Touching Base--Volume 1 Issue 4
Archived Information

September 2008 — Volume 1 Issue 4
"We're not going to be a thriving civic democracy without educating our people…" - Secretary Margaret Spellings


ED Television Program Highlights Blue Ribbon School Serving Military Children

Education News Parents Can Use, an ED television series focused on ways to ensure children's educational success, profiled the International Studies Elementary Charter School (ISECS) in Albany, GA, during its back-to-school Web cast on September 16. For decades, the school was one of the lowest performing in the district, serving students from military families stationed at the adjacent Albany Marine Corps Logistics Base. A few years ago, school officials partnered with community groups and Marine base representatives to convert the school into a charter school with a new mission of developing high academic skills and an understanding of international ideas, responsible citizenship, and critical thinking. In 2007, ISECS earned a Blue Ribbon Schools Award, the highest honor that the federal government bestows on schools, for dramatically improving student performance. To learn more about ISCES, please visit and to view the Ed News broadcast, go to

Secretary Margaret Spellings Authors Article for Veterans' Visions

The fall edition of Veterans' Vision features an article written by Secretary Spellings entitled, "Educating Military Children for Success." Spellings highlights ED's commitment to working with the Department of Defense (DoD) to ensure that all military children have access to a high-quality education. In addition, she outlines ways ED has coordinated with DoD to implement outreach plans to improve education for all students. To read the full article, please visit

Teacher-to-Teacher Workshop Held in Twentynine Palms

The Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center (MCAGCC) in collaboration with the Morongo Unified School District in California, hosted a Teacher-to-Teacher workshop in Twentynine Palms, CA, on August 11 - 12. This was the second workshop co-sponsored by ED and DoD Education Activity (DoDEA) to provide teachers at local public schools with information about the challenges military families face as they cope with deployment or transition to a new school. As part of the free workshops, educators participated in professional development seminars designed to provide classroom support, technical assistance, and increased collaboration needed to ensure academic success for all students and help public school teachers better understand military-connected students. To learn more about the Teacher-to-Teacher Initiative, go to

Department Leaders

ED Senior Staff Lead "America Supports You" Freedom Walk

On September 7, Holly Kuzmich, Assistant Secretary for Legislative and Congressional Affairs, and Hanna Skandera, Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategy, led ED employees on the Fourth Annual National "America Supports You" Freedom Walk. The walk was hosted by DoD and the National Park Service as part of the dedication of the Pentagon Memorial, which honors those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. More information can be found at

Assistant Secretary Commemorates Anniversary of ADA

On July 25, Assistant Secretary for the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) Stephanie Monroe commemorated the 18th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with a "Dear Colleague" letter highlighting the achievements made by OCR and the academic community to ensure equal access to education for individuals with disabilities. The letter, which is posted on OCR's Web site -
- announced the "Wounded Warriors Initiative," a proactive technical assistance effort designed to inform and involve postsecondary institutions in assisting veterans. In addition, Monroe also promoted a new document entitled, "So You Want to Go Back to School," which provides information about postsecondary education and the ADA.

Assistant Secretary visits Fort Bragg, NC

Assistant Secretary for Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development Bill Evers participated in an Economic Adjustment, Education Growth Site visit to Fort Bragg, NC, on September 9, sponsored by DoD's Office of Economic Adjustment. The purpose of the visit was to educate various federal agencies on the role of economic adjustment and explain the impact of growth at selected Army installations.

Secretary's Regional Representative Visits STARBASE Programs

On August 5, Secretary Spellings' Regional Representative (SRR) Kristine Cohn visited the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (Dayton, OH) STARBASE, a DoD outreach program that provides science, technology, engineering, and mathematics enrichment activities to middle school students from school districts that neighbor military bases.

ED Officials Participate in Military Education Roundtables

On August 18, Cohn and Deputy Secretary's Regional Representative (DSRR) Todd Zoellick co-hosted a Military Education Roundtable at the Naval Station Great Lakes, IL. Anne Dudro, Chief of Staff for the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, and Kristen Walls-Rivas, Project Analyst in Impact Aid, also participated. Together, they discussed the recently signed Memorandum of Understanding between ED and DoD, which calls for school district administrators to better coordinate information from the Naval Station's unit commanders about incoming families with school-aged children.

On August 20, Cohn, Dudro, and Cathy Schagh, Director of Impact Aid, participated in another military education roundtable at Scott Air Force Base (Belleville, IL). They discussed the need for increased supplemental Impact Aid due to the large number of military children with special needs attending schools in the area and key K-12 military education issues facing the respective communities.

Participants in both meetings included military commanders, elected officials, superintendents, and school board presidents.


Conference about Base Realignment and Closures (BRAC)

On July 31, Mary Hughes of ED's Office of Management Real Property Staff attended the First Annual BRAC Education Day in Washington, DC. The conference featured BRAC decision-makers from DoD services and federal, state, and local government officials and industry providers. The conference presented real-world insight into how to respond to BRAC and implement successful and sustainable migration.

Conversion of BRAC Properties into Schools and College Campuses

ED plays an important role under BRAC in assisting colleges, universities, public and private schools, and eligible nonprofit organizations with acquisition and development of former federal government property of up to 100 percent Public Benefit Allowance discounts through its Federal Real Property Assistance Program. ED is working with Army, Navy, and Air Force communities across the nation on numerous Public Benefit property conveyances. All properties are to be disposed of by the statutorily mandated date of September 2011. Projects approved by ED include:

  • University of Georgia(Athens, GA) - to acquire the Navy Supply Corps School property in order to establish a medical school on the Athens campus and enhance the university's offered curriculum. The Navy must concur with ED's recommendation to convey the Navy Supply Corps School to the University of Georgia. Transfer of ownership is not expected to take place until 2011 when the Navy vacates the property.

  • Bowdoin College (Brunswick, ME) - to acquire portions of the Brunswick Naval Air Station and four parcels of land from the U.S. Navy for an off-campus extension that will include structures to support a new environmental studies curriculum and a building that will be dedicated to a technology support facility. The Brunswick Naval Air Station is closing in 2011 as a result of BRAC recommendations made in 2005; the United States Navy will make the final decision on the disposal of this property no later than September 2011.

  • The Hamilton County Department of Education (Chattanooga, TN) - to acquire 105 unimproved acres of the former Volunteer Army Ammunition Plant property in Chattanooga, TN, for the construction of structures for athletes and outdoor environmental and biological studies and, possibly, a new elementary school. The U. S. General Services Administration has already accepted ED's recommendation and intends to assign the property for educational Public Benefit Conveyance.

  • The University of Tennessee (Chattanooga, TN) - to acquire 91 unimproved acres of the former Volunteer Army Ammunition Plant property in Chattanooga, TN, to be used for outdoor environmental studies and to construct a classroom/laboratory building. The U. S. General Services Administration has already accepted ED's recommendation and intends to interpose no objection to the retransfer of the property from the school system to the University. Note: There was a retransfer of the property from the Hamilton County Department of Education to the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga.

  • Calvary Bible College and Theological Seminary College (Kansas City, MO) - to acquire a 13-acre portion of the former Marine Corps Support Activity facility for the relocation of its existing campus to ensure continued accreditation of the college. Kansas City, acting as the BRAC Local Redevelopment Authority for this property's disposal, must agree to include educational use in their redevelopment plan before ED can request assignment of the property from the Navy for conveyance to the College.

  • Spokane Public Schools (Spokane, WA) - to acquire the PFC Joe E. Mann U. S. Army Reserve Center in Spokane, WA, to relocate and expand a number of educational support and classroom instruction programs and to create appropriate classroom and office space. The Army will make the final determination on the disposal of this property by December 2009.

  • Arizona State University (Mesa, Arizona) - to secure $30 million in financing for its new energy center serving its Polytechnic Campus at the former Williams Air Force Base in Mesa, AZ, as part of a combined financing plan that will provide for investment into the University's Polytechnic Campus. ED's Office of General Counsel participated in the development of the consent instruments and concurred with the agreements.

  • For eligibility and additional program information, visit

ED Employees

Ed Cashman joined ED in May as the DSRR in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Regional Office. Prior to his appointment as DSRR, Cashman served as District Representative to U.S. Congressman Curt Weldon (R-PA, 7th) for military and veterans affairs issues. Prior, Cashman was Commander in the U.S. Navy and a P-3 Naval Flight Officer, Tactical Coordinator and Mission Commander. He is a graduate of the U. S. Marine Academy.

This August, Patrick Kerr became the new Public Affairs Specialist in the Kansas City, Missouri Regional Office. Formerly, Kerr served as a Public Affairs /Legislative Affairs Officer in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and as a U.S. Marine Corps officer at the Pentagon.

For Your Information

America's Heroes at Work

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has designed a Web site that provides tools to help returning service members - particularly from Iraq and Afghanistan - affected by Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and/or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) succeed in the workplace. For more information, please visit

Military Health System (MHS) Web Portal Offers Mental Health Tools for Vets

In an effort to focus on post-deployment problems and meet the mental and behavioral health needs of service members, the Military Health System has launched a Web portal, Deployment (AD). The site has particular advantages for National Guard and Reserve units, who may be located in areas that lack sufficient health providers. For more information, visit

New Website Is a Roadmap to College Success

Designed with students' input and participation, is a new Web site created by ED that serves as an online resource for credible information about college. The site also provides real life experiences of peers who are already attending college. The site aims to motivate students with inspirational stories and information about planning, preparing and paying for college.

Contacts: Lauren Maddox, Assistant Secretary for Communications and Outreach; Meredith Beaton, Deputy Assistant Secretary for External Affairs; Emily Casarona, Liaison to the Military Community; Cynthia Hearn Dorfman, Advisor; Carrie Jasper, Editor; Hannah Stearns, Writer; Peter Wieczorek, Mary Hughes, Barbara Shawyer, Jim Clemmens, Sarah Beth Lowe, Chad Colby, Julie Ewart, Lillian Dorka, Mary Lou Mobley, Juliette Rizzo, Pat Kerr, Paula Hill, and school photo/R.D. Harter of Dougherty County School System, 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