowen taught the students how a helicopter flies. After they folded their papers into a helicopter shape the students dropped them to see how they twirled to ground. The children got an up close and personal education experience during the 3rd Annual Branch Elementary School Science Carnival May 3, 2011.

The Mojave Desert may appear as a parched and desolate location to those first arriving to Edwards AFB, but the warmth of the people, and the glimmer of possibilities can make this historic location a timeless wonder.

If you are new to the area, take advantage of the opportunities that are available to you and your school age children at Edwards AFB.

My role as the School Liaison Officer is to coordinate education support services to maximize opportunities for academic success for transitioning military and civilian children and youth. The SLO is the central point of contact for school related matters working directly with Edwards base leadership, families, school districts, and local community. I foster and promote quality education for military and civilian children by providing resource and referral services to family support agencies on Edwards AFB and in the local community.

Parents can become an integral and positive voice within the community by joining the Parent Teacher Organization, volunteering within the schools and filling vacancies on the Muroc Joint Unified School District Board of Trustees. By holding position on the school board or attending these meetings, you will support the efforts of establishing a positive vision for the community’s schools as well as contribute in making important decisions in the lives of children.

Another way parents can join in on the positive activities that are happening at Edwards is by completing your Federal Impact Aid Survey. MJUSD will be sending home the 2013-2014 Federal Impact Aid Survey form for federally connected students and those surveys will need to be promptly returned to the schools. Impact Aid is a federal program administered through the Department of Education and is for both military and Department of Defense civilian families with children in the local school district. The surveys are used to determine the total number of federally-connected students in the local education agencies. It is an in-lieu-of-tax program and is designed to assist local school districts that have lost property tax revenue due to the presence of tax-exempt federal property or that have experienced increased expenditures due to the enrollment of federally connected children.

It is important that parents support their child’s school system by completing these Federal Impact Aid Surveys and return these forms in the timeframe that the schools are requesting them. This aid benefits the children and the community and not completing the survey means less money for our public school districts, and consequently, fewer resources for our military-connected children’s schools.

Although the Federal Impact Aid does not cover the full costs of educating military connected students, it is important to help our students get 100 percent of our federally-connected families to complete the Impact Aid Survey.

Parents may be interested to know that the 412th Test Wing and the Air Force Research Laboratory-Aerospace Systems Directorate are in partnership with the MJUSD (a California publicly owned school system) through an Educational Partnership Agreement to support educational efforts and to enhance the study of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Due to this formal agreement, the 412th STEM Outreach Office has been engaged in the after school programs such as Odyssey of Mind, Branch Elementary Robotics, Jr./Sr. High School Robotics and has provided teachers with STEM resources and support. Encourage your school age children to participate in these after school programs and become involved in these partnered activities between the base and schools.

Come be a part of the excitement that is available to you, here in the desert and take a leading role in inspiring young minds.

If you have any questions at (661) 277-3210.




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