Touching Base--Volume 2 Issue 3

June 2009 — Volume 2 Issue 3
“I want you to know this: military families are a top priority for Michelle and me, and they will be a top priority for my administration. We'll … continue providing quality child-care, job-training for spouses, and expanded counseling and outreach to families that have known the separation and stress of war.”
– President Barack Obama at Camp Lejeune Marine Base, February 27, 2009


Secretary Duncan Begins Listening and Learning Tour in West Virginia

West Virginia was the first stop on Secretary of Education Arne Duncan's 15-state tour to listen to what students, teachers, and parents have to say about quality education. On May 5, 2009, the Secretary visited an elementary school, a middle school, and a community college in Berkeley County. The conversation at Blue Ridge Community and Technical College included hearing from a soldier who was a student there. He stated that he attended community college because of the flexibility it offered him as a military person. To learn more, go to and

Secretary Urges National Moment of Remembrance

Secretary Duncan posted a letter from the White House Commission on Remembrance on to reinforce the National Moment of Remembrance that has been established by Congress. The White House Commission called upon schools to pause for five minutes on Memorial Day, May 31st, at 3:00 P.M. to encourage students across the country to recall the service to our country of the soldiers who have sacrificed for our nation.

First Lady and Army General Tour DC High Schools

First Lady Michelle Obama met with students at Anacostia High School in the southeast section of the capital city. Washington DC's Anacostia High School is predominantly African-American and lower-income, and Mrs. Obama stressed, much like her own origins. The visit on March 19, 2009, which included knee slaps and hugs for students from the famous guest, was part of a tour she organized for DC-area public schools in honor of Women's History Month. At Dunbar High, School Army General Ann Dunwoody, commanding General of U.S. Army Material Command and the first female four-star general, spoke in a roundtable discussion with a group of young women about achieving their goals and living their dreams. Twenty-one other high-profile visitors to schools included singers Sheryl Crow and Alicia Keys; the former astronaut Mae C. Jemison; the actor, Alfre Woodard; and makeup magnate Bobbi Brown. For more information, go to

ED and DoD

ED Helps DoD Observe African American History Month

Karen Epps, ED Senior Program Manager, represented the White House Initiative for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) during the DoD African American History Month Observance, February 25-26, 2009, in Huntsville, AL. Ms. Epps provided an overview of the White House Initiative for HBCUs during the HBCU Leadership Symposium. The symposium was designed for Senior Department of Defense Leadership and HBCU Presidents to discuss the critical issue of minority representation in higher education and initiatives supporting the Presidential Executive Order for historically black colleges to strengthen their capacity to provide excellence in education. For more information, go to

ED Presents at Empowerment Action Liaison Officer Conference

On March 16 and 23, 2009, the ED Office of Civil Rights (OCR) made presentations to approximately 200 liaison officers from locations across the United States at the Empowerment Action Liaison Officer Conference sponsored by the Army Reserve Warrior and Family Assistance Center in Atlanta, Georgia. OCR gave information on the rights of veterans with disabilities to access postsecondary education. OCR representatives responded to questions from the officers and provided Department- approved resource materials. The conference offered a comprehensive training program to prepare the officers to assist service men and women who will be returning from deployment in combat areas. With this outreach initiative, OCR has developed significant contacts within Veterans Affairs (VA). OCR and the VA are collaborating on a future presentation to be delivered directly to returning veterans with disabilities.

Joint Conference Held with the Department of Defense, the National Institutes of Health, and Veterans Affairs

The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) co-hosted with DOD, NIH and the VA, an invitation-only conference titled, “Advancing Integrated Research in Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): Common Data Elements” from March 23 - 24, 2009 in Silver Spring, MD. Over 100 TBI and Public Health experts gathered to report on their workgroups' efforts over the last months. This initiative will result in white paper recommendations to the nation regarding common data elements for inclusion in clinical trials, registries, and other research initiatives. OSERS staff member, Cate Miller, participated, both as a speaker and a moderator.

Expert Panel Reviews Findings on Transition Research

An expert panel reviewed preliminary findings from the Disability and Rehabilitation Research Project (DRRP) on Vocational Rehabilitation funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, April 8-9, 2009, at Mississippi State University in Starkville, MS. The panel included a multi-disciplinary team of DRRP project staff, national experts in transition, consumers, and government representatives. Participants reviewed findings from three ongoing research initiatives that concentrate on literature reviews, longitudinal studies, and data collection from focus groups.

ED and DoD Representatives Testify Before Congressional Subcommittee

Representatives from DoD, ED, Federal Reserve, OPM and the GAO testified before the Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce and the District of Columbia on April 29, 2009. The hearing examined the effectiveness of federal financial education programs and how they work for the military. Arthur Myers, Acting Deputy Under Secretary of Defense in the Office of Military Community and Family Policy testified on behalf of DoD. Also testifying was James Shelton, Assistant Deputy Secretary, US Dept of Education, Office of Innovation and Improvement. ED has a partnership with the Financial Literacy and Education Commission (FLEC) to increase financial literacy. Through FLEC, DoD has developed and implemented a Financial Readiness Campaign for its military constituents. To increase financial education efforts, DoD continues to seek active participation with FLEC and its members, one of which is ED. To read the testimonies, go to and

ED Participates in the 2009 Advisory Council for Dependents' Education

The Advisory Council for Dependents´ Education (ACDE) met in Wiesbaden, Germany, April 27 – May 1, to begin a week-long visit to six Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) schools. The ACDE has 16 Department of Defense and U.S. Department of Education members. Members from ED included Eric Waldo, Special Assistant to the Secretary of Education, who was the Secretary of Education's Designee and co–chair of the ACDE, Francis A. Finelli, Managing Director of The Carlyle Group and Charles Boyer, Special Advisor for Military Families. DoD staff included Dr. Shirley A. Miles, Executive Secretary and Director of DoDEA and Kathy Facon, Chief of Educational Partnerships Branch. The Council meets twice a year. One business meeting is held in the Washington, DC area and the other is held in conjunction with school visits in the Pacific or European Areas. The Council's function is to provide advice and recommendations to the Director of DoDEA about general policies with respect to curriculum selection, administration, and operation of the system. The Council also provides information from other federal agencies concerned with K–12 education and may perform other tasks as required by the Secretary of Defense. The ACDE cited many commendations of the DoDEA schools, including strong support for students during military deployments, open communications with parents and community members, and a learning culture that incorporates research–based best practices. These schools exemplify DoDEA's mission to inspire and prepare all military–connected students for success in a dynamic and global environment.

ED Participates in DoD Air Show

On May 14-17, 2009 ED staff exhibited at the 2009 Joint Services Open House and Air Show at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. Staff distributed publications and other resources to military families, service men and women, students, teachers and others attending the air show. The general public was able to see what the United States Armed Forces are doing to protect their rights and freedom, to learn more about the military services and honor their work. For more information about the air show, go to

DoD and ED Join Forces to Ensure Compliance

The Higher Education Opportunity Act, H.R. 4137, Section 114 mandates that all states receiving federal money from ED provide in-state tuition (and continuance) starting July 2009 to service members and their families. DoD has requested ED to make sure states are in compliance. States are to allow in-state tuition for service members and their families where assigned, and to continue these rates for students following the reassignment and departure of their military parent(s).

Schools and College Campuses Apply for BRAC Properties

ED continues to play 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. The following Public Benefit applications have been approved by ED with the goal of revitalizing the Brunswick, Maine area upon closure of the Naval Air Station:

  • four from Bowdoin College to acquire one building and approximately 186 acres to expand its campus by constructing new academic buildings and dormitories and using some of the unimproved land as an outdoor environmental laboratory;
  • one from a nonprofit organization, Family Focus, to acquire two buildings for early childhood learning centers for birth to pre-k levels;
  • one from Southern Maine Community College to establish a Brunswick campus including dormitory space; and
  • one from the Maine School Administrative District to acquire 17 acres of unimproved property contiguous to its high school campus for physical education and athletic fields.

For eligibility and additional program information, visit

DoD Hosts Education Summit

On May 20, 2009 at Fort Benning, GA DoD hosted the Chattahoochee Valley Education Summit, a one-day meeting that addressed many important issues impacting military families, their children and the communities where they live. It focused on the needs of transitioning military students and the expected increases in student populations due to Base Realignment and Closure. Fort Benning is experiencing an unprecedented growth surge due to the expected relocation of Fort Knox military personnel and families to the area. This summit followed Georgia Gov. Perdue's visit to Columbus for the signing of Senate Bill 114 to help ease school transitions for military children. The Fort Benning Command Group, educators, community leaders, stakeholders and representatives from the Georgia State Department of Education shared information relating to BRAC and the challenges inherent to that process. Kathy Facon, Chief of DoDEA's Educational Partnership attended the summit and provided information on the partnership's initiatives.

DoD Forum Focuses on Military Children

DoDEA's Educational Partnerships Branch participated in a forum that focused on education for military children. The conference was hosted by Marine Corps Installations West and Navy Region Southwest and sponsored by the Military Child Education Coalition. The K-12 Joint Education Forum, which was held May 28, 2009 at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, brought installation commanders, military leadership, and school superintendents together with military service providers and other leaders in education. The group examined issues and solutions related to the impact of the current school budget crisis and discussed the unique needs of military youth and how to build successful partnerships that would provide needed services wherever children of military families attend school. Kathy Facon, Chief of Educational Partnerships Branch, participated in a panel of military services and outlined the ongoing efforts of DoDEA's Educational Partnership. Dr. Jean Silvernail, director of the PACOM Education Division was the keynote speaker along with several senior leaders from the Marine Corps and Navy.

DoD Boosts STEM Program for K-12

DoD and U.S. military services are intent on boosting K-12 students' interest and achievement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). To meet the challenge, The National Defense Education Program (NDEP) sponsored a conference June 2, 2009 on collaboration in STEM education. At the K-12 level, NDEP emphasizes hands-on learning experiences and encourages teachers and students of all ages to “learn by doing” with Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Learning Modules. This can mean help with professional and curriculum development for teachers, classroom visits by scientists and engineers, hands-on learning for students at well-equipped military labs and installations, student contests, and an expanding Web-based archive of classroom material. DoDEA was invited to participate on a panel to share partnership initiatives between DoD STEM professionals and K-12 Education. To learn more and find out if one of these programs is available in your area, go to the NDEP website at and click on Teachers.

ED Employees

Region 10 Staff Help Plan Military Kids and Families Summit

On March 11, 2009, staff in the ED Regional Office in Seattle, WA helped to plan the Third Annual Washington State Military Kids and Families Summit that will be held Friday, November 13, 2009. A partnership has been formed with military, community, business and education leaders, as well as medical (mental health) counselors, for the event. The Summit will also feature a youth panel. For more information, please contact Linda Pauley at 206-220-7800

For Your Information

Washington State Adopts Bill to Enact Interstate Compact

On May 7, 2009, Governor Chris Gregoire signed legislation that makes the process of transferring schools easier for military families. Washington now joins 20 other states that have taken steps to help military families achieve better educational continuity when transferring between school districts and states. The bill will enact the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children, intended to remove barriers to educational success imposed on children of military families because of frequent moves and deployment of their parents. The Compact and the corresponding changes in law would only apply to children from military families in transition.

Great Americans' Website Features Military Women

During the week of April 15, 2009, the Great American website saluted the contributions women who serve in the military have made in protecting our freedoms – including sacrificing their own lives in the defense of our nation. Today, over 200,000 women serve in all branches of military service and have seen combat in Iraq, and Afghanistan. To learn more, go to

Entrepreneurship Boot Camp for Disabled Veterans (EBV) Helps Build Support Networks

Entrepreneurship Boot Camp for Disabled Veterans (EBV) is an intensive training program offering cutting-edge, experiential training in entrepreneurship and small business management to post-9/11 veterans who have been disabled as a result of their service to our country. The ultimate goal is to reintegrate disabled veterans into the community by placing them in positions where they can confidently and successfully run their own businesses. For more information, please visit the FSU EBV web sites, and the national program website at

Flag Day Celebrated on June 14th

President Obama ordered flags displayed on all federal buildings during the week of June 14th and urged Americans to fly the Star and Stripes at their homes and other suitable places. Flag Day commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States by resolution of the Second Continental Congress in 1777. President Truman signed the official “Act of Congress” on August 3, 1949 appointing June 14th of each year as National Flag Day. The flag represents the dual concepts of independence and unity 50 states in one nation. For more information on Flag Day, go to

Contacts:Charles Boyer, Special Advisor for Military Affairs; Cynthia Hearn Dorfman, Advisor; Carrie Jasper, Writer and Editor; Linda Pauley, Connie Rickman, Kathy Facon, Connie Gillette, Mary Hughes, Barbara Sawyer, Julie Shively, Juliette Rizzo, Maurice Stewart, and Karen Akins, 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