Touching Base--Volume 6 Issue 1

March 2013 — Volume 6 Issue 1

“ When I think about what makes America great, I think about you, our men and women in uniform, our military spouses and our military kids, ”
– First Lady Michelle Obama, Washington D.C, Jan. 20, 2013


On March 1, automatic, across-the-board federal spending cuts—also known as the sequester—went into effect. The cuts have consequences for people—especially teachers, young children in low-income families, and students with special needs.

In February, Secretary Arne Duncan testified before the Senate about the negative effects of sequestration. "When the cuts hit, they will hurt the most vulnerable students worst," Duncan said during his testimony. Duncan went on to explain that sequestration would cut Title I by $725 million, affecting 1.2 million disadvantaged students, and risk the jobs of about 10,000 teachers and aides. Other cuts include $600 million in special education, requiring states and districts to cover the cost of approximately 7,200 teachers, aides, and other staff. In Head Start, some 70,000 students could be turned away. “Doing that to our most vulnerable students is economically foolish and morally indefensible,” said Duncan.

Sequestration would have a more immediate effect on individuals and schools served through programs like Impact Aid and the Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) State Grants. The $1.2 billion Impact Aid Basic Support Payments program could lose almost $90 million under sequestration, a significant blow in the middle of the school year for districts that serve federally connected children, including military dependents and Native American students.

President Obama has provided a plan to avoid these cuts using a balanced approach, and the White House has also released state-by-state reports showing how sequester will impact jobs and middle class families.

For more information:

Other News and Events

2013 Quantico Education Symposium

On Feb. 28 the Quantico Marine Corps Base (Va.) hosted its fourth annual Education Symposium to foster educators’ understanding of the military family’s lifestyle and how it impacts military children. The symposium was an example of how military agencies, local schools, and communities can partner together to support military-connected students.

Col. David W. Maxwell, Commanding Officer of Marine Corps Base Quantico, stated during the opening that “the military child is unique but in the larger context every child is unique, the challenge for educators today is to reach, develop and inspire all children toward success.” Dr. Kathleen Levingston, Associate Professor, Old Dominion University, delivered the keynote address, titled Understanding and Responding to Military-Connected Students. She provided an overview of the military culture, military-connected children needs, and examples of support available to educators in meeting those needs. She shared the example of Newport News Public Schools (NNPS). NNPS received a DoDEA grant to pilot the Teaching Education and Awareness for Military-connected Students (TEAMS) program. TEAMS strive to create school settings where every military-connected child is educated by teachers who are well prepared to respond to their needs. The program ensures that new and practicing educators have the awareness, knowledge, and evidence-based competencies necessary to maximize learning for students of military families.

Also featured were Mr. Trevor Romain, best-selling author and illustrator of an award winning series of self-help books for children, who spoke about how educators can support the military child, and Mr. Adrian Talley, the Principal Deputy Director and Associate Director for Education for DoDEA, who discussed, K-12 Partnerships providing concrete examples of how public schools can partner with the local community to enhance the school environment. For more information about the 2013 Quantico Education Summit, contact Quantico School Liaisons at 703-784-4729, or visit and

Briefing Held on Promoting Student Veteran Success on America's Campuses

On Friday, March 8, 2013 former Senior Policy Advisor to Under Secretary Kanter, Dr. Karen Gross, held a briefing on what strategies can be deployed to help ensure student veterans’ success on campus. The briefing continued a conversation that began in early January, with the Posse Foundation, on leveraging alternative recruitment strategies to identify veterans for enrollment at selective four-year institutions of higher education.

At the March briefing, the group delved more deeply into the challenges facing student veterans on campus, and accompanying strategies, with a focus on issues such as how to better ensure that student veterans graduate and have the tools needed to adjust to the culture shift from military to academic life. For more information please contact Charles Boyer at

The Take 25 Campaign!

DoDEA has distributed information about a series of free webinars, The Take 25 Campaign!, that began March 13. The Take 25 Campaign! encourages parents, educators, and communities to take 25 minutes to talk to children about ways to stay safe, focuses on prevention, and provides FREE tools and resources to help initiate an ongoing dialogue about safety with the children in your community. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in addition to the free webinars, provides event planning guides, and new safety resources. To learn more, visit

Month of the Military Child

In 1986 the U. S. Army began the "Month of the Military Child" (MOMC). Now MOMC includes military youth of all branches. During April, designated as the Month of the Military Child, military children are applauded for the daily sacrifices they make and the challenges they overcome by being a part of a military family. The Department of Education, the Department of Defense, the entire federal government and all sectors of our communities are asked to honor military children by providing a variety of resources, programs and opportunities to show their support. There are numerous ways that schools and communities can honor military-connected students during the Month of the Military Child. The Department of Defense Education Activity's (DoDEA) has resources that can be found at their website,, which includes the Students at the Center guidebook, a research-based grant program, and special education professional development for military-connected local education agencies and school liaison(s) at each military location. These resources will help military-connected students with transition issues addressed by the Interstate Compact and other concerns.

America's Children: An Art and Writing Exhibit by Military-Connected Children

The U.S. Department of Education and the Military Child Education Coalition (MCEC) have partnered to mount an exihibit of artwork and writing by military-connected children in the U.S. and abroad at the Department's headquarters in Washington, D.C. The exhibit of about 50 pieces will open with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on April 3 at 9:30 a.m., and will be on view through April 8. The opening will feature remarks by Mary Keller, CEO of MCEC, Patricia Shinseki, board member of MCEC, and Eric Waldo, deputy chief of staff at the Department, as well as the Marine Corps JROTC Color Guard and student performers—bagpipes, vocals and poetry perfromance—from Mount Vernon High School in Alexandria, Va. A formal ribbon-cutting will close the event in honor of the student artists and their teachers and families, many of whom will attend. The public is welcome to attend the opening, as well as to visit the exhibit. To RSVP for the opening or to make an appointment to visit, please contact Jackye Zimmermann at 202-401-0762.

Five Military-Connected Teens Honored for Resiliency, Leadership and Achievement

On April 11 Operation Homefront will hold its fifth annual award celebration presenting five military-connected students with the Military Child of the Year® Award. The award includes a trip to the nation's capital, Washington D.C., a laptop computer and a $5,000 cash prize. The selectees demonstrate resiliency, leadership and achievement. The recipients representing each branch of the armed services are: Mark Newberry (Air Force); Nicole Marie Daly (Army); Amanda Wimmersberg (Coast Guard); Abigail MaryRose Perdew (Marine Corps); and Alexander Ray Burch (Navy). To read about each recipient and learn more about Operation's Homefront Military Child of the Year Award, visit:

"Purple Up! For Military Kids."

Operation Military Kids (OMK) an organization dedicated to military families, is asking people around the nation to express in a visible way their support of and thank military children for their strength and sacrifices during the month of April. Each state is celebrating MOMC differently. For instance, Indiana OMK, in its their third year of celebrating "Purple Up! For Military Kids," is encouraging everyone to wear purple on April 15. Purple is the color that symbolizes all branches of the military, as it is the combination of Army green, Coast Guard blue, Air Force blue, Marine red, and Navy blue. Visit OMK’s website to see what events or activities are happening in your state,

Contacts: Massie Ritsch, acting assistant secretary for communications and outreach; Charles Boyer, special advisor for military families; Carrie Jasper, writer and editor; and Cameron Brenchley, Lauren Thompson Starks, Kathy Facon, Connie Gillette, Jennifer Dailey-Perkins, Jacquelyn Zimmermann, 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: 03/29/2013