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Relocating families get next duty station school opportunities brief

By Cpl. Anthony Kirby | | March 20, 2013

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It’s moving season and families are naturally concerned about their children’s education, but parents’ minds were put to ease thanks to a special guest-visit from a superintendent and Camp Lejeune school liaison officers.

While on a vacation trip to visit family in Jacksonville, N.C., Toni Badone, the superintendent for Yuma, Ariz., high school district, met with families who are moving to Yuma to provide information about its schools March 4.

In the meeting at the Russell Marine and Family Service Center aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, families received power point presentations as well as pamphlets and books to assist them with the moving process. Parents and children were split up into two rooms. Jill Campbell, a School Liaison for New River, talked to the children about moving.

Campbell kept the kids entertained with arts and crafts, book readings and a quick lesson of how to use Google Earth to see what the area they’ll be moving to looks like. She also showed them how to find activities in their new living area.

Badone spoke with parents about topics such as differences in school curriculum, the partnership of the community and what to expect from Yuma schools. The information she gave was specific to each family in attendance to help with their needs.

The families at the meeting had kids ranging from elementary to high schoolers.

Badone said that test scores and a child’s performance can be affected by a move just because it’s a change, not necessarily because the move is good or bad.

Growing up as a military child herself, Badone knows how important it is for a child to be happy with their new school.

“I think it’s so important that people love school,” said Badone. “If you know where you’re going and you feel comfortable with that, your child is going to be more comfortable and the whole family is happier at home.”

Families appreciated her coming by to share the knowledge she had.

“If this was something to be established, I’d highly recommend it,” said 1st Lt. Omen Quelvog with Marine Air Control Squadron-2 at Cherry Point.

Until meetings with superintendents can be established, families can utilize the School Liaison Program to gather school information. It’s a program that will connect families with liaisons in the area they’re moving to. This helps them decide what school is best for their kids. The liaison officers can provide information about public, private and base schools and their hours of operation.

The program has many services, some of which provide information about graduation requirements, home school linkage or support, referral to military and community agencies and deployment support. All military branches are allowed to use this program. Every Marine Corps installation has a School Liaison Program.

Though the internet can be used to find the information given, the liaison officers give the most accurate information, said Donna Graddy, a Camp Lejeune school liaison officer.

“You’ll get the truth,” said Graddy about actually speaking with a liaison. “You can find out a lot of information online, but it’s not always the truth.”

Camp Lejeune School Liaison Officer Julie Fulton said not only is the School Liaison Program more accurate, but it’s more time efficient as well.

“You can call me and talk to me on the phone for five minutes, and I can send you an email with 14 links that are critical to what you want to know,” said Fulton. “We’re like super Google. We’re just a lot more efficient and can take a lot more stress off the family.”

Families are highly encouraged to take advantage of the School Liaison program, said Graddy. Those who use the program are calmer and less stressed.

“Information is power,” said Graddy. “We try and give them more knowledge so they can make good decisions when they’re moving.”

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