Touching Base--Volume 1 Issue 3
Archived Information

July 2008 — Volume 1 Issue 3
"Military spouses embody the courage, nobility of duty, and love of country that inspire every American." - President George W. Bush, Proclamation for Military Spouse Day, May 9, 2008


Phil Mickelson Demonstrates to Military Children How Math and Science Influence Golf

Elementary school students from Quantico Marine Base and Fort Belvoir Army Base in Northern Virginia joined Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings at the U.S. Department of Education on July 22, for a golf lesson with golf legend Phil Mickelson. Mickelson, who demonstrated how he uses math and science in the game, is a co-sponsor of the Phil Mickelson/ExxonMobil Mini Golf Camp and the Mickelson/ExxonMobil Teacher Academy. The Academy helps teachers bolster their knowledge of math and science. In addition to the Secretary and military children, Ken Cohen, Exxon/Mobil's vice president for public affairs, and Tom Luce, president of the National Math Science Initiative, were on hand to assist the young golfers. For more information, see

Memorandum of Understanding Signed by DoD and ED

On June 25, Deputy Secretary Ray Simon (ED) and Deputy Secretary Gordon England (DoD) signed a Memorandum of Understanding to establish a general framework for cooperation between the two agencies that will support and encourage military families. To advance this vision, ED and DoD will utilize and strengthen existing programs, promote the use of scientifically based research on effective school practices, and enhance communication about tools and information available for parents to help their children succeed in school. Activities will be defined further to support the goals of both Departments.

Secretary's Activities

Secretary Spellings Honors Military Spouses

May 9 was designated as Military Spouse Appreciation Day. Since 1984,and by Presidential proclamation, the Armed Forces have set aside a special day to acknowledge the significant contributions of their spouses. To view the proclamation, go to To find more family news and resources visit the Military Spouse Network at

  • Mother's Day
    For the annual Mothers Day at The Wall event at The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund on May 11, Secretary Margaret Spellings sent a card honoring the mothers of fallen soldiers and those who hold their families together while a loved one is deployed. Her card joined those from children across the country who sent hand-written messages.
  • Father's Day
    On June 15, the Secretary and ED employees sent special greetings to "All Dads stationed overseas" and to Rick Siders and Brian Huckaby, ED employees, both fathers of two, who are now deployed in Iraq. Go to to see the Father's Day greetings.

Secretary Spellings Participates in Opening of Discovery Center

On Sunday, June 8, Secretary Spellings joined former First Lady Nancy Reagan for the grand opening of the Air Force One Discovery Center in the Air Force One Pavilion at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley, California. To learn more about the center go to 09/unmatched-creativity-at-reagan-library-students/.

ED/DoD Leadership

Education Department Releases Online Newsletter Featuring Ft. Riley School

Ware Elementary School at Ft. Riley, Kansas was featured in the first issue of the reformatted ED newsletter, The Achiever. The school, where 65 percent of its students transfer each year, has helped virtually all of its children exceed state academic standards with 100% of students proficient in math and 99.6% proficient in reading. The Achiever provides parents and community leaders with news and resources on improving education and is now an online photo narrative. To read more, go to

Conversion of BRAC Properties into Schools and College Campuses

Under the military Base Realignment and Closure Act (BRAC), ED plays a role in assisting colleges, universities, public and private schools and eligible nonprofit organizations in acquiring and developing former federal government real property at substantial Public Benefit Allowance discounts through its Federal Real Property Assistance Program (FRPAP). For eligibility and additional program information see The FRPAP has authority to award both civilian (GSA) and military properties to educational institutions and school systems and is actively engaged in working on more than 100 military properties determined surplus as a result of the 2005 BRAC decisions. Listings of approved projects will occur in upcoming issues.

Assistant Secretary Briggs and Deputy Assistant Secretary Colby Attend DoD Conference in Japan

Assistant Secretary of Elementary and Secondary Education Kerri Briggs and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Communications and Outreach Chad Colby represented ED at the Advisory Council on Dependent Education (ACDE) meeting in Tokyo. Both also participated in site visits to the Department of Defense Education Activity schools in the Pacific Region, April 26 – 30, where schools in Seoul, Korea, Okinawa, Japan, and Misawa, Japan were evaluated. These evaluations were then presented at the ACDE meeting in Tokyo on May 2.

DoD Deputy Under Secretary Arsht Participates in 2nd Charter School Conference

Ms. Leslye Arsht, Deputy Under Secretary of Defense, Military Community and Family Policy, participated in the ED-sponsored National Charter School Policy Forum on May 7. The Forum kicked off National Charter Schools Week (May 5-9) and provided a national platform for increasing the understanding of the charter school model and the replication of high-performing charter schools for business and education leaders from across the country. Ms. Arsht signaled support for charter schools, making mention of DoD's charter school, Belle Chasse Academy, which serves about 900 military dependent children from all the services in the greater New Orleans area.

ED Employees

Brian Huckaby, Region IV, Deployed to Iraq

Lt. Brian Huckaby is currently on active duty in Iraq. An Office of the Inspector General auditor in ED's Chicago office since January 2005, Huckaby is in the Naval Reserves.

ED Staff Member Joins Interagency Forum on Energy

At the invitation of the Deputy Secretary of Defense, Lane Raffray of the Office of Management is serving as ED's representative to the Interagency Forum on Energy Security.

ED Assists DoD in Defining Disability-Related Program Terms

Jerry Elliott, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS), is a primary liaison to a Department of Defense and Veteran Affairs task force. The primary goal of the task force is to provide definitions for terms involved in statutes, regulations, and program eligibility requirements for programs in DoD and the Veterans Administration (VA). The Vocational Rehabilitation program funded by OSERS uses functional definitions to determine eligibility for individuals with disabilities, including veterans with disabilities. Refining the definitions is the first step toward consistency of terminology between DoD and VA.

ED Employees Learn About National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program

On April 10, Hugh Price of the Brookings Institution and Rick Mills, military area officer with the Chicago Public Schools JROTC and military schools programs, shared insights from the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program at a policy forum for ED employees. Established in 1993, the program is based on the military school model and educates children who are performing below par, disengaged from school, or dropping out. For more information go to 05defense_price/05defense_price.pdf

Employees Participate in Ceremony for Wounded Warriors and Loyalty Day

On April 24, President George W. Bush welcomed the Wounded Warriors to the South Lawn of the White House for the second annual "White House to Lighthouse Challenge" bike ride. ED employees joined men and women of the armed services, Cabinet members, congressional representatives, and guests to cheer on the riders. President Bush also proclaimed May 1st as Loyalty Day, declaring that "All Americans are grateful to the members of the military and their families for their service, sacrifice, and dedication, and we are proud of their accomplishments." To learn more about Loyalty Day, go to and

Charter Schools Program Director Talks to DoD Advisory Committee

On May 16, Dean Kern, Charter Schools Program Director at ED, spoke to military personnel and civilians at the Defense Department Advisory Committee on Women in the Services' business meeting in Arlington, VA. He provided an overview of the Charter School Grant Program and information about the growth of charters.

For Your Information

"Spouses to Teachers" Is a Department of Defense Project

The "Spouses to Teachers" project is designed to support spouses in their pursuit of K-12 teaching positions in public and private schools in the U.S. The program targets husbands and wives of active duty personnel, selected reserve and National Guard reserve members, and members of Individual Ready Reserve who have been recalled to active duty in key states. Information and services related to becoming a teacher include state certification requirements, counseling and guidance on certification options, application assistance for transferring teacher certification from one state to another, financial assistance, and state employment guidance. See for more information.

Children of Fallen Soldiers Relief Fund Provides Financial Aid

The Children of Fallen Soldiers Relief Fund, a nonprofit organization, provides college grants and financial assistance to surviving children and spouses of military service members who have lost their lives in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The program assists disabled service members' families as well. To learn more, go to

Federal Aviation Administration Seeking Air Traffic Controllers

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is accepting applications under the Special Program for Retired Military Controllers for military air traffic controllers who are either on terminal leave pending retirement from active duty military service or who retired from active duty on or after September 17, 1999 are eligible to apply. For more information, see airtraffic_controllers/openings/.

College Aid Expanded For U.S. Veterans

Veterans will see expansions in their GI benefits as a result of the Supplemental Appropriations Act (HR 2642) that was signed by President Bush on June 30. The law provides educational benefits available to members of the military who have served on active duty since September 11, 2001, including reservists. Benefit amounts would be based on the amount of time a veteran had served in the military since 9/11. The legislation also enables veterans to transfer unused education benefits to their spouses and children. To learn more, go to and dbname=110_cong_bills&docid=f:h2642enr.txt.pdf.

Contacts: Lauren Maddox, Assistant Secretary for Communications and Outreach; Meredith Beaton, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Outreach and External Affairs; Emily Casarona, Liaison to the Military Community; Cynthia Hearn Dorfman, Advisor; Carrie Jasper, Editor; Hannah Stearns, Writer; Nicole Ashby, Becky Campbell, Patricia Chlouber, Jim Clemmens, Jerry Elliott, Adam Honeysett, Mary Hughes, Helen Littlejohn, Mary Lou Mobley, Lane Raffray, Barbara Shawyer, and Denise Wempe, Peter Wieczorek, Contributors
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Note: This document contains information about and from public and private entities and organizations for the reader's information. Inclusion does not constitute an endorsement by the U.S. Department of Education of any entity or organization or the products or services offered or views expressed. This publication also contains hyperlinks and URLs created and maintained by outside organizations. They are provided for the reader's convenience; however, the Department is not responsible for the accuracy of this information.

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Last Modified: 09/24/2009