Touching Base--Volume 2 Issue 2

April 2009 — Volume 2 Issue 2
"While there are no simple answers, I know from experience that when you focus on basics like reading and math, when you embrace innovative new approaches to learning, and when you create a professional climate that attracts great teachers — you can make a difference for children."
Secretary Arne Duncan


New Secretary of Education Appointed

The new U. S. Secretary of Education is Arne Duncan, the former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Chicago Public Schools. Duncan attended the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools and later went to Harvard University where he graduated magna cum laude with a degree in sociology in 1987. Prior to his work in Chicago, Duncan was director of the Ariel Education Initiative, a program to enhance educational opportunities for children in Chicago's South Side. For a complete biographical sketch please go to

First Lady Michelle Obama Pledges To Help Military Families

On Thursday, March 12, 2009, the First Lady, Michelle Obama, was welcomed to the home base of the “All American”82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, the sprawling military facility in North Carolina. The crowd, made up of military personnel and their families, greeted her with applause, cheers and hugs. The First Lady mingled with guests in the Iron Mike Dining Facility and then met privately with more than 20 military families. She also discussed policy and the struggles facing military families with Fort Bragg leaders. Later, she read “The Cat in the Hat” to a group of preschoolers at the Child Development Center on the base.

ED and DoD

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Includes Funds for Impact Aid

On February 17, 2009, President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The bill aimed at stimulating America's lagging economy, includes $100 million in new funding for Impact Aid under section 8007 of Title VIII of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended (ESEA). Under ARRA, $39.6 million of the Impact Aid will be awarded to 180 local education agencies under section 8003 of the Impact Aid Program. $59.4 million will be distributed through Impact Aid Construction grants for communities with military bases, Indian reservations and other federal property that do not generate local tax revenues. One percent of the appropriation is in reserve for management and oversight: supplemental reporting requirements to demonstrate the impact the expenditure of these funds has on the economy and local job creation. For more information, please see the fact sheet at or contact the Impact Aid program at 202-260-3858 or To read the guidance for the use of the ARRA Impact Aid funds, please see

Collaborative Efforts Under Way

To build on the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Department of Education and Department of Defense, a working group was established that has been meeting monthly. The working group is currently focused on the development and implementation of an overall strategic plan. In January 2009, the first report of the group's efforts was submitted to the Deputy Secretaries of both agencies and will be updated semi-annually thereafter. Their accomplishments during the first three months of the partnership included (1) establishing a working group, (2) initiating a data bank of existing efforts and resources, and (3) collaborating on a new grant program and a host of state and local initiatives.

University Prepares for Influx of Military Families

Columbus State University, located in Georgia near Fort Benning, anticipates significant increases in enrollment from incoming Army personnel. The university has outgrown its current facility and is unable to accommodate increased enrollment or expand course offerings without additional space. As a solution, the university applied to acquire the Columbus U. S. Army Reserve Center, which is within minutes of the university and is part of the BRAC 2005 realignment. ED has now approved the transfer of the Reserve Center property, which will enable the university to expand its courses and workshops to enhance job skills through the Continuing Education Programs, known as CARES. Transfer is subject to the approval of the Army and would not take place until 2011. For additional information about the Federal Real Property Assistance Program, please see

ED Employees

Veteran Joins U.S. Department of Education

Charles Boyer joined ED in Washington, DC, in January 2009 as Special Advisor for Military Affairs in the Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development. His primary role is to promote and enhance policies that will improve the education and overall well being of military-connected students. Boyer will work closely with DoD and ED to realize the promise of the DoD-ED Memorandum of Agreement that addresses the academic challenges and social and emotional struggles faced by children of the military. Boyer comes to ED from the Army Installation Management Command where he served as School Transition Specialist in the Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation Division. Prior to his work as an Army civilian, Boyer was a Research and Evaluation Specialist for the DoD Education Activity Headquarters in Arlington, VA. His service includes being a school administrator, teacher, classical musician, and soldier. Boyer holds a Doctorate of Education in Educational Administration from Georgia Southern University.

ED Staff Attend Community Reintegration Summit

On January 26-27, 2009 ED staff attended the Community Reintegration Summit: Service Members and Veterans Returning to Civilian Life hosted by Survivor, the Veterans' coalition and Booz Allen Hamilton. Representatives from agencies, organizations, associations, the federal government, media, community, business, education, healthcare, nonprofits and non-governmental groups along with veterans and family members attended. The goal of the summit was to encourage the public, private and civil sectors to address collaboratively the critical issues of reintegration that affect service members' return to family, work, school and community. For more information go to

ED Presents at Financial Aid Forum

On Monday, March 30, 2009, Rep. Tim Bishop (D-NY) hosted a Financial Aid Forum, an information session on the Post-9/11 GI Bill for college financial aid officers in Holbrook, New York. A representative from Federal Student Aid co-presented with the Veterans Administration.

For Your Information

Military One Source Announces School-Related Deployment Support Resources

Military One Source has announced three new deployment support DVD's for military children at no cost to educators: a new Sesame Street DVD kit, Talk, Listen, Connect: Deployments, Homecomings, Changes; Mr. Poe and Friends Discuss Family Reunion After Deployment; and Military Youth Coping with Separation: When Family Members Deploy. Active duty, Guard and Reserve soldiers and their family members are eligible for these items. For more information go to

Operation Military Family Offered to Military Couples

Operation Military Family is a book that offers a unique look at how military couples are facing everyday challenges and strengthening their marriages and families despite the stress brought on by unexpected or extended deployments. Not just stories, but proven tips, suggestions and resources are provided that will help family members maneuver through difficult times. See for more information.

The National Military Family Association Hosts “Operation Purple Camp”

Operation Purple Camp is a free, week-long, overnight camp, with locations in 37 states and territories, and open to all military children ages 7-17. The program aims to help military kids have fun while learning coping skills to deal with deployment-related stress and fostering relationships with other children who know what they are going through. The camps give military children an opportunity to make friends and be reminded that they also are America's heroes. Registration ended April 20, 2009 for Operation Purple Summer Camp. The deadline for registration for Operation Leadership Camp is May 8, 2009. For more information, see:

Benjamin Banneker Middle School Partners with the Naval Academy

In 1989, the late Joseph Speller began a program for a few troubled teens at Benjamin Banneker Middle School in the Montgomery County Maryland School System to catch up in academics. What started as a small group of 12 young men meeting every Monday morning is now 200 boys and girls working with men and women of diverse backgrounds and cultures from the United States Naval Academy. Children gain study skills and an understanding of group diversity. The program has received many nationally recognized awards. For more information, go to

Disney Parks Celebrate U.S. Military

Walt Disney Parks and Resorts wishes to celebrate the men and women who serve in our U.S. military with “Disney’s Armed Forces Salute.” From January 4 to December 23, 2009, active and retired U.S. military personnel, including active members of the United States Coast Guard and activated members of the National Guard or Reservists, can enjoy complimentary, multi-day admission into Disney’s U.S. theme parks with additional special ticket offers for family members and friends. For information regarding the program or to make reservations, military personnel may call 714-956-6424.

Contacts: Charles Boyer, Special Advisor for Military Affairs; Cynthia Hearn Dorfman, Advisor; Carrie Jasper, Writer and Editor; Kathy Facon, Julie Ewart, Adam Honeysett, Mary Hughes, Barbara Sawyer, Grace Brown, Connie Gillette, 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