The Muroc Joint Unified School District and Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., recently announced the opportunity for base units to partner with classroom teachers with their Adapt-a-Class Program.
The Adopt-a Class Program is a year-long, supported approach to developing partnerships between the Muroc Joint Unified School District and Edwards Air Force Base. This program provides the opportunity for accelerating student, classroom and school success, said Candace Lang, Edwards AFB School Liaison Specialist.
“From EAFB personnel volunteering their time and expertise to support the needs of the student and classroom teacher, a committed partner can impact student lives and learning,” she said.
The program begins at the start of every school year, this year in September 2019. Lang said there are currently seven squadrons participating in the program now, but she is looking for more squadrons and volunteers to adopt classrooms.
“I would tell everyone that decides to help out that you don’t always have to help with just tutoring, sometimes the kids just want someone to talk to or to ask for life advice,” said 2nd Lt. Shonte Moten, 412th Electronic Warfare Group. “The kids are all at different places in their learning adventure so for some, it is helping guide them through the basics or just checking their work to make sure they did the steps correctly.”
Moten has been volunteering since last April and the type of help she and other volunteers vary by teachers’ needs.
“In the beginning we were helping with the elementary school on base with their science experiments; mainly the rocket launching,” she explained. “We helped grade the rockets one day, and then the next day, helped the teachers launch the rockets and run their tests to see who had the best rocket. Other times it’s just helping with tutoring at the junior and high school on base with various subjects such as algebra, chemistry, biology, history and English. Other times it’s helping grade assignments for the teachers.”
Volunteers do not need to be experts at any one field, but they do need to be flexible and able to switch between different subjects or differing levels of help, said Wendy Winters, a teacher at Desert Junior-Senior High School.
“Volunteers should be willing to talk to the students about their careers, education and hobbies,” she added. “I believe the relationship between the base and the school is extremely important. The volunteers help the students achieve academic success, provide positive role models, and make Desert Junior-Senior High School stronger.”
Winters explained that base schools serves do not only military dependents but also children of base employees who commute from nearby communities and that having volunteers from the base strengthens the connection between the military and civilian populations.
For some of the volunteers, it is an opportunity to give back, said Dan Stevenson, 775th Test Squadron Director.
“For me, it’s an opportunity to give back. I wouldn’t be where I’m at today if it weren’t for folks taking the time to teach and mentor me,” Stevenson said. “I’m unable to volunteer regularly at my kids’ school due to my lengthy commute, so I try to help out where I can. I find it very rewarding when I see the kids learn something new and succeed.”
Stevenson added that connecting children with Edwards engineers also has another benefit.
“I think it helps the students by allowing them to hear from a working engineer and see that math has real applications,” Stevenson said. “It helps the teachers by providing an extra set of hands in the classroom.”
Winters said that ultimately, helping the students with their school work is the program’s primary objective.
“The volunteers are an immense help to me. Tutoring is open to all students, and we often have nearly thirty students,” Winters said. “While some students come for a quiet place to work, most students come for individualized help and having extra tutors allows every student to get the attention they deserve. Additionally, the students have the opportunity to meet and create bonds with professional military members.”
Team Edwards members interested in school volunteering opportunities may contact Candace Lang at 661-277-2456.